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12 August 2010


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I seem to recall back in the day, service academies were not included in these surveys. Including them does skew the results- as a servic academy graduate myself, I thought it was not quite right to include the service academies in these surveys.

Don Quijote

Giving 6 years of your life to Uncle Sam is not cheap (assuming that he does not send you to some third world shit hole to defend the interests of Citibank or ExxonMobil) ...

Sidney O. Smith III

What a total joke, and my alma mater did extremely well.

But the most difficult school in the US that no one knows about is Agnes Scott -- a women’s school in Atlanta. My fiancee was a freshman at age 16, I say with some pride, but she graduated from William and Mary, which certainly is as excellent a school as the Williams without the Mary. The diplomas of William and Mary are in Latin!

But Agnes Scott, academically, is as difficult, if not more so, than any of the top ten. Those women have to study…my God, they have to study.

I was once told that it takes at least a generation to change the national reputation of a school, even if academically it has already arrived. And the person who told me that, at the time, was the chairman of the Board of Regents of….well…I will just leave it at that.

No, I won’t leave it at that. This man was the chairman of the Brd of Regents that included a flagship school, and this flagship school is ranked third among nation’s best research libraries. But try to tell that to this crowd…geesh.

By the way, SCAD, (Savannah College of Art and Design) is ranked numero uno in the nation for art schools. But try to tell that to this crowd…geesh.



Don't forget the 17.5% ratings impact from Student Evaluations from 'rate my proffessor.com'. What a joke.

To quote Forbes: " Asking students what they think about their courses is akin to what some agencies likeConsumer Reports or J.D. Powers and Associates do when they provide information on various goods or services. .. students who post ratings on the website can be viewed as experts due to their significant experience with the professors they are evaluating."
A sampling of on-line student evaluations conducted by a non-random selecton of students isn't statistically valid. As to students being expert on the instructional technique and subject knowledge level of the instructor solely being being in their classroom? I wonder who owns ratemyproffessor.com.

12.5% based on student debt load? What does the quality of instruction have to do with debt load?

A ten percent weight by listings of Alumni in Who's Who in America? Maybe Forbes' editors should read their own magazine:

Patrick Lang


Nothing was said about "free" service academy education. the question is whether or not the presence of the service academies in these ratings distorts the outcome.

BUT, in fact service academy education IS free to the recipient. Cadets or Midshipmen are service members and are paid like all other service members. Service academy students are assigned the duty of studying. Just as enlisted kids in training do not pay for the training, service academy cadets do not pay for their training and education.

N.B. I was a "p" at WP.

BTW, you have noticed I suppose that ROTC guys who went to some school not on the list and guys who came up from the ranks through degree completion and commissioning programs also get sent to the "shitholes of the earth."

Nobody forces service academy students to accept their appointments. pl

William R. Cumming

Okay here is interesting issue? Do the Service Academies train or educate? What is actual evidence? Can this be measured by placements in society 10 years out of graduation? Is ROTC training or education? Is OCS training or education?
Who has examined the actual merits in last several decades of these officer production ops? Is that published?

The Twisted Genius

USNA... a $20,000 education shoved up your ass a nickel at a time. (That's in 1971 dollars.)

Patrick Lang


"$20,000?" My god, are you ever behind the times. pl

Patrick Lang


This is easy. IMO, there is no perceptible difference among groups of officers (by source of commission) after four years of commissioned service. Service academy grads will disagree of course.

A service academy education is essentially academic although received in a military life experience. Cadets/middies receive some military education during the school year in a course equivalent to "military science" in ROTC but most serious military trining takes place during the summers.

ROTC programs are usually set in a civilian university setting. the specifically ROTC stuff is training, but, once again, the main thing is the university's academic program. ROTC students get training in the summers much like that received by service academy students.

OCS is training.

The sub-set of ROTC called the "essentially military senior colleges;" The Citadel, VMI, Norwich University, Texas A&M, North Georgia, VPI, etc are hybrids. pl

The Twisted Genius

One of the smartest things TRADOC ever did was to assign Special Forces NCOs to the ROTC programs. We were blessed with MSG Albert H. Rivers who did three tours in Viet Nam and was an RT team leader in CCN. Three years of his mentorship was a remarkable education.

The Twisted Genius

"$20,000?" My god, are you ever behind the times. pl

That was an expensive education back then. I recently learned that tuition at my old prep school was $14,985 for the 2009-2010 school year. My last year there (1971) was $450. That's even worse than college tuition inflation.

Patrick Lang

Try about 250k. I am not sure that this estimate includes the education of faculty, the cost of the post and the garrison including a battalion of school troops. pl

Patrick Lang


Yes, and there was a black Marine senior NCO assigned to VMI 20 years ago who used to make the 81 mile march to the New Marker battlefield every year where the new class take their oath to whatever it is that we believe in. pl

The Twisted Genius

250k sounds about right. Four years of Carnegie Mellon University is 220k at today's prices. I'll be paying off the last of my loans for my oldest son's education there. He has years to go on his loans. I don't see how the middle class can do this in the future. I wonder if education loans are getting as hard to obtain as mortgages?

