What else should I be doing to get an appointment if my parents are opposed to me attending the CGA?

Discussion in 'Coast Guard Academy - USCGA' started by bcfencing, Jan 2, 2017.

  1. bcfencing

    bcfencing New Member

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    Hi all, first post here, and it is rather long out of necessity.

    I am a current high school sophomore and am really determined to attend the USCGA. However, as the title suggests, my parents (or rather just one) are rather vehemently opposed to this (for rather illogical reasons), and not likely to sway their opinion any time soon. Convincing my parents to give consent for me to attend the academy would be a Herculean feat, as I have already tried most relevant arguments and one of my parent has rather audacious claims about the academy and the military in general that are not backed up with facts. I (clearly) don't come from a "military family" although my cousin attends the USAFA.I will not be 18 by R-day after my senior year of high school, so would not having one parent give consent for me to attend the academy preclude me from attending? Would this mean that I would have to apply after I turn 18 (i.e. having gone to a civilian college for one year)? I am very determined to serve my country, preferably as an officer, and the Coast Guard seems like the branch best suited to my interests.

    Since I will definitely not have any parental support in my application process, I want to ask all of you what else I should be doing to secure an appointment. Academics are not really an issue for me, I attend a rather prestigious public high school in a wealthy suburban area (only one or so graduates of my high school go into the military each year). I have A- s or above in all my classes, a gpa of around 4.98, taking many honors and AP classes, and recently got a 1400 on the new PSAT. If I can keep this up, that seems about standard for an appointee.

    As for my extracurriculars, I fence competitively (as my username suggests), play in an in-town basketball league in the winter, and I may try out for the volleyball team at my school if a varsity sport would help me get an appointment. Outside of sports, I'm an editor on the school newspaper and participate in two academic "bowl" competitions, one of which pertains to ocean sciences.

    Physically, I am fit, although my current PFE would be lower than that of an incoming cadet. I have time to bring that up, but I would love to hear your recommendations as to what workouts I should be doing to physically prepare myself for the PFE and (hopefully) the academy.

    I would also like to hear what you all think I should be doing with regards to letting the CGA "know who I am." Should I be making a Bears Den login now, or wait until junior year? Should I try to do Cadet for a Day or AIM (I'd have to pay for AIM myself, and if I needed parental consent, forget about it)? Should I contact my admissions officer with some of these questions or with information about myself?

    Thank you guys for reading this long post, and I look forward to hearing your suggestions.
     
  2. rtp9799

    rtp9799 Member

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    You can remind them that the primary mission of the Coast Guard (while technically a military branch) is humanitarian in nature with search and rescue and ocean safety / wild life protection as two its primary tasks. It is not a primary Search and Destroy branch. When there are natural disasters like floods and hurricanes - you would be leading the charge to help people ... if there are oil spills and other water born threats to wildlife you will be there leading the clean up and correcting the issue. ask the opposing parent to make an informed decision - allow you to present facts about the coast guard benefiting the country ... get them to go visit a station - maybe an AO can set this up where it highlights the areas that will benefit your argument.

    as far as personal stuff - it all looks like you are on a great path - obviously improve your PFE (you know that already) and look for leadership opportunities - be a captain of a team - look for mentoring options -
    best of luck to you
     
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  3. USCG Master

    USCG Master USCG 100 Ton Master

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    We felt the same way. Our DD got full scholarships at 3 universities. No out of pocket cost. However when you look at all the missions of the USCG. It is all about service. Service to those in harms way on waters. Service to protect the USA from all who wish harm. Service to keep waterway open. Service to maintain navigation aids. Service to protect the marine environment. All are honorable. It is wonderful at you age you realize how important the mission of the USCG. Long story, my DD has just applied for RA. If she gets an appointment, we will proudly support her! There is time for then to open there eye to how important this for you. Right now they prefer you attend a civilian university. If the still fight you when you are a senior you have two options. Apply and if you get an appointment and you are 18 or older they can not stop you. Or attend the civilian university, get a degree in engineering or math. Apply of OCS. If accepted, in 17 weeks you will be commissioned an officer in the USCG! Keep all of us posted over the next 2 years.
     
  4. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006 5-Year Member

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    Are you connected with the Coast Guard?
     
  5. rtp9799

    rtp9799 Member

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    No I am not ... just the parent of an incoming 4/c ... if I have over stepped or stated anything wrong please jump in ... I was just trying to help
     
  6. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006 5-Year Member

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    No no, just the "technically military" talk sounded like what I've heard from officers from other branches at joint programs when they talk about the Coast Guard.

    No worries!!!
     
