Which schools better prepare for you bud/s

jchow

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I am currently a senior in highschool. I know I want to pursue a career as a seal officer and I have been training particularly for SOAS and BUD/S the end of my junior year. I am on my schools swim team, I am a black belt in karate, and I do strength training and running at the gym. I plan on continuing a healthy and active lifestyle throughout college so that I am in good condition for selection. I have applied to the Naval Academy, VMI, Norwich, and the Citadel, just to name the military schools I applied. I have been accepted to Norwich and the Citadel so far and am waiting for a decision from USNA and Vmi. The Naval Academy is my first choice over the others and I have already completed the whole application but considering I do not receive an appointment, among the other 3 schools I applied to, which are best suited for getting selections to bud/s? Thank you.
 

Chockstock

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I'm not familiar with any of those colleges but I would say physical fitness is something you can do on your own no matter where you go...you could join a club or D1 team to help keep you in shape if you are a competitive enough swimmer. Also, those institutions exist first and foremost to prepare you to be a commissioned officer in the Navy or Marines so I would focus on graduating before anything. If your goal is to become a SEAL, a faster route is to apply with an Enlisted recruiter. I think they recruit civilians if they meet all the qualifications.
 

jchow

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If I were to graduate from the NROTC program at one of the schools and commission as an officer, is there any way to go to BUD/s later on or is the only way to get selected during college?
 

MidCakePa

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If you don’t get selected for BUD/S, or are selected but wash out (it happens), will you be satisfied with serving as a commissioned officer in one of the other communities? Will you be OK in surface warfare or submarines or aviation or the Marines?

Because whether your route is USNA or NROTC, you’re training to be an officer first. From there, the needs of the Navy prevail. So if you’re singularly focused on becoming a SEAL, there might be better (i.e. more direct) paths to that goal.
 

Capt MJ

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If I were to graduate from the NROTC program at one of the schools and commission as an officer, is there any way to go to BUD/s later on or is the only way to get selected during college?
If you do not get selected for SEAL path out of your commissioning source, there is an opportunity to request lateral transfer after commissioning. Just as the pre-comm selection is, the lateral transfer process is highly competitive. See link below


Another poster makes a great point - be sure there are other warfare communities you could see yourself serving in and excelling, in the event you were not selected for the NSW community. For any lateral transfer, only top-performing officers in their current community are selected.
 

jchow

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Thank you very much all of you. I appreciate the advice and instruction and I will continue to push myself as hard as I can so that I may pursue a future as a seal. I will for sure look into other special warfare opportunities in the case I am just not fit to make it through selection or another reason but I will be sure to never quit on my own.
 

kinnem

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My son's NROTC unit at South Carolina had a club called Boat Crew that prepared folks for pre-BUDs and BUDs. Several folks were selected for BUDs. Some made it through but dropped in later training. As I was fortunate enough to watch a couple times, I thought I'd give you an idea of how they prepared so you know what to look for.

They got together late Friday afternoon and evening to work out (while everyone else was at happy hour). They would start with some stretches and then a 3 mile run, followed by more stretches. Warmup complete, they did some telephone pole work with 5 guys to a pole. Up one side and down the other for 15-20 minutes. More stretches. Calisthenics including grueling bear crawls. Then they slipped on their 35 pound packs and went for another timed three mile run. Woe to the man who finished last because more bear crawls was in his immediate future.

Sometimes they would mix it up and do some underwater knot work. Or sprints up a steep hill with their 35 pound packs. No doubt they did gobs of push-ups and pull-ups sometimes too. Sometimes they went down to the river and got wet and sandy (although they weren't supposed to do that).

I'm sure there is something I'm missing but the prep must not only be extremely physical, but mental as well. Grueling drudgery is good prep.
 

VelveteenR

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Read chapter four, "The Only Easy Day Was Yesterday," of Bill McRaven's Sea Stories and try to duplicate. ;)
 

cb7893

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@jchow ,

I am non-military father of an Army officer who commissioned through AROTC, so take this for what its worth.

I know two young men who entered the BUD/S pipeline via enlistment. They grew up in the same neighborhood in solid families. They went to the same high school and graduated one year apart.

Young man #1, the older, had an unremarkable HS career with little or no sports. He hated college and dropped out after Freshman year. He enlisted in the navy, much to his parents chagrin. They were disappointed that he was forgoing college and that he was enlisting in any branch of the military. He entered the BUD/S pipeline immediately and is a SEAL still today eight years later. His parents are proud, but his mother still can't get use to her son carrying a gun.

Young man #2 was a recruited swimmer to an NCAA D1 school, from which he graduated on time. He enlisted, seeing that as the quickest route to doing cool guy stuff. He voluntarily dropped out during Hell Week. He couldn't handle the combination of exhaustion, hunger and the ice cold Pacific Ocean. (Who can?) Fast forward several years and he was a Navy air traffic controller, hating his job and counting the days until he could get out and start his life, but not as an air traffic controller.

There are a number of lessons here, several of which are mentioned by the previous posters. To me the most important:

There is no unimpeded glide path into the SO community
The attrition rate is staggering, despite the fact that everyone shows up in good/great shape
No one can predict how he/she will respond to intense physical, mental, emotional and environmental stress--piled on all at once
I would say that while young man #2 had the advantage of superior physical conditioning, young man #1 had the advantage of making the more difficult and consequential choices--with societal and parental push back--at a critical time in his life.

I think most people would advise you that if SOAS or BUDS don't work out, you would be happier and more challenged meeting the needs of the Navy as an officer.

