Which college?

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roadking2615
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Which college?

Post by roadking2615 »

I've been helping my son though his college admissions journey this past year. He's been fortunate to have been accepted to several very good in-state and out-of-state public universities around the country. He's basically boiled it down to two schools:
1. U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD, where he'd major in some type of STEM program
or
2. University of Texas in Austin, TX, where he'd study Finance at McCombs Business School (In-state tuition for us; money already set aside in 529)

Would be interested in hearing thoughts/feedback on which you think would be the better choice and why. Thanks.
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anon_investor
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Re: Which college?

Post by anon_investor »

roadking2615 wrote: Tue Feb 06, 2024 11:12 pm I've been helping my son though his college admissions journey this past year. He's been fortunate to have been accepted to several very good in-state and out-of-state public universities around the country. He's basically boiled it down to two schools:
1. U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD, where he'd major in some type of STEM program
or
2. University of Texas in Austin, TX, where he'd study Finance at McCombs Business School (In-state tuition for us; money already set aside in 529)

Would be interested in hearing thoughts/feedback on which you think would be the better choice and why. Thanks.
If your son wants to serve, the Naval Academy is a great option. If not... then UT.
toddthebod
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Re: Which college?

Post by toddthebod »

roadking2615 wrote: Tue Feb 06, 2024 11:12 pm I've been helping my son though his college admissions journey this past year. He's been fortunate to have been accepted to several very good in-state and out-of-state public universities around the country. He's basically boiled it down to two schools:
1. U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD, where he'd major in some type of STEM program
or
2. University of Texas in Austin, TX, where he'd study Finance at McCombs Business School (In-state tuition for us; money already set aside in 529)

Would be interested in hearing thoughts/feedback on which you think would be the better choice and why. Thanks.
Going to the Naval Academy means joining the Navy and making a multi-year commitment. So is your question, "should my son join the Navy?"
Backtests without cash flows are meaningless. Returns without dividends are lies.
DoubleComma
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Re: Which college?

Post by DoubleComma »

It kind of surprises me there is choice being made. I’ve never heard of anyone going through process, including required congressional recommendations, and getting admitted to Annapolis and not following through with enrollment. In fact I’ve heard of dozens of people making major last minute changes from an otherwise quality school to a service academy when the admission was made.

So in my mind, your son must have wanted to serve in order to even consider and take the steps to apply to Annapolis, so I now super curious what has changed?
Normchad
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Re: Which college?

Post by Normchad »

Both are excellent choices. You can’t go wrong with either one.

FWIW, I’ve worked professionally with graduates of both.
123
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Re: Which college?

Post by 123 »

As long as your child is comfortable with the service commitment the opportunity to graduate from the Naval Academy gives them lifelong prestige and street cred. After graduation and completion of service they will be very skilled in management and command of any situation they may encounter.
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texasdiver
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Re: Which college?

Post by texasdiver »

Setting aside the Navy vs civilian question.

I'm puzzled why he would major in a STEM field at the Navy (engineering of some sort?) versus finance at UT and not pursue a STEM or Engineering career at UT if that is his interest.

What kind of career does he really want? A STEM/Engineering career? Or a career in finance?

They are very different.
almostretired1965
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Re: Which college?

Post by almostretired1965 »

DoubleComma wrote: Tue Feb 06, 2024 11:30 pm It kind of surprises me there is choice being made. I’ve never heard of anyone going through process, including required congressional recommendations, and getting admitted to Annapolis and not following through with enrollment. In fact I’ve heard of dozens of people making major last minute changes from an otherwise quality school to a service academy when the admission was made.

So in my mind, your son must have wanted to serve in order to even consider and take the steps to apply to Annapolis, so I now super curious what has changed?
Sort of agree with this. I was not born in this country but come from a military family; almost every male member on my dad's side of the family were career army until my generation and my grandfather retired as a general officer. Had my parents not immigrated, I am almost certain I would have gone into the family business as it were. Growing up I was fascinated with military history and for a brief moment contemplated studying that in college but thought better of it.

Funny enough I ended up doing consulting in the defense/Intel space for half of my career and met and worked with more academy grads than I can count. I think it is fair to say that for nearly all of them, it was a calling more than anything else. I know it would have been the case for me if we had never left.
LFT_PFT
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Re: Which college?

Post by LFT_PFT »

Since your DS applied to the USNA and went through the rigorous application/process, he is presumably comfortable with serving.

From a financial perspective: choose USNA for the excellent, free education (actually earn a little salary as a 'student'/active duty). While at USNA, 529 funds can be disbursed to him without the 10% penalty. (Attendees of military service academies are exempt from the 10% penalty.) He will just have to pay tax, at his tax rate, on the 529 account gains.

Also, consider leaving funds (up to $35k) in the 529 to rollover into a ROTH IRA for him, once the 529 account has been open for 15 years.
Valuethinker
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Re: Which college?

Post by Valuethinker »

roadking2615 wrote: Tue Feb 06, 2024 11:12 pm I've been helping my son though his college admissions journey this past year. He's been fortunate to have been accepted to several very good in-state and out-of-state public universities around the country. He's basically boiled it down to two schools:
1. U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD, where he'd major in some type of STEM program
or
2. University of Texas in Austin, TX, where he'd study Finance at McCombs Business School (In-state tuition for us; money already set aside in 529)

Would be interested in hearing thoughts/feedback on which you think would be the better choice and why. Thanks.
This is about call to service.

