Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by d.mcknight, Dec 27, 2011.

  1. d.mcknight

    d.mcknight 5-Year Member

    Jul 22, 2010
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    So here's my background. Last year I applied to USNA. Was 3Q'd and had a nomination, but was not appointed. I did however receive a NROTC scholarship ultimately assigned to Maine Maritime Academy. I knew I wanted to reapply so as soon as I could open a new application, I did. Although I'm not 100% decided on what I want to do in the Navy, I've been leaning fairly heavily into going Nuclear Surface.

    As of right now, I am done with my first semester of college with a 3.64 in an engineering major, I am a squad leader next semester for NROTC, my application is complete with the exception of my Calculus professor's eval and my first semester transcript, and I have a congressional nomination secured and a ROTC nomination lined up. (My CO wanted to wait until the first semester was over.)

    Now here's my dilemma. I haven't been offered an appointment, but my BGO and area coordinator both think I have a very good chance of receiving one this time around. I'm not getting my hopes up too much, and I have a solid set up if I don't get one, but if I do, I'm not sure if I should choose to go to USNA or stay with Maine Maritime and continue NROTC. I've come up with some positives and negatives on both sides and I could use some input from others.

    I know all the benefits of USNA. I don't think I would have any problem in the type of environment at the school. Here are some things that have made me really think about this decision though. If I were to stay at MMA and graduate in 3 1/2 years from there, not only would I have a BS in engineering and a commission in the Navy, but I would also have a CG 3rd Assistant Engineer's License. If something were to happen with the Navy, I could always fall back on that. Because of the type of school MMA is, I get a lot of hands on training with working and living on a ship. Also, by the end of this school year, I will have 50+ college credits. I know I might be able to validate some classes through tests at USNA, but that's still quite a few credits to lose.

    One of the major concerns I've had in this decision though relates to my career after I graduate. Like I said, I'm highly considering going Nuclear Surface. Where would I stand a better chance getting a slot? As far as getting promoted goes during my career, is it going to make a difference if I came from ROTC vs the Academy? And if the Navy goes through a major RIF like other services are, could where I graduated from make a major difference in whether or not they keep me or say adios?

    Sorry this is so long-winded, but if you're still actually reading this I'd really appreciate any comments or advice or anything really. Thanks.
  2. 2012mom?

    2012mom? 5-Year Member

    Sep 1, 2007
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    Years ago, there was a definite difference between commissioning sources, as USNA graduates were given regular commissions, but NROTC (as the name implies) were awarded "reserve" commissions. Currently, I think that situation has changed, and all new commissions are "regular Navy" commissions. However, the type of commission offered is one thing that could change as a result of budget cuts/drawdowns.

    IF all commissions are the same, the mere fact of graduating from USNA versus any other source should not have "any" influence on your career per se. In reality, being a USNA grad could be good or bad. Here are two real examples: A recent USNA grad who is in flight training said that it's been made clear that the instructors don't want to hear anything about "Canoe U," to the extent that this young officer doesn't wear his ring during the day, doesn't mention USNA, and tries not to hang out during the day with former classmates. On the other hand, one benefit of attending USNA is having more, longer periods in direct contact with Navy and USMC officers. Forming a good reputation with more senior officers could be a career benefit.

    One factor you do not mention is the timing of your graduation and commissioning. If you are a current college freshman, you should graduate and be commissioned in May/June of 2015, if you finish in 4 years. If you go to USNA starting in June 2012, your commissioning date will be a year later, and your first one or two promotions will also be delayed. Over a full career, this may not be important, but that's something for which you need the perspective of someone who has "been there, done that."
  3. dunninla

    dunninla 5-Year Member

    Jan 26, 2010
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    I'd say it's a lousy idea to do something based on perceived prestige. In the real world, where a person trained/went to school is a complete non-issue after 2-3 years on the job (both military and civilian). It cuts both ways too. You might have a superior officer/promotion Board with most members who were commissioned through OCS or NROTC, and could be prejudiced *against* Academy grads. There are employers in the civilian world who won't hire Ivy grads because of a similar prejudice... that they are too big for their own britches, don't fit in, etc.

    Unless you are dying to be part of the daily regimen at Annapolis, or think your current MMA academic preparation is poor in comparison, why would you give up a year of college, and delay your commissioning for a year, to start over at Annapolis? By the way, the vast majority of Ensigns were not commissioned through the USNA. However, if you think the academics and lifestyle at Annapolis is much better than that at MMA, and for this reason you transfer, then what's one year additional in college in comparision to the next sixty years of your life, really? Not that much. I can see both sides. Be careful about the academic part as well... unless you are 720+ on the math part of the SAT, and can manage your time very, very well, don't expect to get mostly A grades at the Academy even if you are doing so at MMA. Students at MMA have an average 2-part SAT of 1050, vs. 1285 at USNA. That is a world of difference. Not saying you won't still get As, just saying the two schools are not academic peers, nor are the students with whom you're competing for As academic peers. Count that cost well. Are you willing to go from an A student at MMA to a B/C student at Annapolis, if that should happen?

    As to Surface Nuclear, that is a pretty small community. 4% of USNA commissioned Ensigns selected/assigned to Surface Nuclear in 2011, and a similar 4% of NROTC commissioned Ensigns were selected/assigned. Don't know the % of OCS that did.

    As to future promotions, your commissioning source would be way, way down the list of factors considered... so far down that it doesn't make a practical difference whether you commission through NROTC or USNA (or OCS, though the first half year out of OCS is its own particular challenge).

    As to future RIFs, same as promotions... no practical difference.
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2011

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