Voluntary Graduate Education Program

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by NotCollege, Feb 27, 2017.

  1. NotCollege

    NotCollege Member

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    Does anyone have experience with this program? If so, how many credits were validated?

    Does USMA have a similar program?

    "If you want to get a head start on graduate education, you will be interested in the Voluntary Graduate Education Program (VGEP). If you are selected to participate in VGEP, you can devote your second semester of first class year, the summer after commissioning, and the following autumn to pursue a master’s degree at any number of local colleges and universities. You must be well ahead in your matrix to participate in VGEP. The time to start thinking about this is during plebe year; talk to your academic adviser about this long range plan. A briefing on VGEP is given to midshipmen fourth class in January each year. See the VGEP briefing slides on the Graduate Education Blackboard by logging onto the USNA Home Page Blackboard and scrolling down to see the “grad ed menu”. The Graduate Education Office is in Michelson, 384, and can be reached at 3-6334 or via yard mail, stop 9G."
     
  2. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ 10-Year Member

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    VGEP mids complete all undergraduate degree requirements by the end of first semester, 1/c (senior) year. After having applied and gaining approval by USNA (no issues with academic, military performance, PE, honor or conduct), they apply to one-year programs at area schools. U-MD, Georgetown, GWU, etc.

    In January of 1/c year, they begin Master's as full-time student, living in company area and commuting to school in civvies. They graduate and commission with their USNA class in May. They remain in the area, full-time duty as a student, completing Master's in December of their USNA class year. They then go on to their service selection schools and duty stations, bringing up the tail end of the class to "launch."

    Many validate classes upon arrival as plebes, which impacts their overall academic schedule. They don't gain credits, but they might be a plebe in a class being taken by mostly 3/c. They still need the same number of credits for a degree. Many take summer school, using up a leave block to knock out courses ahead of matrix, 1-3 summers. Many take the heaviest possible semester load.
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2017
  3. NotCollege

    NotCollege Member

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    Thank you for the excellent information. Do you have any idea how many cadets do this every year?

    Edit: also doing some research I came across this.
    "
    Additional Service Obligation
    VGEP

    • Navy: 5 years after completion of master's degree
    • Marine Corps: 3 times the length of the period of education after commissioning
    Is this your 5 year obligation from USNA +5 more, or just your USNA obligation.
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2017
  4. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ 10-Year Member

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    Thinking back to the Comm Week Awards and Prizes program, which lists VGEP, IGEP, Rhodes/Marshall/Fulbright/Trident/Bowman, etc., from the graduating class, my best hazy guess is 10-20 for VGEP, if that many. Not a lot.

    There are many threads on grad ed throughout SAF. The thing to remember is the majority of Navy and Marine officers, and I suspect other services, do NOT get their Master's directly out of their Comm sources. There are the Service grad schools (I went to Naval Postgraduate School full-time student, 2 years, as a Navy LT, right on career track), other civilian grad options full-time, onsite/distance learning, Service War Colleges, Tuition Aid/Assistance for after-hours/distance, USNA Company Officer Master's program, and so on. You can also use your own money to do some degrees, and incur no service obligation. After separation/retirement, you can use VA Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits and any home state vet benefits. That's just a rough and dirty skim of many, many threads.
     
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  5. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ 10-Year Member

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    And since you are in the USNA forum, I recommend using "midshipmen" instead of "cadets."
     
  6. NotCollege

    NotCollege Member

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    Thank you again for the information. My head is spinning from the appointments and trying to keep the terminology straight. I have two years of math/science college courses done and am hoping to validate some/most. So I am trying to look at the opportunities that the different service academies provide. Honestly I have no idea how I will chose but this information definitely helps.
     
