I know that this question has been asked many times before, but after researching both schools, I felt as if I needed more input. I am an athlete and am being recruited by both the Air Force Academy and West Point (and the Naval Academy, though I have thought about it and do not see much of a future in the Navy for myself, and they do not have the major I want.) I plan on majoring in Civil Engineering and both schools have outstanding engineering programs. When I first started looking into the service academies, I had my sights set on West Point. However, now that I have talked to the coaches from both schools, I am very stuck between USAFA and USMA. I am going on an official visit to USAFA in a few weeks and a visit to USMA soon after. I know that these visits may change my views but does anyone have any input, suggestions, or personal opinions that I could consider right now? Anything would help! Thanks
@anonymous1011: Do you have an appointment to both? If not, this question is premature. If so, you should look at the jobs you would be doing in the Air Force vs. the jobs you’d be doing in the Army (they are not the same) and decide where you think you’d serve best and most happily. No one can determine that but you. Also note that your choice of major at either (any) academy does not determine your branch or your job in that service. West Point branched 81% of the class of 2019 into combat arms. A lot of those engineers will be infantry officers, armor officers, field artillery officers, etc.
I completely agree that you should look at what service you want to be in after college vs. what the school is like. Your four years of school will be remarkably similar at any Academy and the follow on career is what will be different. The Army points were covered above. I will note that in my limited experience with the Air Force you are either a pilot, or you are not. Pilots will be the ones who get the leadership positions and commands. While a civil engineer might command a small Red Horse squadron, Wing, base, and group commands are reserved for pilots.
At the risk of making a very broad generalization the difference between being a junior officer in the Air Force vs. being a junior officer in the Army is that almost universally Army officers are responsible for 30 - 50 soldiers as soon as they arrive in their first unit while it would be far less common for a junior officer in the Air Force to lead. If you want to lead people West Point is the place to go. Air Force jobs are more technical in nature. I don’t know what the shift towards drones is doing to the number of pilot positions but that would be something worth looking into if being a pilot is important to you. If you decided to leave the service after 5 years I can tell you that employers like West Point graduates because (a) they know how to read an org chart (b) they know how to get things done © their work ethic is usually off the charts.
I think that a visit to each academy should help with your decision.
Are you willing to share which sport ?
@anonymous1011: Are you still here? Did you do your visits? Have you received an appointment to either academy?