10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
- Jul 18, 2006
- Resident [Any Field]
5 years for a service academy + 7 additional years for USUHS = 12 total years for payback. That's a very long commitment.
I don't think you are eligible for the GI bill if you went to a service academy. Check the fine print.
i graduated 05. it was 2% of the graduating class could apply for consideration. USMA has its own board to select which candidates are then cleared to apply directly to medical schools.
an even bigger obstacle is finding time to study for the MCAT (or premed subjects in general) while at the academy. want to major in something other than premed but still want to go medicine? forget it. my class was also the first year that had the "chemistry life science" major. before then it was straight chem or chem engineering. (no bio department). also, research opportunities are virtually impossible (no time!). nowadays everyone pretty much has to have some research experience when applying for med school.
during the process, my classmates and i were HIGHLY encouraged to apply to USUHS in addition to whatever civilian schools (HPSP) we were applying. HPSP has an additional commitment of 4 years on top of the Academy 5. (more if you do a residency > 4 years). oh, and none of the active duty service obligation begins until after residency is over.
if serving and being in the army is important to this high school student, it'd be possible to do it this way. painful but possible. if this person is more interested in medicine than the military, than it's probably advisable NOT to go to the academy. many of my classmates at WP were exceptionally bright and talented but buried in all the BS that goes on at the academy.
does make you build pretty thick skin, though.
to be fair, WP is a different environment. have experiences you will never get anywhere else. learn and grow as a person and all that. and apparently civilians are impressed by it. some of my interviewers were more interested in what the academy is like as opposed to why i wanted to go into medicine. (one interview was entirely about rumsfield and how i thought he was culpable for a lot of the problems we were/are in at the time).
can PM me for more details/q's.
bottom line: not the easiest or best way but high level of motivation and an open mind can still make it work.
There are more ways to get an appointment than just House of Reps - Senators, Secretary of the Navy, SecDef, Vice President, and President all have a quota among others and it depends on how many the member actually has in a certain academy at a certain time. I played varsity sports, so I got a relatively painless SecNav appointment, and one of my buddies from inner city Chicago actually answered an ad in the Chicago Tribune from the local congressman who couldn't fill his spots - he struggled through the Academy but is now a Navy Seal. I think it turns out to be something like 5000 appointments available per year, but don't quote me on that. It is tough to get an appointment for some regions, not so tough in others, but many people who have appointments are turned down.
I wouldn't lump the Secretary appointments in for most people. Those are reserved for enlisted who are applying to the Academies. The usualy path for high school kids is to apply to their congressman and both state senators. For those who have special circumstances, eg: enlisted, child of career military, child of Medal of Honor recipient, etc there are other paths for nomination.
What is the path for children of career military, other than congressman?
The congressional appointment is little more than a formality for most applicants. The only exceptions are a few locations where there is an unusually high level of intrest in an academy (San Diego or Annapolis area for USNA for example).
There is a lot of good info on this thread so I don't have too much else to add. The one thing I will say though, is that the academies exist to develope combat leaders for a career of military service (not that everyone stays in for a career). They don't exist to educate future doctors that simply don't want to pay for their undergrad education. There was a tendency when I was at USNA to view the med school applicants as dirt bags who were welshing on their service obligation. Unfair and inaccurate to be sure, but your friend may not want to anounce on day one of Beast Barracks that he came to USMA to become a doctor.
Good luck in any case. I found my time as a line officer to be deeply challenging and rewarding and I hope to find something similar in military medicine.
There was a tendency when I was at USNA to view the med school applicants as dirt bags who were welshing on their service obligation. Unfair and inaccurate to be sure, but your friend may not want to anounce on day one of Beast Barracks that he came to USMA to become a doctor.