New to the process

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by midge, May 17, 2017.

  1. midge

    midge New Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2017
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    4
    Hello All!
    Thank you all for the wealth of information and experience that this forum provides. I have been using it for the past month or so to learn more about the whole process of applying to Service Academies for our DS. I thought it was time to join in.

    A little about us. We are not a military family. We have a few distant family members in the Marines, Army and Air Force but no one we are particularly close too. Our DS, the oldest of four, is currently finishing up his sophomore year. He is always shown interest in joining the military but honestly when he was younger I chalked it up to being a boy and thinking it was cool. The past year plus he has started showing a lot of interest attending a Service Academy. We have waited to see if this was a passing fancy or if he was seriously considering it. It is safe to say he is serious. He is trying to narrow down which Academies to apply to. DS is a strong student, active in track and football (lettered in both) and also involved in a number of school groups. He qualified for the national DECA competition this spring and really enjoyed the experience. He has a pretty well rounded resume all and all.

    When we realized this was something he truly wanted to pursue we started researching the process. To say it is overwhelming would be an understatement. We sat down and made a list of all the things he needs to do this summer to prepare. The first thing he’s working on is studying for the ACT and will take it in June.

    I am concerned that we are from small town USA, so DS does not have the option of AP classes and some activities found in the bigger schools and communities. He will start taking a couple college courses through the local community college next year. He works part time and helps on the family farm. I guess you make the best out of what is available to you.

    My husband and I hope to guide him as best we can. But we told him if this is something he wants, he must steer the ship.

    Thanks for listening and I look forward to learning more as the process unfolds.
     
  2. Capri120

    Capri120 Parent

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2016
    Messages:
    721
    Likes Received:
    592
    First of all...Welcome.

    Do not be concerned about DS being from "small town USA".

    DD, USAFA class 2020, is from a very small rural town. She is actually the first from her high school to attend a service academy (SA) in its 100+ year history. Her high school graduating class size was 23.

    She began taking dual credit college courses from the local community college (CC), 45 minutes away, and the local 4-year university during her sophomore year. Beginning her junior year, she spent half of her day on campus at the CC and was going back and forth from the high school. Her typical schedule was 3 - 5 high school classes, 14 - 17 college credits, softball practice and games (fall and spring semesters), competitive marching and concert band, along with club/organization meetings and events.

    Her school did not offer very high level math and science courses (no AP or IB programs), so taking college courses was the only way to get them. With a lot of scheduling and hard work, she not only graduated high school, but earned an AS and AA in Chemistry at the same time.

    Granted, there is no reason for your DS to necessarily earn an Associates degree, but, if he can take as many STEM college courses as possible to enhance his academics, it is worth it, whether he ends up at an SA or 4-year university.
     
    DesertCaliMom likes this.
  3. Love4monsters

    Love4monsters Member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2016
    Messages:
    292
    Likes Received:
    221
    Welcome!

    My son is a 2021 appointee to USMA. We live in the tip of Appalachia and lack the AP coursework also. Taking the ACT early is key. My sophomore son who is not service Academy minded will be taking it in June as a baseline. It was nice for my 2021 to be finished with the ACT by the start of his senior year. My 2021 son had a full resume of sports, leadership and academic activities along with a nearly perfect ACT and was appointed in the first wave in January.

    Enjoy your son! Mine graduates Saturday and it went by in the blink of an eye.
     
    DesertCaliMom and midge like this.
  4. USMA 1994

    USMA 1994 Member

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2016
    Messages:
    318
    Likes Received:
    288
    They key is to do the best at what he has available. You can not control what is available and what other applicants may look like in any given year. The ACT is the great equalizer as every applicant takes the same test.

    The most direct route to the academy is through your local MOC's nomination and appointment.

    Now a bunch of people will list the exceptions to the process and there are always a few each year, but reality is that your son will only be competing against the other individuals on your nomination slates. If he gets a second nomination from a senator he will get a second chance to compete. Your MOC gets to nominate up to ten people and the highest ranked individual wins. If you do not have a service connect nomination, that is the way to get in.

    Appointments for high school applicants are tough from the NWL as many other factors come in to play that they cannot control.

    There are many post that cover how the admissions process tries not to penalize applicants based on availability of advanced academics or extracurriculars.
     
    midge likes this.
  5. time2

    time2 5-Year Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2007
    Messages:
    1,195
    Likes Received:
    368
    Welcome to the Forum. You have probably also observed that along with the factual information posted, there is also unfortunately a good bit of hunches/opinions and guesses, so hopefully you can tell which is which. While most mean well, it is also good to use the official sources such as the SA websites to gather current/accurate information. Reading older posts can also quickly get you up to speed as virtually every topic gets discussed on a regular basis.
     
    midge likes this.
  6. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator 5-Year Member

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2008
    Messages:
    2,970
    Likes Received:
    507
    Hi Midge!

    Welcome to the SA Forums! And you've already received some excellent information!! Do NOT worry about "small town USA!!" I've worked with kids around the country; but the best I remember was a young man from a very tiny town in extremely rural North Dakota...the local school (7-12) has perhaps 130 kids in it! He and his parents had all the same fears, concerns, etc., that you do...however he was a bright young man, determined, and he, his family, and their ALO worked together.

    This "rural kid" is now a serving officer!!

    ALL the SA's are looking for quality young men and women, from all parts of our nation, with all the different backgrounds that make this country great!

    Welcome aboard and enjoy the ride!!!

