USAFA Vs. USNA.. decision time

hma12345

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Jan 5, 2017
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15
Hi! So I wasn't sure whether to post this in usafa or usna forums but since the usafa link was first I decided this.
I'm sorta writing on behalf of my best friend since she doesn't have one of these accounts. She has appointments to all 3 academies but she has narrowed it down to these two. She's been sitting on the appointments for a while but now she is just getting really stressed out and antsy to know where shes going to school but she cant seem to choose.
So she first visited usna which was when she fell in love with the school and knew she wanted to go to a service academy. She went to usna and usafa summer seminars and had great experiences at both. She never expected to have so many options and she never thought she would have a hard time choosing because usna was her first "love". However as I talk to her more about it, the usna love seems to be sorta superficial. She wanted to go there because of the commodore(which you can get at any academy) and the fact she can serve in the military (she has no branch preference really) and last year especially because her best guy friend wanted to go there. Then she also likes the fact that she can cheer at usna (but she cant at usafa bc more competitive team) and then she really likes the campus and the ocean. She also said she likes how "Navy" and the goat looks on shirts and it seems like more of a "badass" branch.
But she really wants to be a pilot and air force seems to be better for family and women, which she wants a family for sure. And she doesn't think she could be on a ship for 6+ months but she doesnt know for sure.. the idea just seems awful to her. When we made a pros and cons list the air force seemed to be better for the long term... which is what she should be choosing by. But she cant seem to let go of navy but she also cant seem to press the accept offer button for navy. I just dont think she should be choosing a school based off of cheerleading and the ocean and how it looks on spirit wear because its about after, right?
I guess I want her to choose also so I can buy her either a bunch of navy/af stuff and get on with it!!
 

yellowjacket

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Congratulations to your friend! That is truly an incredible accomplishment for her. My thoughts on the matter are that it is only January. Such a big life decision should not be made just to "get on with it." You have time! Use it. I'm sure the choice will become more clear over the course of the next few months.
 

Sam2018

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I guess I want her to choose also so I can buy her either a bunch of navy/af stuff and get on with it!!
LOL :) I don't really have any advice other than my DS was recently told to not over think it too much. No bad choices so go with your gut/heart. But fwiw my DD didn't really consider USNA after she realized she'd have to cut her hair for basic and it is not required at USAFA. As far as cheer goes she might be able to cheer at USAFA, they have open tryouts.
 

Capt MJ

Formerly Known As Attila The Hunnette
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Hi! So I wasn't sure whether to post this in usafa or usna forums but since the usafa link was first I decided this.
I'm sorta writing on behalf of my best friend since she doesn't have one of these accounts. She has appointments to all 3 academies but she has narrowed it down to these two. She's been sitting on the appointments for a while but now she is just getting really stressed out and antsy to know where shes going to school but she cant seem to choose.
So she first visited usna which was when she fell in love with the school and knew she wanted to go to a service academy. She went to usna and usafa summer seminars and had great experiences at both. She never expected to have so many options and she never thought she would have a hard time choosing because usna was her first "love". However as I talk to her more about it, the usna love seems to be sorta superficial. She wanted to go there because of the commodore(which you can get at any academy) and the fact she can serve in the military (she has no branch preference really) and last year especially because her best guy friend wanted to go there. Then she also likes the fact that she can cheer at usna (but she cant at usafa bc more competitive team) and then she really likes the campus and the ocean. She also said she likes how "Navy" and the goat looks on shirts and it seems like more of a "badass" branch.
But she really wants to be a pilot and air force seems to be better for family and women, which she wants a family for sure. And she doesn't think she could be on a ship for 6+ months but she doesnt know for sure.. the idea just seems awful to her. When we made a pros and cons list the air force seemed to be better for the long term... which is what she should be choosing by. But she cant seem to let go of navy but she also cant seem to press the accept offer button for navy. I just dont think she should be choosing a school based off of cheerleading and the ocean and how it looks on spirit wear because its about after, right?
I guess I want her to choose also so I can buy her either a bunch of navy/af stuff and get on with it!!

Though I was intrigued by the mention of "commodore which you can get at any Service Academy," and wondered what might have gotten lost in translation, I will offer advice that has been given in similar threads every year:

If your friend does not get her first pick of warfare community, branch, specialty, which Academy offers second and third choices which she could see herself doing? The Navy is a sea-going service. Even the Marines go to sea on the amphib ships, and many Marine and Navy aviators deploy on the carriers. There's a lot of water and away time involved with subs, EOD and other Navy communities. Yes, it's the ocean, but it is work at sea far from shore, at times. Her decision should be a combination of what officer career paths she would be happy to be part of for a minimum of 5 years AND the SA where she felt a good fit.

Family life is a challenge no matter what the service. Some officer communities in each service may be easier to work it out than others, and the Services are working on progressive policies to be more flexible with family-starting issues.

If she is "stuck," she should consider, in a ground-up analysis, does she really want to attend an SA or be in the service? It's a real, full-time, 24/7 military life. Now is the perfect time to assess that. Each year, many candidates get caught up in the competitive chase after an appointment, because by this time, they have become very, very good at competing. Family and friends get completely invested. It gets harder to say "stop, I want to get off."

