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Author Topic: Have GED, 70+ college credits from CC, and more; how to get NUC? Alternatives?  (Read 6205 times)

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Offline Minigunman

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So, I've decided to join our nation's military, specifically the Navy. I'm following my Grandfather and Father into it, my Father was a Surface nuke for the bulk of his career, and became chief engineer on a nuclear cruiser; this is back in the day of course, since we don't have any nuclear cruisers now. My Grandfather, I don't know what he did, and he's recently passed away, so I can't really ask him.


The Navy has the most jobs and opportunities in it that appeal to me, both for challenging me, and for what I am actually capable in. I'm not a super athlete, and I'm Home schooled, and don't have any kind of diploma. What I have are a GED with "honors", over 70 credits of college classes from a local community college in WA State (I live close to Bangor and PSNS), recommendation letters from professors and other people, I've gotten an 1880 on the SAT (which I've been told doesn't matter, but I'm telling you guys everything I can about my academic standing), I've competed in some competitions state and/or nation wide, but I simply don't have the funds or interest in going to a four year school right now. I started going to the CC at 14, in summer of 2010, and that's been my schooling for the last four years; going there on and off while pursuing other opportunities such as work experience. My education is super weird. Nonetheless, the recruiters in my area are working their tail feathers off to get me into the NUC field, and I would love to serve in this capacity, doing technically challenging work and getting great opportunities for my future at the same time, and serving our great Navy.


I actually am also applying to the Naval Academy - but my BGO interview lastnight informed me that it's really unlikely, due to my highly non-traditional education and my lack of normal extracurricular activities that high school students engage in, that I'll get into the Academy's class of 2019, or even 2020 if I apply next year. There's just too much ground to cover.


I've read https://www.nukeworker.com/forum/index.php/topic,3063.0.html and read that it's possible to get into the NUC field with a GED, if you have credits from a college. I have almost a two year degree's worth of credits, but because of the way this CC works, I can't get the degree without taking like, another year and a half of courses (their schedule for Calc and physics is really dumb, gotta take Calc 2, 3, and then take Eng. Physics 1 and 2. Should be able to take them concurrently with Calc at any other school.)


I've also read a couple other threads, and it seems that most home schooled students who try to go into the NUC field have diplomas verified with the state for their homeschooling. Well, I don't have one, and I didn't go to High School, because my family basically said, "Screw it, you're in college, you don't need to go to high school". I have my GED now and took the SAT for the Academy, but still don't have any other high school experience, and my GPA at the college is only about a 3.0 because I was not very mature with some of my classes, and blew it.





Anyway... I'm aware that my recruiters will likely do everything they can to get me NUC, but today my recruiter, a Chief who is a surface nuke on shore duty right now, said that they have to request some kind of waiver or permission for me to be enlisted as a nuke, and if they say "no", it doesn't matter what I get on the ASVAB, I can't be a nuke. Is this true? Is there any way to increase my chances of becoming a nuke? If I can't be a nuke for some reason, my recruiter will likely help me find a better job in the Navy, but what can you guys recommend? Part of the allure of the nuclear propulsion field was that they have a high chance of being picked up for STA-21 in the pipeline, if you're doing very well in the program, and you get your degree and go through it as an officer - that sounded incredible to me, because that's like saying, if you do really well in this intense, interesting school we send you through, you get to go back and finish your degree on us, and then become an officer and go through this program again before going to the fleet as an nuclear trained officer. I'd be like my Dad, and I'd have a great career path ahead of me. I don't know what would otherwise be a great Navy job if not being a nuke, for an enlisted job. What can you guys recommend for an enlisted career other than nuke, for a techie, non-traditional guy like me, or should I only talk about it with my recruiter?
« Last Edit: Nov 18, 2014, 03:40 by Minigunman »

Offline spekkio

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Before I go into what alternatives are available to you, what is your ultimate goal? What do you want to do in the Navy? You mentioned the Naval Academy, now you're dead set on enlisted nuke because 'they have a high chance of being picked up for STA-21,' which is actually not accurate. So do you seek a commission or do you want to enlist?

There are tons of jobs (called ratings for enlisted Sailors, designators for Officers) in the Navy. You should peruse some of the job descriptions and ask specific questions. We don't know you from Adam, so it would be difficult to blindly recommend a path to you.

Offline Minigunman

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I'd like to be commissioned. I want to be a leader, and I want to be doing technical work, and challenge myself, doing the most valuable work for the Navy that I can. I'd like to see myself command a ship in ~20-25 years if I stay in for the long haul. I intend to make myself the best sailor I can.


I suppose, then, the question is, with my GPA, and lack of funds, what is likely the best way for me to accomplish my goal? I'm not very competitive, or competitive at all, for NUPOC due to my GPA (2.91 I believe is the college level GPA, I took a couple non-college level classes), so I figured the best way was to try and work my butt off in the pipeline and go for STA-21. If I'm wrong, what's a better option?

To be clear, I have no prejudice against enlisted people or jobs, and if I were to enlist and not get into STA-21, I'd happily go through my enlistment, and assuming getting my degree whilst I'm in the Navy is not possible (I imagine I wouldn't have the time for it), I would get out, finish my degree now that I had cash and the GI Bill, and then apply to OCS for the Nuclear Propulsion community. That was my main plan; either STA-21, or finish my degree after getting the money to, and apply to OCS as prior enlisted.


Is this not a good option?

Offline spekkio

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Well, first I think that you should go through whatever paperwork it would take to get your homeschooling recognized by your state, not just for the Navy but for any higher education opportunities that you want to pursue.