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
    AROTC-dad, DesertCaliMom and midge like this.
  7. midge

    midge New Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2017
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    4
    Thank you all for the warm welcome! I appreciate all the advice and encouragement. I think the nominations process, slates etc... is extremely confusing but we will figure it out as we go. DS is planning on reaching out to the local MOC and state senators this summer. We figured it is a good place to start. After reading about how involved the process is we are glad he realized the need to start early.
     
  8. xcmum

    xcmum Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2016
    Messages:
    88
    Likes Received:
    97
    So many great responses already. I would add if possible, look into having your son go to Boys State the summer before his senior year. See if you have an American Legion Post near you & talk to them about how they chose their Boys State representatives. Boys State looks really good on SA applications, especially if DS might be weaker in showing other leadership roles, like Eagle Scout, etc.
     
    momofmod likes this.
  9. DesertCaliMom

    DesertCaliMom Member

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2017
    Messages:
    173
    Likes Received:
    152
    Welcome! My DS surprised me in 8th grade with his desire and motivation for USNA. We live in a smaller town, too. No AP classes but he is taking the nost difficult classes available up to pre-calc, and that's all that's required.

    The concurrent enrollment is a great idea. Our local Navy Admissions rep said currently college classes are looked at more favorably than AP classes (and confirmed by the regional BGO), so DS is taking Russian, Econ, Government, English IV and US History (over 2 years).

    Leadership is something to focus on. Not a lot of it, but quality. Don't get too bogged down, focus on wealth of experience over volume.

    Don't let DS forget to be a kid, too! I asl mine to schedule time for his friends and his old ma so we can relax and enjoy each other. This was our next to last mother's day so DS made it special by cooking for me and using a sword to open my champagne :D
     
    AROTC-dad likes this.
  10. midge

    midge New Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2017
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    4
    Thanks for the advice! We actually have a neighbor down the road who is very active in American Legion. Hopefully we can talk to him about getting the ball rolling for Boys State next summer.
     
    momofmod and AROTC-dad like this.
  11. midge

    midge New Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2017
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    4

    I am glad to hear about the college classes. Our DS has taken the hardest HS classes available usually a grade or 2 above where most of his classmates are. This will leave his schedule more open his Junior and Senior year for college courses. He is taking them online because the community college is not close enough to attend.

    I was so happy to see you mention letting them be kids! Reading all the accomplishments of some of these amazing young people on the forum I worry about it being too much. We want DS to enjoy his high school years in addition to being academically successful. So thank you for that perspective. :)
     
  12. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator 5-Year Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2010
    Messages:
    8,306
    Likes Received:
    1,778
    Welcome aboard!

    I won't repeat the excellent advice above regarding steps to improve one's application. I'll make some comments about the possible scenarios if your DS does not receive an appointment to one of the academies. Do not neglect applying to one or more ROTC programs as a plan B. Also, if that falls through consider doing a ROTC program without a scholarship. This is the path DS had to take and eventually won a 2.5 year scholarship during the first semester of his sophomore year. He's spending 2 years in Okinawa today, leading Marines.
     
    DesertCaliMom likes this.
  13. Love4monsters

    Love4monsters Member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2016
    Messages:
    292
    Likes Received:
    221
    My son has totally loved high school. He has a small class and they are very close. I will miss his friends almost as much as I will miss him.

    He's grown so much as a person over the last 2 years and is looking forward to USMA. Enjoy all the sports and activities over the next 2 years. So many memories to be made!
     
    midge and AROTC-dad like this.
  14. midge

    midge New Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2017
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    4
    Very good advice. I just told DS last night he needs a good B, C and D plan. We have lots to learn... that is the only certainty at this point.

    @Love4monsters My son is also in a small class that has always been very close. He also has many good friends in the classes around his. I am so proud of him for wanting and striving to spread his wings and fly. It seems all too many kids from our area choose to stay home and play it safe.
     
    Love4monsters and kinnem like this.
  15. turtlerunnernc

    turtlerunnernc Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2014
    Messages:
    402
    Likes Received:
    329
    Lots of great advice, don't forget to consider SMC's as back up plans. They are great schools and have a lot to offer.
     
    AROTC-dad and KP2020Dad like this.
  16. KP2020Dad

    KP2020Dad DS - USMMA '20

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2015
    Messages:
    123
    Likes Received:
    95
    Great advice from @turtlerunnernc. What I would add is consider all options. I'm retired Navy (enlisted) and I had never heard of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. (As you can see by my photo, I'm a KP dad.) If your son is interested in one specific academy (USMA, for example, because he wants to be an Army officer) than look at all options. Of course, USMA, but don't forget about ROTC, and State "academies" (VMI, Citidal, etc) are options, as well and can be "back up" plans. If your DS is really interested in the "academy" experience and doesn't know which branch he wants to serve, than look at all five federal service academies. Most people know about USMA, USNA, and USAFA, but a lot (like me) didn't even know about USMMA or USCGA. (Not to mention the state maritime academies!) Bottom line is there are many options if he's open to them. Good luck!
     
    AROTC-dad and turtlerunnernc like this.
  17. AROTC-dad

    AROTC-dad Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2014
    Messages:
    1,991
    Likes Received:
    1,621
    Totally agree with @KP2020Dad. You never know how the journey will turn out so keep your options open!

    My DS began wanting USMA, then USNA, then an SMC 3000 miles away focusing on NROTC/MO and ended up at a university only 3 hours away from home by car, with an Army ROTC scholarship.

    Keep an open mind!
     
    turtlerunnernc and KP2020Dad like this.

Share This Page