Advice for The Citadel and ROTC scholarships

Discussion in 'Publicly and Privately Funded Military Colleges' started by 49er, Mar 2, 2011.

  1. 49er

    49er Member

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2011
    Messages:
    60
    Likes Received:
    0
    I have looked over this forum for a while now and would like to get the other members advice in regard to my son. My son is a junior in high school. He has for a long time wanted to attend The Citadel. The reasons are numerous. Even though he has always lived in North Carolina my family is from the Low Country of South Carolina and I lived there as a child. Due to this we spend a lot of time in Charleston. He has visited The Citadel numerous times in his life. He also closely follow a pair of brothers that the thought a lot of attend The Citadel (one severed in the Army the other has been an officer in the Marines a little over a year). Earlier this month he visited The Citadel for an “official” college day. About an hour after the visit, on the way home, I asked him what he thought and his answer was “It (the visit) made me want to go there even more.” I think he knows what he is getting into as such as any 16 year old can actually know about a Senior Military College. I don’t think getting in will be any problem for him. His unweighted high school GPA is around a 3.75. His most recent ACT score is a 25 (more on that later). He also has a strong desire to serve although he is not certain as to which branch he would prefer at this time. He sees good points about both the army and navy. He plans on applying for ROTC scholarships and here is where I am seeking advice to give him. I mentioned his GPA above. Most of his classes are honors classes. He took one AP class last year and two this year. He has played JV football in his ninth and tenth grade years along with JV baseball his ninth grade year. He played varsity baseball in the tenth grade and earned his first “letter”. He played varsity football this fall (junior year) and although he was not a starter he did letter. He is currently a starting pitcher on his varsity baseball team; however, I doubt he would be a college prospect. He earned his Eagle Scout rank at the beginning of his tenth grade year and earned a bronze palm for Eagle last fall. His troop has about 45 scouts and he served as their Senior Patrol Leader in his tenth grade year. He is currently a Junior Assistant Scoutmaster in the troop and organizes the troop’s color guard for outside groups, sporting events and etc. In addition he was selected to serve as a Senior Patrol for a contingent troop to the National Jamboree last summer. I think this was an honor because he was selected from a group of scouts from five different counties in our area. He is active in Interact Club (service club) and the Model United Nations Club at school. He was inducted into the school’s Beta Club this past fall and he is now active in that club. He is active in church and in Young Life. He served as a representative to a regional Model UN Conference last year. He will also serve as a representative to another regional conference next week and to a larger Model UN Conference at Georgetown University in Washington DC later this month. He feels at ease around military members. His biggest weakness is in English, specifically reading and those darn standardized test such as the SAT and ACT. He has taken the ACT three times. The first two his score was a 21 each time. After the second test in December he got busy with an on-line program (March To Success which is ironically free through the Army) and several study guides. He took the ACT again in February and received a 25. I think this is even more significant when you consider he raised his reading score from a 17 to a 23 in just three months. I am also concerned about the interview process as he is a man of few words especially in formal settings and especially talking about himself and his achievements. Third, while he has spent a lot of time in scouting and has shown leadership in scouting I am concerned about his lack of leadership positions in sports/clubs at school. His baseball coach does not believe in team captains so serving there is out. He is working with a guidance counselor and a teacher in trying to organize a Venture Crew at his school. What advice would you give him and me? (Note, I have never served in the military but I did complete several semesters of AFROTC in college.). What would help his chances at an ROTC scholarship? He certainly plans to continue taking the SAT and ACT this spring. He likely will take an SAT prep course over the summer in order to get ready for the early fall SAT. Would having another visit to campus and talking with officers in each of the ROTC programs be a good idea at this time? What other ideas do you have?
     
  2. patentesq

    patentesq Parent

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2011
    Messages:
    1,587
    Likes Received:
    0
    49er, here's what I recommend:

    First, don't place all your eggs in one basket. Your DS should apply to all SMCs and SAs if he is reletively indifferent to what type of military service he wants (most are, IMHO, even when they think they aren't). There is a LOT of random elements in this process. In short, your DS may now be totally into The Citadel, but if he were to get into an SA, he would likely warm up to that. Casting your net very broadly (mutual fund approach) is the only way I know how to minimize risk. And at the end of the day, if The Citadel door is open for him (which it appears it will), then he can always go through that door. At least he won't ever wonder whether he should have pursued another related opportunity. In short, decisions are typically much better when you have multiple options and select one of them. In contrast, if you pursue only one route, and that door never opens, then you are in a world of hurt.