There's no doubt that attending Annapolis, one of the finest colleges in America, will stand him out for the rest of his life. Other Annapolis grads will recognise his credentials, and so will many employers: consulting firms, investment banks etc. I met a lot of USMA and USNA graduates working in Finance, some with very highly ranked MBAs. I would say they stood out for leadership skills - they had responsibility for managing teams of skilled people much earlier in their careers than one normally gets -- and this maps well to a business environment. Also they had incredible work ethics and could stand enormous amounts of pressure and function very well in stressful situations.

US Navy officers - Annapolis grads - really are an elite. And that's from someone whose grandfather and great uncles were in the Royal Navy, had folk in the Falklands war, etc. (British Army down the other side).

But it is an 8? (9?) year commitment. The first year or so of USNA will be truly tough - make or break. T

99% of his military life is likely to be mundane, and sometimes very tough. There was a journalist named David Larter I used to follow (he now works for a defence company). Some very good posts on Twitter and articles about navy life.

There is an elite within the USN - Annapolis to either pilot school, or submarine warfare. But as we are seeing now, a renewed emphasis on surface warfare seems to be taking place. This is the navy that, to protect its carriers, attacked a Japanese fleet with half a dozen destroyers. That sort of tradition counts.

U of Texas at Austin is very good and he will have good career opportunities.
GreendaleCC
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Re: Which college?

Post by GreendaleCC »

When I was in college, all the Navy ROTC midshipmen at my school were on scholarship. I see UT Austin has Navy ROTC on campus. It also sounds like your son is not planning to do ROTC there. I think that’s your answer.

Why in the world would he spend four years at Annapolis if he’s not even interested in doing Navy ROTC at UT Austin and enjoying his life outside of ROTC as a regular college student? Why trade college freedom for the extremely regimented daily life of a service academy without some basic desire to be a Navy or Marine Corps officer?

The whole thing sounds inconceivable to me. Completely inconceivable.

OP, I recommend you edit your post title to include “Service Academy” so you hear from people who attended one. There are a handful here who I’m sure will chime in.
Last edited by GreendaleCC on Wed Feb 07, 2024 5:26 am, edited 2 times in total.
FBB
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Re: Which college?

Post by FBB »

GreendaleCC wrote: Wed Feb 07, 2024 4:29 am Does your son want to have fun at college?

Or does he want to live four years where most of his time throughout the day is directed in one way or another by others?

Is this the experience your son is looking for at college? And does he want to most likely live on a ship?
OP, as a recent-ish USNA grad, I’d say GreendaleCC (love the name, by the way. Watching community as I type) hits some of the assumptions about service academies that aren’t necessarily true. There’s plenty of time and ways to have fun despite the rigor at Annapolis. Annapolis is an incredible town, DC isn’t far, and when you spend as much time around people as you do with your roommates and company mates they become family. I still talk to friends/roommates daily.

Your time the first year is very regimented, but it gets much better every year. If your son is looking at STEM majors (I was a STEM major as well), then that will consume a good amount of his time, but even within the STEM majors, some are more rigorous than others.

Lastly, in last year’s class, only about 20% went surface warfare (you can do a quick google search to see each year’s service selection numbers). There are plenty of other options that are very attainable.

I can’t speak to UT, but there’s a lot of misconceptions about service academies out there, good and bad. Feel free to send a PM with any pointed questions.

FBB
GreendaleCC
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Re: Which college?

Post by GreendaleCC »

FBB wrote: Wed Feb 07, 2024 5:01 am OP, as a recent-ish USNA grad, I’d say GreendaleCC (love the name, by the way. Watching community as I type) hits some of the assumptions about service academies that aren’t necessarily true.
Thank you, I’ve amended my post greatly. Most of my perspective has been shaped by exposure to USAFA grads.

I’m curious what your take is on what seems like a lack of interest in Navy ROTC at UT Austin. That seems significant.
Last edited by GreendaleCC on Wed Feb 07, 2024 5:13 am, edited 2 times in total.
GreendaleCC
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Re: Which college?

Post by GreendaleCC »

FBB wrote: Wed Feb 07, 2024 5:01 am Lastly, in last year’s class, only about 20% went surface warfare (you can do a quick google search to see each year’s service selection numbers). There are plenty of other options that are very attainable.
I appreciate your stats. I found the Class of 2023 selection numbers! These are what I crudely consider “living on a ship” career fields, but admittedly, it seems like you’d need to compete for or qualify into the latter four designators, right?

Surface Warfare Officer (SWO) - 21%
SWO Nuclear - 3.5%
Navy Pilot - 22.5%
Submarines - 13%
Naval Flight Officer - 5% (e.g., Goose, not Maverick)

I know at least one former Naval officer who did his time without sea duty, but that is not at all guaranteed. Plus, career field assignments rely on the needs of the Navy, not entirely your personal preference. Hopefully anyone looking to serve understands it’s not about their desires but the service’s needs.
SpaghettiLegs
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Re: Which college?

Post by SpaghettiLegs »

I am writing from the experience of a Navy (surface warfare) officer commissioned via ROTC, with some friends and many colleagues NA grads. I went to what was then, 30 years ago, and still is considered an elite college and if I had a certain amount of money for everyone who told me “A degree from that school and a navy officer, you can write your own ticket”, I wouldn’t have had to actually ever get a job. With those high expectations, I almost flunked out of school, almost kicked off the scholarship, but managed to recover and turned into (IMHO ha ha) a very good naval officer. I later went to medical school and served again as a Navy medical officer. Point being, every step of the way involved a lot of hard work, any doors that were opened with my background were just opened a little way.

My other point to make, as alluded to earlier, is that #1 reason for attending the Naval Academy is to serve and to me, it is a bit of a caution flag that alternative commissioning pathways aren’t considered. I would think that Plebe year would be way more difficult if the main reason for being there is to get a good education vs an officer’s commission.

