Torn: USMA vs. Yale

keyili888

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Apr 19, 2017
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With May 1 rapidly approaching, I'm still torn between two schools: Yale and West Point. Were I to attend Yale, I would enroll in NROTC with a Marine Option Scholarship, as military service is something that I would like to participate in. I don't think I would want to make a long-term career out of the military, but I do think that service will be a valuable learning and developmental experience (does that make me a five-and-diver?) I would like to go into a career in business or government in the future, and I feel that either option would help me on those paths. Finally, I've been told that the West Point network holds up better in the long run, and I'm not quite sure what to make of it. Any advice, comments or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!
 
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I am a parent and I am going to tell you the same thing I would tell my own child. You better take a long hard look at your goals and at your definition of military service. It is NOT something you "participate" in. It is your way of life! It is what puts food on your table, a roof over your head, clothes on your back, and if your lucky shows you the world! In your case, it's willing to invest in your education and it expects you to do more than participate. You better be prepared to fully embrace, absorb, respect and defend it for the next 10+ years! With that said, if money isn't an option than your future is just as bright by going to Yale. Clearly you have the intellect for either. Only you can decide where your heart is.
 

kinnem

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Don't pick the school.... pick the service you want to end up in. While the Army and Marines have a lot in common, the Army will never be aboard ship for 6 months. The Marines will almost always be stationed near a coast. Also, pick the college lifestyle.... military 24/7 vs a more normal college life. NROTC is a terrific option to commission.

If those thoughts don't help you make a decision then I'm not sure anyone here can help you (and it is your decision to make after all).
 

brovol

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If you are doing it for the civil career after you are done in the military (and there is nothing at all wrong with that BTW), then assess which degree will be worth more to you. That might depend on what your major is and your career goals, but I respectfully submit that on the whole most employers understand that Ivy League schools are only equal to Service Academies academically, but that the service academies teach a lot more than just the academics. Leadership, teamwork, character, commitment, loyalty.... And folks who graduated from one of the Academies have done a lot more, and have endured more obstacles and challenges than those who graduate from an ivy school. In my mind a West Point degree is more valuable than one from Yale.
 
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MidwestDad

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IMHO SA degree with an Ivy level Masters is an unbeatable combo coupled with the priceless and irreplaceable leadership experiences you will get from your SA and service experiences. DS met a WP alum with 4 combat tours and Harvard MBA; that kind of stands out to folks later in life.
 

armywife03

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Congratulations! You have an enviable dilemma. It never hurts to plan for the unexpected. Can you and your parents afford Yale if you decide to quit NROTC?
My older daughter accepted a full ride athletic scholarship. 2 years in, she was hurt and could no longer participate in her sport. It would have been heartbreaking if she would have had to leave the school she loved because the money disappeared. Fortunately, we made the decision on the school knowing that we could pick up any future slack. We would not have been able to accomplish that at a school such as Yale. If you and your parents feel comfortable with the costs if the NROTC scholarship is unavailable for whatever reason , then Yale should stay in play.
 

time2

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I agree as mentioned above, you don't join the military just to enhance your future resume in the private sector.
 

2020HD

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From what I've been able to gather witnessing my 2020 son's experience at the USMA, the ones that truly thrive there view it as a vocation, not a decision. His core group of friends and Sandhurst/Sandhooah! pals are at the only school they can possibly imagine being at. Of course that's not everyone, but it makes it a lot easier to take some of the nonsense when you're "all-in". He was home for Easter with a few cadets here and they'e all stoked about summer Airborne and CBT2 training as well, rather than getting home and decompressing with high school friends. In fact now that I think of it he didn't even mention them. Their conversations about their future ("Infantry", "early Ranger" etc) got his mom very nervous at times. So as someone suggested, visit both schools. This is a huge decision and you don't want to learn that you secretly feel like an outsider throughout your college experience simply because you wanted the West Point Cadet nameplate on your resume.
 

FLIPPER@622

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With May 1 rapidly approaching, I'm still torn between two schools: Yale and West Point. Were I to attend Yale, I would enroll in NROTC with a Marine Option Scholarship, as military service is something that I would like to participate in. I don't think I would want to make a long-term career out of the military, but I do think that service will be a valuable learning and developmental experience (does that make me a five-and-diver?) I would like to go into a career in business or government in the future, and I feel that either option would help me on those paths. Finally, I've been told that the West Point network holds up better in the long run, and I'm not quite sure what to make of it. Any advice, comments or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!

Same exact situation here! DS chose West Point over Yale. Yale was one of his Plan B options ( With 4 year NROTC & AROTC scholarships). Which school was your Plan A West Point or Yale? That may help you decide.
Yale can be a grad school option if you chose West Point. West Point will never be an option if you chose Yale.
 

