USMMA - Choosing a major?

Discussion in 'Merchant Marine Academy - USMMA' started by sunny_dreamer, Feb 12, 2019.

  1. sunny_dreamer

    sunny_dreamer Member

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    Hi all,
    my DS accepted recently an appointment at USMMA, class of 2023. He is undecided about what major he will choose.
    Little background about my DS:
    - got really high sub-score on the English portion of the SAT - 790 out of 800
    - his Math portion wasn't bad either - 740 out of 800
    - he got his AP exams in Calculus AB, BC, Physics I, Chemistry, Spanish, English, US History, US Government, Computer Science, World History
    - he took all possible math classes at his high school; only Stats was left as an elective for his senior year, but he didn't go for it
    - likes to tinker with phones, laptops - will take them apart, change parts; changed the batteries of my Nexus 5X and 6P; changed RAM, added an additional SSD to his laptop in the DVD bay;

    What do you think might be a good fit - deck or engine major?

    Any advice is appreciated. If you can share experiences first hand or of your DS, DD it will help a lot.

    Thank you!
     
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  2. KPEngineer

    KPEngineer Eternal Father ... 5-Year Member

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    Impossible to say. Some people seem like natural fits for one or the other and it turns out to be wildly wrong.

    I don't know what the pre-selection classes are like these days but the more time one can spend underway on the Kings Pointer before deciding the better.
     
  3. kpmom2013

    kpmom2013 5-Year Member

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    During his first trimester, your DS will take intro classes to both deck and engine majors. Most undecided plebes have an easy time deciding after that. You can find a list of required classes for each major on the USMMA website under curriculum. But in addition, your DS should think about what he wants to do after graduation and after his service commitment, not just what classes interest him during his time at Kings Point.
     
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  4. KPEngineer

    KPEngineer Eternal Father ... 5-Year Member

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    ^^^
    This too. Sailing and Shoreside are very different. Someone may love being a mate/master but hate the more typical master/mate shoreside career path. I had no particular interest in sailing as a mate but being a ships pilot sounds like a pretty sweet gig to me. If I had thought about it at school I would have at least considered going deck for it.
     
  5. sunny_dreamer

    sunny_dreamer Member

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    I understand that it is impossible. Was asking for sharing experience. If it will help below are the first trimester classes.

    upload_2019-2-12_12-55-30.png
     
  6. jaglvr

    jaglvr Member

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    My DS is a freshman at TX Maritime reapplying to USMMA... we wait.
    But he went in as a marine biology major. Already he knows that isn’t the right fit but he had an affinity for his marine transportation classes... hence major change.
    I don’t think you need to declare ASAP because of the core curiculum... let him figure out what interests him...
     
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  7. Mr2020

    Mr2020 Member

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    That's easy, you'll spend a max of 1-2 days underway on the KPer and deciding on those 1-2 days is probably a bad idea. I would say just go engine, if you are REALLY bad at math go deck. There are engineers that suck at math, but if you can't do it at all then go deck.
     
  8. cmakin

    cmakin 5-Year Member

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    If they still teach celestial navigation, there is some math there. I echo the sentiments noted above. I opted for engine going in and settled on that and it was a good fit for me. My seagoing career was on a wide variety of vessels, reflecting the change in the composition of the US flag fleet. I do feel that there are more options for engineers who come ashore than there are for mates, but that is just me. Ultimately the student has to decide what is a good fit for them.
     
  9. sunny_dreamer

    sunny_dreamer Member

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    Looks like it is 50/50 for now - cmakin - engine, @KPEngineer - you sound like an engine, but you are recommending deck? @cmakin - thank you for sharing. This is what I need actually - personal experience and your own path/opinion. Of course it will be up to the student to decide.
     
  10. KPEngineer

    KPEngineer Eternal Father ... 5-Year Member

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    I am not recommending anything in particular, only saying to consider both sailing and shoreside employment when choosing. You know yourself better than any of us here and your own job satisfaction and happiness are most important.
     