Just to flesh out the list of service pathways in the earlier post, some new officer qualify directly for medical school, there is also Dive school, Oceanography, non line officer (probably very small percentage Academy grads) such as Supply Corp, health administration, public affairs and of course the Marines.
Doctor Rhythm
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Re: Which college?

Post by Doctor Rhythm »

This choice isn’t between colleges. It’s between vastly different career paths and personal values. Might as well compare biz school vs. seminary.
GreendaleCC
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Re: Which college?

Post by GreendaleCC »

Doctor Rhythm wrote: Wed Feb 07, 2024 9:04 am This choice isn’t between colleges. It’s between vastly different career paths and personal values. Might as well compare biz school vs. seminary.
Good comparison
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lthenderson
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Re: Which college?

Post by lthenderson »

roadking2615 wrote: Tue Feb 06, 2024 11:12 pm I've been helping my son though his college admissions journey this past year...He's basically boiled it down to two schools:
If both colleges are acceptable to you, your job is done. Let your son decide.
Glockenspiel
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Re: Which college?

Post by Glockenspiel »

If your son wants to join the Navy, choose that one. Future employers will absolutely love him. It stands out on a resume, for life. While UT-Austin is a great school, seeing it on a resume doesn't stand out (coming from someone who hires engineers in the Midwest).
cableguy
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Re: Which college?

Post by cableguy »

Congrats...your son has accomplished much and he isn't even out of HS yet! He's done a great job and has some great options. As others have said...these two choices are very very different. One of my kid's joined the Navy after college. I just got back from visiting him (he's in Coronado, CA). He could have saved me a ton of money if he did ROTC in college, did the academy, or did the Navy after HS and then college after. Anyway.....if your son goes Navy, he's signing up to the Navy for 4+5. 4 years of college....5 years of service. I think. It will be quite an adventure, and he'll be serving his country. You'll see him on TV at the Army-Navy games (mandatory attendance), he'll come home for all holidays like all other college kids, but then he's going into "big Navy" for 5 years. He'll see the world, he'll get deployed, he won't be home for every holiday, etc. My advice...he should have some conversations with some Naval Academy students and graduates. So he really understands what its all about. Good luck!
diverdoc
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Re: Which college?

Post by diverdoc »

The Naval Academy offers a unique experience with its military focus and STEM programs, while UT Austin's McCombs School of Business is top-notch for finance.
Nowizard
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Re: Which college?

Post by Nowizard »

As someone who aided families in college choice before retiring, my approach was very direct. It was that once you have decided on several options the question often becomes how to balance the greater knowledge of parents with the existing thoughts of the student. For example, one case involved a student who was the Valedictorian of a challenging, private High School. She was offered admittance to Ivy League schools and smaller schools with strong academics and regional reputations. She was rather anxious and preferred the latter which was the eventual choice. A friend who did similar work was critical, feeling that the "best" college one could attend should be the choice. Sometimes there are questions about whether what you can do is the best choice to do. Some careers clearly benefit from attending one type of school, others are equally served by others. You have two great choices with substantial differences. Are there others that have been discarded? Discussing why that occurred may help with the final choice.

Tim
Valuethinker
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Re: Which college?

Post by Valuethinker »

SpaghettiLegs wrote: Wed Feb 07, 2024 8:04 am I am writing from the experience of a Navy (surface warfare) officer commissioned via ROTC, with some friends and many colleagues NA grads. I went to what was then, 30 years ago, and still is considered an elite college and if I had a certain amount of money for everyone who told me “A degree from that school and a navy officer, you can write your own ticket”, I wouldn’t have had to actually ever get a job. With those high expectations, I almost flunked out of school, almost kicked off the scholarship, but managed to recover and turned into (IMHO ha ha) a very good naval officer. I later went to medical school and served again as a Navy medical officer. Point being, every step of the way involved a lot of hard work, any doors that were opened with my background were just opened a little way.

My other point to make, as alluded to earlier, is that #1 reason for attending the Naval Academy is to serve and to me, it is a bit of a caution flag that alternative commissioning pathways aren’t considered. I would think that Plebe year would be way more difficult if the main reason for being there is to get a good education vs an officer’s commission.

Just to flesh out the list of service pathways in the earlier post, some new officer qualify directly for medical school, there is also Dive school, Oceanography, non line officer (probably very small percentage Academy grads) such as Supply Corp, health administration, public affairs and of course the Marines.
It's a good point.

The USNA and USMA graduates I knew had, by definition, succeeded. Marshall Scholars etc. Or at a highly ranked Business School. So there's definitely sample bias.

(the most impressive guy I knew was a former member of the Search And Rescue unit of the Israeli Defence Forces - he had some stories (and those were the unclassified ones)).

But when they say about Harvard Business School, the 3 Ms "Mormons, McKinsey and Military" they are not kidding.

The Lauren Rivera book "Recruiting Elites" is eye-opening on how the likes of McKinsey and Goldman Sachs do their recruiting. I can play my undergrad experience back in my head, now, and see how that played out in a slightly different context.

I also worked with Royal Military College Sandhurst grads (that's a 1 year post-grad course for all British Army officer candidates, so a little different -- less selective). They ranged from stuffed shirt types to seriously impressive - quiet, capable & probably quite deadly.
Last edited by Valuethinker on Sat Feb 10, 2024 11:08 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Watty
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Re: Which college?

Post by Watty »

roadking2615 wrote: Tue Feb 06, 2024 11:12 pm I've been helping my son though his college admissions journey this past year. He's been fortunate to have been accepted to several very good in-state and out-of-state public universities around the country. He's basically boiled it down to two schools:
1. U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD, where he'd major in some type of STEM program
or
2. University of Texas in Austin, TX, where he'd study Finance at McCombs Business School (In-state tuition for us; money already set aside in 529)

Would be interested in hearing thoughts/feedback on which you think would be the better choice and why. Thanks.
I have a brother who went to the Air Force academy many years ago so my frame of reference may not be relevant.

