2nd degree and ROTC

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by s.b.s.b, Oct 10, 2011.

  1. s.b.s.b

    s.b.s.b Member

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2011
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    I've been looking into commissioning as an officer into the Army, and one of the sources I've been considering is ROTC.

    I already have a 1st BA, and graduated in May '10. At the moment, I'm employed in an overseas job, and probably won't be seeking a commission until my contract is finished, which will be in about 5 months.

    At any rate, along with looking into OCS, I've been considering ROTC. The two options I've considered is going back and pursuing a second Bachelors, or going for a Masters, and applying for ROTC for each. I've asked various forums around the web, and have received varying replies about the soundness of each option.

    My question is: considering only ROTC, is there clearly a better option? In my opinion, I weigh each of them about the same, but I would like to hear from others their thoughts about which may be the better option.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Pima

    Pima Parent

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2007
    Messages:
    12,804
    Likes Received:
    941
    Remove the ROTC option for a second.

    Why do you want to go back to school at this time?

    What do you want to do as a commissioned officer? Is your intention to obtain a 2nd degree or Master's to be in the field you want to serve in as an officer whereas your 1st degree is not compatible?

    Why isn't OTS at the top of your list and from there use TAP to pay for your Master's? Is it that you didn't know as an AD member the military will pick up 75% of the tuition, or that you don't want to get your Master's through satellite campuses?

    I would assume it is not because of payback time owed because you would have that via ROTC.

    Have you saved enough money to survive as a student again or do you intend to get another job to supplement your stipend, if you get one? A car payment and insurance, is not going to leave you any wiggle room financially while on scholarship, honestly it probably won't even be enough to pay the insurance, let alone car payment and gas.

    Do you have college loans? Have you explored the issue regarding repayment? Will the banks defer it? How will you pay for housing even if they cover tuition?

    Finally, for many it is an emotional issue from a maturity POV. Let's be honest you will have been out of college for 2 yrs prior to going back. Remember when you were a sr. at college and you looked at sophs as dumb arses? That's how you may feel returning to college. At both of my kids colleges they now offer a 5 yr program for non-tech, 6 for tech. They actually graduate 1 yr later than planned, but they also have their Master's along with their BA/BS. So even for them the oldest they would be is 23/24, with very few having that adult experience of life like you. Their life has been in a different world, academia, not real life. I would bet my dogs that now with real life experience you get that much of what you were taught in college was theoretical, and not practical for the corporate world, and we all know reality rarely meets theory on the same plane.

    OTS will be filled with people like you that are college grads, and have life experience too.

    Just as we say college is not just ROTC to HS kids, the same is true for you. Hence, back at where I started... why do you want to go back to school at this time?
     
  3. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2010
    Messages:
    7,544
    Likes Received:
    1,004
    Since you already have a BA you certainly would not be eligible for a 4 year scholarship. I would think you'd be treated more like a transfer student and could perhaps get a 2 year scholarship, or perhaps advanced standing. Regardless of the scholarship, I would think you could participate in ROTC as a College Program student (ie. on your dime for tuition etc.) I'm assuming you're under 27. You don't mention any stats but you would have to maintain a 2.5 GPA. I would hope you are also physically fit as you would have to pass a physical fitness test to join.

    You should discuss this further with the PMS at some of the schools you are interested in since your case is so far out of the ordinary.
     
  4. s.b.s.b

    s.b.s.b Member

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2011
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    @Pima: thanks so much for your prompt and thoughtful reply. I'll do my best to respond. Here we go--

    >Why isn't OTS at the top of your list and from there use TAP to pay for your Master's?

    This is the first option I will be pursuing. However, OCS slots are also very competitive right now, and in the event I am a non-select, I would like to have a second method to commission, instead of having to wait half a year just to be able to resubmit my package.

    >What do you want to do as a commissioned officer? Is your intention to obtain a 2nd degree or Master's to be in the field you want to serve in as an officer whereas your 1st degree is not compatible?

    I want to be in MI-- some of the skills I picked up in college during my first degree may make me competitive, but I'm not positive a major in English is in my favor. I did minor in Arabic and French, and have a 2 or 2+ rating for each.

