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Help! Princeton vs USNA

C1njC1nj 22 replies1 threads Junior Member
My son was accepted during SCEA. He also received a 4 year Army ROTC scholarship. He plans to study chemistry, physics, or perhaps chemical engineering.
He just learned he also received an appointment to USNA. I realize hard work pays off but we never thought he would have two incredible choices.
Princeton will cost more but their will be less of a military commitment. Any thoughts?
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Replies to: Help! Princeton vs USNA

  • carinaeccarinaec 2 replies0 threads New Member
    It depends on what your son prioritizes and will do later in life. I would personally go with Pton, where having that option of doing service and still attending a very prestigious university, would be the ideal scenario. Hope this helps! Regards
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 80187 replies720 threads Senior Member
    How committed is he to being a military officer?

    If his goal is to be a military officer, Army or Navy/Marines?
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  • happymomof1happymomof1 30017 replies181 threads Senior Member
    Attending the USNA might not necessarily restrict him to Navy/Marines. Every year a small number of each academy's graduates choose to be commissioned in one of the other service branches.
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  • C1njC1nj 22 replies1 threads Junior Member
    Thanks for the advice. He will be attending two admissions events at Princeton in the coming months. Hopefully, he will be able decide what's best for him. Both options involve a military commitment. One is full immersion. It's just an odd situation. He had his heart set on attending a service academy until this equally impressive option presented itself.
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  • aquaptaquapt 2281 replies47 threads Senior Member
    One relevant question is, would your family be able to afford Princeton (after any need-based aid that you'd qualify for) without the ROTC scholarship?

    Apart from the obviously-very-different experiences at the two schools, a major difference is that if he should have a change of heart about the military within the first two years, he could change his mind about that without having to transfer, at Princeton (if your family could afford your EFC), whereas USNA is all-or-nothing.

    Both are terrific opportunities - congrats to him on having this tough decision to make!
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  • privatebankerprivatebanker 5844 replies86 threads Senior Member
    edited February 2019
    OP and @aquapt it doesnt quite work like that. If you have received the 4 year national scholarship you sign a contract. It’s binding.

    If so, unless you withdraw from the program after freshman year and (not one day into sophomore year) you are obligated to pay back all funds in full or accept an enlistment.

    Also these scholarships do not cover room and board. Which is about 16k per year at Princeton. You will also receive 300 per month spending money. Full tuition is paid. It’s an incredible offer. So cost of Princeton is 64k over 4 years. Certainly worth it for Princeton but not free like usna.

    However, if you are really interested in the military, it makes more sense to go to Navy. You will receive a regular commmision versus reserve. It doesn’t mean that much, but does carry some weight the higher you climb in your career. Also the Navy has great programs for officers to attend prestigious grad schools including hpys on the government. It’s very common for elite officers. Anapolis itself is a special environment and everyone on campus is rowing in the same direction. Not sure how well the cadets at Princeton feel like the greater whole. Certainly not like an academy.

    And it’s not like the Navy grad has to look at their shoes when asked about their college. It’s elite in many areas.

    Hard choice. Princeton is Princeton. But in this case I would suggest being a midshipman. In the Navy or any branch of service is one of the few places in life that going ug to Princeton isn’t an advantage. Even right out of school.

    Also didn’t he attend the summer program already at anapolis to be considered. If he wasn’t sold on that I am not sure what else would.

    Best of luck. Sounds like a wonderful kid.
    edited February 2019
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  • C1njC1nj 22 replies1 threads Junior Member
    He attended the summer program at West Point and attended a Candidate Visit Weekend at USNA. He loved West Point but was medically disqualified. That's another thing to consider. If your seriously injured at a service academy you may be discharged and have to transfer to a new college. I appreciate everyone's input. Hopefully, the best choice for him will become apparent after his Princeton visit.
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  • aquaptaquapt 2281 replies47 threads Senior Member
    Sorry, I didn't realize the proverbial "point of no return" was after one year. I seem to remember my ROTC friends saying it was two years back in the day, but then again I am... not young. Thanks for the correction @privatebanker
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  • C1njC1nj 22 replies1 threads Junior Member
    As far as finances are concerned, if he chose to drop out of ROTC we could afford Princeton.
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  • privatebankerprivatebanker 5844 replies86 threads Senior Member
    edited February 2019
    @aquapt its probably different for regular rotc versus the national 4 year scholarship. We probably are both correct. It’s all good.

    Op. Not saying you couldn’t afford it. It’s a value proposition. That’s all.

    If it’s just one college versus another with the normal aspirations. Sure Princeton is top of the charts. I personally think Navy is pretty darn close. And in the business world just as impressive. Maybe moreso. It’s says a lot about character and grit on top of the smarts required.

    edited February 2019
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  • HamurtleHamurtle 2727 replies36 threads Senior Member
    The current Chief of Staff of the Army is a Princeton grad and got his commission via ROTC. And has been nominated as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_A._Milley

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  • C1njC1nj 22 replies1 threads Junior Member
    I am perfectly fine with whatever decision he chooses. I understand service academy students can leave after their sophomore year but is he going to be accepted to Princeton again?
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  • donnaleighgdonnaleighg 1548 replies33 threads Senior Member
    This is an anecdote of one but I knew a young man who left the USNA after the two year mark and finished at U of Pennsylvania. I believe he was a regular transfer rather than someone who had been accepted as a freshman. He realized that his love of sailing did not translate into a love of military life.
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  • ChoatieMomChoatieMom 5485 replies261 threads Senior Member
    ...but is he going to be accepted to Princeton again?

    Maybe not. He might have to settle for Harvard or Yale. ;)
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  • privatebankerprivatebanker 5844 replies86 threads Senior Member
    edited February 2019
    Thank you to the young men and women with the commitment to help keep us free. Whether that is coming from at Navy Princeton or State U.

    We need talented young leaders to support the wonderful group of enlisted men and women and Coasties.

    We hear about all the problems of the current generation. I don’t buy it.

    The freedom and luxury that allows us all to debate the merits of school rankings versus other harsh realities in different parts of the world.
    edited February 2019
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  • MomtogirlsMomtogirls 19 replies0 threads Junior Member
    My daughter was in a similar postion last year. She was accepted to MIT ea, received her nomination to the usna and then her nrotc scholarship. It was an agonizing 3 months. Her first choice was always usna, until the pie in the sky MIT acceptance came it. (Honestly, we assumed she was going to Villanova with a nrotc scholarship.) When going through the process, she just was curious if she could get in to MIT. She knew both schools were long shots. After visiting MIT for their big weekend and usna for cvw, it was still tough but, for her the choice became clear.
    She choose MIT. The biggest reason was probably the breadth of academic majors. She is also interested in chemical engineering...the academy does not have that option. She is loving MIT and her nrotc experience. She has so many options she is like a kid in a candy store. (She is also able to do varsity swim there as well as a business club.)

    It needs to be his decision. My husband jokes that he may have been the only parent a bit sad about his child choosing MIT. It’s the right place for her.

    Note...there are 3 students last spring who had her decision, all three choose MIT. Also two other students in her high school received nominations to the academy, accepted them and are very happy.

    Good luck. Have your son contact usna admissions, there are overnights in March and April. He should be prioritized for one of those.
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