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Old 05-22-2004, 17:17   #1
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Fort Hood, TX
Posts: 3
Advice on a College Major


I hope this is the right area to place this post. I did a search before posting this but couldn't find anything.

I have been in the Army for abour four years now; three years active duty and one year here at West Point. When I was enlisted I fell in love with the Army and decided to spend my career as an officer, rather than simply serve a single term of service as most men in my family do. When I was enlisted I was privileged to be in 3rd Ranger Bn, which admittedly still colors my view of the Army as a whole. However, while deployed to Afghanistan I came in contact with several professionals from Special Forces, and after learning, reading and researching I decided to do everything I could to become an 18A.

I know nothing is guaranteed. I could take over a platoon and make an ass of myself. But I am firmly convinced that I have what it takes, and I intend to be there in about 6-7 years.

Now I have a question, and I don't really have anybody impartial to turn to for advice. There are several SF officers here at West Point, but I have found that each of them is very partial to their own field of study, and each tries to convince me to major in their department. There is also a huge pressure for professors to convince cadets to major in their given field; while I feel that the professionalism of those officers is probably beyond this, it may play a part, even if unconscious.

Do you feel that there is any major which would be helpful to a prospective 18A? It's certainly possible that one's college major would have little bearing on performance as an officer. On the other hand, I would like to major in something that will be useful. I am very proficient academically and could major in almost anything. While a pure math major might be tough for me, I could get by in an engineering or science field. However, I am drawn more toward humanities courses. I am being heavily recruited by the History department here - they have an excellent deparment and history was my first love. I am also looking seriously at the Military Arts and Sciences major - while we certainly get plenty of exposure to the military lifestyle, in some respects our tactical education is somewhat lacking and the MA&S major would fill some of that gap. Right now I am leaning toward International Relations because it seems applicable, and it is flexible enough to allow me to draw from several other fields for electives. Still, there is an appeal in something like Human & Regional Geography, or Leadership from the Psychology department. I considered majoring in a language(s) but have been warned that this deparment is somewhat lacking - however, perhaps I should start early.

Have I ignored a good major? Am I thinking too much about this? Will any of these majors have any applicability to an officer, regardless of branch? Or do you wish there was someone that had guided your steps when you were in my position? To the team NCOs, would you feel your commander would be better prepared with a grounding in one of these fields? I am fast approaching the point where I have to make a decision. Essentially, I have this summer to ask any final questions from cadets and officers, and I have to declare soon after returning in the fall. I would greatly appreciate any guidance from anyone on this site. Thank you very much for your time. Respectfully,

"In the absence of orders, go find something and kill it." - Erwin Rommel
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