Accepted to Harvard but not granted an NROTC scholarship

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by Ivydad, Sep 20, 2010.

  1. Ivydad

    Ivydad Member

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    I am the proud father of a 3rd Class Midshipmen at the Harvard/MIT NROTC unit. He is one of two Harvard midshipmen from the class of 2013 and the only one not on scholarship.

    It is hard to understand how he could be accepted to Harvard (7% admittance rate) and not be deserving of a NROTC scholarship.

    In an effort to earn a scholarship and be commissioned an officer my son joined the Harvard/MIT unit as a College Programmer. During his freshman year he made the effort to excel in his naval science classes (Harvard gives zero credit for these classes), PT and general studies and was awarded the academic achievement ribbon twice for high GPA (3.75). For this effort the Capt. of Unit recommended him for a PNS Leadership scholarship and he was made a squad leader.

    This month we learned that the Navy did not grant my son the PNS scholarship because they are over subscribed for the class of 2013 and most likely no scholarship will be offered. The Capt. was very supportive and made it clear that my son deserved a scholarship. Furthermore, the Capt. said he would recommend my son for "Advanced Standing" which would include a monthly stipend, entitle him to a senior cruise and allow him to be commissioned in the Navy (though no scholarship).

    The issue is “Advanced Standing” is not guaranteed and a decision would not be made until the summer before his junior year. Therefore my son would be required to give another year to the NROTC as a programmer. Then the Navy would make 1 of 3 decisions: award him a scholarship, grant Advance Standing status or drop him from the program.

    It is very hard to understand why the Navy cannot grant Advanced Standing immediately or guarantee Advanced Standing based on meeting certain requirements so that my son would know that he can be commissioned an officer (even if he has to pay for his education).

    An interesting piece of information is in the recent past the Harvard/MIT unit has only commissioned scholarship students... there has never been a programmer commissioned! This statistic does not bode well for my son.

    There have been countless articles about ROTC at elite colleges and how the typical Ivy League student has a little interest in pursuing public service through our military. Participating in ROTC in the Ivy League is not easy for many reasons... My son is not your typical student and he proud to wear the uniform and represent the best of our military on campus. The Navy has the opportunity to acknowledge the achievements and efforts of an outstanding young man of impeccable character and intellect with a NROTC scholarship and a commission in the Navy.

    It is my firm belief that in today’s troubled times the Navy could use intelligent young men... it just doesn’t make any sense!
     
  2. aglages

    aglages Parent

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    Why didn't your son apply for a NROTC scholarship before he graduated from high school? If his stats were good enough to get into Harvard then he should have been an extremely strong candidate for an NROTC scholarship before college.

    The problem I think he is having now is budgetary. The Navy is evidently cutting (eliminating?) their In-College scholarships and focusing their ROTC money on selecting the best of the high school applicants. If it is any consolation I believe the Air Force has also drastically reduced it's In-College scholarships.

    Again I don't think this is a reflection of the Navy's opinion of your son or his Ivy League education. He just seems to be caught at the wrong place at the wrong time in regards to how the Navy is allocating it's ROTC scholarship dollars.
     
  3. DougBetsy

    DougBetsy Member

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    I wonder if this is one of those times when it's worth trying a call to your congressman or senator.

    Good luck.
     
  4. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    It is important to understand that scholarship boards are not just academic. They are looking for the WHOLE candidate, not just the smartest. I know that gives no solace, but it is the truth. You can be incredibly smart, but that still only accounts for 60% of the score, if your son is lacking EC's and recs that 40% will impact the WCS.

    The boards award points to each candidate and then they draw a line. Anyone above X number gets a scholarship, below and there is no scholarship.

    Additionally you do have one thing going for your son. There may not be a guarantee regarding the advance standing, but the adage RHIP (rank has its privileges) and the fact that an O6 is willing to go to bat for him will carry more weight than an O4 or O5.

    There is always a higher risk of not getting an In college scholarship because as they stated to your son, for the class of 13 they are meeting the numbers, thus it is very competitive. Scholarships sometimes are given out for particular majors, and it maybe that a cadet from a lower quality education was selected because of their major while your son's major is not a career field that they need currently.

    Just like AD life, the military many times turns out to be all about timing.
     
  5. rkrosnar

    rkrosnar Member

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    Accepted to Harvard...

    PIMA is absolutely correct. but this young man has a very bright future ahead
    of him, since Harvard made an offer.