Congratulations on Norwich and the Citadel. Best of Luck!
 

MidCakePa

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Terrific post by @cb7893.

No one plans to quit BUD/S. Yet the vast majority do. Important point made: Success is often thought to come from physical fitness, when in reality it comes mainly from mental fitness.

Listen to Adm. McRaven's UT commencement speech. He mentions the smurfs that the other guys laughed at. They were the smallest dudes and yet they finished every evolution first. It was a combination of superior teamwork and mental fitness that drove them (and probably the chip on their shoulder too).

I admire the OP for pursuing this path. It is honorable and right. He should do so with his eyes wide open, so that he gains the result that's best for him, whichever direction things turn.
 

Dadof2

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@jchow - You can probably prepare adequately at any of the schools you listed, but it's up to you to make the most of whatever situation you end up in. As others have pointed out, you will need to be self-disciplined in addition to being mentally/physically tough to make it.
Grueling drudgery is good prep.
This is a pretty good description of life at VMI...
 

Capt MJ

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@jchow ,

I am non-military father of an Army officer who commissioned through AROTC, so take this for what its worth.

I know two young men who entered the BUD/S pipeline via enlistment. They grew up in the same neighborhood in solid families. They went to the same high school and graduated one year apart.

Young man #1, the older, had an unremarkable HS career with little or no sports. He hated college and dropped out after Freshman year. He enlisted in the navy, much to his parents chagrin. They were disappointed that he was forgoing college and that he was enlisting in any branch of the military. He entered the BUD/S pipeline immediately and is a SEAL still today eight years later. His parents are proud, but his mother still can't get use to her son carrying a gun.

Young man #2 was a recruited swimmer to an NCAA D1 school, from which he graduated on time. He enlisted, seeing that as the quickest route to doing cool guy stuff. He voluntarily dropped out during Hell Week. He couldn't handle the combination of exhaustion, hunger and the ice cold Pacific Ocean. (Who can?) Fast forward several years and he was a Navy air traffic controller, hating his job and counting the days until he could get out and start his life, but not as an air traffic controller.

There are a number of lessons here, several of which are mentioned by the previous posters. To me the most important:

There is no unimpeded glide path into the SO community
The attrition rate is staggering, despite the fact that everyone shows up in good/great shape
No one can predict how he/she will respond to intense physical, mental, emotional and environmental stress--piled on all at once
I would say that while young man #2 had the advantage of superior physical conditioning, young man #1 had the advantage of making the more difficult and consequential choices--with societal and parental push back--at a critical time in his life.

I think most people would advise you that if SOAS or BUDS don't work out, you would be happier and more challenged meeting the needs of the Navy as an officer.

Congratulations on Norwich and the Citadel. Best of Luck!
Excellent points above. The mental fitness to go specwar often trumps eel-like swim skills, academic scores and physical prowess. It’s a mindset, what is often called grit.

In a similar vein, there have been studies done at NIH about why/how some POWs survive, survive and continue to function well, or don’t survive or fail to function successfully after the experience. It was all in mind and personality, a core that could cope with intense stress of every type.
 
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I always laugh, because my DS always says that summer wrestling camp at the USNA (SEAL Camp) is to this day, physically the hardest thing he's ever done in his life. One year he came home with the flesh missing on his palms. Can you imagine what real BUDs is like? Your mind typically breaks before your body does.
 

Physicsguru

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Let me throw in an alternative path to look into. While not getting the same press as the SEALS, Marine Special Ops (MARSOC) does many of the same missions. I don't know about the pipeline, but as special ops it will be very intense as well.

Why the suggestion? If you don't make it through BUD/S, you'll transition to another Navy community (officers likely to Surface Warfare). On the other hand, if you don't make it into MARSOC, there are still similar jobs for Marine officers in infantry, armor, artillery, and engineers. You still get to be a trigger puller in the big green machine.
 

flieger83

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Well, in my limited experience (I've only known two SEAL's personally) I'd say if you want success, you should attend the US Air Force Academy!!

Why you ask?

Well, at one time, the commander and deputy (or vice, whatever the navy calls it) of naval special warfare at Coronado (SEAL home) was Rear Admiral Brian Losey (BOSS) and Rear Admiral Scott Moore (Deputy). Scott is a high school classmate of mine.

Both Brian and Scott have the same line in their official biography: "He is a 1983 graduate of the United States Air Force Academy. "
(my classmates)

Just saying...:cool:

Steve
USAFA ALO
USAFA'83
 

THParent

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Nothing can prepare you for BUD/S. @Capt MJ is spot on.
Grit determines whether someone will get through those 24 weeks and earn the Trident.

The conundrum lies in the fact that only those with grit, truly know what grit is.
 

NavyHoops

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USNA produces many more SEALs than ROTC. They get about double the amount of billets as ROTC does. They also have a much higher success rate at BUDS. I think this is attributed to the rigorous screening process, having SEALs on the yard constantly evaluating and training them, and competition. Having 30-ish other selectees to train with all under the eyes of mentors... it’s hard to beat that. Plus you have access to Stew Smith’s programs as that is what he does professionally. Trains young men and women for selection programs. Regardless of all this, it is a mental game too. If USNA doesn’t work out, pick the school you are most comfortable at and feel like you will succeed at. That is the school you will do best at. If you are 100% SEAL and nothing else... my honest answer to anyone is to enlist then. It’s the only guaranteed way to BUDS.
 
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