USMA v. USNA

MichaelT2022

2026 Applicant
Joined
Oct 29, 2020
Messages
184
Hello to All!

I am in desire of some utmost advice. I understand, that this may come as early, to make such a decision, but I need to know for myself, where I see myself in the future. Thank you ahead of time, to those who may respond!

I am, as some may know from my previous posts, a first time applicant to the SAs, for C/O 2026.

Just in the span of one week, a lot has happened, and let me explain.

Ever since, the desire to attend an SA, has been with me; I feel like I've felt some sort of connection to USNA, such that I would love to see myself there in the future, if given the opportunity to do so. This is where I've been struggling. On Monday, I received an response to an email, asking my Recruiter, about the USMA interview process, out of the blue, as I wasn't expecting it, my recruiter; in my city, offered to complete a "formal" interview with me, once I had finished off my academic year; which is in less than 20 days on May 20. This in some ways, gave me a reality check, such that I know I must present myself in a good way, and I hope to show myself, as a candidate who is deserving of an appointment to WP.

Ever since, I received this email, I've been going back and forth, and trying to set something up, according to availability, all whilst still doing the research, more specific towards WP, in order to learn more, and present myself with utmost knowledge, when the time comes for the interview. I still can't tell, if me being in this spot, for an interview, is a good thing... I'm conflicted, considering how early it is, for the application period for C/O 2026.

Another piece, of conflict I have come through, is how I've always had the desire to study Aerospace Engineering, if I were to attend USNA, or even a different civilian college. After doing my research, I learned, that although surprising, but unfortunate, USMA does not offer this major. My 2nd choice, would've been Nuclear Engineering, which sounds utmost interesting, but it is still hard to decide on this aspect, considering how each one, will/could take me in two opposite directions of life.

Now to the more detail, although as I previously mentioned, I do have a desire to attend USNA, and I have felt some sort of connection, for some reason to me, USMA feels different, but in a good way. Of course, each SA has the end goal, of serving your country, and so on. I just can't decide, and see the exact reason, why USMA appeals to me, maybe I might be on some sort of hiatus, and panic, due to this interview coming up.

USNA has appealed to me, due to such things, as location, and of course, my fascination for the water, and love of ships, and submarines, etc.
USMA has appealed to me, to an extent, I assume because we are literally talking about the US Army.... I further have to dig into this, and see exactly why this is..

If anyone could provide some advice, I would really appreciate.
 

lukeL

USAFA c/o '25 | USMA and USNA Appointee
Joined
Aug 29, 2020
Messages
13
My advice for someone just starting the SA application process is to keep an open mind for all the academies. When I was in your spot a year ago, I was set on USNA. After getting an early offer from USAFA, my mindset changed.

The vision you have for your future may change multiple times over the course of the next year. It's good to know what you want right now, but it's also important to keep all your options open knowing what you want can be subject to change. The same goes for what you want to study. You could get to USNA wanting to study aero, but then realize it's not for you.

As for the early WP interview... I'm sure someone else with more experience in the WP process can speak to it.
 

MichaelT2022

2026 Applicant
Joined
Oct 29, 2020
Messages
184
My advice for someone just starting the SA application process is to keep an open mind for all the academies. When I was in your spot a year ago, I was set on USNA. After getting an early offer from USAFA, my mindset changed.

The vision you have for your future may change multiple times over the course of the next year. It's good to know what you want right now, but it's also important to keep all your options open knowing what you want can be subject to change. The same goes for what you want to study. You could get to USNA wanting to study aero, but then realize it's not for you.

As for the early WP interview... I'm sure someone else with more experience in the WP process can speak to it.
I appreciate that. I try to keep an open-mind, and not let other things distract me..
 

MichaelT2022

2026 Applicant
Joined
Oct 29, 2020
Messages
184
LukeL has a great point.
My DD stated SA process with USMA as 1st pref and she was not even sure she wanted to apply USNA. Things change, perspectives changes over the course of the year.

Guess where is she headed to.. yup that’s right USNA.
That's really cool. Congratulations to her as well!
 
Joined
Nov 12, 2020
Messages
267
Apply to all of them and to different ROTC programs. My kid was set on USMA with USNA as his second choice and got TWEs from both. (Overconfident (MISTAKE!), we thought one of the two would appoint him so he withdrew his two others SA applications he started.) Thankfully he has a 4 yr AROTC scholarship which kind of just happened in the background as a safety net, but the safety net is what is now his Plan A. (MISTAKE!- He did not do enough homework on the AROTC scholarship either, he could have applied it to the best ROTC programs far, far away but in his head he thought he was headed for USMA or USNA, so why even bother? Now he is going to a good state engineering U with a good ROTC program but it kind of lacks the wow factor since it's only 20 miles away.

So many things can happen that you aren't planning on (DS's MOC had zero noms to USMA this cycle and since USNA was only his second choice USNA noms went to others who had it as their first choice. MOC offered DS USAFA and USMMA but DS withdrew his applications before the interviews! (MISTAKE)

Moral of the story...Do your research and don't get too focused on one place, find multiple places and programs and majors that you can live with because the competition is FIERCE. Don't be DS!) Good luck to you!

