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I see a lot of threads going about enlisting, joining and mroe recently one on Basic Training. But what about people, like myself, who would rather take an alternate route through an Academy?

Have any of you been through one (of any branch of the service)? Do you know anyone who has been to one that would be willing to talk with us about it (even if via e-mail)? Do you know anything about the applications/nomitations/acceptance?

I'll eventually be able to narrow this down some, and even if this is for my own benefit others may learn from it. I just wanted to feel out some of you vets. What kind of relations do you have with the officers from the Academies?

I hope to go visit West Point during Winter Break and take a look at the campus and have more of my questions answered. :D

I appreciate anyone who can help me out, especially with West Point.

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Roger that Ruin, going through an academy is much better in many ways and opens lots of doors, it is much more of a challenge, I don't know all the details but hopefully someone will. You will train to become an Officer and go up the ranks faster, unlike myself...

Anyways, Im proud of you and what your decision is. :thumbsup:


Depends how bad you want it... :wall:

Edited by Marine Sniper
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One of the best places to get info is through the ROTC instructors at your local high schools, assuming they have an ROTC program.

I do know that the selection process is brutal. Background checks, grades have to be top notch, sports and clubs help, etc...They want very involved, very smart people, and athleticism is a must.

Going through an academy is indeed an honor, and you will get a great many benefits from it, including a minimum of 7 years required active duty.

But make sure that none of the things I have mentioned have changed.

You can also go to college, go ROTC, then go OCS.

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I have been away from that whole scene awhile, so I'd say the safest thing to do is check your options and find out for yourself.

I do know one hard cold fact though...

Academy appointment is extremely long process, and picky doesnt even begin to describe the way they are about appointees. You have to be the best of the best to even get considered. It's very, very difficult to be selected for one of the academies. You have to have an extremely involved, active high school life with the very best of the best grades. The more clubs and sports you play on top of that only helps you. You really have to have something to offer them to even get a look from them.

From your sophmore year on.....I'd guess as perfect as you can make them and as busy. Also, no trouble, whatsoever.

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3.8 GPA, Track and Field, Community Theater, Police Explorers, AP Classes, College Classes, no behavior problems.... how's that for starters? :D

I need to get in shape, lol.

I've done quite a bit of research on it. The hardest part I'd say is getting Congressional Nomination, but I think Mr. Taylor may like me (I'm going to try and Page with a Senator this summer/spring). After nomintation the Academy its self has to select you, and for that they look at your records, letters of recommendation etc and send out someone to give you a PAE.

I was wondering if they consider your life history? Would my time overseas be a plus? What about the traveling and moving I've done (certainly shows I can adapt to ever changing situations)? Do the number of AP/Honors classes effect anything (I'd assume so)? Do they look more at school clubs or community clubs?

There's loads of questions I keep thinking of and I hope someone knows someone who went to an Academy, especially West Point. We had a girl go a few eyars ago from my school and a guy from my old school two years ago go. Crazy stuff, but it is possible. So it's time I start working out and I hit Track REAL hard.

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I knew a guy that I graduated with that went to the USAF Academy, but that was 20 years ago.

I wish I could help ya, or even tell ya who to ask. Have you talked to any of the West Point people at all? Any of the admissions reps? Dropped a bug in any of their ears to see what's shakin? That might be a really good place to start.

And just a thought, if I remember anything at all, not a criticism. I'd try to get that GPA up some more, honors or not.

I know that's an important factor.

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Yeah, even though a 3.8 is high, having over a 4.0 would be better. Especially with the number of 5 and 6 point classes I have/ will have.

I'll try and contact WP and see what they can do for me, like I said I do want to tour the school and it'd be nice to have someone there. :D

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Hey Ruin, as you may know I applied to USNA last year and did not get in, but I did learn a lot and my roommate here applied to USMA, so we could probably answer a lot of questions.

Of course, the best source of a lot of answers is the source, so talk to those recruiting officers, inspect the websites, and don't stop until your questions are answered.

Good luck. ;)


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Ruin, my oldest brother tried for the Air Force Academy back in the 70's and a good friend of mine had his son try a little over a year ago. Neither made it and went rotc in college ( brother is now a retired USAF pilot). You have similar activities and grades that they had---community service your involved in helps as well. What they both lacked and what you lack is the political connection--it is vital. You have time, so whether you do internship as a page or something on a local level for one of your senators will help get you noticed. There are alot of applicants that meet the grade/community service requirements of the service academies, so it's the nomination that sets you apart from the rest most of the time. Also, don't just be involved in clubs/activities, take a leadership role in one or two of them--they want leaders/self motivators, not followers.

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You may want to check out two non-government but distinguished military schools, The Citadel and VMI.

Virginia Military Institute's most famous graduate was Gen. George S. Patton.

