USNA or MIT

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by mattcat, Apr 15, 2018.

?

Which school?

  1. USNA

  2. MIT AFROTC

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  1. mattcat

    mattcat New Member

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    Hello,

    Since decision day is right around the corner, I am seeking advice for a very important decision. I am seeking input from experienced people as to which school would be better for me: USNA or AFROTC at MIT. Let me start by describing my situation, career goals, and potential options.

    I have always wanted to serve my country and ever since 7th grade I have wanted to attend USNA. Coming into high school, I worked tirelessly towards achieving this goal. I received an LOA in September and an appointment in February. I also applied early action to MIT. I was accepted. To give you background, however, MIT was the only civilian school I applied to (I figured with the engineering reputation of MIT, it is the only school that would make me second guess going to USNA). The other schools were all of the service academies. I was accepted to all but I narrowed it down to USNA, USAFA, and MIT, with preference towards USNA (out of the academies). I have also received an AFROTC Scholarship to attend MIT, so I will only have to pay room and board.

    As for my career goals, I would like to major in aerospace engineering and become a fighter pilot (F-35). I would then like to become a test pilot and eventually an astronaut. USNA has produced the most astronauts, but part of that seems to be a result of the initial astronauts as naval aviators. In recent years, it seems like MIT has produced more (MIT is 3rd on the list overall).

    For potential options/opportunities, both offer great possibilities down the road. After speaking to the AFROTC detachment, possibilities at MIT include a nearly garunteed 5th year masters degree (paid for by Air Force), a near perfect pilot selection percentage, the likelihood of attending Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot training, and summer training possibilities like jump school, etc. With open summers, I could intern at places like SpaceX to gain valuable experience. With USNA, I am seeking someone who is a little more familiar with the graduate school process. I would like to try to get a masters from MIT following graduation (because I think I would benefit from both schools). I realize summer training is mandatory at the academy, so obviously I will have that opportunity, but what about internships?

    As a part of this process, I have spoke with various former officers and military personnel. Many say that MIT would be better in the sense that you have to quickly learn how to function independently, which translates time management and essential skills once you reach active duty. Additionally, I have heard that the Academy breeds a more procedure-type thinking (not really out of the box thinking) when compared to other academies. I am wondering if anyone from the academy can speak to these claims. Additionally, what experiences do you get at the academy that would give a strong foundation for anything in life (vs experiences that you wouldn’t get at a standard college).

    I have been to both campuses multiple times. From these visits, I certainly feel more at home with the Midshipmen who are quite like minded and driven as I am. I believe the ideal route for me would be USNA undergrad, MIT grad school. But with a nearly garunteed masters at MIT through AFROTC, I am hesitant to gamble and not be accepted later down the road. That is why I am seeking someone who may be familiar with the grad school route immediately after USNA. I read on USNAs webpage but it only says a small percentage go on to do this. What is the process to be able to do this?

    If you respond, could you also provide some of you background information? Thank you for all of the help!
     
  2. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator 5-Year Member

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    Consider this. School is 4-5 years (at MIT, maybe). Service as a pilot will be 7 years at the very least and perhaps more. For that reason alone what happens after college seems more important to me. Do you want to fly off a large air field? Or do you want to fly off of, and land on, a pitching, rolling postage stamp? And what if, for some reason, you don't get your desired pilot slot? Would you be happy doing something else with the service you select? Does the lifestyle of one of the services appeal to you more? (Away at sea as opposed to at home with the family on dry land)

    To me, this is more of a service selection process and not a college selection process... but that's just me.
     
  3. QWE123

    QWE123 Member

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    My friends' (also my children's Godparents) daughter is trying to decided between USMA and MIT AROTC. She still has not decided, but it seems like the same scenario. The camaraderie and the bonds formed from the SA experience are wonderful and she can always choose MIT for graduate school. However she is still a bit young, she will be 16 when she graduates just turning 17 before R day. She identifies more with her classmates at MIT. She had a perfect SAT score of 1600 so there's no worry of her not getting into graduate school at MIT. She's a genius. We all think she should go to USMA and then to MIT, but it I guess it comes down to where she feels more at home.
     