The ability to cheer or liking Bill the Goat over other stuff is all just whipped cream. She's gotta look at the cake underneath. All the Services have their bad-a_ _ aspects, despite the intra-family kidding around. This decision will be one of many in her life that will force her to move on from "the road not taken."

As a wise former boss once told me, "not making a decision is also a decision. Think about why you can't seem to make one."
 

697biling

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Joined
Apr 3, 2016
Messages
84
Hi! So I wasn't sure whether to post this in usafa or usna forums but since the usafa link was first I decided this.
I'm sorta writing on behalf of my best friend since she doesn't have one of these accounts. She has appointments to all 3 academies but she has narrowed it down to these two. She's been sitting on the appointments for a while but now she is just getting really stressed out and antsy to know where shes going to school but she cant seem to choose.
So she first visited usna which was when she fell in love with the school and knew she wanted to go to a service academy. She went to usna and usafa summer seminars and had great experiences at both. She never expected to have so many options and she never thought she would have a hard time choosing because usna was her first "love". However as I talk to her more about it, the usna love seems to be sorta superficial. She wanted to go there because of the commodore(which you can get at any academy) and the fact she can serve in the military (she has no branch preference really) and last year especially because her best guy friend wanted to go there. Then she also likes the fact that she can cheer at usna (but she cant at usafa bc more competitive team) and then she really likes the campus and the ocean. She also said she likes how "Navy" and the goat looks on shirts and it seems like more of a "badass" branch.
But she really wants to be a pilot and air force seems to be better for family and women, which she wants a family for sure. And she doesn't think she could be on a ship for 6+ months but she doesnt know for sure.. the idea just seems awful to her. When we made a pros and cons list the air force seemed to be better for the long term... which is what she should be choosing by. But she cant seem to let go of navy but she also cant seem to press the accept offer button for navy. I just dont think she should be choosing a school based off of cheerleading and the ocean and how it looks on spirit wear because its about after, right?
I guess I want her to choose also so I can buy her either a bunch of navy/af stuff and get on with it!!

Warning: Long Story Ahead

Just thought I'd share a summary of my experiences that led to my recent choice.

Just recently, I was in the exact same predicament, until I accepted my appointment to USNA over my appointment to USAFA (1/4/2017).

I first became interested in service academies through discovering USAFA, which is what I thought was my top choice, until I was also accepted to both summer seminars. Where your friend and I differ, however, is that I had an absolute blast at USNA, but was not anywhere near as happy during my visit to USAFA (don't get me wrong, it was fun, just not Navy fun!), which played a major role in my recent decision.

I remember, before making my decision, weighing out my options based on the career opportunities in both branches, like your friend, and found that nothing in the Air Force appealed to me like the careers in the Navy did, but still I clung to both appointments out of fear of regretting my decision later down the road.

Here's where the moral of my long story comes in (I swear!): After speaking with a family friend and USAFA graduate, this specific advice stuck with me, and drove me to decide. He said, "697biling, you have to understand that no matter what you choose, you have what is probably the rarest opportunity out there. Most don't get to make the same choice you do. It's impossible to go wrong, no matter what you do, because in the end, you'll have a bright future. So make a decision, and stick by it, because no matter what you choose, this won't be the last time you have to do it."
 

BTCS/USN

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Jun 10, 2016
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277
Here's a quick reply from a retired enlisted member of the armed services. Take it for what it's worth. I would follow officers because they believed in the United States, their Branch, their dedication to their brothers and sisters in arms, theory of commitment to serve a greater cause than themselves and to excel in all they attempted or what they were asked to do. Cheerleading, badminton, flying, sailing, or whatever else caught their fancy at any given moment shouldn't be a consideration at this point of the process. If you don't have a desire to lead people to do the best they can be and can commit to the principles of the military mission for a good portion of your life then any service academy may not be your best option. I may have misunderstood the original post but please, if you do nothing else, make sure you are applying to any of the academies for the right reasons.
 

hma12345

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Joined
Jan 5, 2017
Messages
15
Yeah I get she has a lot of time to decide it would just be kinda nice and less stressful to know now.
No I know she for sure wants to lead others and serve our country, like thats a huge thing for her. But she knows she can do it at either academy and she feels like she would be happy at either academy in either service so thats why its hard to choose. But thats also why shes started looking at the smaller details like cheer and the other extra curriculars and things like that that each academy has.
People tell her all of the time how she can't make the wrong decision which makes it 10 times harder... part of me feels like she wants both but she cant have both!!

Questions for people who had to make a choice like this- Did you guys have like that feeling (if you were tied) and you were like this is it... this is the one for me. Or was it just like let me pick one based off of this one thing and get on with it?
 

Brave

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Nov 2, 2016
Messages
99
Sounds very similar to the process my DD is going through at the moment. For her it's between USMA & USAFA. She's was at SLE and FVE so at least she's had some experience with both. Without being there I would think it would be easier to eliminate.

