A little help and info?

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by Philovitist, Sep 20, 2012.

  1. Philovitist

    Philovitist New Member

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    I'm a high school senior interested in gunning for an ROTC scholarship.

    I definitely qualify for one — I have a 4.712 GPA, am the only national merit semi-finalist (hopefully finalist, soon) of my school and have been active in ECs every year.

    I'm more concerned about whether I want one or not.

    My first choice school to apply to is Johns Hopkins, and I would try to join its Army ROTC. Ideally, I could apply to the school Early Decision with financial worries ameliorated by the full 4-year scholarship I'd end up getting.

    But I keep getting signs that this isn't for me even though I desperately need it to be for me.


    Those who I know at JHU say that everyone they know in ROTC hates it.

    I fear that the time taken up during both the school year and the summer will restrict me from successfully double-majoring within 4 years and using my summers productively to prepare me for my ultimate goal — a career in science.

    I'm also worried that my 4-year commitment afterward — which I am otherwise glad and proud to serve — will make me a less competitive applicant for the graduate schools I ultimately plan to apply to.


    Can any of you provide some insight into what rotc life is like, especially at JHU?
    And also into what goes on after graduation, and after service?
    Is ROTC the right path for me?
     
  2. Aglahad

    Aglahad Member

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    I doubt anyone can give you the specifics on JHU but we can get you a perspective on ROTC is life which is pretty similar for most schools.

    You mentioned science? Medicine? Research? What kind of science are you looking at and what branches appeal to you initially. Give me some more career goals and I can help you.

    For full disclosure I did AROTC.
     
  3. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    A few comments before I try to address your question.

    First, be humble. OK you've got great test scores and scholatistics but there is more to qualifying for a AROTC scholarship than that. Its Scholar/Athlete/Leader. What athletic experience do you have? What leadership experience? How do you think you would do in an interview with that attitude? How will you do on the CFA? Perhaps you're great at all three (SAL), but to get the scholarship you're going to be compared to others all across the country who are great at all three, and scholarships are relatively few in these budget times. I wouldn't be jumping to conclusions.

    Second, you can always apply and then refuse the scholarship you already deem you have earned, and time is wasting. I'd at least begin the application while you sort through whether it's something you really want to do. I would visit a unit, preferably JHU and try to speak to the cadre and cadets directly, rather than taking second hand input on this important decision.

    Third, I would never recommend applying Early Decision to a school when applying for a ROTC scholarship. Your scholarship may not be awarded to the school you applied ED to, and now you're stuck going to that school without the scholarship if you cannot transfer the scholarship. I also wouldn't recommend applying to a school you cannot afford (it's not clear to me whether this is an issue for you with JHU) without the scholarship. You might decide you do not like ROTC (as you say) which you can do anytime freshman year, and disenroll from ROTC. Or, you might not cut it academically, or be injured, or do something stupid like drive drunk. In these cases ROTC will disenroll you. Now, how are you going to pay for the school? And further if it's after freshman year, how will you repay the money you received for the scholarship? Enlistment isn't generally an option these days of excess military manpower and scarce military dollars.

    I know of folks who did AROTC and double-majored. I'm sure it depends on what the majors are and how many credits you can test out of due to AP courses etc. However, AROTC will keep you busy and the folks I know who did this were definitely time management masters.

    I wouldn't think 4 years in the Army as an officer would hurt your grad school applications. You'll be mare mature and will have definitely demonstrated leadership skills and determination. I suppose depending on the field of science you are interested in there may even be opportunities to have the Army pick up grad school. After all, that's exactly what the Army Officer AROTC cadre at JHU is doing, they are attending grad school while training and grooming future Army officers.

    I know I'm not much help on JHU per se, but I hope this is helpful overall. And as I said, the best way to learn is to visit the unit or contact some cadets at the unit directly. I'm sure they would be happy to help answer any questions you have about the unit. Sounds like you already know some folks who know some folks so perhaps you can work this from that angle.
     
  4. cravius

    cravius Member

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    Your initial post sounds arrogant, an attitude that will not get you very far in ROTC. You talk like you receiving a scholarship is a done deal. While your credentials are impressive, nothing is guaranteed. The military is not a place for halfhearted commitment, and it has to be something you have a burning desire to do, otherwise you will not commission. Try being a little more humble and really thinking twice about whether or not this is something you truly want for yourself.
     