The Citadel has produced many renowned military men.

The main difference is that you will not enter military reserve status until your senior year when you contract, as opposed to being a Cadet or Midshipman which is a military rank.

SAT scores and bios including what major courses you choose are key to recruitment and acceptance.. There is no Congressional appointment process.

The Citadel has a reputation for striving to be a harder school than the Point, and has had documentaries and books written on their hazing tradition. :ph34r:

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Thanks Connie, I had never ehard of VMI until now. Go figure.

@TRC, I'm definatley working my way up there. It's not until next year that I can become a higher up on one of them, and I can try for second in command of the Explorers post. I'm really trying to set my self up with leadership roles. I have a few smaller things to add (VFW Essay Award Winner -hopefully twice :D - In the first class of the Youth Leadership Forum, and One -hopefully three- time member of the Youth Legislative Comittee).

I really wish I knew if they looked at your Bio when acepting or not. I tihnk the only thing that's really negative for me is the fact that I'm not in any sports (yet) or have been a higher up in the team (not like you can be a "higher up" in Track and Field, lmao). I'm definatley going to do that for these next two years and start working out (Actually have begun that) on a regular basis.

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Ruin, track is fine--it's what my buddy's son did. Yes, they (the Academies) check your bio. Your lining yourself up quite nicely. My buddy's son didn't have any other suggestions other than making sure you had political connection prior to application process. That was his drawback.

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Hey Folks

This is my first post, I love GR and the mods that all of you guys put out. For Ruin, I am currently at USMA as a plebe this year I can tell you some stuff especially about the selection process and summer training. It looks like so far you are on the right track lots of after school activities and sports good grades. The Army loves to run, so track was a good call. Get in touch with your congressman as well as your local wesp point rep. Call the rep at least once a week to check up on things and to show that you care about coming here. I know that the paper work sucks, but it is part of the selection process to weed out the kids that don't care, keep that in mind. Good job on picking the best branch of service and the best academy.

Go Army Beat Navy

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connie, apologies, but there is a slight correction to your post. I tend to be a tad anal when my alma mater comes up. Patton never graduated from VMI, he transferred to West Point after a year. Chesty Puller also dropped out after his first year. Our most famous graduate is George C. Marshall. Many of you probably haven't heard of him, but run a search on his name, he's a helluva guy.

Ruin, you need to go visit these schools and see which one you like the best. That's how I ended up at VMI. The distinction that the two state military schools have is that you are not required to contract, or even enter the military. You can get an ROTC scholarship, which will mean you are contracted for all four years, or you can apply for a contract after your sophomore year. Basically, it's no different from any other ROTC program, except you don't wear ROTC uniforms two days a week, you wear VMI or Citadel uniforms every day (to include nights and weekends). There are also other commissioning routes open to you, such as the Marine Corps PLC program.

Edited by VMI Marine
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Ruin, I was honorably discharged at a rank of Corporal in the Corp.

So I AIN'T THE ONE to tell you how to become an officer.

With my limited time in the Corp I got to know very few Officer and a Gentleman. With those few, I got to know most of them had a common characteristic that made them stand out, and that is they all had the "will" to do.

Sound corny? Example:

1) We had a short-stack officer who was built and stocky, but can't run fast and long or march 23 miles. So what he did was get his fastest/longest runners. He trained with that Marine so he could finally "earn" the respect from his Marines.

2) We had one who never met a black man until his academy days. When he joined us, he didn't know how to interact with us. So, he started "hanging out" with us, despite words from the "Top" not to do that. Plus he can't plot a map, almost drove our convoy to a "deep ditch." So, the next training, he invited a Marine fron ANGLICO, if my pea brain remembers this right, ANGLICO Marines coordinate Naval Gun coordinates. The officer was willing to show his Marines, that he is "willing" to learn.

After all, that is what training is about. To make mistake and learn from it.

So if you could "will" yourself to do this, you can achieve what your "willing" to do in your military future.

Be an example

Become a Leader

Know your sh_t inside out, backwards and forwards, top to bottom-bottom to top.

on a lighter note, if you want to be an officer because of the spiffy uniform: Go Marine...white uniforms are for cooks, and chicks dig the Bloodstripes.

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LMAO! Thanks CPL. :D

I figure if I've got the will to go from my "round" shape to "in" shape, then I can handle it.

I haven't run in years, or lifted wieghts in months. So I started again today. I power walked for 19min and full blown sprinted for one and ended up going 1.35 miles (just to get started). My goal is to work my way into a 6 minute mile.

I'm printing off the PAE requirements now so I know what to aim for.

@VMI Marine, thanks for the info.

I checked out VMI's website and it seems like a great school. I'll be visiting West Point over Christmas break and possibly VMI around February.

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