Prep School or College?

Navybrat98

Member
Joined
Oct 27, 2016
Messages
45
I was looking through the forum and stubbled upon threads discussing prep schools such as Northwestern Prep and I did some research on the school and it appears as if a lot of pre-Academy candidates attend these institutions. If I were to not get accepted into a service academy this year, does a year of college at a stateside college look better than a half year at prep? Are there any benefits or disadvantages with the two options? Any insight on this topic would be great! Thanks!
 

Capt MJ

Ancient Mariner
10-Year Member
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Sep 27, 2008
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9,388
Check this concurrent thread out:

USNA Foundation Programs
 

Capt MJ

Ancient Mariner
10-Year Member
Joined
Sep 27, 2008
Messages
9,388
Thanks - I tried copying the link via phone app share option, and it did not copy in operable mode.
 

USMA 1994

Member
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Mar 23, 2016
Messages
1,231
There will be 100s of opinions and each option has advantages and disadvantages but you have to make a decision based on whats best for you. If you are offered a USNA self-prep scholarship and USNA is your goal, then that is the best option for an appointment next year. If you are not offered one of these scholarships, then my opinion is that you need to evaluate your situation and see what you need to increase your chances. If you have lower test scores and GPA, the prep school will help raise those scores and improve your basic math and english skills. This is a great option for candidates who do not have the advanced academic skills and need another year of "preparing".

If you scores and GPA are already competitive and you were just beat out by a better candidate, prep school may not be the best option as taking another year of entry level classes will not do much to increase your scores and next year would be a waste if you do not get an appointment or change your mind. A better option would be to attend a regular college and take a challenging course load and enroll in ROTC. The semester of college will give a significant bump to your WCS and ROTC is also another nomination source. You can join ROTC even if you do not have a scholarship. It will also mean that you have a year of college if things do not work out again next year or you change your mind.

Again there is no perfect response as each candidate is different but you have to do what works best for you and you have to excel at whatever you decide.

My DD had a very strong file last year but got caught in the principal nominee problem. A year of prep school would have been a waste of time and money as none of that would have really helped her file this year. She went off to a normal college where she is a pre-med major, Division I athlete, and ROTC member. She did well in all of these things, though not perfect in any of them and received her appointment a few weeks ago. It frustrates me when I see people who say that you need to have a 36 ACT, 4.0 in college and take the exact classes as a plebe. You need to preform well on your standardized test and in your classes but they do not need to be perfect. You also need to take the classes that support a challenging course load. If you test out of the first year of English and History you do not need to re-take them because that is what a plebe would do. You do need to replace them with challenging classes that support your major. DD replaced these classes with another Biology class and two additional labs as well as ROTC.
 

davejean90

5-Year Member
Joined
Aug 18, 2015
Messages
213
My DS was a re-applicant who just received an appointment. What did he do?

1) Because admissions told him his biggest weakness was his ACT scores, he signed up and took an ACT improvement course. Math score went from 27 to 32.
2) Enrolled at the local community college and took Calculus I, Chemistry I w/ lab, English Composition, and US History. Got a 3.8 GPA during the Fall semester. One thing to watch out for is colleges and math placement exams. If you don't have high enough AP scores or have high ACT math scores, most colleges will require you to pass a math placement test to take Calculus. DO NOT take this exam lightly, because if you don't do well enough, the college will force you to take College Algebra or College Trig. The academy's will not be impressed with any math below Calculus.
3) Trained hard for the fitness test and ensured he had a higher score than last time.
4) Completed his application - this may sound obvious, but over half the re-applicants do not complete the application.

I know community colleges may not have the best reputation, but they have a few advantages for re-applicants. First, you will actually know your instructors personally making it easier to get the required evaluations and second you can live at home. Also MMI and NMMI are just military community colleges, so academically there is no advantage.

This is A WAY that worked, but it is not the only way. Do a self evaluation and determine what is best for you.
 

my3sonsga

Member
Joined
May 2, 2016
Messages
18
My DS was a re-applicant who just received an appointment. What did he do?

1) Because admissions told him his biggest weakness was his ACT scores, he signed up and took an ACT improvement course. Math score went from 27 to 32.
2) Enrolled at the local community college and took Calculus I, Chemistry I w/ lab, English Composition, and US History. Got a 3.8 GPA during the Fall semester. One thing to watch out for is colleges and math placement exams. If you don't have high enough AP scores or have high ACT math scores, most colleges will require you to pass a math placement test to take Calculus. DO NOT take this exam lightly, because if you don't do well enough, the college will force you to take College Algebra or College Trig. The academy's will not be impressed with any math below Calculus.
3) Trained hard for the fitness test and ensured he had a higher score than last time.
4) Completed his application - this may sound obvious, but over half the re-applicants do not complete the application.

I know community colleges may not have the best reputation, but they have a few advantages for re-applicants. First, you will actually know your instructors personally making it easier to get the required evaluations and second you can live at home. Also MMI and NMMI are just military community colleges, so academically there is no advantage.

This is A WAY that worked, but it is not the only way. Do a self evaluation and determine what is best for you.


Can I ask what you mean by "Also, MMI and NMMI are just military community colleges, so academically there is no advantage."
The local college for DS that was his Plan B but has now become his only choice due to no appointment offer is a HUGE university. It is so big, he will never be able to get to know his professors personally. Someone on another board suggested looking into MMI. Any additional insight you can offer would be greatly appreciated!
 

KP2020Dad

DS - USMMA '20
Joined
Mar 2, 2015
Messages
169
Can I ask what you mean by "Also, MMI and NMMI are just military community colleges, so academically there is no advantage."
The local college for DS that was his Plan B but has now become his only choice due to no appointment offer is a HUGE university. It is so big, he will never be able to get to know his professors personally. Someone on another board suggested looking into MMI. Any additional insight you can offer would be greatly appreciated!
There are military prep schools and there are community colleges, but Marion Military Institute (MMI) and New Mexico Military Institue (NMMI) are both. The advantage is that you receive the regimental training and structure that will prepare you for an academy while at the same time receive actual college credits. MMI was great for my DS. He was sponsored prep, so that made things somewhat different. (financially) Look into the different options and don't give up. Good luck.
 
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