    I am indeed hoping to make myself slightly more competitive/compatible for MI with a 2nd degree. With a BA, I'm hoping to do another language, or possibly something like Political Science with an area concentration in Middle Eastern studies. For a MA, I would do a degree in Sociology or Political Science; in the university I'm looking at, they offer a MENA (Middle East/North African) certification to complement your degree, which I would also pursue.

    >Have you saved enough money to survive as a student again or do you intend to get another job to supplement your stipend, if you get one?

    This may be an issue. The only debt I have is in college loans, which would be deferred while I would be in school. If I don't receive a scholarship, I may need to take out further loans, which is where grad school might be painful. Even though the university I'm looking at is among the cheapest in my state (that offers a good degree), it's still upwards of 10K a year. In two years, I would rack up as much debt as my first degree.

    In this case, a BA would be much, much preferable, because I would still be reinforcing/supplementing/supplanting my existing degree, but for a whole lot less. This option may be around 10K for the two years I would plan to be there.

    >Finally, for many it is an emotional issue from a maturity POV. Let's be honest you will have been out of college for 2 yrs prior to going back.

    This is also an interesting issue, but one I'm more than willing to swallow if it comes down to it. It's very true I'll be with a bunch of people, while about my age, will have a different maturity level.

    This is something I had to deal with the first time around, since I grew up very poor and living on a farm, so I've always had to deal with very serious, adult issues that my more privileged peers would never have been able to grasp. This is something I deal with even in the real world, where I've experienced things people my age or senior to me might not have, and I've learned to cope.

    >I would bet my dogs that now with real life experience you get that much of what you were taught in college was theoretical, and not practical for the corporate world, and we all know reality rarely meets theory on the same plane.

    I would definitely agree here, but again with my background with a real life job working on a farm, I already knew that sometimes college degrees mean very little. I was actually surprised at how much I was able to use my school training in this job, so that was pleasant.

    At any rate, thank you for an opportunity to really examine my goals again. I have been thinking about this quite a bit, so I've really tried to make it as realistic as possible.
     
  5. Pima

    Pima Parent

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2007
    Messages:
    12,804
    Likes Received:
    941
    With this new military for any branch a 2.5 gpa is not where you want to be at if you want to serve AD. Yes, you can keep the scholarship, but your military career options become severely limited.

    Additionally, if you do decide to go for a 2nd undergrad, colleges have stipulations regarding credit hours, not only to include how many you must have to obtain a degree from them, but lag time. In other words you are now on a good day going to be 24, and they may say that the ECON class you took when you were 18 is no longer valid due to time constraints.

    Colleges believe it or not are businesses, that is why you rarely hear of a kid entering with 30+ credits because of AP and jump start graduating in 3 yrs. 3 1/2 yes, but not 3. They are using loopholes to keep them longer, must have 60 credit hours, or 30 in their major. It is also why you see now for majors they require a mandated class which is only offered 1x a yr with limited class size. That mandated class is a pre-req. and if you don't get in you are not able to graduate early.

    At our DS's school, they have finessed it to a point that the pre-req is only one semester, returning students typically fill the class, thus new students with credit hours from other sources can't get in. VOILA! They have you for 4 yrs.

    College is a business. Getting a 2nd degree is foolish IMPO. If you want to return get a Masters... the military will require it for promotion later on as a Field Grade.

    Again, I don't know your financial situation, but unless the folks are floating you money, even returning as a scholarship recipient, I can't see how you can afford to go this route unless you saved a ton of money.

    Are you willing to go back to college and live in an apt with roommates again, crappy furniture, cinder brick walls, survive on Ramen? Go OTS and you get a salary, have a career, and the military picks up 75% of your Masters seems so much better. JMPO!
     
  6. s.b.s.b

    s.b.s.b Member

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2011
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thank you for that point about the 2nd BA-- I would be looking for a 2 year scholarship, at any rate. But thank you for pointing it out as possibly doing it from my own pocket.

    I'm 24, graduated magna cum laude with a 3.67 with loads of other stuff, and I'm physically fit. 1.) I've worked on a farm since I was very young, and 2.) before I got into the current job I am now, I had tried to get into Marine OCS. Long story short, I was a non select, but the training set a base for what I'll be doing for the Army.