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  4. FMHS-79

    FMHS-79 Parent

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    MIT vs USNA are two very distinct paths, both in terms of undergraduate environment and short-term options (such as internships). While you may hear many opinions from those on the forum, take them all with a grain of salt (mine included).

    The needs of the military comes first when options such as pilot slots/platforms, graduate school, etc. Some individuals may be able to provide some current trend information, no one will be able to guaranty what slotting will look like for the class of 2022. I agree with kinnem, consider which service better aligns with your career goals. If you don't get F-35s, immediate selection to graduate school, etc. which service provides better plan B or plan C options for you?

    Remember that there is no free ride in either case. Your level of engagement and performance will have a direct impact on which options that may become available to you. Good luck.
     
  5. tetradad

    tetradad Member

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    For academic rigor and opportunity MIT is possibly the best in the world. And for free? Doing stuff you love? No brainer
     
  6. THParent

    THParent Member

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    It's pretty easy to land on that postage stamp in an F-35B @kinnem.

    You will need to learn how to spell before you become a Lightning driver, buddy. ;)
     
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  7. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator 5-Year Member

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    Hahaha! Good point. I hadn't thought of that. Of course you need to find it first... on a dark, rainy night. :D But then again, there's those pesky instruments making it easy in the dark too! Kids today have it so easy!
     
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  8. CrewDad

    CrewDad Member

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    MatCat. Here’s mine.

    MIT and USNA are two very different experience. USNA you will get a Military college experience and a lot of unique fraternity you expect at an SA. This is a life time fraternity with the Mids in and out of active duty.

    MIT is first and foremost an elite academic institution. You are first an MIT Student and Second AFROTC Cadet at the Doolittle Raiders with Harvard and Tufts students. There is nothing required to do until your Junior/Senior summer. It is by choice you go to summer training and do civilian and military/government NASA Lincoln Lab Space X internships until your junior summer. At MIT you will have more time to explore other things related and unrelated to Air Force. MIT will offer you more flexibility even a gap year to take a year of fellowship and take project GO program.

    But not the same fraternity you will get at USNA USAFA USMA. It is just not the same experience. ROTC at MIT will feel like being part of a smart tech club rather than being in a military academy. You will not feel the pressure nor feel like you are in military at MIT. But you will be around brilliant students who are all equal to USNA’s top 25% entering freshmen. MIT’s entire freshmen class are academically gifted.

    If you join Det 365 you are joining an honor unit that has produced top Air Force cadets in the country for 2 years in a roll. 2017 top AF Cadet is graduating with Master/Bachelors in Aerospace and is aspiring to become a NASA Test Pilot. He’s going through the Euro Pilot Program when he graduates in 2018. Just like LTC Sheryl Double Ott. I take it this is where you got your ideas to do the same.

    So MIT produces excellent AF Cadets with nice option to get Masters in 5 years. I highly recommend MIT AFROTC if this is exactly what you want. If you go to MIT, I would also do the AFROTC.

    Nevertheless, what’s the hurry. If you think you will regret not going to USNA when you look back in 2 years 5 years 10 years then I would personally do USNA and see if you want to get your Masters at MIT CalTech Stanford or Harvard when you’re ready. I personally like to spread my education around at different schools because there’s so much more you get by learning from brilliant worldclass faculty from various top programs. Also during your service you never know which location you will be stationed and which school will accept you.

    If you grew up wanting the academy experience then do it. Because there’s more chance you will look back and regret it if you don’t. You can always get your Masters during your career. Since you will spend about a decade at either Navy or Air Force you will pick up a Masters or 2 during your tours. Military will accommodate as long as you perform. If you want to make O6+ and seek a higher qualifying position in the Navy Air Force or NASA, you may want to get a PhD. So your 3rd Degree from another top institution.