B. D. Warbucks


I used to work for a govvie that would take perverse pride in introducing me as a member of our Beloved Alma Mater to senior govvies with service academy credentials. He would chuckle and say "Just think. He paid for the abuse."

I would smile and say "Yes. sir. I paid for the abuse. But at least I can hold my head up high and look at myself in the mirror with pride knowing I never received a welfare education."

Academy pukes, for some reason, never like that line.

I believe I will now have another drink. Cheers!

Patrick Lang


My response to that particular jab has often been, "yes, I never let anyone pay to abuse me." pl


Don't forget the wonderful middy cruise. Where on an attack submarine the honored 'volunteers' would spend their entire time working on submarine warfare qualifications, never stand watch, perform any actual leadership function and return to the USNA with enlisted submarine warfare insignia to wear for the next twenty years. I know of few who actually volunteered for the submarine service afterwards. I'm glad I was never on their qualificaton boards. A complete waste of time, effort and money on a select few self centered cadets. Hopefully they left the service after their EOS.

William R. Cumming

Is the depth of the quality of all enlisted ranks sufficient to require enlisted experience and only make company commissioned officers out of the "mustangs"?
Where exactly do the dividing lines of decision and skills exist in the current military--company grade to field grade to flag rank? What are the distinctions in reality as reflected by who is getting promoted TODAY? And since Congress approves all promotions in effect is this a good or bad thing? How about service appointments by Congressional members? Personally I don't think General Marshall's experience in failing to get the appointment to WP is atypical? Why should those appointments be in any way political? Arguments for and against? These questions don't need answering on this blog unless their is a desire to do so but who exactly is answering these questions now for the military? And how did they get the role to answer these questions? Is our officer corps really superior to the rest of the world? Are we unique in the number of female officers? How do you determine the effectiveness of any officer or the officer corps generally? The OER in my time was completely inadquate for many reasons not the list attitudes on race in a largely multiracial draft military! Who outside this blog is even discussing some of the above in their writings and books and articles? These seem like issues of centrality to a democracy (Republic)? Am I wrolng?

Patrick Lang


I am unaware of any attempt or desire on Marshall's part to attend WP. I have never heard that and I had several long talks with Forrest Poague about him. Is this an assumption on your part? I am not sure that Marshall wanted to enter the Army at the time that he matriculated at VMI. The Army was very small and commissions were not available to any but WP graduates. There were some few exceptions to that but not many. Those commissions went to top graduates of some schools. It is my understanding that the expansion of the Regular Army for the Phillippine Insurrection caused the Army to offer a few commissions to non WP graduates and he was one of them. Marshall graduated from VMI with a perfect disciplinary record, a nearly impossible and rather frightening thing. So, he might have gotten a commission without the expansion. You may have him confused with Patton who left VMI after a year in spite of family tradition because his academic record was so bad that he could not get a commission except at WP where he graduated in 1908. All WP graduates got commissions. Marshall graduated from VMI in 1902 I believe. Tell me about it.

The rest of your comment is too confused to make an answer possible. pl

Patrick Lang


Nevertheless, I will try.

If all combat arms company commanders are former enlisted soldier, then you will end up with senior officers with no exoperience of platoon or company command. IMO that would be a bad thing.

In re the service academies, the president, VP, members of congress the national guard, etc. NOMINATE people for the academies. the academies themselves APPOINT and ADMIT entrants. The admissions offices have a "reserve" of appointments resulting from failed applicants, lack of interest in some places, etc. They make appointments from that pool especially of people who they send to the academy prep schools for a year.

To some extent it has always been like that. Stonwall Jackson was nominated by some congressman, (Boteler perhaps?), but he nearly failed the entrance examination once he got there. pl

Lord Curzon


I've always found the idea of West Point somewhat confusing, and judging by some of the comments above I don't think I'm the only one: To be a university is one thing, a military academy inculcating junior leaders like RMA Sandhurst with the necessary military knowledge, drills and skills and fitness is something else entirely. To my mind, falling between the two means there's never enough time to devote to either. Which makes me wonder if those emerging out the other side are truly ready for command? Are they?

Patrick Lang

Lord Curzon

WP was designed on the model of the "Ecole Polytechnique" not St. Cyr or RMA Sandhurst. The Congress was persuaded to establish such a school by use of the argument that it would create engineer officers who would build the infrastructure of a new wcountry, the USA. Because of that USMA graduated only engineers at first and only gradually began to graduate officers of other arms. The place remained under the domination of the Enginneer corps for a very long time and still is numbers and science oriented. are they ready for command of a platoon when they graduate? Evidently not, because like all other newly commissioned officers they attend a lieutenants service school, (Ft. Benning, etc.) for six months to a year after graduation. pl

Lord Curzon


Interesting - thank you.

Medicine Man

The United State's particular colonial heritage has a lot to do with the modern day military culture of the US Army, doesn't it? Is there any other nation in the world that has such an extensive community, military and civilian, built up around its armed forces?

William R. Cumming

Thanks for the info. I don't think that General Marshall openly sought an appointment to WP but my understanding is that something about his family's politics made him realize that a "nomination" to WP by the Congressman for his district or Senator's was highly unlikely.

And thanks for all the other good infomation.

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