    Thanks!
     
  7. clarksonarmy

    clarksonarmy Recruiting Operations Officer at Clarkson Army

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2010
    Messages:
    1,699
    Likes Received:
    450
    Grad school and LTC is your best option. No guarantee of scholarship or branch of choice, but 2 years vs 4 years will be what you are looking at. I'm not a fan of OCS because of the risk of failure and incurring an enlisted obligation. Not that that's a bad thing, but I've seen applicants with their heart set on Officership come up short and end up having to choose an MOS.
     
  8. Pima

    Pima Parent

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2007
    Messages:
    12,804
    Likes Received:
    941
    we x posted.

    I would tell you if you are going for a 2nd Poli-Sci is not where I would go. It would be Foreign language in Arabic or Chinese.

    AN MA in Sociology or Poli Sci is also not where I would go. OBTW our DS is dual Govt./International Relations, Poli Sci and core concentration in military history; so when I say this, know I have said it to my kid.

    An MA if you want MI, would be a better fit in language, International Relations, or Organizational Management., but not Poli Sci, it is just too broad.

    English major and french minor are not in your favor.

    What is your job now overseas? Those connections might help. Real life is not just about what you know, but who you know...that is why they call it NETWORKING!

    Yes, but the corporate world will not give you an edge for 2 BA degrees. Remember Army does not guarantee AD, so you may find yourself in a few short yrs entering the job market again and now that debt doesn't help you.

    All economists expect 2013 to be the earliest we turn this economy around. It won't flip from 9% unemployment to 5% in a yr, it will take yrs. Meanwhile, while you were getting a 2nd BA, other kids were getting an MBA. Employers have a choice take you with 2 undergrads, or the other with a grad. Which would you take?

    Again, AROTC is not like AF/NROTC, there is no guarantee as a scholarship recipient upon graduation you will go AD, AF/NROTC that is fact, you will go AD. Do NOT read into this to go AF/NROTC, I am just saying that if you believe you will go AD as an AROTC cadet, regardless of your gpa, you are opening yourself to a world of pain built from a fallacy.

    Repeat after me OML. This is true for all 3 branches, scholarships on day one become moot, the slate is cleared and they don't care who is picking up the tab.
     
  9. s.b.s.b

    s.b.s.b Member

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2011
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    Pima, again, you bring up some great points for me to consider, and definitely to do some research on. The idea is that I would seek a 2nd BA at my first university, where I hopefully haven't been gone long enough for them to change all of the undergrad requirements. I need to do more research for this, so thank you for pointing it out.

    About finances: you're right, in that this may be a problem. It would ultimately depend on the scholarship-- with a scholarship, I could pay for my living expenses. Without a scholarship, it would largely be loans. I may be able to sign on for LRP, which would be good. Again, I'm used to having a very poor living conditions, so I'm not worried about sacrificing some kind of ideal I've made for myself. I just want to get a commission.

    I agree in that getting a Masters during or after military service would be better, but I first have to get in.

    In this case, my desire to become an officer being equal in all senses, the largest influencing factor now I think is finances. Obviously, OCS is cheapest, but in the event I am a non select, I don't want to wait 6 months just to reapply, which is the current regulation.

    MA would be the most impractical due to finances, but would still offer me an advantage in education. BA would be affordable, and allow me to become slightly more competitive for MI, but perhaps not as much as an MA.

    Again, thanks for giving me all of these things to consider, it's much appreciated.
     
  10. Pima

    Pima Parent

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2007
    Messages:
    12,804
    Likes Received:
    941
    Have you contacted your college and talk to the ROTC unit there?

    They may have insight for you regarding how competitive it will be for you.

    Have you discussed with anyone in the Army and your current employer about the fact that you do owe have a committment owed, but maybe they can release you early so you can apply now, and worse case scenario apply again in 6 months?

    You also may want to pm someone like Clarkson or Marist. They work with AROTC and may be able to give you insight regarding current manpower needs for 2012. If they have too many it may be to your advantage to not go OCS.

