Was a Service Academy your first choice?

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by 36falcon36, Jan 25, 2018.

  1. 36falcon36

    36falcon36 Member

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    I have a question for anyone out there who is ether at an academy, has a child at an academy, is being appointed to an academy, is applying to an academy, etc... I am a junior in HS right now (2023 applicant) and am trying to weigh my options.
    To start, I know that, no matter what, USAFA is my first choice. Plan A all the way. But, I have been considering my back up options. I thought I had wanted to apply to USNA and USCGA, but I’m not sure that’s where my heart is at. All I know is that I love the Air Force and want to serve as an officer. For those of you who can chime in, was your first choice a service academy, even if it wasn’t the branch you wanted? Or was your first choice a certain branch of the military, through either ROTC or SA? I’m just trying to figure myself out - this is an overwhelming process. How did you guys know what was best for you? I love the idea of going to a service academy, but I’m not sure how I’d feel if I wasn’t going into the AF. Is it ok to feel this way? Like, Plan A USAFA, Plan B AFROTC? Will it effect things like getting a nomination, etc?
    I’d love to hear from other 2023 applicants as well.
    Thanks for any advice in advance! I appreciate the help - I’m just trying to get some other opinions and viewpoints.
     
  2. DiRubbs12

    DiRubbs12 New Member

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    Hi there! I just got appointed to USAFA. Yes my first choice was USAFA. I also decided to apply to USNA (being neighbors with the BGO), and I feel like applying to both Naval Academy made the process for USAFA easier. I was able to almost "dry run" my interviews and such with my BGO and Naval application, then make any necessary adjustments for USAFA. I also highly recommend having AFROTC and civilian schools in your back pocket just in case, as you never know what can happen. With nominations, unless you're applying to multiple service academies you can just apply solely for USAFA to make yourself as competitive for a slot as possible. Besides that, just keep on grinding. Good luck!
     
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  3. corescue59

    corescue59 USCGA Admissions Partner 5-Year Member

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    My son has wanted to be in the USCG since the 5th grade. He applied to USCGA, AFA and USNA along with non military colleges. He got into USCGA and AFA as well as getting an AFROTC scholarship. He got into multiple non military colleges as well including Notre Dame. He did go to the summer programs at both USCGA and AFA and thought they were very informative.
    After visiting all the schools several times he decided without a doubt that the USCGA was for him. He is currently at the USCGA class of 2021 and doing very well. While he loves the USCG he does not always like the USCGA :) That will get better once 4/C year is done....
     
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  4. EOD295

    EOD295 Member

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    My DS chose between USAFA, Clemson, Ga. Tech, and AFROTC. He knew he wanted to be an AF Officer. The moment we traveled to COS and saw the campus he told me USAFA was definitely the right choice for him. He is in his second semester and is very happy.
    I recommend you look at all of your choices, Dream Big, Work Hard, and truly follow your Heart.
    Best of Luck with your decision!
     
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  5. Stealth_81

    Stealth_81 Super Moderator 10-Year Member Founding Member

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  6. 36falcon36

    36falcon36 Member

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    Thanks for all the replies - they’ve given me a lot to think about/ take into consideration.
     
  7. Vaquero

    Vaquero Member

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    We are not a military family and grandson was not thinking about a service academy until he attended the summer session at Annapolis. From that point on, a service academy was his choice. He applied to USAFA and USNA, received nominations to both as well as USMA. Following a LOA from USAFA and an appointment, he did not bother finish his applications to his two plan B schools--against my advice--is now waiting to see what happens with USNA and will then make a decision.

    Would highly recommend that you attend a summer session wherever you are thinking about applying. The summer sessions are essentially an outreach program but will give you a feel for the campus, an opportunity to interact with cadets/plebes, observe them, gain some insights into service academies and why they chose to attend.
     
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  8. Velocity2012

    Velocity2012 Member

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    My DD is in the USAFA class of 2021 and it was her first and only choice of schools. Two thoughts - 1) Follow your heart and 2) Always have a backup plan. The 2021 motto is No Doubt. No Fear and it's a great way to proceed as you make your plans.
     
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  9. Hoodlum15

    Hoodlum15 Member

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    When I went to a nomination interview one of the interviewers took his pen and told me "This is a magical pen. When I wave it, you'll either be transported to AFROTC or West Point. Which do you choose?" He already knew that my first choice was USAFA, and that really gave me insight into what I actually wanted, which was to go Air Force. So I guess my suggestion is to find a magic pen and ask yourself a similar set of questions.
     