    RGK
     
  6. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Without a doubt he does have a bright future, but I do understand the frustration that you have an intelligent child who wants to serve and can't find a way in.

    This is the time as a parent you tell your child that if being in the Navy is your fate, than it will happen.

    I do have to ask Ivydad one question.

    Have you asked your DS if every scholarship recipient was commissioned upon graduation. Did every cadet go to summer training?

    This is a tell tale sign regarding man power issues.

    At our DS's det. (AF) a scholarship cadet with his career assignment (AFSC) was handed walking papers 3 months prior to graduation. 1/3 -1/2 of the det did not get summer FT. In other words, the writing was on the wall that the AF had decided to slow down alternative commissions. This was reinforced a few months later when the AF canceled OCS for the yr. and announced a RIF

    This could be where the Navy is at currently. They are trying to get ahead of the game before they have to do drastic cuts.

    It is important to not only understand the ROTC process, but to understand that Man Power has a hand in this too. They need to keep a balance of not only how many are coming on line, but how many are already on line. If the current officers are not diving at the amount they had planned, they need to slow the pipeline down so the company grade to field to flag stay in balance.

    The economy has a great impact on this issue. Traditionally, if the economy is good, retention is low for the military. Conversely if the economy is poor the retention is high. Due the math, our economy is not good and so they probably are over filled with company grade officers.

    Again this all goes back to timing.

    Out of curiosity why didn't he apply in hs? Did he want to test the waters (no pun) first?
     
  7. DougBetsy

    DougBetsy Member

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    :eek:Holy cow! Does that mean the cadet has to repay the cost of his education?
     
  8. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    No, it was the AF's decision to cut him loose, so he was not held accountable for repaying the money.

    However, imagine in March you are informed you have no job. The cadet had planned for 4 yrs that he would be serving for at least 4 yrs in the AF, only to find out late in the game it would not occur. It really placed him behind the 8 ball in the interview process since he never intended to go that route and his peers had now been interviewing for several months. He graduated with no job. Even more heartbreaking was he was the only one cut loose out of 20-30 cadets.

    It was his gpa, I think it was 2.8-3.0. It wasn't great, but it wasn't horrific. However, the decision was not made by the det., it was made by the national board...we need to cut, and anyone under this line is gone. He was under the line.

    Again, this is why you need to pay attention to your major. Don't just do a throw away because you think/believe you have a job when you graduate. Always be cognizant that your major is also important.

    This was also true for FT, they made a line and anyone under a certain gpa did not get FT. This will hurt them this yr because Cadet 300's get their AFSC in Feb/Mar time frame. To go up against other cadets on a national level that had FT and you didn't places you at a severe disadvantage for getting your dream job.
     
  9. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    IvyDad - I don't think there are any easy answers here.
    What is your son's major?

    Why? Some college students take ROTC and then decide it's not for them or just take it for the leadership experience.

    If he truly wants to serve, he could consider cutting his losses with the Navy and consider either Marines or Army.
    IF he considers Marines he can check out the Marine PLC program. This will provide some money for college and does not require ROTC.
    If he considers Army then he should go to the AROTC office. If he gets with them this year he can go to LTC (Leader's Training Course) next summer. This takes the place of MS I and MS II.
    His Junior and senior year he would take MS III and MS IV and the summer prior to his senior year he would go to LDAC.
    I *think* after successful completion of LTC next summer he would be eligible to contract.
    I have no idea about a scholarship. He would have to discuss this with the AROTC batallion.

    I am pretty sure that the decision to contract a cadet/mid is always made after the second year of college, if they are not on scholarship.
     
  10. basilrathbone

    basilrathbone Member

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    I doubt that the "whole student" thing is a factor in this case. The fact that he got into Harvard indicates that his EC's and recs were already stellar enough to have him stand out in a field crowded with applicants with perfect SATs and Class Valedictorians. Academics alone don't get you into Harvard.

    I don't know the answer. Maybe it's his concentration or maybe there were no spots available at all this year. If he really wants to serve in the Navy then his time in the Unit as a programmer is providing valuable experience for him. That should help him for Advance Standing. Otherwise he can also consider applying for OCS upon graduation. It would seem that his time in the Unit would be very valuable in getting a spot at OCS. I wouldn't worry too much about the percentages working against him. It could be that there have been no college programmers to be commissioned from Harvard becasue no one has ever tried.