    Don’t rush, take it one at a time. At USNA, you will meet Mids who turned down Harvard Yale MIT Princeton Stanford USMA USAFA. They chose Annapolis because they are confident they can do their Grad schools at Harvard Yale MIT Princeton Stanford when they are ready. It’s a nice combo. This maybe the plan for my DS USNA first then Harvard Yale or others for Grad schools. He too started his path to SA at age 11. Got his LOA in Sep with full Appointment in January. He also has the NROTC AFROTC AROTC full scholarship options if he goes to an Ivy instead. He’s leaning towards USNA. Because he thinks he will regret it if he doesn’t and Military experience is what he really wants in college. He wants structure and fraternity with the Academy that is life time beyond the service.

    I think your ability to succeed at either paths is equal! If you are successful at either services and do well academically as an undergrad. To maintain 3.7+ GPA at either schools will take a lot of work and time management.

    USNA + MIT/others = Naval Aviator
    Learn to fly from ship
    Give back to service >8 years
    Maybe able to do Masters post 4-6 years in service.
    Navy has better looking uniforms and a larger community to interact. Better major port city stations to deploy. Great overseas bases in Japan Europe and US Hawaii San Diego Norfolk Pensacola.
    Great food! But for sure lower quality living quarters on ships when under way compared to AF.

    MIT++ = AF Aviator
    Learn to fly from land
    Give back to service >10 years
    AF no doubt has the best accommodations. Best quality housing and shorter deployments from home base. But your base can be out of no where in fly by states. Not sure how many AF Bases near major port cities will have F16s F35s F22s. Think most bases near port cities have C135s and larger aircraft.

    These are my observations and options based on what I wish for my DS.
     
  9. CrewDad

    CrewDad Member

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    Additionally, I believe you will have the military training advantage first 2 years out of USNA vs MIT. After that you will close the gap and catch-up militarily and professionally. If you are seeking a long term career in the military I would do USNA and Grad school at a top Program. If you are looking to do ~10 years and be a civilian at a large tech or defense company, MIT BSE/MSE maybe very well served. During your career you are likely to get 2 Masters and a PhD if you are an ambitious Pilot or a Technical leader in the AF or Navy or NASA.

    But that’s just me and how I would advise my DS. My DS may or may not pursue Aviation. My DS path is different from yours. If Navy he may do SWO first and then Cyber and Intel in year 3 or 4 as his long term career with a clear desire to pursue MBA/JD or MBA/DBA or PhD. From what we learned switching out of Aviation to do other things is not a common practice and hard to do. So if you go Aviation you’re pretty much in an Aviation related career unless you step into teaching or other technical fields. It’s an exciting time for our kids!
     
  10. Maplerock

    Maplerock Proud to be an American 5-Year Member

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    She will be too young to start USMA right out of HS.
     
  11. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ 10-Year Member

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    At USNA, as long as a plebe is 17 on Induction Day, the day they report in, they’re good to go. Is it different at USMA? I thought R-Day (Reception Day? Report Day?) was the analogous day, same requirement.
     
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  12. CrewDad

    CrewDad Member

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    CAPT MJ you’re right. As long as 17 on R Day. Cannot be even 1 day short of 17. Academies are not looking for the smartest kids. It’s looking for everything! Maturity responsibility intelligence athleticism leadership ability to give and follow orders and able to get respect from your peers right away! And you do that in an environment with 17-22 year olds that make up your Plebe year. If you’re 16 that can easily be over your head. Like baking a turkey in an oven it takes time to cook it just right. If want to rush ROTC is a better path since most freshman class will be 17-19.
     
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  13. navy2022VA

    navy2022VA Member

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    If you’ve wanted it since you were young, I feel like USNA is one of those things that you could regret not attending

    Sidenote: I don’t know much about the process, but my brother graduated from USNA and went on to Harvard grad. USNA paid for it all, but it took him three tries to get in, so it wasn’t a “guaranteed entrance” if that’s what you meant. But if you meant guaranteed paid for, then it is. As you can see though, even if it isn’t guaranteed acceptance, you can continually try again and I’m sure with your MIT abilities that guarantee isn’t even needed!
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2018
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  14. AF6872

    AF6872 10-Year Member

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    Kinnem: Burner, Burner, Burner. Wave Off, Wave Off in the dark on a postage stamp. For others AF has the best Golf Courses.
     
