Thoughts While Waiting

Discussion in 'Coast Guard Academy - USCGA' started by Dedham, Nov 8, 2011.

  1. Dedham

    Dedham 5-Year Member

    Dec 27, 2010
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    As I noted in the "Envelopes" string, I believe that DS’ application was considered in Round One and therefore, the decision on his application has been made and the envelope is likely on route to our house. I say this because writing this post is a way to channel my nervous energy and because neither my son nor I have anything to gain by this post. Some may find some helpful thoughts in this recap of my experiences.

    This is a great forum. I have learned a lot from it and have developed a fondness for, and empathy with, nearly all the posters who on the parent/applicant side. I especially appreciate the information provided by Objee, Luigi59, BruceRTalbot, LineInTheSand and USNA1982BGO.

    I have learned quite a lot about the different branches and the academies in the last three years. I’ve read books, talked with people and studied the postings on this forum. When someone first suggested DS consider USCGA, I thought “yeah, right.” My perception of the Coast Guard was similar to a derisive description I read: “boy scouts with boats.” However, in my learning process, the Coast Guard and USCGA have always stood out.

    AIM is an example. Three other academies offer programs for rising seniors, but unlike the USCGA, they don’t require essays, an official transcript or a letter of recommendation as part of the application. All that they require is completion of an online questionnaire that can be done in ½ hour.

    In the end, USCGA is the only service academy that DS is applying to, so I may be going a bit far in saying this, but my sense from the application process is that no other academy and no other college that is on DS’ radar cares as much about the character of the applicant as does the USCGA. So many of the schools talk about making their admissions decisions based on the “whole person”, but I think the USCGA goes the furthest in trying to really get to know the whole person. In the recommendation forms that the math and english teachers and coach/PE teacher are to complete as part of the application, they are asked not only about the applicant's abilitites in the respective areas, but also about how the applicant "demonstrate respect and compassion toward others"! I can’t help but believe that that approach carries over from Admissions to the Academy and from the Academy to the branch.

    I also like the size of the USCGA. It is so small that their admissions decisions have to be based on their charge of providing capable officers to the Coast Guard. Factors that might carry great weight at other academies (e.g. athletic talent) can’t carry as much weight at the USCGA. I like the fact that the Academy isn’t encumbered by the congressional nomination process. To be able to major in management at such a small school where the management program is accredited is an incredible opportunity.

    I have come to have great respect for the Coast Guard. They are too thinly manned for what they are asked (required) to do, but that seems to bring out the best in both the people and the branch. Their response to Katrina is a story for the ages. And I would rather that DS be part of a 40,000+ person organization than, say, the Army, which has over half a million in uniform.

    DS had to do quite a bit of work to make himself competitive for an appointment and he has achieved that status. From the beginning, I told him that that his goal should be to become competitive, not winning an appointment, because aspects of winning an appointment are beyond his control. I also noted that even if he doesn’t win an appointment, he will have put himself in a position where he has great options.

    That is where he is. He already has an acceptance letter from Norwich and I expect that he will have other excellent options if he isn’t offered admission to USCGA. Over the three years he benefited from his ambition, both in terms of achievements and in terms of thinking about the type of person he wants to become. So an appointment, even a conditional one and even a conditional appointment to the Scholars program, will be cause for a joyous celebration, but in the larger scheme, he has put himself in a no-lose position.

    Regardless of the decision he receives, I have no complaints with the admissions process. Everything I’ve seen of it has impressed me as fair and thorough.

    Now I feel better and maybe can get some work done…
  2. runninbob

    runninbob 5-Year Member

    Dec 9, 2010
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    Great post. We were , last year , where you are now. At that time I hoped DS would get an appointment to USNA, but he was determined to get into the CGA. As it turned out, he was smarter than me. Every thing you posted is so true. Good luck. I am sure that whatever the future holds for your son, he will be successful.
  3. goldenlion

    goldenlion 5-Year Member

    May 10, 2011
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    Please keep us updated. My DD's application is being reviewed with round 2. So I'm anxious to hear what the turnaround time is for the first round.

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