Secondly, there are basically two paths for you to get a commission at this point:

1) Go to a 4-year school. Find a way to fund it, to include loans. Maintain more than a 3.3 GPA. Apply to NROTC non-scholarship option (I don't know how that works, specifically), NUPOC at the conclusion of your sophomore year once you have taken the pre-requisite coursework, or take the ASTB and apply to OCS when you enter your senior year. Only NUPOC will provide you with any financial assistance in completing school.

2) Enlist and try to get accepted into STA-21.

If you actually want to serve as a commissioned officer, option 1 is the most surefire way to accomplish your goal, provided that you earn good grades. It's also the quickest way to achieve your goal. Option 2 will take longer and is riskier, but if successful the Navy will fund your college education. For starters, STA-21 is highly, highly competitive, and they will look at your college coursework when considering your application. Secondly, there are age requirements for commissioning and it takes time to accrue the required evaluations and reputation to get a solid endorsement for commissioning from your CO. Thirdly, the ability to apply to STA-21 in prototype only allows you to apply for nuke officer billets. If you are not accepted at that time, you will have to serve quite a bit of time to prove yourself in the fleet.

If your 2.91 GPA doesn't include technical coursework, all is not lost. The nuke program doesn't care much about that 'other' stuff, they care mostly about your grades in math, physics, and engineering classes. You can still attend school and do well in those courses.

If your 2.91 GPA is in technical coursework, you can still do well for the duration of your college career and apply for other designators. If you are hard-up on shipdriving and possibly becoming a cheng, you could apply SWO. You can also consider flying some aircraft.

It's worth noting that if you go to a CC and follow-on state school, you will make enough money as a JO to pay off your student loans relatively quickly. You're looking at starting pay of about $40k when you include all of the special pays and allowances, varying depending on duty station, and it increases relatively quickly to around $55-65k after two years when you get promoted to O-2 and to over $75k when you get promoted to O-3 during your first four years (these are gross pay numbers and don't factor in the tax advantage from having a good deal of your pay in the form of untaxable allowances, as well as being exempt from state tax in most states). You'll also still be eligible to use the GI bill toward graduate education and there are generally more graduate education opportunities from within the Navy as an officer, but that's a bridge you'll cross when you get there.

If you enlist and go nuke, you're taking a gambit that you will get really high grades in nuke school and get picked up for commissioning in prototype. If that doesn't happen, your next 'window' won't be for several years past there where you will have to qualify EWS and demonstrate leadership/maturity above your peers. You also won't be in the separate pool of nuke STA-21 billets at that point; in fact, you won't be able to apply directly to STA-21 for any nuke designators unless you are currently at power school or prototype as either a student or instructor. You'll be in the same pool as everyone else. In other words, if the gambit fails, you would have been better off going a conventional rating that gets sent to the fleet earlier and could prove his leadership and knowledge.

If you enlist and don't get picked up for commissioning, you'll be too old to apply after you finish college for most designators. If you're just in it for the GI Bill and some real-world experience (there's no shame in that), I recommend you look for a rating that you would enjoy doing for 4 years rather than something you think will make you money.
« Last Edit: Nov 18, 2014, 06:21 by spekkio »

Offline Minigunman

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I then have another question; if I were to go to a school, I really want to be immersed in the military, and was thinking of going to The Citadel (I have a nearly complete application already lined up for them and have been talking with them). It's a senior military college, that admittedly caters mostly to the Army, but has a decent amount of Navy cadets as well.

Do you think that would be as good, or better than, going to a public research university like UW, if I wanted to be a Naval officer, and didn't mind taking out loans for school?

Offline spekkio

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Define better? I don't think it will make a difference as far as your Naval career is concerned. There might be some extra leadership techniques that they teach cadets down there, but I've only encountered one officer from the Citadel and he definitely didn't learn the lessons. As long as your college degree is accredited and you have good grades, it's good enough for the Navy. If you have a specific designator in mind that requires a certain kind of coursework (e.g. business/finance for supply), then make sure you hit those wickets.

I don't get the impression that you'd get the benefits of a top-heavy good ol' boys club mentoring and connections that you'd get from attending the Naval Academy (oh, hey Bob, you got stationed in Millington? Haha that sucks. Remember that time we hopped the fence at the Naval Academy to sneak in for the 100th time? Yea we were so badass. How's the wife? Oh yea? By the way, I was really hoping to get orders to...).
« Last Edit: Nov 19, 2014, 01:12 by spekkio »

Druid

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I heartily concur with Spekkio regarding accreditation of you course of studies. Did you take you college courses as a regular student or under dual-enrollment? We homeschool and decided that the dual-enrollment route was better because there is a formal agreement in place between the regional school superintendent and participating local colleges. In addition to the college transcript, you have the option of requesting a letter from the regional district affirming that the credits were earned under an approved partnership with the public school system. It may not mean much but when you know you're going to be providing documentation until you complete your degree, its best to have as much official letterhead as possible.

If you want to be an officer then that should be your primary focus. I would suggest that you matriculate into a four year school that has an NROTC program and apply for a scholarship. Take the time to schedule a visit, bring your documentation, and sit down and talk to them. Once you've completed your Bachelors not many people are going to care that you had a GED.

Best of luck!

Offline Propagansus

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Hello, if it helps at all...

I just got my approval for my nuke contract. My qualifications were:

GED
58 college credit hours at a local 4 year university
94 ASVAB
262 Nuke Score
69/80 NAPT

I had to wait roughly 1 month for the approval and I was set for MT during the waiting time. I ship February 18th and I sign the contract Monday. It seems that if your scores for asvab and napt are high enough, they don't mind the GED. My nuke coordinator was the most helpful when it came to showing me how the GED NUke process had to be handled. Good luck!

Samabby

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Great news & keep up your positive attitude. Feb in Great Lakes gets a little chilly but April in Goose Creek is a nice time of year. 8)

 


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