Advantages of Attending USNA

<p>Right now, I am debating whether or not to attend the USNA. I am going to put in a application for the summer seminar aswell.
However, I would like to know the advantages of attending the USNA, or any military academy, compared to universities such as Rice or Stanford.</p>

<p>Just for starters....</p>

<p>The USNA will develop you as a leader in ways no civilian school will.</p>

<p>Guaranteed job when you graduate.</p>

<p>The pride of serving your nation in a uniformed service.</p>

<p>It's paid for.</p>

<p>At the same time, consider that many consider the workload to be similar to going to school and working a full-time job. You really are pretty busy from 0600 or so until Taps.</p>

<p>Also, you belong to Uncle need to be able to deal with that.</p>


<p>To even begin to answer that question, you have to first tell us why you are thinking about applying to the USNA. Attending any military academy is a part of a commitment to starting a career in the military. Not sure how you compare that with attending other public/private colleges.</p>

<p>Rice, Stanford, etc. are great schools and for many folks, the right schools. Service academies aren't for everyone. You get a lot but you also give up a lot.</p>

<p>It's both very easy and very difficult to explain what you get out of a SA vs. a civilian school. The words are easy but it's what's behind them that matters and it's hard to understand how it happens and why it's so important in life until you are a bit older. No disrespect meant, but it's true.</p>

<p>First, you learn leadership. You learn it from all levels. You are led. You work with others. You lead. It's different than management and it's something you have to do to learn it. Learning it early is much better than learning it late. And many folks from excellent civilian schools never learn it at all.</p>

<p>Prioritization and concentration. The ability to focus and get things done when you have too much to do, when there is chaos all around you, when you're tired . . . It is an incredibly valuable skill and one most h.s. seniors think they have until they hit a SA.</p>

<p>Understanding there are more important things out there than you. Your classmates. Your unit. Your country. Sounds corny but almost everyone who's served in the military understands it and many who haven't . . . don't. </p>

<p>Working and playing well with others. Living with people you may not like. Working toward team goals. Learning the chain of command and why it's important. </p>

<p>These are some of the things. Not to mention a first-rate education. </p>

<p>This is not to say a SA is for everyone. You give up freedom and choice. You are in the military, with all that entails. Thus, the decision must be right for you.</p>

<p>If you talk to SA grads (USNA and others), some may say they wouldn't do it over. But very, very few will say they wish they hadn't done it. That says a lot.</p>

<p>We have a very good friend at the Naval Academy, and he loves it. He is doing quite well academically, too.</p>

<p>My husband, who is over 50, works as a contractor to the Navy. This week, he met his new boss, a young man in his early twenties who is a graduate of the Naval Academy. My husband is a systems analyst with a computer engineering degree from Tulane University, with 30 years experience.</p>

<p>I would think that being a graduate of the Naval Academy would be a good career move.</p>

<p>Statick - if you are a Stanford calibre student you should go there if you can get in. Stanford NROTC students have a cross-town arrangement with UC Berkley.</p>

<p>NROTC</a> UC Berkeley</p>

<p>NROTC does a fine job preparing future naval officers for leadership responsibility. Get to know the NROTC students at Stanford and you'll see what I mean.</p>

<p>You have to decide if you want an undergrad military college experience or not. But at a university like Stanford you will have amazing opportunities that will directly affect the exceptional abilities and skills that you bring to the fleet.</p>

