I've posted some comments in other boards, but I'll put the whole story here. Since our DS was in 5th grade, he wanted to attend a SA. Did Sea Cadets, HS sports, Boys State, church activities, AP / Honors courses, and did well on SAT/ACT (this was the area he needed to improve, ACTs were high 20's and a 30 or two). Applied to 3 SA's last year and got TWE from each one. He had ROTC scholarship offers and acceptance to 4 universities. One evening last year, I told him to fairly evaluate himself. If he did not feel he could improve on SAT/ACT, math/science classes, he should pursue the ROTC. However, if he felt he could improve and could benefit from the program at a prep school, perhaps he should choose the prep school. It was not an easy decision. The scholarships (both ROTC and academic) would have dropped the annual cost of college to $8,000/yr. However, we also talked about sometimes the safe decision may not always be the right one. I'm in my late 40's, I told him I'd hate for him to get to be my age, and wonder what would have happened if.... If you've followed the admissions process for the SA's, you know there is no guarantee of an appointment (short of being recruited which was not our case). After a lot of prayer, and counsel from a lot of people, DS eventually choose to go to NW Prep as a self-sponsor. His ACT/SAT scores improved quite a bit. DS worked very hard. When he went for MOC, he only received a nomination for USMA and there were rumors there was a principle appointment for USMA. We rode the roller coaster when he received an appointment to USMA in February. In the end, it worked out. I know many of you, it has not. I have been surprised by how many people I have encountered who got appointments on their second, third, fourth application. Especially for those of you who are graduating HS Seniors who got the TWE this year, I want to encourage you to never give up the dream. Make sure it is your dream, not your parents/grandparents. Work very, very hard, I know many of you already have. You need to take an honest, gut wrenching self-assessment and whether you are genuinely competitive, or whether you can improve academically (or other categories). If it's your dream and you're under 23 years old, commit to reapply, and throw yourself into college/prep school with everything you got. Know that you have my deepest, most profound respect (I'm sure I'm speaking for many people) for your hard work and sacrifice.