    If you decide to go with the suggestion to contact your congressman then I strongly suggest you run that by the Captain first. Surprise phone calls from Congressmen to CO's never seem to go over very well.
     
  11. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    As a long time poster and a ROTC Mom, everyone knows this is my pet peeve.

    DO NOT APPLY FOR A SCHOLARSHIP IF YOU DON'T WANT TO SERVE IN THIS BRANCH!

    Serving is admirable, but should not be placed in the equation. Want to serve the military...use your Harvard degree and work for Lockheed or Grumman to design the next plane or tank. You will impact the military to a level that you never realized. Designing the next ejection seat could save lives of our military. Designing a new helmet with comm gear impacts the mission as much as being in the mission.

    If your DS wants to serve in the military in any branch GREAT! However, he needs to understand every branch is unique, not only from their own mentality, but their mission too.

    The AF, Navy and Army are not always interchangeable when it comes to AD life. The Army teases the AF constantly because they live Banker's hours. Kind of stinks, if you think the Army is the same as the AF only to realize their duty hours are 7 to 6 and the AF is 8 to 4. Kind of stinks if you want Army because you don't like water, to go NROTC and have to live on water!

    The beauty of our military system is that it is not a 1 size fits all. There are Navy personnel who have no desire to be a Marine, and nobody will make them be one! There are Navy personnel who want to be a Marine and if not they want the Army. There are Navy personnel that feel they want to fly fixed wing, so if they can't have Navy, AF works too. You have options, and when you decide what you want to be AD then you can choose those options. However, please, oh please, don't apply for a scholarship because you can't get one here, but you can get one there. It is AT LEAST 4 YRS of your life after graduation, and that does not include additional time tacked on because of training, promotion, PCSing, Tuition Assistance (TA) for a Masters, etc. Your son could be 30 before he can leave...is it worth 10 yrs of his life, especially if they never wanted to serve in that branch to begin with?

    The point is you DO NOT ACCEPT a scholarship just because one branch offers it over another. You accept because you want to serve in that branch.

    As a retired AD wife, and a AFROTC Mom, I would sell my kidney for tuition before I told my kid to take a scholarship for the sake of a scholarship or serving. I would show them that you can still serve this great nation without being in the military. The cost is too high.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2010
  12. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    Pima, calm down.
    You don't know anything about this kid and neither do I.
    I was simply throwing out other options that this dad's son could consider.
    You don't know what you don't know.
    Doesn't it stand to reason that if you are smart enough to go to Harvard you are smart enough to do the research blah blah. Obviously, if he is not interested he won't go for it.
    Geesh.
     
  13. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    JAM,

    To me I think about lurkers and parents with no military connection. All of my posts place this in the front of my mind.

    I don't want any candidate or cadet to believe that branches are interchangeable.

    I agree, I don't know, nor do you, but to be given this advice:
    It implies that the branches are interchangeable.

    You and I also don't know their financial situation or any lurkers situation. To some they may be opting ROTC for fiscal reasons, and it is important to acknowledge that the devil will collect the toll. The devil is the military and the toll is 4 yrs of their life AT LEAST. To me, as I stated, I would sell a kidney before I had my kid serve in a branch JUST FOR the $$$.
     
  14. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    I never once said they were 'interchangable'. I have no idea how you concluded that. "cutting your losses" implies that they are not. You have to actually leave NROTC and move in a different direction to another branch.

    Do you know anyone who has done this? I have and they have not regretted it. Is it for everyone?? No, of course not.
    I am happy for you and your son that he doesn't "need" his scholarship. This is not the case with many other cadets and mids. This is reality. Go ahead and bash all the cadets and mids who accept financial help so they can receive a college education and pay it back to their country in service, but I won't.
     
  15. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    He is not contracted. He is doesn't have to fill out any forms. He can simply leave.

    Did you miss the multiple times I said I would sell my kidney. Do you think I am selling a kidney because I would want to? Our DS is OOS, without his AFROTC scholarship, he would have gone to other schools that offered more merit...i.e. UMiami with their 100K merit or UNCCH full ride merit. He took the ROTC scholarship and his college offer because it was AF and the college.

    My kid is silly, we are too, we just wanted him achieve his dream and were willing to do everything to make it happen. That means selling a kidney if we had to.

    As a parent who has a child on ROTC scholarship and could not afford the 40K tuition per yr, I do not bash anyone for accepting this route.