  5. Ohio2015Parent

    Ohio2015Parent Member

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    As a mom - DS is AROTC non-scholarship - I would be very hesitant for you to sign a contract even if you are offered a scholarship. The demands of AROTC are real and if you are not fully committed to your first goal being to serve as an Army officer, you may be very unhappy with your decision.

    Also, you mention great academics, would need to understand your EC's, especially those involving VARSITY athletics.

    I encourage all applicates to keep their Plan B,C and so on in line - your academics alone should allow you to receive merit money at most universities. Good luck with your plans.

    crossed posted with kinnem - please take his advice very seriously!
     
  6. dunninla

    dunninla Member

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    Assuming you decide that you want to serve your country as an Officer in the US Army, then your prospects for some graduate schools are very good. Business School, Law School, in particular.

    I can't speak to what it would be like to apply to Masters or PhD programs in science after 4-5 years of active duty. I suspect it would not help or hurt, but practically speaking, how would you come back up to speed with a lot of technical stuff you might have forgotten between learning it, and then going to graduate school 5 or 6 or 7 years later?

    Well, maybe not. Being a strong Scholarship candidate involves four areas:

    1) Scholarship
    2) Demonstrated Leadership
    3) Athletic fitness/performance
    4) Convincing a Lt. Colonel in your Interview, and then a Scholarship Committee, that you really, really want to serve as an Officer in the Army, and for the right reasons.

    You are clearly strong in 1) above, but how are you in 2) - 4) ? Do you qualify in all four areas?

    This is not intended as a personal attack. Every person is entitled to their goals, aspirations, and what they need to do to reach them. However, your post leaves the feeling that you want to use the AROTC scholarship as a means to the end goal of paying for an expensive and prestigious college and having a successful professional career after (possibly grudgingly) serving the minimum 4 years, rather than having the college ROTC training experience be the means to the end of serving your country as an Officer in the Army, with an option out after 4 years. I recommend you give some throrough thought to whether you'd want to serve as an officer in the Army if there were no financial benefits attached. The answer to that question is usually at the heart of the matter.
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2012
  7. jocomom

    jocomom Member

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    My DS spent spring break of his junior year visiting 10 schools with AROTC. He started with Duke and ended in Boston. His favorite program by far was JHU! The cadre was amazing and the building that housed the programed was crammed full of happy cadets working, studying and socializing. Yes, the leadership will change within the next 4 years, but it was clearly a program that had been strong for some time and would continue to flourish. He ended up not ranking it at the top of his list because overall he felt that the the University was not the best fit. He was looking for balance. He applied EA to the school where he ultimately was assigned and is currently loving both school and AROTC.

    Of course, he really wanted to be in AROTC and wants to commission. To him ROTC is not about paying for college, though trust me, I appreciate that it does. It is about commissioning in the US Army. If you are not sure that is what you want to do, then AROTC at JHU, or any where else is not for you!
     
  8. nick4060

    nick4060 Member

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    Dont commit to the military unless you really want to serve. Its simple as that.

    Judging by your post, you sound unsure about the military and ROTC. My advice would be to research and learn as much as you can BEFORE committing. Coming onto this forum to ask questions is a good start. You also need to go to your local university and visit the ROTC units. Talk to the staffs, talk to the cadets. Talk to people you know who've served in the military. Learn about what life will be like for those four years of ROTC and the four years of active duty afterwards.

    You said that everyone you know in ROTC hates it? Ask them why. Then go find some cadets who love being in ROTC and get their perspective.

    The point is that this is a big life decision. You need to be as well-informed as possible. And DO NOT let the scholarship tempt you into doing something you dont want to do. I cannot count how many people I knew in ROTC that joined because of the money. Literally every one of them ended up quitting for this or that reason...but in the end it was simply because their hearts weren't in it.

    Be fair to the Army and be fair to yourself. You sound like a smart person. I'm sure there are other ways for you to accomplish your goals, without forcing yourself to commit to something you dont want to do.
     
  9. Philovitist

    Philovitist New Member

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    The point was that I am certain I can get the scholarship if I aim to get it. I didn't give all the details because I'm not interested in that aspect of the process right now. But I am involved near the top of the chain of my JROTC unit's chain of command, and am on both its Rifle and Academic Team. My main sport is Track and Field, where I run distance. I do cross-country during the fall.

