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Torn between USMA and USAFA

Discussion in 'Military Academy - USMA' started by HSmadi, Jan 31, 2015.

  1. HSmadi

    HSmadi Member

    Dec 12, 2014
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    So recently I've been informed of appointments to both USAFA and USMA. Currently, I am in a very hard decision as both institutions are amazing and I want to make sure I make the best choice for myself. I have visited USAFA through DVP where I went for 5 days and totally fell in love. For the longest time, I was dead set on Air Force. However, I found myself to not have a bias over the branches, and since I have not visited USMA I can't make a 100% decision.

    I know its important that I visit both academies and currently my counselor and the parents association of Phoenix are fighting to raise funds to get me to West Point. Hopefully, I will be able to visit and then from there I will truly know where I will feel the most at home for the next 4 years.

    If I do end up visiting, or I dont, I would appreciate feedback from anyone with opinions on what to consider when making this decision.

    A little background on me is that I am very interested in the sciences and will most likely take a Biology major. I am hoping to go to Medical school, but realistically I will be happy with any job revolving around science whether it's a researcher, etc.

    I appreciate anyone's advice as I do not come from a military family, and my desire to serve has no bias to a branch!

    Thank you again.

    (This was double posted in both forums, sorry moderators if this is considered spam. Just wanted to get equal opinions.)
  2. tle

    tle Member

    Aug 7, 2014
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    I have a very similar (if not, identical) problem right now!! I'll go ahead and tell you what midshipmen and cadets have told me throughout the past week.

    I don't have an official official offer of appointment because my nominations were sent in at the beginning of this week; but, I did ask around for some advice because I am confident the appointments would come in soon because of my LOAs.

    I was told the decision is very difficult because you need to recognize the difference between your next four years versus the next decade of your life. The academy life is just a four-year journey (as you may recall how fast our high school career went by), but your service afterward might not be the minimum 5 years. Even if it is, you need a VERY strong motivational factor to push you through the tough times. I keep telling myself that the last thing I'd want to do is go through an obstacle with this in the back of my mind: "I wish I went to USXX instead and became a X officer...." This ties back to the advice you've probably heard from counselors saying you need to love your job in the future to do it well. In addition to this, I personally don't think you should make any commitments until you've visited the two academies! I'm trying my very best to visit USAFA (I wasn't selected for SS nor was I invited to the DVP) since I've been to USNA twice (SS and CVW). I hope this helped :)

    I hope you select the academy/service branch that suits you best! Best of luck to you!!
  3. Runner54

    Runner54 New Member

    Sep 10, 2014
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    Put in a lot of time researching what you want to do. Remember that your decision should not be based on what others want for you--it's your life. Also, the Superintendent of West Point is older than the Air Force Academy if that has any weight on your decision. Congrats and best of luck!

    Sent using the Service Academy Forums® mobile app
  4. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator 5-Year Member

    Oct 21, 2010
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    Think about what you want to do once you go to active duty while keeping in mind that your college major often doesn't have any relationship to what you [initially at least] do in the military. If deployed think about your living conditions and if they are acceptable to you... a sleeping bag on the ground under the stars vs steak in the mess hall after nailing that landing at the air base. All the services have websites where you can find more info about the different jobs available in that service.
    tle likes this.
  5. mom3boys

    mom3boys 5-Year Member

    Nov 3, 2007
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    Ditto kinnem's comments. Actually, I do not think it's necessary for you to visit USMA to make an informed decison. Four years is but a blip on your life's radar. You need to research what the branches do after commissioning. That's where your mind should be...not on which campus "feels" better.
  6. hawk

    hawk ButterBar Dad 5-Year Member

    Jan 31, 2010
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    Best input DS received was to answer some basic questions:

    1) Do you want to fly jets? And will pass medical? If not, recognize that in the AF you will be in a support role. Many are fine with that, but there is a clear hierarchy. That input from a senior AF officer.

    2) Do you want to be on a ship or sub for long periods of time? If not, you probably don't want to head USNA unless you think you have the licks to be a Marine officer.

    3) Do you mind being in the field? Bad food, sleep on the ground, etc? Even in support roles you will get more of this than options 1&2. And if in a combat arms you will do quite a bit of it. And if something like Infantry you will have to pretend to enjoy it!

    Your career will be more complicated than that, but these simple questions helped DS make his decision. Yes, you can fly in the Army, not all navy is at sea. And not all Army branches will be sleeping on the ground. But you will do a certain amount of that no matter what.

    I expected DS to be a pilot, and ideally with the AF. But after visiting both, he chose USMA. We then thought he'd head engineering. But ultimately he strongly felt the call of one of the classic combat arms branches. Then focused his leadership opportunities in that space.

    It's worth learning a bit about the org branches and roles. Getting much hard for USAFA grads to get flying slots. And probably not going to get easier for a while. Army branches and officer roles are fairly well defined. Look ahead and give thought to what you want to do immediately after graduation, then for a career.
  7. Craig

    Craig 5-Year Member

    Dec 19, 2010
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    Do some digging on flight slots. While flight slots may be few now, in four years they could be wide open. Look at the demand and trends in civilian aviation as it can greatly impact military retention. Whatever you choose there are no guarantees for a slot, but don't ever let that hinder you trying. As mentioned above by others, as you meander through your college and professional career, you will be exposed to many opportunities that may lead you down a different path.

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