Column: A Scholarship That Will Get You Through Life

By Susan Parker
Tuesday April 18, 2006

Last week I received an important letter from the United States Navy. This is what it said: 


Navy. Accelerate your life.™ 


Dear Parker J. Susan. 

I’m thinking your vision of college and success is different than most people’s. Any scholarship will get you through college, but you’re looking for something more. Like a scholarship that will get you through life…starting right now. With the prospect of graduating debt-free—a great way to start your career!  

That’s why I’m letting you know about the Navy Baccalaureate Degree Completion Program (BDCP) that offers money to complete your degree—money sent directly to you! To spend as you see fit, and no military requirements while you’re in school. Just a typical college life, minus the money hassles.  

Picture it. You. With a Navy scholarship. And a job waiting right after graduation. No searching for a position and no waiting to “earn” responsibility. Get extensive training on the world’s most advanced equipment. Plus full Navy benefits and outstanding medical coverage. Enjoy more responsibility early on. After just four years, you’re free to take your skills to the civilian job market—where you’ll have a competitive edge. Or continue your Navy career. Pursue a graduate education—at the Navy’s expense. And there’s much more we’d like to tell you.  

Ready for a short-term commitment with long-term rewards? It’s your call. Discover more about the life you could have through the Navy Baccalaureate Degree Completion Program. Fill out and mail the attached reply card, call us at (800) 345-6289 or e-mail  

Now more than ever, let’s make a difference. 


Lance S. Sapera 

Commander, U.S. Navy 


What do you want to do? As a Navy Officer, choose from a wide range of career fields—aviation, clergy, health care, engineering, legal, supply and many others. Call us and we’ll tell you more. Shift your career into high gear. Navy. Accelerate your life.™ 


The letter was decorated with color photographs of huge steel-gray battleships plowing confidently through a calm blue sea, and a single Naval officer dressed in white, looking directly at me and saluting.  

At the bottom of Commander Sapera’s communiqué was the postage-paid reply card with some questions for me to answer. The Navy wanted to know if I was a U.S. citizen and if my GPA was 2.0 or higher. “Best Time to Call?” they asked, and then they gave me a choice of “a.m. or p.m. (please circle one).”  

I telephoned my dad and read to him the contents of the letter. 

“They want you bad,” he said when I’d finished. 

“It seems that way.”  

“’No waiting to earn responsibility,’” he said. 

“More responsibility early on,” I added. “And a scholarship that will get me through life.”  

We were silent for a moment as we contemplated a scholarship that could possibly get me out of the responsible life in which I’ve been engaged for the past 54 years, and into something more responsible—like the Navy. 

“I think you should choose a career in Naval clergy,” said Dad. “It might do you some good.” 

“Really? I was thinking I should wait and see what the Army, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard have to offer and then make a decision.” 

“Not a bad idea,” said Dad. “Not a bad idea at all.”