So, for starters, I’m currently a high school senior who wasn’t able to get my ducks in a row and apply for a nomination in time for several personal reasons. Looking forward now, though, I still have an interest in attending. I’m currently in the process of applying for an ROTC scholarship, the only things left I need to do being the PMS interview and PFT. I do have one reservation regarding receiving a scholarship though, that being my ineligibility to participate in SMP (joining guard while in ROTC) upon receipt of one. The reason being that being enlisted in the guard would, by most accounts, essentially offer me a “free” nomination (contingent on endorsement by company commander+). I feel that I’m fairly competitive for both the scholarship and the good state school (UMich) I’ll hopefully be attending come fall. The Academy has recently become something of a dream of mine though and while I feel like sacrificing a 4-year would normally be quite inadvisable, would the potential benefit of highly increased odds of admission at USMA be worth it? I’d like to assess active duty should I ultimately continue with ROTC, which for obvious reasons gives me pause when considering SMP for both the sacrifice of the 4-year and the lack of additional potential scholarships (GRFD, Minuteman, etc.) that in normal cases serve to make it more appealing to the average cadet. As of right now I’m fairly certain I truly want to attend USMA over a civilian college, but obviously things can change in a year, especially given ROTC will be the first time I actually experience a military environment to some extent. Thanks for any and all advice.