That said I would highly suggest that you are at a point where you need to step back and let your kid decide what they want to do. Let him them know that either choice is fine with you and to not worry about the cost since you can afford it, assuming that is true.

Even if they can get in going to a military academy is not for everyone and he really needs to make the decision and commitment to go there 100% on his own.

Several of my brothers friends did not stay in the military for their entire career and when you consider the required years of service at military pay grades the "free" college was not quite as free compared to 5 years after college working with civilian pay. Becoming a pilot is a bit different because the pilot training is so expensive but even if he wants to become a pilot there is no guarantee that he will be accepted into pilot training.
BabyRN
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Re: Which college?

Post by BabyRN »

DoubleComma my husband turned down his Naval Academy appointment. I did not realize people did not turn them down.No regrets at all that he chose a different path.
That is very interesting that the child would major in STEM at one school and finance at the other! Clearly lots of ability that will find its way whatever that might be. :happy
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Captain America
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Re: Which college?

Post by Captain America »

I was accepted to the USMA in 1986. Due to unforseen circumstances, I turned it down. Many years later, when my son was in 7th grade, we went to West Point to see it. I did not tell him, at that time, what I had done out of being embarrassed. My son absolutely fell in love. His main goal from that point forward was focused on getting accepted. My son spent the beginning of this year fearing he would have to attend a "regular" university. Fortunately, he was offered an appointment to the USMA and immediately accepted. My opinion is that whatever one chooses to do, it needs to be their choice. I was accepted to the USMA, OCS, and law school, to name a few. As long as one is fully committed, there is almost nothing that can stop one from succeeding. Good luck on whatever choice he makes.
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Parkinglotracer
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Re: Which college?

Post by Parkinglotracer »

1983 US Air Force Academy (USAFA) Grad here that spent an exchange semester at the Naval Academy (USNA) years ago and was a Volunteer USAFA Liaison Admissions Officer for 20+ years. Flew F-16’s for 20+ years in Air Force in Desert Storm as well as on 9/11 over NY.

Sounds like your son has some great options.
I’d recommend your son find out everything he can about USNA and serving in the Navy. Then I’d have him decide what career path matches his dreams. I spent most of my admissions counseling time explaining to cadet / midshipmen candidates how difficult and how long the path to graduation is at a service academy is. If your son is willing to put his head down and work harder than he ever has and put up with 4 years of obstacles in his path to graduation he is the one who is prepared for success at USNA. I had candidates quit after 3 days at a service academy. The key to his success will be HIS decision and dedication to be an officer in the US Navy. Encourage him to take on the challenge but make sure it his decision. Good luck to him and yell if he has any questions his blue and gold officer can’t answer.
Last edited by Parkinglotracer on Thu Feb 08, 2024 8:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
deikel
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Re: Which college?

Post by deikel »

almostretired1965 wrote: Wed Feb 07, 2024 12:10 am
DoubleComma wrote: Tue Feb 06, 2024 11:30 pm It kind of surprises me there is choice being made. I’ve never heard of anyone going through process, including required congressional recommendations, and getting admitted to Annapolis and not following through with enrollment. In fact I’ve heard of dozens of people making major last minute changes from an otherwise quality school to a service academy when the admission was made.

So in my mind, your son must have wanted to serve in order to even consider and take the steps to apply to Annapolis, so I now super curious what has changed?
Sort of agree with this. I was not born in this country but come from a military family; almost every male member on my dad's side of the family were career army until my generation and my grandfather retired as a general officer. Had my parents not immigrated, I am almost certain I would have gone into the family business as it were. Growing up I was fascinated with military history and for a brief moment contemplated studying that in college but thought better of it.

Funny enough I ended up doing consulting in the defense/Intel space for half of my career and met and worked with more academy grads than I can count. I think it is fair to say that for nearly all of them, it was a calling more than anything else. I know it would have been the case for me if we had never left.
+1

that choice pattern would concern me. Not that 18 year olds need to have it all figured out yet, but those two choices have very little overlap. Is OP sure his kid knows what they are getting into at either place ?
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Parkinglotracer
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Re: Which college

Post by Parkinglotracer »

BabyRN wrote: Thu Feb 08, 2024 2:26 pm DoubleComma my husband turned down his Naval Academy appointment. I did not realize people did not turn them down.No regrets at all that he chose a different path.
That is very interesting that the child would major in STEM at one school and finance at the other! Clearly lots of ability that will find its way whatever that might be. :happy
I have served on congressional service academy nomination boards and in the interview process it would be likely the question would come up “what do you plan to do if you are not admitted to the Air Force, Naval, or Military Academy?” One would normally, but not always, expect the applicant to be consistent in their answer … that they would find another way to serve their country via a path of ROTC, OTS, etc and not if I don’t get in I will major in Finance and want to be a Financial Analyst at Goldman Sachs. Follow up questions would weigh the candidates seriousness of their of desire to pursue a military career. 4 years at a service academy is a marathon not a sprint. While it’s not for everyone - those who graduated could agree on at least one thing - a person who graduates must have really wanted to graduate.
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Beensabu
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Re: Which college?

Post by Beensabu »

So your son wants to go to the Naval Academy and you want him to go to University of Texas, right?
"The only thing that makes life possible is permanent, intolerable uncertainty; not knowing what comes next." ~Ursula LeGuin
ScubaHogg
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Re: Which college?