    Remember the military has a statistical relationship with the economy regarding supply and demand. When the economy is in he tanks, retention is high, when unemployment is low, retention is high. Right now we are in the tanks, thus the ones with a commitment of 4 yrs are not leaving at the rate the Army expected 5 yrs ago, and that is on top of the draw down.

    Just like corporations, and colleges, the military has a bottom line for budgets.
     
  11. s.b.s.b

    s.b.s.b Member

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2011
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    @clarksonarmy-- sir, are you attached to Clarkson in NY? I graduated from Potsdam. Thanks very much for your thoughts, I had forgotten about becoming enlisted if I didn't pass OCS.

    @ Pima-- thank you! You just brought something up I had been wondering about for ages: Organizational Management. I honestly have no idea what that degree entails, but it gives me hope, because the primary college I have been considering offers it. Would you happen to know if it would be useful even outside of the Army in the MI branch?

    Also thank you for reinforcing that more languages would be good for MI, I will also keep that in mind.

    >Remember Army does not guarantee AD, so you may find yourself in a few short yrs entering the job market again and now that debt doesn't help you.

    This is a big concern of mine. I understand getting AD based on my OML is also very competitive, but in a way, it's like fighting against the other OCS applicants. So the risk of getting AR or just not getting selected at all seem to be fairly equal.

    About my job: right now, I'm under contract by the Korean government to teach English to highschool kids. Not sure how much pull that has. At any rate, leaving now to seek an OCS commission isn't something I'm keen on. I'm still due to make something like 7K by the end of my contract, which will help in paying for college loans and whatever else might come up.

    Again, thanks to everyone for your replies.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2011
  12. Pima

    Pima Parent

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2007
    Messages:
    12,804
    Likes Received:
    941
    My Masters is in Organizational Management with a core concentration in HR.

    Basically, Organizational Management is more like strategic planning. It looks at management from the inside, and how the structure (centralized, de-centralized) operate.

    You will still take classes like Econ, marketing, etc., but now your lessons are from case studies. You will look at a company and de-construct their failures/successes.

    Human Resource will allow you to go in depth with Unions and federal laws on the books. This will also help for military or non-military.

    Organizational Mgmt IMPO would be good because the military is a centralized organization with de-centralized within it. Every base/post must follow the HQ directive, but within each base/post the units operate on their own regarding their specific mission according to the leadership.
     
  13. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2010
    Messages:
    5,541
    Likes Received:
    841
    S.B.S.B.

    One thing to remember, Clarkson brought this up but I thought I would mention it again.

    There is no gaurantee of what branch you will get in either OCS or ROTC. You are placed on an OML based on your GPA, PT, LDAC, and other factors. Where you are on the OML will depermine what branch yo receive. Finish in the top 10% and you are gauranteed your branch, lower then that it becomes the needs of the Army, obviously the higher you are on the OML the beeter chance you have in getting the branch you desire.

    I mention this because you were talking about MI as your branch of choice. In reality whatever major you choose will have no impact on getting MI, the only factor will be your placement on the OML.

    PIMA is corect about Active Duty, there is a cutoff line each year, those below the line are forced Reserves. Granted right now the cutoff is pretty low, that could change in the future and it could get a bit more competitive to get Active Duty.
     
  14. dunninla

    dunninla Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2010
    Messages:
    1,866
    Likes Received:
    5
    I suppose it depends on perspective. Last year about 40% went Reserve Component. A vast majority, let's say 75% of that 40% that went RC would have preferred AD. I personally don't think that 30-35% of all cadets not getting AD, who wanted it, to be trivial.

    I was told by a PMS last spring that the AD cutoff line could be at 60% (meaning only 40% get AD) on the OML for YG 2015 when they are preparing to Branch. That is a sobering thought that around 50% of those who's goal and dream is to go AD will be denied.

    To me that isn't "pretty low", unless your perspetive is top 10% or DMG :thumb:
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2011
  15. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2010
    Messages:
    5,541
    Likes Received:
    841
    It was actually a bit different then that.

    I unfortuatly don't have Power Point here at my office so I have to use rough numbers.

