Feedback and opinions on a few academies

I realize this has been asked in a few different variations (I have read the various associated threads here). With that out of the way I just recently separated from the USN active duty. The schools I’m looking at/applying to are SUNY, Cal, MMA, and Texas. I’m single and I will be 35 when classes commence next Fall.

For purely monetary reasons I have put SUNY as my primary interest. For educational purposes and location I’m drawn to MMA. My grades from a decade ago were far, far less then stellar (partied too much studied too little). With my GPA (well below 2.0) I will most likely have to attend 2 semesters at a Community College before transferring (SUNY and MMA seem to have a good transfer system in place).

My question is if you guys were in my shoes which school would you go with and why? I haven’t read very many good things regarding Texas A&M. The last bit of information I came across suggested students were having trouble meeting their seatime/watchstanding req’s.

Which MMA are you considering?

Maine Maritime, to be honest out of all the ones I have looked for information on Mass and Great Lakes seem to be the hardest to find any real info. However I have no interest in Great Lakes I was in that region for boot camp that was enough.

The more I read about Texas A&M the more concerned I’m getting. A few guys on reddit said there is a issue with them getting enough watches in order to qualify for a license.

I guess my primary points of concern are simply the are surrounding each campus and how veterans are treated/handled. I don’t expect coddling or “thank you for your service” here is a throne. I just want to go to class with as little bs as possible and save some money.

What are you thinking about studying?

Marine Engineering, I looked at the jobs for both and I would honestly rather be in the engine room than on deck.

The best engineers I ever worked with either came up the pipe or went to Maine maritime. (And no I didn’t go to school there) it seems they consistently pump out good engineers and they have a strong network. Just and observation from a deck guy looking in…

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That’s good to hear. Out of curiosity did you go to an academy or “come up the pipe”? If you had to do it all over again and at 35, would you make any changes?

Go to Maine, if for engineering. For many reasons. Unless you want to live and work in the New York City area for your career (lots of SUNY folks shoreside there).

I never dug deep, but which academies offer a true ABET mechanical engineering degree for their USCG license track? Many have marine engineering, or marine systems engineering. These all look to be ABET accredited, but you should verify you could get a PE license with these degrees (if you ever have any interest in that).

You won’t automatically get a PE license (state by state process) with a degree and it is (or was anyway) a two step process first take the EIT test, then after a set time of employment as an engineer you meet additional requirements to get the license. I highly recommend if you’ve put all the effort into obtaining a bs in engineering, take the EIT as soon as you can after graduation while that stuff is somewhat fresh in your mind. Mr. Dollar is correct… If you have any idea you might end up in shoreside NA ME career after sailing get / pursue the PE. SNAME has worked hard to have states recognize marine engineering as a licensible division of engineering with I believe some sub-specialties too. So you don’t have to pick mechanical as your license from at least certain states.

I can also second Maine has produced some of the better marine engineers I’ve worked too (and an occasional dud so don’t be one of those!)

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Thanks for all the advice guys. Now just have to see where I get accepted, and probably need to start looking at classes at Maine community college.

Do your best to get into the academy as soon as possible. The way the curriculum is you’ll be doing 3.5 to 4 years at the academy whether you go to Juco for a year or not. I would suggest however if you go straight to the academy taking your more difficult classes that are non USCG courses at the junior college while you are at the academy and transfer them in.

Don’t mean to sound like a downer, but take a realistic measurement of your math learning skills. If you want to be an engineer that’s all math and science classes right there. Not that deck is a cakewalk, but I have a lot of respect for people with BE degrees, I’d never be able to do it.

and what on earth did you do in the Navee? At 35 I must assume you were in for at least 10 years…any seaservice which might already qualify you to sit for a license or a watchkeeping unlicensed rating?

Capt Obvious - I hear you, I want to spend as little time dicking around in college as possible. From looking at queensborough in NY I could spend 2 semesters there and would be on track for sophomore year at SUNY. I am still digging into the Maine side of things.

Domer - I dont think the math will be too big of an issue I do need to take a refresher course however.

I was a Machinst Mate for a short stint then got re-rated to a secret squirrel. Spent most of my time in the navy in a chair.

Schuyler was ABET accredited when I was there, and they offer the EIT test during senior year. Not many took it and not many of them passed it, but the opportunity is there.

I’m a deckie, but my father is a P.E. (civil engineering) and has been hired for several jobs simply because of that.

Looking at the schools sites all seem to be equally accredited (except Texas which I have no clue their site is terribly organized as far as relevant information).

If you want to sail then go to the cheapest academy. Nobody gives a shit what school you went to as long as you have the license


If that is true (the low pass rate on the EIT, now called the FE), then that is a terrible reflection on the quality of instruction at SUNY. The FE exam is not very difficult, especially for a senior with all the information fresh in his mind.

KPChief also has good information. I think it was early 2000’s that NCEES came out with Naval Architecture and Marine engineering PE exam, As mentioned, it’s up to the state on eligibility and all the nitty gritty. In general, the blue (yankee and left coast) states tend to have more onerous regulations than Southern states. List of PE exam disciplines here:

Again, this PE talk is a tangent for one that only wants to sail, but if there is a chance of going shore-side, a few simple choices now, combined with one not being intellectually lazy, would provide the PE option in the future.