Post by ScubaHogg »

People have already asked, but does he want to be in the navy? Obviously the USNA is an excellent choice if that is the desire. If he doesn’t want to be in the Navy, I’d highly recommend against USNA

Conversely, if he wants a more typical college experience, but wants to join the navy and/or have someone else pay for school, he could do NROTC at UT. If he can get into the USNA he can certainly gain a ROTC scholarship

This might be the best of both worlds, depending

https://liberalarts.utexas.edu/navymari ... c-program/
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ScubaHogg
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Re: Which college?

Post by ScubaHogg »

deikel wrote: Thu Feb 08, 2024 8:29 pm Is OP sure his kid knows what they are getting into at either place ?
Let’s be fair to the kid though.

A) people have conflicting preferences
B) no one knows what something will truly be like until they do it. Especially something like the navy. It’s a Vampire problem.
There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your Expected Returns
vinhodoporto
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Re: Which college?

Post by vinhodoporto »

roadking2615 wrote: Tue Feb 06, 2024 11:12 pm I've been helping my son though his college admissions journey this past year. He's been fortunate to have been accepted to several very good in-state and out-of-state public universities around the country. He's basically boiled it down to two schools:
1. U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD, where he'd major in some type of STEM program
or
2. University of Texas in Austin, TX, where he'd study Finance at McCombs Business School (In-state tuition for us; money already set aside in 529)

Would be interested in hearing thoughts/feedback on which you think would be the better choice and why. Thanks.
Is NROTC part of the plan for UT? If not what not? That info is really important for answering this question.
vinhodoporto
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Re: Which college?

Post by vinhodoporto »

If your son wants to serve either USNA or NROTC are good options and mostly get you to the same place. If that’s the case I think it comes down to whether they want the Annapolis “experience” or if they want a more typical college experience. I can elaborate here or in PM if helpful.

If your son wants to focus on a business career right after undergrad, finance at UT is a great option.

If your son wants to serve but also wants to have a business career, Service Academy to top MBA program to Consulting/ Finance to top corporate leadership positions is a very well trodden career path. Everyone from my USNA class that I know is doing well financially and the top MBA grads are doing really well.

But this is only a good option if they’re ok with not starting their business career for over a decade. Four years together by the bay at USNA. Then after graduation, minimum commitment is five years for Surface Warfare, Submarines, and Marine Corps Ground. It’s longer for aviation and SEALs. Then add two years for an MBA.

For context I’m a Naval Academy and Harvard Business School graduate who has had similar discussions with my high school senior son.
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Re: Which college?

Post by ScubaHogg »

vinhodoporto wrote: Fri Feb 09, 2024 10:11 am If your son wants to serve either USNA or NROTC are good options and mostly get you to the same place. If that’s the case I think it comes down to whether they want the Annapolis “experience” or if they want a more typical college experience. I can elaborate here or in PM if helpful.

If your son wants to focus on a business career right after undergrad, finance at UT is a great option.

If your son wants to serve but also wants to have a business career, Service Academy to top MBA program to Consulting/ Finance to top corporate leadership positions is a very well trodden career path. Everyone from my USNA class that I know is doing well financially and the top MBA grads are doing really well.

But this is only a good option if they’re ok with not starting their business career for over a decade. Four years together by the bay at USNA. Then after graduation, minimum commitment is five years for Surface Warfare, Submarines, and Marine Corps Ground. It’s longer for aviation and SEALs. Then add two years for an MBA.

For context I’m a Naval Academy and Harvard Business School graduate who has had similar discussions with my high school senior son.
👆

This is accurate advice
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Re: Which college?

Post by Parkinglotracer »

ScubaHogg wrote: Fri Feb 09, 2024 10:33 am
vinhodoporto wrote: Fri Feb 09, 2024 10:11 am If your son wants to serve either USNA or NROTC are good options and mostly get you to the same place. If that’s the case I think it comes down to whether they want the Annapolis “experience” or if they want a more typical college experience. I can elaborate here or in PM if helpful.

If your son wants to focus on a business career right after undergrad, finance at UT is a great option.

If your son wants to serve but also wants to have a business career, Service Academy to top MBA program to Consulting/ Finance to top corporate leadership positions is a very well trodden career path. Everyone from my USNA class that I know is doing well financially and the top MBA grads are doing really well.

But this is only a good option if they’re ok with not starting their business career for over a decade. Four years together by the bay at USNA. Then after graduation, minimum commitment is five years for Surface Warfare, Submarines, and Marine Corps Ground. It’s longer for aviation and SEALs. Then add two years for an MBA.

For context I’m a Naval Academy and Harvard Business School graduate who has had similar discussions with my high school senior son.
👆

This is accurate advice
Great advice. Don’t underestimate the subtle advantages of attending a service academy as one enters in the service. The 1000 or so folks you just went to school with will be your work mates for the next 20-30 years. Often times attending a service academy gets one a better chance to get the career field (SWO, USMC, etc) you want. I had a much better chance to get into pilot training being a service academy graduate then my fellow year group AF ROTC and OTS grads had. At the time the USAF academy was offering eye sight waivers thru 20/50 (correctable to 20/20) for USAFA grads in order to get more into cockpits. On the other hand it can be a socially restrictive, long 4 years.
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Re: Which college?

Post by a.s.r »

With these choices, your son appears to be a very responsible and very capable person. Show him this thread if he’s interested, then stop managing this process for him. He needs to be the one to make this decision on his own. And that includes figuring out how to get good advice. Soft skills like this are super important to learn.

Also, “I decided to join the navy” is going to feel different to him than “I decided to join the Navy because my dad told me it was a great idea but was ultimately my decision.” If he’s going to sign up for a plan for the next 8-10 years of his life right now, it needs to come from him.

