10-Year Member
5-Year Member
Jan 17, 2009
Hi everybody. This is really stressing me out so I hope someone can help.

Here's my dilemma. As of now I am almost certain that I will attend either USMA, USNA or USAFA (I have been accepted to all so that should be no issue). However, I am largely uncertain which one I will attend. Ever since I was a young child it has been my dream to go to West Point so right now USMA is very emotionally engrained in me. However, I realize that the other two offer incredible opportunities as well. Though it is my core desire to go to USMA I am worried that it may only be because I have wanted it for so long. Looking at the career opportunities I think that being a platoon leader in the army would be an amazing job. I also think being a jet pilot for the Navy, Marines or Air Force would be incredible as well. However, Because I have no way of actually experiencing which one fits me best I was hoping that you guys might be able to share your insights with me on the pros and cons of each career (infantry officer vs pilot) as well as any special differences between the academies themselves. For example, I know that at USNA I would have career opportunities to do both, but I want to choose the right Service Academy as well. I don't really have an interest in boats and I worry that much of my time may be wasted when it could have been spent learning things that would be relevant and make me a better officer.

I know that it all comes down to what I want most but thats the problem. I keep researching things but I'm really torn. Anyways, thanks in advance to anybody who can help me.
It's been said that the Air Force is about the planes, the Navy is about the ships and the Army is about the people. However, not everybody in the Air Force flies, not everyone in the Navy flies, and not everyone in the Army is leading a platoon. So what about USNA with a Marine Corps option? They have planes, people and an opportunity for shipboard life if you develop an affinity for the sea while at USNA. My "best advice" is to try to look beyond a particular academy, USNA vs. USMA vs. USAFA, and focus on which service branch you see yourself in. Good luck; you're fortunate to have so many choices.
I think a very loud "congratulations" is in order. Could you explain how you have been "Accepted", just so everyone is clear on your status? Nomination? LOA? EA?
As far as "One VS Another", most people here have a certain background (I'm a USNA Grad) and they will -I would expect- proudly and truthfully expound the benefits they offer.
It looks as if you have placed yourself, by hard work and good grades, in a position to Serve. That is GREAT.
There is "NO" Service Academy better than another, and none offers greater Service.
The next challenge you face is getting through "that" hurdle, and completing the rigors and trials that a Service Academy will pose. Don't underestimate how hard this can be!
If you are miserable because of the school location, you hate your Academic Major, they don't offer your favorite sport, etc, you are lowering your chances of Graduating. You've done the hard work in placing yourself in a position to Serve, now think about yourself for a few minutes. What would you like to do, study, and maybe what postgrad opportunities would you like available for the next 4 years. If you have a chance to visit the schools, that would be time well spent. Also, if you can meet some of the Officers from those Services, you might learn something there as well.
West Point is GREAT!
I chose the Naval Academy first because, with the Marine Corps option, I felt I had access to Infantry, Aviation, and Special Ops that was not completely matched by the others, and this was an OPINION of a 17 year old.
The other reason, and some say my primary reason (opinions Vary) I went to Annapolis is that I was not Accepted to any other Service Academy.

You have an exciting summer ahead and no wrong choices! A little reflection now might be well spent, but within minutes of arriving for your first day (I Day, R Day, Whatever) you will know you made a great choice, regardless of where you go. Many of us envy you your choices and your options. You worked hard for this. You will be in a great program whatever you choose.
Fair Winds...
My short and sweet observation would be the Naval Academy; and as mentioned above, the Marine Corps option. You have the best of all parameters described in your post above.

Good luck and congratulations!
Go where your heart tells you, and once your decision has been made do not look back or second guess. If USMA has been in your heart for many years will you really be able to let go if you choose ohterwise? Best of everything. I think it is wonderful that you have been accepted in multiple SA's.
You have the best of all parameters described in your post above.

not necessarily. Closely examine the summer training opportunities and the differences between those who are USNA and which to branch Marines and the opportunites that are readily available and required at USMA for Army cadets.

jscam87 - excellent post.
not necessarily. Closely examine the summer training opportunities and the differences between those who are USNA and which to branch Marines and the opportunites that are readily available and required at USMA for Army cadets.

I don't understand your comment? Are the summer activities what he's most worried about missing?
Summer training is an integral part of the Academy experience. The opportunities and choices are different.

If he wants to go to the Naval Academy to be Marine infantry - most of his training will revolve around ships. Not infantry training.
There is no infantry training in plebe summer. At USMA he will spend time during not only Beast but 4 weeks after the plebe year training - most of which will be infantry and in a FOB situation.

I know some kids at USNA who desire to go Marines and be a ground pounder only to find later that they get very little infantry training. Some even try to get training with West Point cadets - that is possible but not everyone gets it.

So, if one is deciding between the two and would like to be an infantry platoon leader - he may want to closely examine the differences. Going Army, would mean that he would spend 4 weeks in the summer after plebe year in a FOB training situation. Going USNA would mean a sea cruise, for example.

I have no idea if USNA mids ever get an opportunity to go to Airborne, Air Assault, Mountaineering or other infantry training schools during the summer.

In conclusion, while one can say Navy "has more options" in that there is the Marine option available - the training opportunites probably are very different.
Shows how Navy I am...

If you are fortunate to have a choice, none of them will be a poor choice.

IMHO, the commissioning source does not make opportunity, the commissioned officer makes the opportunity. Picking a service academy (if faced with a choice) is like picking the color of a car.
well airforce you can fly, and army you can be ground force. Navy you can do both and ship. The reason why i chose USNA was because they gave me the most options after graduation
I just wanted to say thank you to everybody who has posted in all three forums (I posted in all three to get everyone’s viewpoint). You guys have been great and your advice has been really helpful. Also thank you for your support and congratulations.

To answer a questions asked: I received an LOA from each academy and was nominated to all of them as well.

If anyone else has any more suggestions, advice or information about life in the particular career fields, the academies or personal experiences feel free to post. I appreciate and value all of your guys’ suggestions very much and am eager to listen to anything you have to say.

I don't know how easy this is to do, but it would be possible for you to transfer to another branch after graduation, maybe even to another SA beforehand. I assume you'd have to be very convincing though, since not everyone is granted this option.

Don't worry, I doubt you'll regret your decision.

Best of luck,
Let's see........ Decisions, decisions......

Ferarri, Lamborghini, Aston Marten, or Bentley.....


No matter what feedback you get and you are right these boards are great...remember the final decision is up to you. Follow your dreams and do not look back.
Congratulations! Excellent advice from many about following your heart. There will be dark days and your enthusiasm can make a difference.

One piece of advice I offer, is that you should listen to the experts. What I mean by that, is listen to the Naval Academy folks about the Naval Academy, listen to the Military Academy folks when they talk about the Military Academy. When someone with Military Academy experience talks about the Naval Academy, don't listen. When someone with USAFA experience/background talks about USMA don't listen.

Remember that your ultimate goal is to be an outstanding leader of service men and women. Each SA does this differently, with an emphasis toward their service or services. USNA, the USMC Officer Candidate School (Bulldog) and The Basic School (TBS) is the route to train officers of Marines. USMA and their follow-on schools is the route to train Army officers. I do not believe that you can, nor is it appropriate to compare how "well" an officer is trained for their service of choice.

You may wish to compare service selection at each school. USMC is very popular at USNA and most folks who selected it from the class of 2007 were in the upper portions of the class at graduation, USMC pilot even more selective. Similarly, Navy pilot was very selective.

Good luck,

BGO, USNA 2007 Dad, Commander US Navy, retired