    Your correct, about 40% went reserves last year. out of roughly 5000 cadets, 1900 went reserves voluntarily. that left 3200 or so wanting AD. Out of that number about 600 were forced to reserves leaving an AD list of 2600. So if your looking at the total number of cadets then about 6% were forced Reserves.

    Now if look at only the number of cadets that wanted AD then the percentage of cadets forced to reserves would be about 20%, still pretty low compared to what ROTC was like pre 9/11. The past years have been unusual as far as both scholarships and AD. What we will see in the future will just be the Army going back to historical levels, fewer scholarships and less AD.

    Another reason I mentioned the cutoff being low is the stats you actually need to be forced reserve. GPA is of course important but so are other factors. All the cadets at my son's battalion that wanted AD made AD this year. The lowest GPA among them was 2.4, this cadet did however received an E at LDAC as well as Recondo and Top 5 which did help his OMS score.

    This year the Army took just over 300 more cadets AD then it did last year. The total numbers have not been released yet so it is difficult to see the percentages of both AD and tose forced reserves, From the raw numbers it would seem that it is not much different then last year.
     
  16. Pima

    Pima Parent

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2007
    Messages:
    12,804
    Likes Received:
    941
    I agree dunninla for many their dream will not become a reality, and as always that is the devil in the details.

    I am assuming that s.b.s.b. always want to serve AD since he mentioned MO ROTC, and this is just not a passing fancy, but the path now has to include fiscal options.

    He is not 17, he has seen employment prospectives and understands that his gpa will be a big factor.

    Leave all of that alone for a second, the bigger issue is he wants MI, and it is now not only about being happy not going AD, but happy going AD in a field that he doesn't desire.

    Again, s.b.,

    I would look into getting a Masters, not necessarily an MBOM, but even in foreign languages. You stated you had 2 yrs of Arabic. Did you enjoy it? That is a field any branch would scoop you up because the supply right now doesn't meet the demand.

    I also believe you can test for it as an OCS candidate. Will not swear on that, just thought I have heard of candidates being brought in for foreign language.

    Another option to think about is serving your country via DIA or Homeland or Dept of State. You can use your experience that route, and as you are working in DC get a Masters.

    Just something to think about. Serving our country can also include serving for other agencies. My cousin's DH works for Army Homeland, in Peru right now, but he is not military. My friend works for Homeland Defense and was in the AF for 25 yrs. They are different entities.
     
  17. s.b.s.b

    s.b.s.b Member

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2011
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    @Jcleppe and dunninla: thanks very much for the breakdown of how ROTC cadets are considered. Are there any more specific stats to attach to some of those numbers? Like average GPA for this past year to be considered in the top 10%, what scores they had in LDAC, etc?

    @Pima: thanks again for more to think about. I loved Arabic, and consistently scored top marks in my classes, and I would love to get a MA in it. I don't know if it counts, but I actually had more than 2 years of Arabic; the 2-2+ was actually my proficiency rating. I score an intermediate or intermediate-high in the language, if that makes any difference. I was a tutor and teacher's assistant in college as well for the language.

    I will look into OCS and language-- it wasn't something I was aware of, and gives me more to research. Definitely something to consider.

    You mentioned DIA or Homeland-- both of these options were things I had been considering for quite some time, and are very attractive to me. Army MI, while something I wanted to pursue for its own end, was also a way to possibly get further experience for jobs like that, if I decided to leave the Army after my commission was fulfilled.

    Again, thanks to everyone who replied. It's been very helpful for me.
     
  18. dunninla

    dunninla Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2010
    Messages:
    1,866
    Likes Received:
    5
  19. Pima

    Pima Parent

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2007
    Messages:
    12,804
    Likes Received:
    941
    s.b.s.b.

    We are here to assist yo achieving your goal, and sometimes the path is not direct, hence we think outside of the box too.
     
  20. s.b.s.b

    s.b.s.b Member

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2011
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    @dunninla-- thanks, very helpful.

    @Pima-- thanks again. This has been great.

    One other overall question-- from what I understand, ROTC makes up about ~50% of Army officership needs, leaving something like 20 or 30% from OCS. This past Sept boards saw about 6 out of 50 candidates get acceptance to OCS. How would this measure up against ROTC's rate of commissioning into AD?
     

Share This Page