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  7. ktnatalk

    ktnatalk Sailor. Shipmate. Parent.

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    Haha... LITS, there are many smart and supportive parents. Some (my DW included) probably wish they are eligible to apply and go through the years in an SA! ;)

    I sat through a SA brief a few years ago, and I was totally impressed by the CGA promotion video. I can tell you, if I am not biased towards the Navy...
     
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  8. ktnatalk

    ktnatalk Sailor. Shipmate. Parent.

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    Dear RTP,
    You could have fooled me - RTP happens to stand for Return to Port, a very favorable acronym to hear as a Sailor!
     
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  9. trackandfield08

    trackandfield08 USCGA 2014 5-Year Member

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    OP,

    First, welcome to SAF! There is an incredible amount of knowledge here and I encourage you to search through all of the USCGA threads as it has a lot of information pertaining to preparing for USCGA to include physical fitness development. Let's see if I can help answer a few questions:

    1. Incoming age: All cadets (and those entering the military in general) who are 17 at the date of entry are required to have a parent/guardian sign as a witness. I was 17 and had my mom sign my Acceptance form. What does this mean for you? Potentially some frustration as you said neither parent is currently in support of you serving in the military. However, you are only required to have one signature so technically you only need to convince one parent. If you are unable to, then yes you would have to wait a year until you are 18. The good news is that you have time to build a case to present for your parents.

    2. Stats: From your basic overview, your stats look solid academically. Continue to take the most challenging courses possible (Honors, AP, etc.), I highly recommend taking calculus as a senior as well as taking physics and chemistry. Those are the three courses that tend to make most cadets struggle initially. What are your plans for your major? Your athletics also look solid but I do think that trying out for volleyball is a good idea. Fencing is great sport, there is a parent on here who's twin sons both fenced and then both graduated from USAFA. Volleyball would be good because of the emphasis on team dynamics, something that the military relies on in order to complete the mission. Your basketball league does showcase that but the competitive nature of varsity volleyball would strengthen your application. Plus, if you enjoy it, CGA does have a men's club volleyball team. They compete in tournaments all over CT. What your extracurricular activities lack now is leadership, which is not surprising considering you are only a sophomore. Would you be able to become the Chief Editor of your school's paper or captain of your academic bowl teams? What other clubs can you join that would help showcase leadership experience? National Honor Society would be a good bet if your grades stay the way they are. Additionally, start looking into the Boy's State program. As an officer, your basic job is all about leading others so its imperative that Admissions sees that you have experience in that area in some way. Community service would also be something to get involved in.

    3. Physical Fitness: Not to be harsh but if you can't meet the standards of the PFE right now, then you're not fit enough. When you apply, your PFE needs to be above 200 out of a possible 300 points. Period. Yes, you only have to score a 135 to be reviewed as a candidate and to enter swab summer but I guarantee that you will struggle immensely during swab summer if you come in below 200.

    a. A lot of people on this forum have recommended looking at programs designed by Stew Smith, a former US Navy Seal. That might be a good place to start. http://www.stewsmith.com/
    b. The Hundred Push-up program is also a good one. This site also has programs from sit ups, pull ups, etc. http://hundredpushups.com/
    c. Running is key and not just on flat ground. The Academy is all up-hill and you will run a lot, especially during swab summer. Start a running program, do some 5Ks and even look at half-marathons if you decide you like running. Run on a track, on trails, up hills, run bleachers. The better your cardio is, the better swab summer will be for you. Your core is also important so make sure you're developing those muscles as well.
    d. Google Coast Guard Academy Swab Summer Preparation. You should see a Class of 2020 Handbook and also a How to Improve Your PFE link to a PDF. One of these should have a fitness program designed by the USCGA PE Staff to help prepare you. Make sure you look here: http://www.uscga.edu/athletics2.aspx?id=394 as well. It breaks down each phase of the PFE, note that the push up portion are cadence pushups, not just how many you can do in 2 minutes.

    4. Connecting with CGA: It certainly doesn't hurt to request information, create a Bear's Den or reach out to the Admissions Officer responsible for your area. http://www.uscga.edu/admissions2.aspx?id=827 While you may not be able to do much yet, admissions can definitely guide you in the right direction. Just keep in mind that they're just getting ready to start on the Regular Admission application reviews after the holidays so don't feel bad if they don't get back to you right away. For right now, I would just introduce yourself, keep some the questions here and really do your research. There are so many videos, links, etc. out there about the academy that it's almost ridiculous how much information you can obtain. Google is your friend.