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  15. ders_dad

    ders_dad Member

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    I envy the options that are before you, young man! Good luck with your decision.
     
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  16. USNA2021_Dad

    USNA2021_Dad Member

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    I did a BS at USAFA and MS/PhD at Stanford. My PhD advisor at Stanford got a BS from USNA, MS from MIT and PhD from Stanford...we often reminisced about our undergrad experiences and can tell you neither of us had one single moment of regret for our days at the academies as we learned skills that simply are not taught anywhere else. My nephew did USAFA then MIT and is now a test pilot and astronaut candidate, so at least in my experience, I'm happy and satisfied I did it in that order. Given your choices, count yourself lucky for having first world problems!
     
  17. CrewDad

    CrewDad Member

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    Ders_dad. I do believe your son will also have great options before him with his accomplishments. What I learned during the college admissions process is your son will solve the puzzle and pursue his aspirations he is meant to pursue.

    One thing I wish I had done better with my son is to allow him more space to cook on his own with less huffing and puffing from dad to push the cart. Less pressure on him with dad’s expectations instead more time with him giving him inspirations. I felt that we were running out of time even when we were much ahead. I put so much on his plate and he loyally took it all and did it all. I will miss him very much when he departs to college and I know I will be the one crying and reflecting that I wish I spent more dad time with him being a pal. I know he appreciates and loves his dad but I will always feel that I should have pushed him less and let him enjoy being a teen that he is.
     
  18. Humey

    Humey Member

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    In terms of AFROTC and flying after commissioning, please realize that their is no guarantee. There is no guarnatee you will be selected for a pilot spot. There is no guarnatee that you be selected for ENJPPT (it no longer guarantes fighter or bomber anyway) and there is definitely no guaruantee that you will be selected for any fighter plane. Every UPT class has about 25-30 students and maybe 4 get fight planes and that includes National Guards pilots who are there to get a specific fighter plane. YOu could just easily be selected to fly a AWACs and be up in the air for 10-15 hours at a time. I would assume you are a smart guy especially if you got into MIT, but being fighter pilot is more than have great grades although it definitely helps. I am not saying this to push you away from MIT and AFROTC, but rather to let you know you could do everything perfectly and stil not fly. That would be true if you do USNA or USAFA. It isnt a straight line, where if you do A, B and C, you are going to fly.
     
  19. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator 5-Year Member

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    I know the feeling. It was hard when DS left for college. Some things I did to help me through...

    1. Video calls via facebook messenger on the cell phones over wi-fi. Nothing beats seeing his face. We still do that while he is in Okinawa.
    2. Spend a father/son weekend at his college each semester. Mom did the same. He was a member of NROTC boat crew and did SEAL workouts with his buddies every Fri. starting at 5PM (when sane people are at happy hour). I would always try to catch the workout (usually outside) and then go out to dinner with the gang. It was great to get to know his friends.
    4. Go to football games at his college along with attending the NROTC tailgate. We were only 3.5 hours away so day trips were still possible.
    5. When really desperate and couldn't get there, or during the week, I would watch Marine Corps commercials on YouTube. Somehow it seemed to help.
    6. Swap stories with folks on this forum about our kids with other folks, especially via PM for people in the same service.
    7. Stick around on the forums and help out the next batch of kids. That seems to help too.

    Eventually it becomes the new normal. He'll still be your buddy.
     
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  20. CrewDad

    CrewDad Member

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    Thank you Kinnem this helps already. Sharing a common bond between father and son and dads. It’s great! I’m grateful he did it. He fulfilled his childhood dream and dad’s wishes. He did everything he wanted and I wanted. And he will pursue all that he wants to explore. And later we can do it again with our grand kids. Beginning with Scouting ^^ Oh boy. I hope my muscles stay intact.
     
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