    It's not arrogance; I just wanted to explain where I am, since my chances of actually getting a scholarship are pretty important when it comes to this. As I said, I've already received a lot of information about my chances for a scholarship; I'm more interested in figuring out if accepting and using the scholarship would be a good decision for me. Thank you.

    I admit that I am not the most gung-ho person for joining the military out there, but spending four years serving my country in the military before beginning a career has become a serious part of my life plan. My unwillingness to devote my entire life to serving humanity in that particular way should not mislead you into thinking I'm not committed to military service.

    I've been in JROTC since high school started and unlike my less committed classmates I am comfortable with the lifestyle and find resonance with its values. I truly believe that ROTC is right for me.

    *****And now for the wonderful advice.*****

    I don't have enough resources to actually visit any colleges of merit. It sucks and could eventually leave me dissatisfied, but I have no choice except to take that risk. There simply will be no college visitation for me, though I will and have contacted the school and program.

    No matter what happens, I will accept the consequences of my decisions. If I begin college with the ROTC scholarship, there will be no dropping out of the program. I will deal, I will change my life plan, I will do whatever it takes to fit myself to the situation.

    But until I take the plunge, I still have options, right?

    That it's a bad idea to ED expecting an ROTC scholarship is pretty disconcerting; thank you for that information. I could always take out loans to complement JHU's aid if I don't end up getting it, but I'm trying hard to avoid that.

    I know ROTC and a double major will leave me strapped for time, but as long as it is possible, I am happy. I'll check with current JHU cadets to see what proportion of them double major.

    The only thing I'm worried about is that I'll be left feeling unfulfilled. I'm really passionate about science, too and would like to be able to do a lot of research in college. I guess I'll have to consider that on my own.
     
  10. Philovitist

    Philovitist New Member

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    That's really encouraging. Thank you.
     
  11. dunninla

    dunninla Member

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    Ahh, to be so youthful and sure of oneself again... I miss that a little in my more mature years.

    OP - if you only knew how many fantastic, can't miss applicants get the TWE from West Point and Annapolis, and NROTC and AROTC, you'd temper your surety just a little. I hope you do get the scholarship, it your heart is truly in it... and it's not for me to judge. You say your heart is in it, so more power to you.

    As a practical matter, you will find a lot more ROTC participants in the Sciences in NROTC and AFROTC than in AROTC. Perhaps you should locate a few of them, at Hopkins or elsewhere, to find out more about double majoring, and a career in science after your mandatory Active Duty service.
     
  12. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    My first thought is that ROTC and the military is not for you. Not saying you shouldn't but it's just an observation.

    You will not have the summer after your junior year if you choose AROTC, that is the time you go to LDAC.

    Navy will leave you less summer time off, and Air Force has training the summer after your sophomore year, that is if you qualify to stay in the program once you start.

    It will not always be up to you if you are dropped from the program, leaving you with a massive bill to pay. The military pays the rack rate for tuition and that's the amount you would be required to pay back...no breaks.

    Your post said nothing about Athletics or leadership positions, these are very important. Based on what you posted (no athletics or leadership other then JROTC) you would be an average applicant, even with your grades.

    If you are interested in a double major and "Lots of Research" ROTC will make that difficult at best.

    Just be aware that if you decide that ROTC is not for you then you will be stuck with the option of taking on massive debt from JH or transferring to a lower cost university.

    This is not a commitment to take lightly.

    And for the record, this board is filled with applicants that had academic stats like yours that did not receive a scholarship. You posted what I'm sure is your weighted GPA, what is your unweighted GPA.

    You are correct though, with your GPA you are academically qualified. Now you need to be medically, and physically qualified, among others, and that's not as easy as it sounds.
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2012
  13. cravius

    cravius Member

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    JROTC is NOTHING like the real thing. Believe me. I'm sorry if I came across as rude in my first post, I just see how hard it is for cadets who REALLY want it, let alone someone who is seriously questioning it. It is awesome that you are considering serving your country, but it really is not for everyone. FYI my academic stats were no where near yours and I still managed to get a scholarship, but as the other posters indicated, the Army wants well rounded leaders.
     