  7. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Super Moderator 5-Year Member

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    Usually 10-12ish are selected for it each year. It means if you go Navy it's 5 years from the time you complete your Masters. If you go pilot, not really an issue as your 'clock' doesn't start until you are winged. They are Mids not Cadets. Not sure USMA has this program (I don't think so). Proximity to local colleges is the key as USNA is close to many great colleges with grad programs. My room mate at USNA did this. Bottom line, it's great you know. Validate as much as you can, attend the briefs Plebe Year. Your act advisor will 'tag' you if you are far enough ahead in your matrix to look at these programs for adding an extra class here and there and summer school.

    Pick the service you want to be in. I have seen plenty of colllege kids not validate a single class at USNA. Don't pick because of a 1% chance at VGEP. Each service has lots of grad school options and programs. If you hate the service you are in, none of these programs will mean anything.
     
  8. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ 10-Year Member

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    I gather you have USNA and USMA appointments?

    USNA does tests during PS, as I am sure USMA does. Then, you will know where you are. You will also get plenty of briefings on these programs, with time to evaluate.

    Set aside the grad ed element. I am sure USMA/Army offers comparable programs, though perhaps not VGEP-style.

    Focus on your career as a warrior and an officer. If you don't get your number one service selection at USNA, are you ok with other warfare communities? Most involve duty above, on, in, under water. Ditto USMA and branches, same question. Culturally, where do you think you will fit best? The grad ed is icing on the cake. Your cake should be where you are learning and performing as a warrior in your chosen field. Figure out your cake, the icing can be dealt with later.

    Now for some good Pentagonese:

    What is the long pole in this tent? (the key decision point that impacts all others)

    Concentrate on the wolves snapping closest to the sled. (Not on the ones howling in the forest a greater distance away)
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2017
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  9. DesertCaliMom

    DesertCaliMom Member

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    My son calls the long pole his "big rocks." :D
     
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  10. NotCollege

    NotCollege Member

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    I have appointments to USCGA, USAFA, USNA, and USMA. I think my decision will be between USMA and USNA. I have decided that I would be happy at either school so I have to decide between the branches of service. I am a farm kid who grew up on a lake. I love the woods and mountians, and I love the water.
    I am looking at SWO for USNA or Field Artillery for USMA. In the end I know I can't make a wrong decision but It is hard choosing between four opportunities of a lifetime.
     
  11. DesertCaliMom

    DesertCaliMom Member

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    I don't think you can go wrong no matter what you choose. Best of luck in ylur decision!
     
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  12. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ 10-Year Member

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    Good luck with your decision. Sometimes the hard part is letting go of a path and closing a door. Which is the easiest to let go? No need to reply. You're spending time thinking it through, so that's good.


    A wise boss once told me, before I went to my first XO tour, something like this: "Delaying or not making a decision is also making a decision. Pause to think about why you might be doing these things. In the military, as in life, you will likely never have 100% of the info you need to make the perfect decision. Life is a lot messier than that. Sometimes you will be lucky to have 40% of what you need to decide, so you have to think about what's important, factor in your gut, and get on with it. If you make a mistake, own it, and do your best to address it."
     
  13. Sydney C.

    Sydney C. 5-Year Member

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    Great stuff as usual from Capt MJ and Hoops (shameless USNA plug) but I digress...............

    One cautionary thing to keep in mind with VGEP is that if you want to do a semester abroad, and are selected to do so, in either your 3/c or 2/c year, you won't be able to participate in VGEP as a condition of that semester overseas. If you're planning....plan appropriately as there are consequences for every decision.
     
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  14. Cerberi

    Cerberi Member

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    I am pretty sure this (VGEP) program did not get funded for the current cycle per our Plebe.

    As Hoops says, your advisor will let you know if you are eligible for these and other programs. The 'high validators' had a special briefing for them at the end of Plebe Summer letting them know they had made the first cut of those that would be eligible for this and other lesser known opportunities and they were strongly advised to not screw it up as it was quite easy to be removed from the list.

    Don't plan on validating a bunch of courses just because you have already received college credit. You will be swimming at the deep end of the pool and USNA does not typically have Plebes that validate more than 2-3 courses especially math/science. (If you do that is great, but it is not common)
     
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