AirsoftRanger

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With May 1 rapidly approaching, I'm still torn between two schools: Yale and West Point. Were I to attend Yale, I would enroll in NROTC with a Marine Option Scholarship, as military service is something that I would like to participate in. I don't think I would want to make a long-term career out of the military, but I do think that service will be a valuable learning and developmental experience (does that make me a five-and-diver?) I would like to go into a career in business or government in the future, and I feel that either option would help me on those paths. Finally, I've been told that the West Point network holds up better in the long run, and I'm not quite sure what to make of it. Any advice, comments or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!
I was NROTC marine option. you have to play swabbie for four years, you know, and you don't wear the globe and anchor on your swabbie uniform until you get through Bulldog.....so from further than 30 feet away you look like all the other swabbies.....you take all the same naval classes - learn about servo systems.......ah ya yaya....way ho....blow the man down........NROTC signs you up for NAVY for four years minus bulldog.....you CAN be commissioned USMC through USMA......it's possible......the attitude towards my NROTC unit was pretty bottom barrel at Northwestern.......probably the same at Yale.....OR.....you could join The Thin Grey Line........
 

kinnem

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I was NROTC marine option. you have to play swabbie for four years, you know, and you don't wear the globe and anchor on your swabbie uniform until you get through Bulldog.....so from further than 30 feet away you look like all the other swabbies.....you take all the same naval classes - learn about servo systems.......ah ya yaya....way ho....blow the man down........NROTC signs you up for NAVY for four years minus bulldog.....you CAN be commissioned USMC through USMA......it's possible......the attitude towards my NROTC unit was pretty bottom barrel at Northwestern.......probably the same at Yale.....OR.....you could join The Thin Grey Line........
Disagree with almost all of that... but it may vary with the unit. Marine options in DS's unit had different uniforms, including PT, other than having to wear Navy Dress uniforms, and Summer Whites (and who doesn't want to wear Summer Whites?). Labs were quite different between Navy and Marine Options, eg Land Nav vs Navigation, etc. Academices are different too. Some classes are the same but Marine Options don't pursue 'Ships Systems' or 'Naval Navigation' but course like 'Leadership' and 'Ethics' are done in common. Of course Navy Options don't do 'Amphibious Warfare' or 'Evolution of the Art of War'. Marine Options and Navy Options certainly do not do the same PFT and in many cases do not even PT together (for the most part). Attending USMA and then commissioning into USMC almost never happens and the odds are pretty small these days that Army would let one go since the force is growing. The comments on Bulldog and not getting your EGA until its successful completion is right on.... as it should be.

Like I said... things may be different at different colleges... but I'm absolutely certain about the academic differences and the Lab differences. If the Labs weren't different you would never be ready for Bulldog.
 

AROTC-dad

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Disagree with almost all of that... but it may vary with the unit. Marine options in DS's unit had different uniforms, including PT, other than having to wear Navy Dress uniforms. Labs were quite different between Navy and Marine Options, eg Land Nav vs Navigation, etc. Academices are different too. Some classes are the same but Marine Options don't pursue 'Ships Systems' or 'Naval Navigation' but course like 'Leadership' and 'Ethics' are done in common.

Not positive, but I "think" that @AirsoftRanger is a dad of a USMA appointee, so his NROTC/MO experience may be dated at the least.
 

jebdad

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.the attitude towards my NROTC unit was pretty bottom barrel at Northwestern.......probably the same at Yale

Hopefully, OP has a feel for the unit at Yale. Comparing NROTC at Yale to USMA seems like comparing an apple and an orange in my mind. Or, at least, a granny smith and a fuji.
 

Wishful

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'"The Long Gray Line" West Point
"The Thin Blue Line" 5-oh
"The Long Green Line" movie about X country runnning
 

DrMom

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The Long Blue Line...USAFA. Seriously, I learned this from watching a documentary after #3 received his USAFA appointment.
Thin Red Line...awesome awesome WWII in the Pacific semi-autobiographical novel by James Jones.
 

billyb

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From what I've been able to gather witnessing my 2020 son's experience at the USMA, the ones that truly thrive there view it as a vocation, not a decision. His core group of friends and Sandhurst/Sandhooah! pals are at the only school they can possibly imagine being at. Of course that's not everyone, but it makes it a lot easier to take some of the nonsense when you're "all-in". He was home for Easter with a few cadets here and they'e all stoked about summer Airborne and CBT2 training as well, rather than getting home and decompressing with high school friends. In fact now that I think of it he didn't even mention them. Their conversations about their future ("Infantry", "early Ranger" etc) got his mom very nervous at times. So as someone suggested, visit both schools. This is a huge decision and you don't want to learn that you secretly feel like an outsider throughout your college experience simply because you wanted the West Point Cadet nameplate on your resume.

I am sorry, but I really disagree with this sentiment. There were lots of "hooah" cadets at West Point that didn't do great overall there. There were lot of cadets that were very, very low key that did really well. It takes all types and you can absolutely not judge a cadet book by it's cover. My old roommate was very slack militarily but went out into the army in Infantry and killed it. He won the Douglas MacArthur Leadership Award which is a very big deal in the real army. Some of the most chill cadets I knew are still in the Army (O-6 and above) and some of the "hooah" ones left after 5 years.
 
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