    As a spouse and a parent who endured this life for 20+ yrs I feel that I need to acknowledge the high cost that can come with the price.

    Bullet buried his 1st crew mate at the ripe old age of 26, I was 9 mos pregnant with DS1. Tell me, is 100K in college loans worth that death? He buried crew mate 2,3, and 4 at 28, I was 5 mos pregnant with DD. He was on the Ramp at the 82nd preparing for a jump when a 16 crashed into a 130 at the age of 29 and killed multiple soldiers, I was 7 mos pregnant with DS2. He was 38 when he lost another F-15E crew mate. It was repeated again just a few yrs later.

    He was in the field for my due date of our child. He was in the air when I went into labor with another. He was sent 10 days after I gave birth TDY for yet another child. He missed 8 of the first Halloweens. 10 of our 20 anniversaries. 15 birthdays. Should I continue explaining the emotional cost?

    We are not talking about oh well, no biggie, you will be safe. We are talking about the fact that it will impact your life in every aspect.

    You need to address all of these issues when signing on the dotted line. You need to understand when you sign, YOU BELONG TO THEM! You can't say, can we negotiate my career field or assignment? You can't say, to MPC, I really would prefer XYZ over ABC. You can't say to the commander, sorry, I have plans this weekend. YOU BELONG TO THEM, and your opinion/desire is not taken into account when it comes to the mission. YOU BELONG TO THEM the minute you take the oath. To say, try another branch for the scholarship, OKAY, just hope you understand that YOU BELONG TO THEM when the rubber hits the road! Hope you get they OWN YOU! Stinks if you think you have wiggle room with the military for the next 4 yrs because you accepted a scholarship. Try telling the Army, I accepted a scholarship, I didn't know I would have to go to Korea on a remote for a yr...go for it, let's see how far that gets them. Are you honestly going to say Remotes don't happen? DO you understand what a HOT LIST is, I do!

    Yep, you are right, I know for a fact with 2 kids in college on scholarship, FA, and payment plans it is very difficult. However, as I keep saying, I would sell my kidney to make sure that they could live their dream and not be tied to a career which could kill them for the 4 yrs after they graduate. Silly me, I get the devil is in the details, and I am unwilling for my child to pay even if it means risking my own life to do it!
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2010
  16. Ivydad

    Ivydad Member

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    I would like to thank everyone for their feedback. My son did apply for a NROTC scholarship while in HS and was denied. It might have been because he is a tier 2 major but with the understanding that 20% of scholarships were being awarded to non technical majors and he was ranked in the top 1% of all high school seniors & admitted to Harvard, we thought he still had a good chance of receiving the 4 year scholarship. None the less he has toughed it out as a programmer and has excelled in and out of the classroom. When the Capt. recommended him for the PNS Leadership scholarship he thought his hard work would be rewarded... but to no avail. He has dreamed of being a Naval Officer since a child and I do not think he is interested in pursuing another branch of the service... it just may not be his destiny to serve in the military, though I know with his intelligence, integrity and moral character, he will serve and contribute to his country in another way.
     
  17. aglages

    aglages Parent

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    I'm sure you are correct. Good luck to you and your son and please tell him not to give up on his dream. :thumb:
     
  18. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    IvyDad -
    I would suggest that he talk to the Capt and find out why no other college programmers have been commissioned recently. He should also ask if he is not picked up and contracted his junior year can he commission through OCS when he graduates?
    Finally, perhaps he wants to apply to USNA for next year? :wink:

    You are right, there are other avenues. Perhaps he would consider looking into the Foreign Service, CIA etc.
    Good Luck to him.
     
  19. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    This is excellent advice. Everybody on this board is speculating with no information to really add. The person who can provide him with concrete advice is the Captain there at Harvard. He probably will not and probably doesn't know either why your son didn't get a scholarship last year (It is a board decision which means by default there is nobody most of the time who has "The" answer)- but he can tell you what his chances of getting commissioned are if he stays as a college program Mid, and can also tell him what his chances would be for commissioning via ocs after graduation. He might also confirm that no non scholarship students got commissioned- I've found over the years that great deal of "gospel truth" as passed among Cadets (or midshipmen ) isn't exactly reality. If he really wants to know- go to the source and certainly should do that before he gives it all up.
     
  20. gojack

    gojack ....

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    OOPS!!!

    Wrong thread

    Sorry

    Can this be moved to:
    "What's happening with Army ROTC?"
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 22, 2010

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