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  11. cmakin

    cmakin 5-Year Member

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    No problem. I am not affiliated with the Academy, other than being an inactive member of the Alumni association, so I will give an unfiltered opinion. The maritime industry of the 70s was very different than what is now. For the record, when I came ashore, I first worked as a Class Society field surveyor, sort of a non-governmental rule enforcement position which also included inspections for various international statutory requirements. I did it for 10 year and found my time as an engineer to be invaluable, as well as that ol' KP education. For the last 20+ years I have been working as a loss adjuster for the energy industry which also includes some maritime work. One thing to remember about our industry. Whether deck or engine, I find that it demands more from its personnel than most other industries. I found that my time at KP, although not altogether pleasant, to be good training for the demands.
     
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  12. KPEngineer

    KPEngineer Eternal Father ... 5-Year Member

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    I disagree. Almost every convenience store or fast food joint I go in to has a help wanted sign on it.
     
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  13. beyond

    beyond KπΣ15' 5-Year Member

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    I'm going to strongly disagree with this. The hardest major is the one you don't want. If you want to be an engineer, you'll be able to work your way through the classes, if you think you'll skate as a deckie, but you don't want to be a deckie, it will be brutal.

    I've seen some really book smart people struggle in deck classes because they don't want to be there, and I've also seen plenty of not so smart people get through the engine major because they do.

    It isn't anything more than adding and subtracting, but there is a lot of it, and you have to know when to do what. I think celestial is hard, but it isn't the math, it's the celestial if that makes sense....

    To the OP, don't worry about what you perceive to be harder, the easiest major is the one you want.
     
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  14. KPEngineer

    KPEngineer Eternal Father ... 5-Year Member

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    The amount of actual Math courses between all majors is virtually zero. True you end up doing more math problems during your engineering courses than your deck courses but this is is reality any more than high school algebra.

    In an engineering class the professor will typically do a calculus derivation to show where the various formulas come from but by the time you get to actually doing problems there isn't any calculus left to do, basically just algebra.

    There is also plenty of geometry and vectors in the deck courses. Figuring Set and Drift is all math.
     
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  15. golfindad

    golfindad Member

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    I'm not a grad, and have never been there, but looking at the courses DS takes as deck, seems to be pretty math intensive, and went well beyond the AP Calc he took in high school. Calc 1,2 and I think 3. Stats, physics, navigation, stability, etc. I also believe they have to take a math competency test during indoc which can place them in an algebra class as a precursor to the calc classes if the student needs such.
     
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  16. golfindad

    golfindad Member

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    I believe they declare during or at the end of the first trimester
     
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  17. Mr2020

    Mr2020 Member

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    This isn't true at all, the supe forced a kid in my class to switch majors at a PRB because he was terrible at math a couple of years ago. Wanting to be an engineer will not save you from being too stupid to pass engineering. It is easier to get through Deck because its just not hard. C Nav wasn't hard at all because the teacher basically tells you what problems should be on every test. Nav Law is a joke now because Hard is gone, we have Capt. Cooney. everything in deck is not hard to pass.
     
  18. sunny_dreamer

    sunny_dreamer Member

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    Here is a math load @ USMMA by major:
    upload_2019-2-14_14-3-38.png
     
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  19. golfindad

    golfindad Member

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    Just FYI--not trying to cause a stink here, but, global comments are difficult to support--"not hard to pass" is relative to the student. The 20% or more attrition is not all just for regimental or athletic issues or solely from the engine side. And, just from an educational aspect, some people are more in tune with the engineering thought processes, while others are more in tune with non-engineering thought processes. just because one engineering student can transfer to deck without issue does not mean that it is a global phenomenon. Just because one person says its not hard, doesn't mean another will have the same experience. just my .02--the right major will find the right student, and vice versa
     
  20. beyond

    beyond KπΣ15' 5-Year Member

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    Ehh... or drawing on the mo-board with a fine point crayon like I do.

    You're missing the point dude.
     
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