    5. Your parents: If it's not too personal, what exactly is their major concern with you serving in the military? Unfounded to you or not, they may seems like very real and relevant concerns to your parents. Telling us what specifically their concerns are can help us give you better advice on how to present your case. You've received good basic information so far so but make sure you do your research on both the CGA and the Coast Guard.

    I hope this helps in some way. Please feel free to continue to ask questions.
     
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  10. AuxNoob

    AuxNoob CGA Admissions Partner

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    To add to what T&F08 said with respect to connecting with CGA. Go ahead and make a profile in Bear's Den. Noting you are a sophomore will get you information will be relevant to your age/grade, and will change as you advance. As well, contact with Admissions lets them know your interest.
     
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  11. bcfencing

    bcfencing New Member

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    First of all, thanks a lot for your detailed response. As for your questions:

    - One signature is slightly better, as only my mom is heavily opposed to me attending the academy, my dad less so. However my mom kind of "rules" the family, so if my dad were to sign off on this without her it would definitely be very divisive and I don't want to do that to my family, I'd rather do this amicably. If I were not able to gain consent from both by the time I needed it, I would probably just attend a civilian college for one year and apply after that, or maybe look into the CSPI program that the Coast Guard does. I may be able to convince them eventually, I had a talk with my mom last night about it.

    - I plan to major in marine and environmental sciences, as that is what I have been interested in for a while and aligns with my participation in the ocean sciences bowl team. I'll definitely try out for volleyball, it's a fun sport. As for leadership, I hold an elected position in the school government (Board of Appeals, as the sole representative from my class) which does not, in actually do a whole lot, but it might bolster my application. There is definitely a really good chance I will end up as editor in chief of the newspaper, as currently I am the only sophomore editor on a board of 16, and next year it is likely that I will become Managing Editor, from which it is the next step to Editor in Chief. It is also likely that I will become a captain of the National Ocean Sciences Bowl team, as I have participated in it at a fairly high level since freshman year. I am definitely planning on joining the National Honor Society. Right now, I have 114 logged community service hours with the school (we need 40 to graduate). I also forgot to mention in my original post that I play the trumpet in the top band at my rather musically proficient school, which would hopefully look good considering the amount of musical groups at the academy. I probably will not be able to have leadership in music though, as there are many talented musicians in my year and it would take a miracle to be elected co-president of the band my senior year.

    - As for fitness, I am not above 200 on the PFE right now, but I know I need to be. Right now, I am hovering around 165, which definitely needs to go up. I'll take a look at the exercises you suggested, and start working them into my daily routine. Finding good places to run and train shouldn't be a problem, but it is a bit cold and icy at the moment.

    - my parents' (really just my mom's) concerns:
    1. worried about the government "owning" me
    2. thinking I'll just be learning how to kill people at a military academy
    3. concerned about my safety at the academy, both after I graduate (saying that the U.S. has enemies and they'll all be trying to kill me) and thinking that the government will "test things" on me in the academy and while I serve.
    4. my parents are very anti-gun, so they are concerned about me using weapons in the military (I myself have rather different views from them, which creates other debates at home). I have mentioned what rtp9799 said above, in that the Coast Guard's primary mission is not fighting in wars, and that 6 out of 11 of their central missions are classified as non-homeland security.
    5. Thinking that "this isn't best for me" and questioning my temperament to serve and saying that my brain isn't fully formed yet so I can't make this big of a decision (basically telling me I can't think for myself)
    6. Questioning my motives to go to the academy and serve in the military.
    7. Thinking I am really smart and creative (I have a whole lot of hobbies, like playing other instruments besides the trumpet and woodworking) and that my talents would be wasted in the military, though I try to tell her that my talents would be best put to use serving the country.

    My mom is very overprotective and has been my entire life, but she really doesn't seem understand that I should be allowed to make decisions concerning my future. I don't want to sound like a brat, trashing my parents on a public forum, and my parents have sacrificed a lot for me, but in this I really disagree with them.

    I'll continue with researching the academy, and thanks again for reading this.
     
