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How do the US military academies compare to national universities?

RachmaninoffRachmaninoff Registered User Posts: 143 Junior Member
edited October 2006 in College Admissions
As the thread title suggests, how do the Air Force Academy, Naval Academy, and West Point compare to the national universities in terms of overall average undergrad education? I used to give alot of credit to these academies, but after noticing the low SAT scores of their students, I started to question their greatness. Anyways, surprising that WestPoint average is around a 640 for each section of the SAT....

If possible, where would you rank these academies in the US NEws ranking (I hate the ranking system, but I guess it's a start for realizing the general idea of how good each acedemy is).
Post edited by Rachmaninoff on

Replies to: How do the US military academies compare to national universities?

  • dufus3709dufus3709 Registered User Posts: 3,052 Senior Member
    Well, the experience of attending one of the academies probably transcends the college experience that anyone can get anywhere else. Talking about the value of SAT scores in admissions or whether or not they indicate a person's IQ in any way seems to be especially meaningless in the context of how much they help you at West Point or the Naval Academy.

    The academies attract a different type of candidate than the elite public/private colleges. The %-accepted at the academies is almost the same as at HYP, but the SAT scores are probably lower in the applicant pool. In addition, the selection process depends less on SAT scores than HYP and more on character, leadership and physical ability. A 1600/1600 who can't play sports is probably not a strong candidate at the academies. Since the admission criteria is so different, I don't think they could be ranked by USNWR. Princeton Review's "The Best 351 Colleges" ranks them at the highest level of selectivity.
  • RachmaninoffRachmaninoff Registered User Posts: 143 Junior Member
    Well, I recognize their selectivity. Im just trying to get an idea of the academics there. The SAT is what I used to see the general intelligence of the student body, considering that I cant judge them anyway else for the most part. Im cognizant of the low acceptance rate. Im just referring to the actual academics offered by the academies compared to the national universities.
  • neatd99neatd99 Registered User Posts: 47 Junior Member
    I'll be blunt, the Naval Academy is one of the best engineering schools in the country.
  • dufus3709dufus3709 Registered User Posts: 3,052 Senior Member
    I am not in the military and I have never been in the military.

    West Point was founded as an engineering school. I think the education and quality of education at any of the academies would be better than anything you could find anywhere else. If for no other reason than they are constantly making you work. This might be a problem for some students. There is tremendous regimentation and an emphasis on making the student into a better person. It is not just about learning the material and getting the grades. The student body makes a commitment to "duty, honor and country", and they are literally prepared to die for each other.

    To directly answer your question, the academics are first rate. Every minute of your day is planned, classes are small, professors know you by your first name. It's free except you have to serve in the military afterwards.
  • RachmaninoffRachmaninoff Registered User Posts: 143 Junior Member
    It's hard for me to understand why so many other talented and intelligent people wont apply to the academies than. I mean, there are ALOT fo athletic people with high high SAT's. Are the academies just underadvertised?
  • dufus3709dufus3709 Registered User Posts: 3,052 Senior Member
    Well, when most people think of college, they don't think of four years of regimentation. Doing your own laundry in college is a new experience, much less getting demerits for not having your shoes spit shined. It isn't easy after you get there.
  • usna_rejectusna_reject Registered User Posts: 1,533 Member
    There's a mixture of nerds and jocks, smart jocks, not in shape nerds, whatever the case may be we're all LEADERS. Our SAT scores are in different ranges to get accepted because the administration is not looking for nerds with no qualities of leading people. All I know is that I was an honor student in high school and now I am struggling through school for the first time in my life.
  • raimiusraimius Registered User Posts: 2,360 Senior Member
    The service academies usually rank very high for engineering programs. I would judge them not by "overall" listings, but by majors. Overall listings cannot come close to accurately comparing civilian colleges like Harvard to a service academy.

    The idea of four years of military college, followed by a service commitment is not appealing to everyone. (I have had a few "you're nuts" looks after saying "I am going to USAFA.")

    I was talking with a cadet who said he never struggled in HS, but is working VERY hard to stay off the academic probation list at the academy...yeah, it's tough.
  • BLYBLY Registered User Posts: 288 Junior Member
    Besides regular criteria (SAT, GPA, ECA...), you have to pass a rigorous condition test in order to get accepted by those academies. So it is pretty amazing that they have a middle score of 640...

    You get not only education there. But MUCH MORE.
  • futurenyustudentfuturenyustudent Registered User Posts: 5,366 Senior Member
    professors know you by your first name

    I would disagree...in the military I don't think they use first names....but that could just be the place my mom works at...(she's a civilian and she works at a language school for military ppl)
  • dsmodsmo Registered User Posts: 1,749 Senior Member
    More people don't apply because there simply isn't a ton of interest. How many kids with 1500 can you find who will be willing to commit to 5 years of active-duty serice?
  • MotherdearMotherdear Registered User Posts: 1,289 Senior Member
    At the academies, your professor may or may not address you by your first name, usually it's Cadet So-and-so. Make no mistake, your Ps know you very well because all the classes are very small. Grades are reported to the tactical officers and everyone is well aware when a cadet needs help. Associate professors are usually AD officers who have been sent fully-funded to the most prestigious graduate schools in the country.

    The class rank of a cadet is not just based on academic classes under the Dean but on grades from the DPE and from DMI under the Commandant. Hence, the cadet must be well-rounded.
  • usna_rejectusna_reject Registered User Posts: 1,533 Member
    I was talking with a cadet who said he never struggled in HS, but is working VERY hard to stay off the academic probation list at the academy...yeah, it's tough.

    I have been an honor student and always got academic awards since middles school. Now I am struggle to get my gpa over a 2.0. When you are struggling with something whether it is grades or athletic skills, everyone knows about it.
    And only my civillian instructors and retired military call me by my first name. My largest class is probably 22 people.
  • daves123daves123 Registered User Posts: 26 New Member
    My son is finishing up his first year at the Air Force Academy now. In terms of academic excellence, it is one of the top schools in the country, especially for its engineering programs. The application process for the academies is not like other schools. It starts much earlier and includes a very tough physical fitness test, a nomination from a member of congress, interviews, etc.

    The overall experience is demanding to say the least. The first year is filled with stress and very little sleep. Aside from classes (which they take more then most universities), the cadets must participate in a varsity sport or intramurals, perform military duties, room inspections, etc. and are graded on everything they do. Any free time is usually spent on papers or studying for tests (which usually are taken at 0630). Many cadets end up on academic probation simply due to the other demands on their schedule. Time management and discipline are critical for survival.

    Let me know if you have any specific questions about the USFA.
  • SALNJSALNJ Registered User Posts: 1 New Member
    What happens when a cadet is put on academic probation. Do they still get to come home holidays? I think my son is worried about going on academic probation. Looks like it took time to get used to time management there. I dont know if I get full story from my son. I believe he dont want to worry us at home.
This discussion has been closed.