Which way is he leaning?
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Re: Which college?

Post by Nords »

roadking2615 wrote: Tue Feb 06, 2024 11:12 pm He's basically boiled it down to two schools:
1. U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD, where he'd major in some type of STEM program
or
2. University of Texas in Austin, TX, where he'd study Finance at McCombs Business School (In-state tuition for us; money already set aside in 529)

Would be interested in hearing thoughts/feedback on which you think would be the better choice and why. Thanks.
@roadking2615, I’m USNA ‘82. My spouse is ‘83 and our son-in-law is ‘14. Our daughter also went through the USNA admissions process and saw enough to make the decision to choose NROTC.

If your son hasn’t already done these two projects, he needs to do them soon:
- The campus visits. I’d especially recommend going to a day of USNA plebe classes and (possibly) sleeping overnight in Bancroft Hall. Definitely spend an overnight (or even a weekend) at UT Austin.

- Apply for USNA’s Summer Seminar. Not every candidate is accepted to it-- USNA seems to reserve the spots for those who are on the fence. If he’s turned down for Summer Seminar then it usually means USNA considers him well qualified and sufficiently informed. This was where our daughter decided that she'd seen enough to make her choice.

Hopefully your son is already on the USNA forums and websites. Plenty of midshipmen are posting to social media and will speak truth despite the risks.

One final tip:
It’s a lot easier to start at USNA and later switch to UT Austin than it is to start at UT Austin and switch to USNA. Two years at the “free” Navy Junior College program will show him everything he needs to know about the career & lifestyle. If he chooses to resign from USNA before starting his junior year, his USNA experience will definitely set him up for success at UT Austin.

I served my 20 in the submarine force and I’m happy to answer more questions here or at NordsNords at Gmail. Our family can also speak with experience about SWO (nuclear & conventional) as well as the Navy’s Information Professional community.
Last edited by Nords on Sun Feb 11, 2024 9:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Which college?

Post by Valuethinker »

Nords wrote: Sat Feb 10, 2024 10:46 am
roadking2615 wrote: Tue Feb 06, 2024 11:12 pm He's basically boiled it down to two schools:
1. U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD, where he'd major in some type of STEM program
or
2. University of Texas in Austin, TX, where he'd study Finance at McCombs Business School (In-state tuition for us; money already set aside in 529)

Would be interested in hearing thoughts/feedback on which you think would be the better choice and why. Thanks.
@roadking2615, I’m USNA ‘82. My spouse is ‘83 and our son-in-law is ‘14. Our daughter also went through the USNA admissions process and saw enough to make the decision to choose NROTC.

If your son hasn’t already done these two projects, he needs to do them soon:
- The campus visits. I’d especially recommend going to a day of USNA plebe classes and (possibly) sleeping overnight in Bancroft Hall. Definitely spend an overnight (or even a weekend) at UT Austin.

- Apply for USNA’s Summer Seminar. Not every candidate is accepted to it-- USNA seems to reserve the spots for those who are on the fence. If he’s turned down for Summer Seminar then it usually means USNA considers him well qualified and sufficiently informed. This was were our daughter decided that she'd seen enough to make her choice.

Hopefully your son is already on the USNA forums and websites. Plenty of midshipmen are posting to social media and will speak truth despite the risks.

One final tip:
It’s a lot easier to start at USNA and later switch to UT Austin than it is to start at UT Austin and switch to USNA. Two years at the “free” Navy Junior College program will show him everything he needs to know about the career & lifestyle. If he chooses to resign from USNA before starting his junior year, his USNA experience will definitely set him up for success at UT Austin.

I served my 20 in the submarine force and I’m happy to answer more questions here or at NordsNords at Gmail. Our family can also speak with experience about SWO (nuclear & conventional) as well as the Navy’s Information Professional community.
Isn't it just wonderful the sort of people we have posting on Bogleheads? Able and willing to lend their advice?

People with direct, tangible experience in all walks of life.

What an incredible resource. Wasn't available when I was 18. Maybe I would have made better choices - or maybe not. I wish I could write a letter back to that very uncertain 18 year old. But, then, I probably wasn't mature enough to have understood it ;-).
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Re: Which college?

Post by Parkinglotracer »

Nords wrote: Sat Feb 10, 2024 10:46 am
roadking2615 wrote: Tue Feb 06, 2024 11:12 pm He's basically boiled it down to two schools:
1. U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD, where he'd major in some type of STEM program
or
2. University of Texas in Austin, TX, where he'd study Finance at McCombs Business School (In-state tuition for us; money already set aside in 529)

Would be interested in hearing thoughts/feedback on which you think would be the better choice and why. Thanks.
@roadking2615, I’m USNA ‘82. My spouse is ‘83 and our son-in-law is ‘14. Our daughter also went through the USNA admissions process and saw enough to make the decision to choose NROTC.

If your son hasn’t already done these two projects, he needs to do them soon:
- The campus visits. I’d especially recommend going to a day of USNA plebe classes and (possibly) sleeping overnight in Bancroft Hall. Definitely spend an overnight (or even a weekend) at UT Austin.

- Apply for USNA’s Summer Seminar. Not every candidate is accepted to it-- USNA seems to reserve the spots for those who are on the fence. If he’s turned down for Summer Seminar then it usually means USNA considers him well qualified and sufficiently informed. This was were our daughter decided that she'd seen enough to make her choice.

Hopefully your son is already on the USNA forums and websites. Plenty of midshipmen are posting to social media and will speak truth despite the risks.

