Getting To Know: The US Coast Guard Academy
I met Lt. Commander Anthony Borruso, Associate Director of Admissions for Recruiting for the US Coast Guard Academy at a counselors conference in May. Our conversation made me want to learn more about the academy. I also gathered some photos on Pinterest for you. Lt. Commander Borruso granted me a short Zoom interview. Please listen now!
There are differences in the admissions process between the Coast Guard Academy and the other military service academies.
For one thing, you can apply Early Action by mid October. For another, you do not need a nomination from a member of Congress, the US Senate or the White House. And there’s another difference: admissions are test optional. I listened to a series of You Tubes done by Erin Edwards, a 2022 graduate. One points out other differences between the Coast Guard Academy and the other academies, based on actual comments from Coast Guard Academy students. While this was a very small sample, I learned that students who chose the Coast Guard Academy did consider and were offered admission to other service academies. The differences were in culture, student body size, majors (only nine) and mission. Lt. Commander Borruso told me more, so please listen in.
There are differences in mission and jobs to consider when looking at the military service academies.
The US Coast Guard Academy is based within the Department of Homeland Security. The larger academies, West Point, Annapolis and the US Air Force Academy fall under the purview of the US Department of Defense. Coast Guard vessels and planes have a search and rescue mission as well as a security mission.
My impression from listening to Ensign Edwards’ vlog about the billet process, is that they have many choices and difficult decisions to make about their first assignments. They have to choose their boat or plane as well as where they will be based. On paper admissions appear more achievable than they are at the three larger academies. But believing in the mission is more important than getting in. Believing in the mission gets you through the education.
Few members of the Coast Guard will be deployed outside of the United States. Members of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines will be deployed anywhere their superior officers believe they are needed to go to war, reconstruct an area decimated by war, or protect the peace.
There are some similarities between academies, too.
All of the service academies have a summer program that will help you get acquitted with the institution, the admissions process, fitness standards, the education and their culture. I recommend that you watch the Academy’s YouTube of “Swab Summer,” the orientation period for new cadets. The Coast Guard handles this quite similarly to the Army and the Navy. Everyone lives on campus and eats in the same place for good reasons: to develop esprit de corps and leadership skills outside of the classroom.
The first years of the undergraduate education are similar in that you need to learn the first two years of an engineering curriculum before you can declare a major. The needs of the service require a comfort with math and science as well as sound fitness and leadership skills. Like their peers at the other academies, cadets receive a free education as well as a stipend and uniforms. They also have a five-year active duty obligation after they graduate.
I can’t give a report card to a military service academy.
These institutions are so different from conventional colleges and their missions are designed around the needs of the service they serve. No educational institution in America prepares young men and women for leadership better than a military service academy. The US Coast Guard Academy is a smaller institution (1,100 students), but it is no exception. I strongly recommend the six-day summer orientation, Academy Introduction Mission, to get to know the academy better. I also learned so much from my conversation from Lt. Commander Borruso that I encourage you to contact him directly.
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