Discussion in 'Service Academy Parents' started by Maplerock, Sep 4, 2017.
If you have a DD or DS in an academy or A ROTC program...
(Or if you are enrolled in either)
My son won a 4 year ROTC scholarship, and had other scholarships which would have left him with a surplus, to his first choice school, but also had an offer of appointment to three academies. He picked West Point, and has no regrets; although he does point out now and then how cool it would be to go to the regular university. I think you have to have a special mindset to appreciate attending an academy, and sticking it out.
Both options are fantastic, and to each his/her own. Academy life is a different experience for sure, and anyone considering it should visit and attend an overnight before committing to it.
My son had full rides to 3 schools; 75% ride to 1 school and 50% rides to 2 others. When he found out in October of his senior year that he received an air force academy appointment, he didn't think twice. He accepted that same day and gave up on the other schools.
My daughter had a ROTC and other scholarships that covered everything but WP was always here first choice. She did not get an appointment her first time and chose to reapply after her first year of college.
She gave up her full ride, spot on a DIV I track team and nearly 60 hours of college to start over again as a Freshman and Walk On.
Her quote at the end of the 12 mile Beast march back summed up her thoughts perfectly when asked by an old grad how was the summer: "Sir, It sucked but it didn't suck as bad as not being here"
DD declined AROTC at Rose Hulman & Purdue and she turned down USAFA & USNA in order to select her first choice, USMA.
DD gave up 4 year ROTC scholarship and academic scholarships that would have been full ride to Auburn to accept West Point AOG civil prep appointment. She said it was a "no brainer" because her heart was already at USMA and what was one more year in the grand scheme of things. She will have 51 College credits when she joins Class of 2022. She took the opportunity offered to her and ran with it...no regrets!
Son 1 had AFRoTC scholarship and school would have kicked in room and board... Declined this for USAFA and has thrived there. Son 2 had appt to Coast Guard, USAFA, West Point and 4 year AROTC and AFROTC to a number of schools and chose West Point...he is still finding his way but has done really well academically.
USNA was my #1. I was heavily recruited by the Ivies for basketball and many other schools (that offered full athletic scholarships). USNA was my 4th athletic recruit campus visit of 5. I thought I would go to Princeton. 30 minutes into my visit I knew it wasn't for me. 30 minutes at USNA I knew I was at home. It felt right and felt like I had found my future path and cancelled my 5th visit and dropped off my appointment acceptance at admissions on my way to the airport.
My DS told me at age 9 he was going to attend USAFA after visiting the campus with his grandpa. Never changed his mind despite the many opportunities he could have pursued. I MADE him apply to a plan B school, but he did not complete the ROTC application because he knew he would be attending the academy. Fortunately his plans worked out. He has never looked back but he did finally admit to me there might have been a few days during BCT that he thought maybe he should have looked elsewhere.
Mine had an ROTC scholarship. He had to decline it when he was accepted at USNA.
Years earlier he came home halfway through his seventh grade year talking about how he was going to attend USNA. I said "You and 40,000 other kids want to go there. USNA only takes about 1400 each year, if that many.You need a Plan B and Plan C." He looked at me and said " No I don't need Plan B. From now on, everything I do I am going to make sure that I am one of the kids that gets in".
He went to Summer Seminar and came home very excited and said that USNA felt right to him.
DS got a full ride offer with AFROTC and the college kicking in room and board. He attended NASS, but didn't get an appointment to USCGA or USNA. He was relieved he didn't - after all the interviews and college visits he had fallen in love with Michigan Tech and wanted to go there. With the AFROTC scholarship in hand, I think he would have turned down an academy appointment. He's signing his contract today!
This is a great example of Plan B turning out to be Plan A+. (My DS will commission in 2019 after choosing his Plan "D" back in 2015).
Congratulations to your DS!
I think it's important that people realize that when it comes to the academies, ROTC, particular university, etc. that there really isn't a "PLAN A through Z". That would imply that the particular schools are your GOALS. They shouldn't be. Schools, ROTC, academy, etc. are simple TOOLS to help you REACH your GOALS. They are very short term; 4-5 years. Some can see them as "Short term goals"; but it's better to keep your focus on your TRUE GOALS. E.g. Serving in the military, getting a commission, a particular skill/trade/education for a particular career, etc. These are the REAL GOALS. The 10, 20, 30+ years into the future. It's what you are going to be doing with YOUR LIFE. The academy or a traditional university is simply a tool and means to help you get there.
If you keep this in mind and in perspective, you'll succeed much better. HOW you reach your goals isn't that important. As long as you reach the goal.
Agree with Mike!
For my DS, the academy itself was not the goal, but a pathway to his goal. He simply ended up choosing a different path toward his true objective, which was commissioning as an officer.
The danger with creating a Plan A, B, C...etc is the opportunity for rank to allow doubt to creep in. I didn't get Plan A which means I need to "settle" for Plan C. Work hard for as many options as you can create for yourself, choose the one that fits the best, and allow that to shape you into the best version of yourself. Time spent lamenting over "what if I" or "I should have" is time wasted. Grass isn't greener on the other side, grass is greener where you water it. When it comes to making a final decision, there is no right or wrong choice, there is only what you choose. Once you make your choice, burn your boat and keep moving forward. @Christcorp said it well, schools are tools that help you reach your goals.
Son applied to USNA twice with nominations each year. Went to Maritime academy and is now USNR LT JG. There is always a way. Captain Philips gave him his Diploma.
My choice was a tossup between USNA and a couple of Ivies and several SLACs. Nothing had ever been hard for me, and I wanted to go somewhere that would be challenging. What tipped me over to USNA is that I knew I would be surrounded by a student body who was also up to big things, and people were there to work hard and be challenged. Still really, really grateful I went, although just for 11 months.
Our DD had opportunities to attend some top-notch schools (with full, partial and no scholarships). Without hesitation she chose USMA over all of them. He choices in order were: USMA, Princeton, Stanford, MIT, USNA and Denver.
I'm certain she would make the same decision again with the caveat that she wouldn't have to complete beast again. She just sent us a picture of herself sitting on a Blackhawk helicopter saying..."ya girl is going to drive one of these someday!" Granted she's a Plebe; however, she may want to focus a bit more on her grammar (drive a helicopter....come on use the correct verb!).
Mine had a simple plan: USNA or Plan B school (granted, it took a loooong time to pick Plan B). There was no other academy, nor any consideration of ROTC. It was a binary choice: USNA or Plan B.
As noted, there is no one plan fits all.
Back in 2015:
Plan A was USNA = Received Nom but TWE
Plan B was USMA = Received Nom but TWE
Plan C was SMC with NROTC/MO = Accepted to the SMC but did not receive NROTC/MO scholarship - DS declined acceptance.
Plan D was State University with AROTC non-contract = accepted and earned campus based AROTC scholarship in first semester.
DS has no regrets!
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