If you know you want to go active duty, usually the DOD academy makes the most sense though there's a lot to consider. The main KP advantages are you don't have to go active duty if you change your mind, and can apply to different services. My knowledge is dated but a few things to research:
- DOD academies pay their cadets the 4 years (you can find the pay formula online). KP only pays when you are at sea on a commecial ship (not assigned to any military units).
- DOD has more majors to choose from, and more resources (KP is very shipping industry centric, and a smaller school).
- The 4 years at DOD academy can count toward military retirement pension once you hit 20; KP time won't count.
- KP is well known & respected in maritime & military circles, lesser known in general public vs DOD schools. (Though any service academy looks great)
- On billeting...don't be shy, ask many questions upfront, preferably from the naval science dept head or the active duty rep for that service at KP, or recent grads who went thru the process. Don't rely on 2nd & 3rd-hand information. Billet data can & does change. Get statistics on the # applied, # accepted, what was their GPA, class rank, major... Can you apply to multiple services? Can you apply to multiple programs in the same service (Navy flight and EOD) or do you have to pick one?
- If not selected for your preference, can you re-apply later and how. Sometimes you can enter different programs one or multiple years after commissioning. All the schools are great, they just have some differences.