Also practice your interviewing skills so your answers don't sound like you are reading them off of a piece of paper.
 
Last edited:

justdoit19

Proud parent of an ANG, USNA X2, and a MidSib
Joined
Apr 9, 2017
Messages
4,199
Apply to all of them and to different ROTC programs. My kid was set on USMA with USNA as his second choice and got TWEs from both. (Overconfident (MISTAKE!), we thought one of the two would appoint him so he withdrew his two others SA applications he started.) Thankfully he has a 4 yr AROTC scholarship which kind of just happened in the background as a safety net, but the safety net is what is now his Plan A. (MISTAKE!- He did not do enough homework on the AROTC scholarship either, he could have applied it to the best ROTC programs far, far away but in his head he thought he was headed for USMA or USNA, so why even bother? Now he is going to a good state engineering U with a good ROTC program but it kind of lacks the wow factor for him since it's the only 20 miles away.

So many things can happen that you aren't planning on (DS's MOC had zero noms to USMA this cycle and since USNA was only his second choice USNA noms went to others who had it as their first choice. MOC offered DS USAFA and USMMA but DS withdrew his applications before the interviews! (MISTAKE)

Moral of the story...Do your research and don't get too focused on one place, find multiple places and programs and majors that you can live with because the competition is FIERCE. Don't be DS!) Good luck to you!

Also practice your interviewing skills so your answers don't sound like you are reading them off of a piece of paper.
Can your son transfer his AROTC to another “wow factor” school??
 

justdoit19

Proud parent of an ANG, USNA X2, and a MidSib
Joined
Apr 9, 2017
Messages
4,199
OP here is my advice:

* don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Even if you don’t like the basket...put a couple eggs in there, for the time being. That basket may look great to you in 18 months.

* cast a big net. Along the lines of 👆. You can always decline an offer. But you cannot accept something not offered TO you in the first place.

* you don’t have to have it all figured out now. Don’t worry. Take each day and process as it comes. Don’t feel pressured to know or decide now. This is something that •most likely• will change in you mind as you stew through the process. Consider the options. Think about the whole thing. Lots to consider and take in. Take every advantage to inquire and learn about everything that interests you. But you don’t have to have it all figured out now. That comes with accepting whatever offer you end up with. IF you end up with any offers at all....so make sure to have good alternate plans.

Every year, stellar people’s plans don’t go the way they think they will. Spend some time reading the year ending appointment threads, or waiting threads, if you care to. Lots of AMAZING peoples plans don’t go the way they PLAN.

I am familiar With Navy stuff. I don’t have any insight into the interview you wondered about. But do know that recruiters recruit. Admissions admits.

ADDING: you can dump your query into the search function here, or simply Google, to get to already existing discussion about USMA vs USNA, in general.
 
Joined
Nov 12, 2020
Messages
267
Can your son transfer his AROTC to another “wow factor” school??
He probably could but it is so very late in the game. TWE's didn't arrive until just recently and deposit has been paid on Plan B (preview day attended, merit scholarships also awarded, roommate matching started, summer job starting soon). DS said he is fine with Plan B (oh the GF who is a year younger will also only be 20 miles away probably helped with being fine with it too.), so it's ultimately up to him and not me.

It's all good. In hindsight, I wish I (or better yet DS) would have gotten on this forum very early in the game and found out about the different options out there and learned from other's hurdles along the way.
 

justdoit19

Proud parent of an ANG, USNA X2, and a MidSib
Joined
Apr 9, 2017
Messages
4,199
He probably could but it is so very late in the game. TWE's didn't arrive until just recently and deposit has been paid on Plan B (preview day attended, merit scholarships also awarded, roommate matching started, summer job starting soon). DS said he is fine with Plan B (oh the GF who is a year younger will also only be 20 miles away probably helped with being fine with it too.), so it's ultimately up to him and not me.

It's all good. In hindsight, I wish I (or better yet DS) would have gotten on this forum very early in the game and found out about the different options out there and learned from other's hurdles along the way.
Sounds like he is where he is meant to be, an amazing plan!
 

Casey

USMA 2015
10-Year Member
Joined
Nov 8, 2010
Messages
770
Figure out end game for what you want. If you don’t have a preference for what your service looks like, either is a great choice. If you specifically see yourself in one branch over another, that helps solve your dilemma of where to focus energies. The life of an Army officer is very different from the Navy.

As for aerospace, USMA has an aerospace minor within the mechanical engineering program. It’s one of the only undergrad programs you’ll get a chance to take a rotary wing focused class (most undergrad aerospace programs don’t go near helicopters and leave it for your grad school program). It was very much plenty of a good foundation for me to jump into an aerospace masters with no trouble
 

MichaelT2022

2026 Applicant
Joined
Oct 29, 2020
Messages
184
Figure out end game for what you want. If you don’t have a preference for what your service looks like, either is a great choice. If you specifically see yourself in one branch over another, that helps solve your dilemma of where to focus energies. The life of an Army officer is very different from the Navy.