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  12. rtp9799

    rtp9799 Member

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    You are very respectful and not trashing your parents at all - you are graciously stating their opposing opinions to your views and thoughts. It sounds to me like they would benefit from being open-mind and reading about what the USCG and teh Academy are about.
    1. you owe 5 years of service when you graduate (guaranteed job) ... for what is the equivalent of a free $300k education & if you are high in your class you get first pick of your assignment at billet night. if you leave the academy in your first or second yr - i believe its a free walk away (please verify this).
    2. the academy courses are very demanding and science and engineering heavy.
    3. in this day and age - using the military as guinea pigs would never fly with all the open document stuff - as far as enemies they are more likely to hit soft targets so you are just as likely to be attacked as a civilian as a Coastie
    4. my understanding is that for the most part - you are trained in proper and safe weapons handling and shooting but the firearms are secured until required
    5./6./7. - from you accomplishments and positions it appears you are well grounded and focused on what you want - keep making your case in the respectful and fact based manner you have so far. wanting to serve and assist your country is a noble cause - some feel it at a younger age than others & sadly some never do. diversity of talent is what the CGA seems to pride itself on embracing - i think your talents/interests would be embraced

    best of luck to you
     
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  13. seaninsc

    seaninsc Member

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    Although not anywhere near the level of concern your parents have for you, my parents were initially hesitant about me going to a service academy (mostly safety concerns in the military). However, after they saw how consistently dedicated I was, how hard I worked, and how much I changed just through the application processes alone, they are now my biggest cheerleaders. Actions speak louder than words - your parents will notice how hard you are working towards this goal. Don't argue with them! Let them learn by your actions. If worse comes to worse your senior year, see if your CGA admission officer will talk with them.
     
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  14. alaska66

    alaska66 CGA Admissions Partner

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    Lots of good advice here. I would just like to touch on two subjects. First concerning the PFE. The test consists of push-ups, sit-ups and 1.5 mile run, each worth 100 points for a total of 300 points. My recommendation is to focus on maxing the sit-ups and push-ups. Those are two exercises you can do anytime, anywhere, no matter the weather. If you can max both of those, you'll have 200 points going into the run. Cadets at CGA have a saying "max, max, relax" when taking their PFE...and yes, you will have to take, and pass, the PFE every semester at CGA.

    As for your parents...I'm not sure whether a visit to CGA is at all feasible, but I highly recommend it. Let them walk the campus, visit Admissions staff, talk to current cadets and staff. I have found that many parents have changed their opinions of the Academy, and the Coast Guard, after their visit. They will find a safe, secure, and welcoming campus that any parent would feel comfortable having their child attend. They will meet cadets who are outstanding individuals, who have chosen CGA over other prestigious universities. They will find cadets who are children of high-ranking military members, U.S. Congress members, corporate executives, etc.. Many times parents are just not educated about service academies, and especially the Coast Guard Academy. Once they discover the mission, and the history, of the Coast Guard, I have found most parents embrace, and become some of the biggest supporters of the Coast Guard.

    Good luck on your journey!
     
  15. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006 5-Year Member

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    What are your parents' objections?
     
  16. rtp9799

    rtp9799 Member

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    - my parents' (really just my mom's) concerns:
    1. worried about the government "owning" me
    2. thinking I'll just be learning how to kill people at a military academy
    3. concerned about my safety at the academy, both after I graduate (saying that the U.S. has enemies and they'll all be trying to kill me) and thinking that the government will "test things" on me in the academy and while I serve.
    4. my parents are very anti-gun, so they are concerned about me using weapons in the military (I myself have rather different views from them, which creates other debates at home). I have mentioned what rtp9799 said above, in that the Coast Guard's primary mission is not fighting in wars, and that 6 out of 11 of their central missions are classified as non-homeland security.
    5. Thinking that "this isn't best for me" and questioning my temperament to serve and saying that my brain isn't fully formed yet so I can't make this big of a decision (basically telling me I can't think for myself)
    6. Questioning my motives to go to the academy and serve in the military.
    7. Thinking I am really smart and creative (I have a whole lot of hobbies, like playing other instruments besides the trumpet and woodworking) and that my talents would be wasted in the military, though I try to tell her that my talents would be best put to use serving the country.
     
  17. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006 5-Year Member

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    Hmmm, I'll respond this evening with my own experiences and opinions, but I think a lot of this is based on the unknown for your parents.

    I'll touch on some of their fears (largely ignorant of reality) and we'll go from there.

    Encourage them to look at this website too.
     
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  18. texas_two_step

    texas_two_step Member

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    Why is your Dad not supporting you? Also you can tell your parents that at 18 you can still enlist.
     
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  19. ktnatalk

    ktnatalk Sailor. Shipmate. Parent.

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    While we are anxiously waiting for feedback from LITS, see if you can help mom by keeping her away from fb, fake news, 24, and the Bourne movies?

    Happy Tuesday! :D
     
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  20. bcfencing

    bcfencing New Member

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    I mentioned above that my dad is less opposed to me attending the CGA, but I feel like he's not speaking up in order to not cause divisions in the family since my mom is rather opinionated. Believe me, I have mentioned that I can enlist at 18 or even just apply to the academy after a year at a civilian college.
     

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