One final tip:
It’s a lot easier to start at USNA and later switch to UT Austin than it is to start at UT Austin and switch to USNA. Two years at the “free” Navy Junior College program will show him everything he needs to know about the career & lifestyle. If he chooses to resign from USNA before starting his junior year, his USNA experience will definitely set him up for success at UT Austin.

I served my 20 in the submarine force and I’m happy to answer more questions here or at NordsNords at Gmail. Our family can also speak with experience about SWO (nuclear & conventional) as well as the Navy’s Information Professional community.
+1
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Re: Which college?

Post by Firemenot »

Much of this question is not financial and probably can’t be discussed on board. I’d talk to lots of people that are in the military / recently left. Get their opinion on the current state of affairs. There are major recruitment problems right now and it’s a relatively new thing. I’d want to understand why before committing to an academy.
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Re: Which college?

Post by Parkinglotracer »

Firemenot wrote: Sat Feb 10, 2024 11:39 am Much of this question is not financial and probably can’t be discussed on board. I’d talk to lots of people that are in the military / recently left. Get their opinion on the current state of affairs. There are major recruitment problems right now and it’s a relatively new thing. I’d want to understand why before committing to an academy.
I went to my 40th reunion at the Air Force academy this year. Old guys like me showed up at our meeting with the 3 star academy superintendent armed for bear about the direction the academy and military are handling cultural changes in America. The 3 star combat experienced B-1 pilot said his job is to take young Americans of every walk of life that attend the Air Force academy and build 1 effective fighting team where their top priority is to defend our Nation. He added he does that by respecting each person with various backgrounds who come from all the corners of America and arrives at the academy. It was almost funny how no one questioned his thinking. Respect for all.

There are few places in America where folks of every race, religion, gender, and economic background are treated equally as in our military. I encourage your son to consider attending USNA. It may change his life. If he later decides he doesn’t want to put up with the studying, social restrictions, and life that it takes to graduate USNA and have a Navy career he is free to exit his first two years before his commitment starts.
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Re: Which college?

Post by Valuethinker »

Parkinglotracer wrote: Sun Feb 11, 2024 4:14 am
Firemenot wrote: Sat Feb 10, 2024 11:39 am Much of this question is not financial and probably can’t be discussed on board. I’d talk to lots of people that are in the military / recently left. Get their opinion on the current state of affairs. There are major recruitment problems right now and it’s a relatively new thing. I’d want to understand why before committing to an academy.
I went to my 40th reunion at the Air Force academy this year. Old guys like me showed up at our meeting with the 3 star academy superintendent armed for bear about the direction the academy and military are handling cultural changes in America. The 3 star combat experienced B-1 pilot said his job is to take young Americans of every walk of life that attend the Air Force academy and build 1 effective fighting team where their top priority is to defend our Nation. He added he does that by respecting each person with various backgrounds who come from all the corners of America and arrives at the academy. It was almost funny how no one questioned his thinking. Respect for all.

There are few places in America where folks of every race, religion, gender, and economic background are treated equally as in our military. I encourage your son to consider attending USNA. It may change his life. If he later decides he doesn’t want to put up with the studying, social restrictions, and life that it takes to graduate USNA and have a Navy career he is free to exit his first two years before his commitment starts.
There was a "rant" somewhere on the Internet, and I can't find it now.

A sort of lieutenant-colonel or below (Lieutenant, Captain, Major?) basically answering the "today's young people are flakes" line. Roughly speaking that if one had seen the young men and women of his command up at 03.00 hrs to ready their weapons, equipment & vehicles for a patrol at 0500 outside the base perimeter into bandit country, facing IEDs & other horrors, then no one would think of these young people as flakes or flakey. People rise to what is asked of them. Read William Manchester ("Goodbye Darkness"): there were always people of different orientations in the US military (one of the Sgt Majors is busted for it), non-white Americans served honourably, albeit in segregated units, pre 1948**, etc. None of this meant they were bad soldiers.

** Harry Truman, against sage political advice at the time, desegregated the US Armed Forces. Which led to huge social changes in America and in America's leadership, over the next 6 decades.
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Re: Which colleg

Post by Parkinglotracer »

Valuethinker wrote: Sun Feb 11, 2024 9:09 am
Parkinglotracer wrote: Sun Feb 11, 2024 4:14 am
Firemenot wrote: Sat Feb 10, 2024 11:39 am Much of this question is not financial and probably can’t be discussed on board. I’d talk to lots of people that are in the military / recently left. Get their opinion on the current state of affairs. There are major recruitment problems right now and it’s a relatively new thing. I’d want to understand why before committing to an academy.
I went to my 40th reunion at the Air Force academy this year. Old guys like me showed up at our meeting with the 3 star academy superintendent armed for bear about the direction the academy and military are handling cultural changes in America. The 3 star combat experienced B-1 pilot said his job is to take young Americans of every walk of life that attend the Air Force academy and build 1 effective fighting team where their top priority is to defend our Nation. He added he does that by respecting each person with various backgrounds who come from all the corners of America and arrives at the academy. It was almost funny how no one questioned his thinking. Respect for all.

There are few places in America where folks of every race, religion, gender, and economic background are treated equally as in our military. I encourage your son to consider attending USNA. It may change his life. If he later decides he doesn’t want to put up with the studying, social restrictions, and life that it takes to graduate USNA and have a Navy career he is free to exit his first two years before his commitment starts.
There was a "rant" somewhere on the Internet, and I can't find it now.

