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High Drop Out Rate

cobia210cobia210 Registered User Posts: 75 Junior Member
I have a son who is seriously considering the Coast Guard Academy. As a parent I am a little concerned about the high drop out rate. I have another son who is in his second year at USMA, so I have a pretty good idea as to how service academies work. Does anyone have any imformation on this? Thanks.
Post edited by cobia210 on

Replies to: High Drop Out Rate

  • momoftwinsmomoftwins Registered User Posts: 2,668 Senior Member

    I recall somebody posting that the drop out rates are fairly similar for all of the academies. I think they lose approximately 25% of the new students who show up on the first day.
  • Bossf51Bossf51 Registered User Posts: 2,604 Senior Member
    The Coast Guard rate is marginally higher than the other academies but not significantly so. This has also varied greatly over the years. Back a couple decades ago the overall service academy attrition rate was closer to 40%! Especially during the Vietnam era.
    As everbody on here knows it takes a special person to make it through four years of a service academy. We can all relate stories of kids who drop out the first week of summer training! At CGA this past year we had a young lady drop out the first day! Even some first-class drop out for various reasons.
    Don't let this stop your son from considering Coast Guard. If he or you have specific questions please PM or post here. My son is a 4/c and I have a pretty good handle on the parent side.
    The CGA is a great place and the Coast Guard a great service. As you saw in the wake of the hurricanes, the Coast Guard plays a tremendous role both in humanitarian rescues and homeland security. Good luck to him and you.
  • cobia210cobia210 Registered User Posts: 75 Junior Member
    Thanks Bossf51. I have lived on Long Island my entire life. I keep our family boat at Mt. Sinia Hbr. on LI Sound. My son has grown up watching the Coast Guard boats cruising the Sound. If you have a boat on Long Island you know how important the Coast Guard is.
  • cobia210cobia210 Registered User Posts: 75 Junior Member
    Looking at US News College rankings.

    Graduation Rates

    USNA 86%
    USMA 84%
    USAFA 78%
    USMMA 76%
    USCGA 62%

    Seems like a significant difference to me.
  • JamzmomJamzmom Registered User Posts: 2,813 Senior Member
    Cobia, you know your kid better than anyone but please don't discourage his interests over the numbers. Yea, they're telling but if he's got the drive to be there, he'll surely find the fight to stay. And with your sharing your love of the water with him, he's sure to have a step up on some of the kids who may not have realized what they were getting into. Its a huge life decision and boy, am I glad I'm not you at the moment. The whole thing is just plain scary. We've seen many kids drop and I just pray and pray that mine nor Boss' son ends of in those numbers. Good luck and best wishes!
  • taffytaffy - Posts: 2,356 Senior Member
    from any cadet I have asked, the response to why people leave is "they realize it isn't for them."
  • fiterace87fiterace87 Registered User Posts: 249 Junior Member
    I've read before that the high drop out rate may be due in part to the Coast Guard's public image. Some entering swabs come to the Coast Guard Academy realizing its humanitarian mission, but not really expecting the military aspect of life. It is this great shock that may initially cause more dropouts than say, USMA. Most people associate the Army with the military and "Full Metal Jacket" type training; however, some people don't relate any military type duties with the Coast Guard. I know many people who see the Coast Guard as the "U.S. Boat Service" and fail to see the counter-drug mission or any other military type mission. Thus when an uninformed applicant receives an appointment, (yes, there are many out there) they see USCGA as a free education, not as a military Academy, and the shock of the first day is enough to deter them...just my take.
  • navy2010navy2010 Registered User Posts: 3,607 Senior Member
    cobia210: Mt. Siani is just a dozen harbors away- but we see the Coasties out on the sound all the time and they are always a welcome sight!

    I think it is safe to say any of the academies are tough- academic side, military side, rules and regulations, things that make sense and things that just don't- and kids that can adust to that structure and thrive, and those that struggle but still make it, others that don't, and those that simply decide their path lies elsewhere.

    Keep in mind that drop out rates at civilian schools often run just as high- our daughter graduated high school with a class of 124, and 18 of them were home from their "dream school" by Thanksgiving- roomate issues, too cold, too far away, too big, too small, too diverse, not diverse enough, mom or dad's choice but not theirs.....the list goes on and on. What I realized was that none of them ever stayed on campus longer than the admissions briefing and tour- those that took the time to stay longer seemed to fare better.

    If you son has not already done so, I would suggest having him do an overnight stay at the USCGA, and visit as often as possible (just a short ferry ride away!)...give him as much exposure as you can, at different parts of the year, and trust that the rest will declare itself. He will either "lock on" to what he sees, or get turned off in the process- at least it will be a place to start. You never know what will turn a kid "on" or "off" to a place- sometimes I wonder if they can articulate their reasons at all, but I trust that they know it when they feel it.

    If your son is interested in a career at sea, please don't forget to look at USMMA and even SUNY-Maritime if you have not done so already- both are beautiful facilities, and easily overlooked- but well worth the visit. (Have to put in a plug for USNA as well!) SUNY-Maritime gave the best presentation (Coast Guard licenses, the different levels, etc., job opportunities at sea) out of all the maritime-related schools we visitied, which was a help in comparing and contrasting the programs each offered. (As an aside, there is a non-military option at SUNY Maritime as well as a regimental choice).

    Best of luck! Just think- only 4 more months 'till the boats get uncovered and we can be back enjoying the water!
  • weskiweski Registered User Posts: 542 Member
    Since you looked at the US News numbers, I hope you were impressed that the schools are tough academically. USMMA tops even USMA and USNA :). When we were a bit concerned about GPAs, looked into transferring to SUNY Maritime and were very impressed with the school. Stuck it out and now OK, but it was reassuring to know the world does not end. But follow Navy2010's advice on multiple visits. Then you are sure. So many WANT to go, don't take the slot unless you are committed 110%. Good luck (You DO know that the USMMA-USCG rivalry is much like Army-Navy? - it all comes down to the football game in early November every year - Kings Point won this year!)
  • cobia210cobia210 Registered User Posts: 75 Junior Member
    fiterace87 - I was thinking the same thing. I also believe that some of these young men and women enter the Coast Guard Academy not realizing that they are attending a "military" academy. Just my own opinion.
  • JamzmomJamzmom Registered User Posts: 2,813 Senior Member
    Oooooo. Look out Boss. Seems we have another KPer to heckle you next year. You better get some back-up buddy. :D

    Cobia - please let me add to everyone's thoughts. There are a small group of kids at these academies who knew what academy life was upon entering. They just couldn't cut it academically. They wanted to be there and worked hard to stay. Flunking one class is an invite out at some academies. Sometimes things are just over their heads in that way. Two of those that left USMMA at Thanksgiving, left due to family problems. I've seen two of Jamz friends flunk a class this first year in civy college. One is in honors college. And I've seen one leave his college altogether. He has a group of a dozen friends. I would suspect that there will be a few more that do not complete all four years.

    And hey, I second that Suny Maritime is a fine fine school.
  • navy2010navy2010 Registered User Posts: 3,607 Senior Member
    I could not believe the beautiful library at SUNY Maritime- awesome!
This discussion has been closed.