  14. Melitzank

    Melitzank Member

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    When applying to any type of ROTC scholarship (whether it be AROTC, AFROTC, NROTC, or NROTC-MO) or service academy, one should never be certain that they`ll get it. While the minimum GPA to be considered one is very low, in the 2`s...2.6 I believe, I think that a low amount, if any, have been awarded to people with GPA`s that low, especially in the recent years, when the scholarships have become more competitive.

    Now, you have an excellent GPA, academics, EC`s, etc, etc....but you can still NOT get one. I`m only a sophomore, but I will work as hard as I can from now until it`s time to apply to USNA and the NROTC-MO scholarship to increase my chances of getting in. But even if I had the highest GPA possible, I still couldn`t be certain. There are so many factors that play into getting one. I truly hope you receive one, don`t misunderstand me, I really do. But it does sound like arrogance, at least to me. You just make it sound like you deserve one. With grades and EC`s like that, you sure do, but make sure to keep your attitude in check. Sorry for giving you a condescending talk :redface: (really, I am....I wouldn`t want some 8th grader really talking to me like that), but I think you also need to see it from a younger teen`s point of view, who has wanted this for a really long time. (I have no idea how long you have been interested in the military, but you make it sound like this is a newer thing you have thought about). I`d give my right arm to be able to go to USNA or get a NROTC-MO scholarship (Actually, I wouldn`t...that`d be a PDQ :rolleyes:), and I have nowhere near as great as credentials as you do.

    I guess the right word I`m looking for is that it seems like you feel entitled to one. Anyhow, sorry for the long rant/my .02, but that`s just what I think. I know a current naval officer who went to USNA and a young man who is applying right now, they both have/had excellent grades, EC`s, etc. I also know another young man who got grades as good as them, who did NOT get in--and they all have awesome grades.
     
  15. Aglahad

    Aglahad Member

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    Ok to me it sounds like you want to serve but also pursue your career interests in science research. The military can aid a lot of career goals but PhDs in science related fields are usually not one of them (at least not initially). Medicine/law on the other hand are graduate career paths you can jump right into provided you get into med/law school.

    In essence, if a scientific research field is your ultimate career goal ROTC/SAs are not the best option. Perhaps direct commissioning after your undergraduate education would be the best option. If you did ROTC (lets say army) and medicine was not your interest just research I can almost guarantee you would have to do 4 years in a army branch field that probably won't relate to your career goal. The military is in the business of war, defense, humanitarian aid and taking care of soldiers and their families. If your career path does not directly relate to those services the military will not finance it nor postpone your service time for you to achieve it, that is on your own time.
     
  16. Philovitist

    Philovitist New Member

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    I have enough physical and other qualifications, too, but that's really beside the point. This thread is not about whether I am qualified or not. I'll worry about that as I go. I'm sorry if I appear arrogant. Perhaps I am underestimating things a smidge. Thank you for making me more aware of what it will take.

    And thanks for the other advice.

    I suppose this is going to be a dilemma. Military vs. Academia. I'll think about it.

    Thank you all again, seriously.
     
  17. Philovitist

    Philovitist New Member

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    My idea was to serve and afterwards begin a new career.
    To do my part with diligence and devotion, and then use my experience to do other things. And if I fall in complete love with the first career, I'll never leave.

    But clearly that's not an option. I have to deal with the ambivalence now.
     
  18. Melitzank

    Melitzank Member

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    The thing you need to now do is decide what`s more important. Do you absolutely want to serve in the military? If so, consider OCS. Competitive to get in (but then again, so is ROTC) but that way, you would be able to conduct all of your summer programs and research, and still commission into the military.

    Something to think about.
     
  19. armydaughter

    armydaughter Member

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    Someone mentioned it earlier in the thread but I think you may have glossed over one point. Assuming you are correct and you are certain to get a scholarship, there is no guarantee that the scholarship will be to the school you are applying ED. If you apply ED to JHU and then get awarded a scholarship to another school, you will have a complication. You can try to get your scholarship transferred, which as I understand is tricky when your school is an expensive private university. Other options are to try for a college based scholarship or go through the first year of ROTC without a scholarship and apply for a three year one while you are a freshman.

    My point is only that your decision tree might be a little more complex than you think. :smile: Good luck.
     
  20. Melitzank

    Melitzank Member

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    :thumb: Good point!
     

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