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  10. keeperkat90

    keeperkat90 Member

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    I am a senior at Usafa and can honestly say that this place was my first choice, but all of my back up schools were other academies or rotc. I could have gone where ever I liked (sometimes regret choosing sa over rotc) but in the long run this will be better. I’ve learned a lot in my 4 years here and made a ton of friends. And have also good vs bad ways of leading people in the actual Air Force. (We have so many commanders that you can see everything) we also get more experience with many different jobs then rotc does because of the sheer number of officers here.
    If your thinking you want a regular college experience, go rotc. If you want to know what the big Air Force is more like and have those bonds that follow you throughout the years, go Usafa.
    If I had to do it over again, I would still go to Usafa.
     
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  11. keeperkat90

    keeperkat90 Member

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    And if your not sure about back up plans or haven’t had the chance to really take a look at the schools, sign up for summer seminars, admissions visits, candidate visits, etc.
     
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  12. Christcorp

    Christcorp 10-Year Member

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    Both, the academies and ROTC are fine institutions for training future military leaders. Each does it in a different manner, but in the end, the results are similar. If a person has a true desire to service in the military as a commissioned officer, they will make the best of EITHER means; the academy or ROTC. If a person's PRIMARY GOAL isn't to be a commissioned officer and service in the military; (People apply to the academies and ROTC for MANY DIFFERENT REASONS); then chances are you'll find lots of faults with whichever you choose. And chances are; if you found and concentrated on faults with the academy, you'll find similar faults with ROTC. And as such; you'll find similar faults with serving in the military in general.

    That's the big problem here. Until you're actually at the academy, you have no idea what you're getting into. You may THINK that the academy is something you've always wanted your entire life. But you only think so. You have no idea. All the JrROTC, CAP, Scouts, etc. can't prepare you for the the academy or the REAL Military. Your father/mother, uncle/aunt, grandparent, etc. could have spent a career in the military, and that still doesn't prepare you to know what you're getting into. Probably the "Closest" is the "Military Brat". But even they don't know exactly what they're getting themselves into. They simply "understand" the discipline and the inconveniences that is expected of them. That's because they've LIVED IT most of their life. But until you're actually at the academy, you have no idea what you've gotten yourself into.

    The only advice is to understand the "BIGGER PICTURE".
    1. The academy and even enlisted basic training, is designed to take individuals from all over the country/world, with many different backgrounds, and teach them to find what they have "In Common", and learn to become and work as a team.
    2. They are teaching to you experience and understand diversity. Experiencing these differences and diversity among your peers, will help you to be a better leader and understand the diverse population of those you will be eventually leading.
    3. The academy is NOT the GOAL. It's simply a stepping stone to getting to your goals. It's only 4 years long. You've got a minimum of 5 years in the REAL Military once you graduate.
    4. The prime purpose of a military person is to SACRIFICE. Sacrifice everything from your time, wants, relationships, family, and possibly the ultimate sacrifice.... your life. It's all about sacrifice. It's not "Just a Job". You're not in a union. Your rights ARE LIMITED. You can't just call in sick or quit because you feel like it. Other people (You team and The entire country) are relying on you. The level of responsibility is immense.

    But; in the end; the level of satisfaction is well worth it. IF, this is what you want and you're willing to work through the sacrifices. The satisfaction in the job can't even be described. Not even to your family. (That's why you don't know what you're getting into). But once you truly experience it for yourself, you'll definitely understand. I've had this conversation with family, friends, and as an ALO to new appointees. None truly understood. But those who did serve, later on told me...... "Now I understand". And you don't have to be on the front line of a war to understand. You simply start seeing and understanding the "Big Picture". You start to understand your training. You start to understand the WHY's. You start to understand how your piece; as small as it may appear; actually impacts the rest of the team and the big picture.

    So, whether the academy, rotc, or whatever was your FIRST CHOICE, just remember that your choice is based primarily on ignorance. Ignorance is not a bad word. It simply means you don't know something. And until you're at the academy/rotc and eventually in the real military, you don't really know what you're getting into. But to succeed; simply remember and keep reminding yourself, what the big picture is. If you do that, and truly want to be a commissioned officer and a military leader, you'll do just fine with whatever path you take.

    Best of luck. Mike
     
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  13. afrotc16

    afrotc16 5-Year Member

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    My first choice when I applied to schools was USAFA. I didn’t apply to any other branches because I knew that I wanted to serve in the Air Force and wasn’t really interested in the other branches. Anyhow, I was rejected from USAFA twice and got an AFROTC scholarship instead. I loved AFROTC and commissioned in 2016. My point is that there are other ways to reach your goal, and don’t feel obligated to apply to other services if you’re not interested in serving there. However, if you’re wholeheartedly set on serving in the Air Force, definitely also apply to AFROTC and who knows, you might love it if you don’t get into USAFA.
     
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