<p>There's a ton of opportunites at both, and YOU have to decide which you want. I'm sure any good officer candidate will do well in either program, and due to USAFA having a symposium the past week, we've heard from a ton of people from ROTC who went on to do amazing things. One, for instance, was the first African-American in space. Another was a CIA agent.
I was a Stanford calibre student (I can say that because I got accepted to Stanford), but turned it down. I did so because after looking at both schools I wanted a more structured life to keep me out of trouble. Due to extreme circumstances, I had to leave USAFA and attend a "regular" college for a semester. I was able to meet with several AROTC cadets, who loved what they were doing. They got up even earlier than we do to do unit PT. But, I came back because it just wasn't right for me. I did well there, with a 3.6 GPA and several extracurricular activities, and probably could've done well in an ROTC program, but it just wasn't for me.
Then I had several high school classmates who went on to ROTC, and I respect them a lot for that. I'm sure they'll be outstanding officers, because they were outstanding leaders at our school.
So it depends on what kind of life you want. There are opportunities at both schools- I' not sure about Stanford, or Annapolis per se, but I know at USAFA, at 22, our seniors are leading a wing of 4,300 cadets. I think it's the same with Annapolis. So you will have a very direct role in the leadership of the school, and an amazing leadership opportunity.
I also know that at civilian colleges, you have the chance to run your own clubs (like sororities, I was in one), do internships, meet with the chancellor (as I did one day during lunch), and the chance to affect how the campus works. There'slot of other amazing stuff to do as well. You'll definitely meet a lot of new people, and do a variety of things.
What I'm saying is there are two sides (sometimes three or four) to every story. Having gone and done both (minus the whole ROTC thing), I think I can at least give you an idea (if not the whole picture) of what either side is like. You should visit both Annapolis and the school of your choice (along with their NROTC program) to see what's right for you.
However, if you're just applying to have that on your resume, for free education, because it's prestigious, don't even bother. Go to Stanford. Because in order to get through these places, you MUST have some desire to serve our country and be an officer. Without that, you will be miserable and probably leave anyway (as my roommate is. She's a good person, but just has no desire to be an officer).</p>

<p>well said, pssgiraffe08</p>


<p>"Thinking of attending Rice or Stanford," and "thinking of attending USNA or another service academy," are two very different animals.</p>

<p>Most importantly, you don't just "attend" USNA. The moment you walk in the door, you become an active duty member of the Navy (or Army, if you enter West Point, etc.). That brings a number of advantages, but there's no such thing as a free lunch. You are expected to carry a heavy course load every semester, every Mid/Cadet must participate in sports, and there are various military obligations as well. You must graduate in four years, even if you decide to switch your major, so there is limited opportunity to switch once you've made a choice. SAs are fairly small schools, so your choices for majors are much more limited than at a major university, and every major, even English and history, require many science and math courses. One huge difference is that your time is definitely NOT your own. The poster who compared it to working full time AND going to school full time was right on the money.</p>

<p>Graduates of each service academy "pay" for their education by serving a minimum of 5 years active duty after commissioning. Depending on what service they select and what training they receive, the service obligation can be much longer than 5 years. So, choosing to attend a service academy is also choosing your first career. </p>

<p>There are some wonderful advantages to USNA (other SAs, I'm sure, but I'm a USNA mom!), once you realize that you're not just signing up for college. Classes are small, there are no teaching assistants, and the facilities are excellent. You'll learn more about yourself and what your real abilities are, than almost anywhere else. You'll have many of the same opportunities as at a standard college, but unique opportunities, too. You will spend time on ships or with marine corps units during your summers. You might see Air Force One buzz the football stadium during one of your school's games each year. There was only one Glee Club at the Inaugural Kickoff celebration, and it wasn't from Stanford or Rice. Not meant to disparage those very fine schools. The point is that a SA education provides some different opportunities than going to a "regular" college.</p>

<p>Here is the only advantage that matters. When you graduate you will lead members of the finest fighting force the world has ever seen. As a Marine or Navy officer, you will have a direct influence on a group of America's finest sons and daughters and possibly have the opportunity to lead them in combat. Any other reason for wanting to go the academy should be second to this goal. If it isnt then try another school. I dont meant to be mean, but once you graduate its not about you at all for at least five years. Its about the Marines and sailors you are leading.</p>

<p>I suspect there's little to add here except for one major diff one you'd be among many who may avoid the Army like the plague and have little or no clue what the military represents ...while at the other you'd be among many who spend years understanding what the military represents and beating the Army every chance they get!</p>

<p>okay. Thank you all for all of your input.
I talked to one of my teachers and my track coach today, one who served in the navy and the other in the marines. Both said it was one of the greatest things they ever did, that they would do it again, and that they were very close with the people in their unit. But neither of them went to USNA.
How different is being an officer compared to a regular? How different would it be going to the academy rather than enlisting after taking NROTC or just enlisting vanilla? I know that you are in school for four years and are taking classes. I would assume that you also go into a field related to your major as well sometime during your 5 year service requirement.
I guess I am just curious overall about the experience, because 9 years of my life is a lot of time for me and I wish to make an informed decision.</p>