For my DD, I think she leans towards USMA. There seems to be more secondary opportunities that excite her in the event she doesn't get her first choice...which is aviation. It was easy for her to eliminate USNA, she can't see herself out to sea for lengthy periods of time. (That's good for us parents too...hard to visit her when she's in a moving target). If for some reason she doesn't branch aviation or become a pilot then she looked at her other possibilities. USMA has several branches that give a twinkle in her eye when she thinks about them. The Army just seems to be calling just a little louder.

Best of luck to your friend, and remember there is such a thing as paralysis by analysis. These kids are so driven and such thinkers they can see the good in everything. Thinking through a decision is good, but remember this too, when you do a job you love, you'll never work a day in your life.
 

kinnem

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I probably can't be really helpful. Nevertheless I have to endorse what Capt MJ said... she's one smart lady. I know she wants to be a pilot, but she needs to think of career paths she wants even if she doesn't get pilot.

Does she want to fly fixed wing or rotary? That might help make the decision. What size is she? Is she big enough to fly? Is she too big to fly? There are size restrictions and she could at least work at determining that now in either service. What type of air frame does she want to fly. Air Force has many that Navy doesn't have.

She needs to do a lot more research on career paths in each service and it would seem at this point she has plenty of time to do so. One more thing, despite what was stated earlier, I'm pretty sure the Air Force has far more aircraft, and therefore pilots, than the Navy. Here are some links that might be helpful (although I can't speak to their accuracy):

http://www.afpc.af.mil/Air-Force-Demographics
http://work.chron.com/there-chance-fly-navy-air-force-25522.html

She'll need to take any mention of the draw-down with a grain of salt as that certainly will be turning around for both service.
 

NavyHoops

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If the thought of being on a boat and at sea is not something that excites her... USNA is probably not the right spot. Even USMC aviation goes aboard ships. Unless she wants to fly C-130s or P-3s (and its future P-8) and only them, the chances are pretty high she will see time at sea. I would focus first on what if she doesn't fly, then what?
 

hma12345

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But how can anyone really know if they would like being on a ship or not that for a long period of time unless they'v actually experienced? Same goes for pretty much anything. She doesnt know exactly what she wants to do exactly such as career goals if pilot training doesnt work out or for majors. She feels like it is going to end up changing no matter what at whichever academy she goes to because they'll give her more training and knowledge about what's out there and a chance to get a taste of it.
So It's hard to choose based off of something that will probably end up changing her mind about or something she's flexible about.
 

kinnem

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Uhhh... research and experimentation? Has she ever been on a ship? Of course there is always the safe way and keep her butt on land. In any case she faces the same problem everyone else has faced. True, not everyone is accepted to multiple academies, but they all went through the decision process of which one(s) they would apply to. She needs to quit feeling sorry for herself and get to work. Hell, I'm not sure she is officer material anyway if she isn't already on this forum and others asking these questions herself. Give your friend a kick in the butt and tell her to get to work. Don't do her work for her. It's her decision.

Nothing personal, but sometimes people need a hit upside the head. I think your friend might be there.
 
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Proverbs 3:5-6

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.
6 Seek his will in all you do,
and he will show you which path to take.


MY DS lives by this Proverb...he didn't get an offer of appointment last year and he was down but not out. 1/2 way through his year at MMI and it's right where he needs to be right now to make himself competitive for this year. Our family believes nothing happens by mistake and this is no different for you. Keep these things in mind:
  • Emotions are deceiving
  • Use your mind
  • Do your homework
  • Seek wise counsel
  • Be faithful
God Bless you...you will make the right choice.
 

skismuggs

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OP why doesn't your "friend" ask these questions??? Why are you doing this for her? It's not that hard to make an account and eliminate the middle man/woman.
 

DrMom

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Three nominations...so there is one to USMA? What is she thinking? GO ARMY! It is the best lifestyle choice with the most extensive career possibilities and opportunities for graduate study--unless she wishes to fly jets, then go Air Force or Navy. The only advantage of the Naval Academy is that it gives the student a couple more years to decide between Navy and Marine Corps (both of which have jets). She is a cheerleader? All of the service academies have extensive cheer squads these days...not like when I was in school. If the Naval Academy is her first love, then she should go there. She should consider the 'going to sea' aspect of being a Naval officer--but she certainly SHOULD NOT use "I don't want to be away from my children/husband/family" as part of her reasoning (as she does not have those things yet--she cannot take herself out of the game).
 

DrMom

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HMA12345....maybe you are pulling a fast one on the thread...because really, who could be into the goat?
 

Wishful

"Land of the free, because of the brave..."
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Well one academy doesn't flood & they have the best football team!;) Seriously though, I defer to the above posters; lots of good info there. ( & yes, I try to use at least 1 semicolon a day; it's good to have goals!).
 

hma12345

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OP why doesn't your "friend" ask these questions??? Why are you doing this for her? It's not that hard to make an account and eliminate the middle man/woman.
She doesnt want to make an account and then have someone put her username and state, etc in that appointee forums.... I dont see why its a big deal that I've made this for her or to why people still cant help or give information?? She can still see what everyone has said, this is a public post.
 
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