ROTC and Military Academies

I am just looking for some information and/or experience that could help me make a very important decision. I am a senior in high school and just recently was awarded a full 4-year Army ROTC scholarship to UCLA and USC. Additionally, I won a Navy ROTC scholarship for UCLA. I’ve also been appointed a position at the United States Coast Guard Academy. After my service, I want to go into the FBI or CIA or maybe go to law school. Ideally I want to be an Army Officer. However, my mother and family are quite against me becoming an Army Officer. They would rather me go into the CG or Navy because it’s “safer”. I am not too worried about the dangers though and have had a dream of becoming an Army officer. Should I just follow my dreams, or is the Navy or CG a better option? Are the benefits of each of these branches relatively the same? Which is considered more prestigious/valorous? Also, I do not intend on majoring in anything technical (most likely will major in polysci or international relations).

All of the services can provide good preparation for the FBI or CIA, especially if you can get into the “intelligence” branch. Doing so might be easier via the Army. However, the Navy and CG would not be barriers. Coast Guard actually has law enforcement responsibilities which could translate well into the FBI.

Too bad your parents are against the Army. Hopefully they would still provide some support if you decide to take the Army ROTC scholarship. It is best to at least attempt to follow your dreams.

Did the Navy approve your major in political science or IR? Normally they want engineers. Relatively rare to get a scholarship outside of engineering and hard science.

NROTCgrad has covered the FBI/CIA potion of your question and I’ll just say that I agree with him.

You don’t explain WHY you would prefer to be an Army Officer instead of Navy or CG. Whatever the reason…it is YOUR reason and your future. As NROTCgrad said:

You are the one that for at least the next 8 years (4 college & 4 after) are going to have to live the life and do the work. If it’s not something you are 100% committed to…it will be very difficult to motivate yourself to do the things necessary to be a successful officer.

I’m not sure you can (or should) attempt to convince your family that becoming an Army Officer is safe, but IMHO you should continue to try to convince them that you have given this decision a lot of thought and that this is the direction you are choosing for your future. Have your reasons and thoughts organized before talking to them again. All parents worry about their children…but we eventually accept that it is THEIR lives and we have to respect and support their decisions…even the ones we don’t agree with. My opinion is that you should follow your “dream” and also not give up trying to convince your parents that this is what you want to do.

Good Luck!

Give serious consideration to the Coast Guard Academy. Are you totally committed to the rigors of academy life? If so, then I would recommend it as the best alternative to Army ROTC. One major advantage to the Coast Guard is that it does not require a war in order to do its primary job, and, as I said, it has notable law enforcement responsibilities. The CG is often more physically demanding than the Army as well.

Personally, I think the Coast Guard deserves more respect than it generally gets. Also, I happen to know a retired Coast Guard officer who attended USCGA. I bet he would be willing to talk with you about career opportunities in the CG. Send me a PM if you are interested. I could connect you with him.

I just saw this now @NROTCgrad and @aglages . I forgot I had an account on this website lol. Thank you both so much for your very educated advice. After visiting all the schools and doing a lot of thinking I decided the Coast Guard Academy was for me. I leave in a month for Swab Summer. Ultimately my decision came down to the cores of each branch. I realized that as a Coast Guard officer I would actually be doing more to directly protect and help Americans. I also realized that everything the Coast Guard trains to do, they do on a daily basis. As an Army Officer i would most likely be on a base inland in the boondocks training and having to follow orders from a larger command chain. Plus I felt that I might be discouraged by the politics behind the policies and decisions in the Army. The Coast Guard is such a multi facited branch with such rewarding and fulfilling missions . Not to mention I would still be able to play with guns and get the macho military feel doing law enforcement and port security. It’s actually unbelievable how little people know about the Coast Guard and how underrated it is.

CONGRATULATIONS! Great decision. :-bd
Anybody attending USCGA has my respect and admiration.

Excellent insight.

Thank you very much @NROTCgrad !! And to answer your question from a while back about the NROTC scholarship, I got it for civil engineering. I switched my major on the application thinking I would find a way to enjoy it if I got the scholarship. It was silly though because I reaffirmed my dislike for math shortly after and decided an engineering major wasn’t for me. It worked out though considering how much I came to like the Coast Guard Academy and how intrigued I was by the government major there.

Congratulations @FreedomIsNotFree! Sorry to be late in responding but I just got back from USAFA where I watched my son commission and graduate! Obviously I’m a proud dad.

Once again (as usual) I agree with @NROTCgrad. The USGA is a GREAT school! Tried to convince my son to go in that direction but he isn’t THAT fond of water. Good luck!

BTW - have your parents come around to supporting/agreeing with your service academy decision or are they still being resistant?

Congratulations to @aglages junior. =D>

Which career path did he enter?

Thanks @NROTCgrad! He has a pilot slot and is scheduled for UPT at Vance AFB in March 2016. And the roller coast ride continues.

A “pilot slot” – Then double congratulations to your son. :-bd

Thank you @NROTCgrad! However, similar to receiving an Appointment to a SA…a pilot slot is just another opportunity. The UPT instructors won’t care how well he did in HS or that he is an USAFA grad…once again it’s all about “How much do you want this and how hard are you willing to work?”. I have confidence in him but I also know that about a third don’t get winged…so it will be tough. I will be sure to pass on your double congrats!

Hi @aglages , our sons are USAFA 2015 classmates! We were at the same graduation and weren’t those T-Birds great? My son is going to ENJPT at Shepherd in August with a class date of Mar 2016. Congrats to @NROTCgrad on your decision to become a Coastie! I hope you are running every day to prepare for swab summer! Great decision!

Thanks @DebtFreeCollege and good luck to your son! Yes - the Thunderbird Show was wonderful.
BTW - I’m fairly certain @NROTCgrad is not going to attend the USCGA…I think he may be a former Navy guy that commissioned through NROTC.

@aglages is correct. I am former Navy with no connection to USCGA. The OP, @FreedomIsNotFree, is the one who is headed for Groton (at the end of this month).

Ha, @aglages , I meant to say congrats to @FreedomIsNotFree on going to USCGA. @NROTCgrad, thank you for your service in the Navy!