<p>Well, re: officer vs. enlisted ... one group thinks they run the ship while the other does. ;)</p>

<p>The major diff I'd see in USNA vs. secular ROTC experience is one of values ... among the community in which the student lives. They would likely be grossly disparate, and would likely involve both student body and faculty. </p>

<p>Re: major ...there is literally, with several narrow exceptions (med school, etc.) NO correlation between professional field assignments and major area of study. An English major could end up flying, and a mechanical engineer might be an admissions counselor @ USNA. No rhyme or reason, generally. </p>

<p>In terms of post-education, much has been written suggesting that ROTC graduates might end up being equally or more productive/successful as a USN officer than a USNA counterpart. But the academic and network experiences of USNA vs. a non-SA institution ROTC experience are worlds apart. Even the classroom experiences are significantly different. Attending a SA is not simply college-in-uniform. You may want to consider your own observation about
...9 years of my life is a lot of time for me...

and what you believe that means for you personally. The purpose of USNA is to prepare CAREER officer-leaders, and while the legal obligation of USNA graduates is 8 years of active and reserve duty, generally if one does not embrace the purpose on the front-end of this, it might suggest an alternate route for you. btw, active duty for ROTC grads is less than Academy commissioned officers.</p>

<p>I have to concur w/ oldegrad completely (and can't believe I wrote "or more productive ...". </p>

<p>With one caveat. No matter what is or is not "learned" @ SA's vs. ROTC or OCs experiences that may or may not carry them, there are more, higher placed alums of SA's in positions to pull/push along their fellow-grads. It's called politics and it plays no matter where one may be in his chain of career assignments.</p>



<p>I'm hoping this behavior is an aberration.</p>

<p>That behavior is an aberration, although unfortunately, not the worse thing a SA cadet/midshipmen has been found guilty of. However, when stuff like that occurs, most of us wonder how the heck those people could be so dang stupid. They don't speak for all of us.</p>

<p>While this is unfortunate, it is clear that more is expected of an academy grad. If they were graduates of another university, it is unlikely that the school would be mentioned in the news article. Both members of the military and civilians expect more out of an academy grad.</p>

<p>You asked about the advantages of going to USNA versus another college. Here are some:</p>

<p>(1) Comraderie - Everyone is pretty much so in the same boat (no pun intended). You all have very similar goals, so it really makes success easier to reach.
(2) Career preparation - It won't be everyone - but the goal of the USNA is to prepare career officers -- the full 20 years -- and the future leaders of the Navy, government, and community. They really stress leadership a lot more than ROTC - it's not only taught but practiced daily.
(3) Intense preparation to serve in the Navy - not to say ROTC doesn't produce some amazing officers - it does, but the USNA is preparing officers who can make quick, effective decisions under very high stress. An abudance of stories exist where a crisis starts to occur and the Academy grad will step in to lead.
(4) Preferences in Duty Assignments - They go to Academy grads first and then to ROTC grads.
(5) Studies - Everyone will be studying. It's nice to not feel like an outsider when you have to say that you have to study, which happens quite a bit at a regular college. Everyone supports studying and it's built into the program.
(6) Professors - Many of the professors not only have very strong backgrounds Academically, but they also have military backgrounds and can use this to explain real-world usage of topics. In addition, the professors are hired to TEACH and not to do research. You have some amazing instructors (and to be honest, a few that may not be your ideal ones to a lot of Mids). Overall, I'd say far better teachers -- you're not going to get an unknowing Teaching Assistant who is more worried about their graduate research than teaching you.
(7) Housing, Food, Clothing - Basics - yeah - it's also a disadvantage when you're in... BUT, it's guaranteed and one less thing to have to worry about.</p>

<p>(4) Preferences in Duty Assignments - They go to Academy grads first and then to ROTC grads.</p>

<p>In twenty years of active duty I never saw this nor would the Navy's Bureau of Personnel BUPERS have tolerated it. </p>

<p>BGO, CDR USN (ret), USNA 2007 dad, USMMA '83 brother, University of South Carolina Navy ROTC '79</p>

<p>(4) I was not talking about preferences once out in the fleet. I can say that my spouse and brother (who were ROTC and would be the first to say they had the best training, experience, and benefits to their route) but would have loved to have done the initial assignment board that two others in our family have done at USNA.</p>