As for aerospace, USMA has an aerospace minor within the mechanical engineering program. It’s one of the only undergrad programs you’ll get a chance to take a rotary wing focused class (most undergrad aerospace programs don’t go near helicopters and leave it for your grad school program). It was very much plenty of a good foundation for me to jump into an aerospace masters with no trouble
Thank you, I appreciate the feedback.
 

Wahoo Fan

Member
Joined
May 13, 2020
Messages
57
MichaelT2022,
I think you are doing well to research. Consider that college is only four years, but you will likely be spending more years working in your actual job. So even though you may feel a connection with a particular school (such as USNA), that will only be a temporary destination.

Research the Army and the Navy and which jobs you can do in each. Coming out of a service academy, some people get their first choice of assignment but others don’t. Maybe make a list of your top three jobs you would like to do in each service. Would you fit in and be happy in the Navy doing the kind of work the Navy does? Would you fit in and be happy in the Army doing the kind of work the Army does? Maybe you could see yourself in either service. If so, then apply to both USNA and USMA plus ROTC programs— if your goal is really military service.

On the other hand, if your main idea is to attend a service academy because it feels special or prestigious or some other reason like that, then you may want to reconsider. The primary reason to apply to a service academy is not for the academy experience, but so that you can become a military officer and serve your country. Make sure that is really your end goal and reason for applying.
 

Nomak54

Member
Joined
Mar 27, 2018
Messages
181
My advice for someone just starting the SA application process is to keep an open mind for all the academies. When I was in your spot a year ago, I was set on USNA. After getting an early offer from USAFA, my mindset changed.

LukeL has a great point.
My DD stated SA process with USMA as 1st pref and she was not even sure she wanted to apply USNA. Things change, perspectives changes over the course of the year.

Guess where is she headed to.. yup that’s right USNA.

I was the exact same way. I had a mentor who was a USNA grad, went to NASS, was so hype for Navy. I didn't get a nomination for USNA, but then I got all three nominations to WP. I guess they must've been impressed, they invited me to an overnight stay and promptly issued in LOA to the prep school. After that, I was sold on Army haha.

Another point to me was that USMA had a pre-law department, and I just saw much more opportunity to go to law school and become a JAG in the Army rather than the Navy or USMC. Although everyone graduates with the same degree, I'd recommend really looking into their curriculum, clubs, and overall career routes.
 

prospective2019

USMA 2023
Joined
Nov 25, 2017
Messages
484
You do not need to hide the fact that you're considering USNA from your Field Force rep. You can discuss how you're considering both academies. He/she will still evaluate your merit of getting into an academy the same.

I am involved in the aviation stuff here and have my pilot's license--I presume you want to branch Aviation if you take an interest in Aero. USMA does have a very robust aviation section of the Mechanical Engineering program. You can major in MechE and minor in Aeronautical engineering here and take pretty much the same classes that you would in a normal Aero curriculum.

Don't close any doors prematurely.
 

prospective2019

USMA 2023
Joined
Nov 25, 2017
Messages
484
I will add that USMA also offers a variety of awesome AIADs (Academic Individual Additional Development opportunities) that allow you to go conduct research in aerospace during your summers. You can go to Redstone Arsenal and work the Army's new airframes, go to the Naval Test Flight facility, do work down at Ft. Rucker, and more. It's pretty fascinating.

As Casey said, there are also many classes here that allow you to do "flight labs" in Army helicopters (Lakotas) and USMA's Cessna 182s. They're pretty cool.
 

MichaelT2022

2026 Applicant
Joined
Oct 29, 2020
Messages
184
I will add that USMA also offers a variety of awesome AIADs (Academic Individual Additional Development opportunities) that allow you to go conduct research in aerospace during your summers. You can go to Redstone Arsenal and work the Army's new airframes, go to the Naval Test Flight facility, do work down at Ft. Rucker, at more. It's pretty fascinating.

As Casey said, there are also many classes here that allow you to do "flight labs" in Army helicopters (Lakotas) and USMA's Cessna 182s. They're pretty cool.
That sounds very interesting.. I appreciate it for the extra information. I'll take a look into that soon.
 

TigerMomNot

Member
Joined
Oct 7, 2020
Messages
39
Michael!

First, do you want to work in aero, or do you want to study it? From personal experience, many engineers working in aerospace were not aero majors. Depending on what you are interested in, you can focus on that aspect of aerospace in classes under other disciplines or in research if an aero major is not offered wherever you end up.

I appreciate that. I try to keep an open-mind, and not let other things distract me..
Second, ^^^^, take your own advice and stop distracting yourself with premature angst on a future decision. I posted in response to your thread, CHANCES (SLIM???) and unless something has changed, you need to keep every avenue open as you work on getting your grades up. Do not spend cycles on this!
 

Foodisgreat

Member
Joined
Mar 7, 2018
Messages
27
USNA vs USMA

Do you want to be on the ground or on a boat?
-The SA's are just schools to get you to your job in the army or navy.
-USMA will have you in the field, ground, outdoorsy things of the grounded outdoors.
-USNA I cannot speak for(I don't think their training has anywhere near the same field time)

Figure out what you want Land or Sea(don't bank on cross-commissioning).
 
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