A sort of lieutenant-colonel or below (Lieutenant, Captain, Major?) basically answering the "today's young people are flakes" line. Roughly speaking that if one had seen the young men and women of his command up at 03.00 hrs to ready their weapons, equipment & vehicles for a patrol at 0500 outside the base perimeter into bandit country, facing IEDs & other horrors, then no one would think of these young people as flakes or flakey. People rise to what is asked of them. Read William Manchester ("Goodbye Darkness"): there were always people of different orientations in the US military (one of the Sgt Majors is busted for it), non-white Americans served honourably, albeit in segregated units, pre 1948**, etc. None of this meant they were bad soldiers.

** Harry Truman, against sage political advice at the time, desegregated the US Armed Forces. Which led to huge social changes in America and in America's leadership, over the next 6 decades.
No doubt the services led the way and still lead the way for equal treatment of all. Of course there have been sexual harassment challenges across the service academies. I will contend one night the bars and frats and sororities at <insert most state universities names> will have more episodes of harassment than 6 months at one of the service academies.
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Re: Which college?

Post by ScubaHogg »

Parkinglotracer wrote: Fri Feb 09, 2024 3:23 pm Often times attending a service academy gets one a better chance to get the career field (SWO, USMC, etc) you want. I had a much better chance to get into pilot training being a service academy graduate then my fellow year group AF ROTC and OTS grads had.
This isn’t true historically in the navy
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Re: Which college?

Post by Parkinglotracer »

ScubaHogg wrote: Sun Feb 11, 2024 2:32 pm
Parkinglotracer wrote: Fri Feb 09, 2024 3:23 pm Often times attending a service academy gets one a better chance to get the career field (SWO, USMC, etc) you want. I had a much better chance to get into pilot training being a service academy graduate then my fellow year group AF ROTC and OTS grads had.
This isn’t true historically in the navy
Any recent navy grads that can fill us in? My info may be dated!
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Re: Which college?

Post by ScubaHogg »

Parkinglotracer wrote: Sun Feb 11, 2024 2:34 pm
ScubaHogg wrote: Sun Feb 11, 2024 2:32 pm
Parkinglotracer wrote: Fri Feb 09, 2024 3:23 pm Often times attending a service academy gets one a better chance to get the career field (SWO, USMC, etc) you want. I had a much better chance to get into pilot training being a service academy graduate then my fellow year group AF ROTC and OTS grads had.
This isn’t true historically in the navy
Any recent navy grads that can fill us in? My info may be dated!
At least for pilots, last time I had any insight into it all navy rotc and usna folks were stacked together and just sorted based on the criteria of the day (grades, silly aviation specific tests, etc)
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Re: Which college?

Post by Nords »

Parkinglotracer wrote: Sun Feb 11, 2024 2:34 pm Any recent navy grads that can fill us in? My info may be dated!
When so many college students can have their vision corrected to 20/20, selection for military aviation can be more competitive. Unlike the college students of my millennium.

As for whether service academy grads get the better service-selection opportunities... let's see the studies. (I don't have any.) Physical qualification, test scores, GPAs, and degree fields might matter, but I'm not so sure whether the alma mater confers any special advantages.
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Re: Which college?

Post by Parkinglotracer »

Nords wrote: Sun Feb 11, 2024 5:17 pm
Parkinglotracer wrote: Sun Feb 11, 2024 2:34 pm Any recent navy grads that can fill us in? My info may be dated!
When so many college students can have their vision corrected to 20/20, selection for military aviation can be more competitive. Unlike the college students of my millennium.

As for whether service academy grads get the better service-selection opportunities... let's see the studies. (I don't have any.) Physical qualification, test scores, GPAs, and degree fields might matter, but I'm not so sure whether the alma mater confers any special advantages.
I know AF pilot training slots are much tougher to get through ROTC and OTS than thru USAFA. Getting eye surgery outside the AF purview can be disqualifying. Always the chance of getting assigned to be a drone pilot when they want to fly an F-35. United airlines new contract tops out around 500K a year so the consequences of an initial career pipeline assignment can be substantial $$$ lifetime earnings as we know.

More detailed discussions …

https://www.serviceacademyforums.com/in ... otc.16896/

https://www.usafa.edu/about/faqs/


Keeping focused on USNA here is what their latest career assignments were:

https://www.usna.edu/NewsCenter/2023/11 ... NMENTS.php

I don’t know anyone that will post the stats / differences between USNA and navy rotc assignments.


More discussions focused on USNA

https://www.serviceacademyforums.com/in ... ion.89350/
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Re: Which college?

Post by vinhodoporto »

I can’t find the data right now but from what I’ve seen Navy doesn’t favor academy grads over ROTC for pilot slots. And unlike Air Force, Navy doesn’t have drone pilots as a career field. There are more Navy helo pilots than jet pilots which surprises a lot of folks. Also, platform (aircraft type) assignment is often mostly a function of what’s available the week you graduate flight school. So it’s a roll of the dice no matter your commissioning source.

The academy does have an advantage in nuclear power placement but that’s likely because even the English majors are forced to take a highly technical core curriculum.

That’s not to say there aren’t other advantages to going to the academy. For service assignment the biggest advantage is because the academy is so much larger than any NROTC unit you have a lot more opportunities to talk to officers from the different communities and to know people in the classes ahead of you who have gone into different communities. This gives you a better sense of what it takes and how to prepare vs. a NROTC Midshipman who might only see one or two officers from each community and a handful of students in the classes above them.

Except for SEALs, EOD, and Medical Corps which are ridiculously competitive, pretty much everyone else who applied themselves and met the physical standards got what they wanted. Those who didn’t usually didn’t prep hard enough to do really well on the (ASTB, Nuke Interview, PT Test etc.). This was true when I was there in the ‘90s and is true today according to friends on the staff there.

Arguably the biggest benefit to being an academy grad is a larger professional network of peers from the start. But I wouldn’t make the decision to go to the academy based on this alone.
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