    ACT Prep: You should definitely look into Huntington Learning Center (they might want to talk you into SAT, but insist on ACT). You likely have a franchise near you. I recall passing that place many times thinking that it was a place for flunkies. One of the neighborhood kids went there and really got a great score on the ACT. So I tried it with my kid. I was totally, completely amazed. Huntington is different from a lot of other approaches. The way they do it is to give your DS a real practice test. They score it and meet with you and your DS. They ask your DS what score he wants, and then they tell you how many sessions you will need. It is basically one-on-one tutoring to teach your DS everything he learned as a sophomore but promptly forgot. The other thing that is really important for your DS is that they actually teach your DS how the essay is SCORED. Once you figure out how the essay is scored, it is much easier to conform the writing to get the maximum number of points.

    Huntington is not like other test prep places where they basically teach test taking skills (e.g., "if you can narrow it down to two options, guess"). You actually learn substance.

    You might think that tutoring is expensive. But if that gets your DS a free-ride to college, it's definitely worth it. I know, it's a bit of a gamble.

    One final point about being a parent. All of us have learned a lot about this process by reading posts, etc. When the time comes, you should pay that forward and help give advice to future parents and DS/DDs.

    Good luck. I look forward to seeing you around here. :thumb:
     
  3. bjkuds

    bjkuds Parent

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2010
    Messages:
    614
    Likes Received:
    15
    I'm going to be very candid..I agree wholeheartedly with Patent especially this part. DS got into every SMC he applied to but did not receive a ROTC scholarship thus far. Already turned down from the Navy and waiting on last board for the Army. If his SAT/ACT would have been higher I believe he would have been very competitive and won one. It was his only weakness and I regret not getting him a tutor for the college boards. I did not realize until it was too late how high they "really" have to score to be competitive. AP everything 3.9 GPA unweighted..EC's..well spoken kid, the typical total package as many are on here..but a 570 catagory ave on SAT's or a 25 on the ACT does not compete with 650 plus or 30 ..If you can come up with it I say do it. Good luck
     
  4. philmont

    philmont Member

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2010
    Messages:
    223
    Likes Received:
    4
    It is tough to do it all. I mean as parent and as a kid. My DS did get 4 year AROTC scholarship (October board) to a SMC and all other choices too with a 24ACT at the time and 570s SAT at that time. He re-took both tests and did get his scores higher but probably not high enough for USMA which is his extreme desire and first choice (but probably not going to happen because of his SAT/ACT scores). I was willing to spend the money for an expensive SAT or ACT course or the individual tutoring BUT he just did not have the time...!!! Varsity sports every season, team captains, SPL, Eagle Scout, NHS, Student government, school newspaper, teaches Sunday school, APs, other school activities, etc.... He is gone from 6:30 am until 7 or 8 in the evening depending on sport schedule.
    In retrospect, should he have done it to get into USMA? YES; but just don't know when!
     
  5. philmont

    philmont Member

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2010
    Messages:
    223
    Likes Received:
    4
    Some thoughts- Scouting is great leadership.
    School leadership will be important too. Many schools have outdoor adventure clubs which might be a route for him to start a club at school vs. a venture crew specifically associated with BSA.
    Does school have Key Club or other service club where he can serve? Get involved with homecoming committee, school food drives, etc. I am sure there are many opportunites for him at school to step up to the plate...
    Even though his baseball coach doesn't assign team captains, that is an opportunity for him to show leadership. Is he is any other school sports? Consider XC in the fall. And look into Boy's State.
    I suggest applying for ROTC scholarship as early as he can and update activities. The AP classes definitely help for ROTC scholarship. He should also apply for National Honor Society.
    In his interview he needs to portray that passion that you describe above and show confidence, he's an Eagle Scout, right?
    Good luck!!
     
  6. 49er

    49er Member

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2011
    Messages:
    60
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks for the responses and advice. Out of fear that my first post was to long I did leave out that DS is looking into the Service Academies. He has been encouraged to do so by a couple of my friends at are reserve officers (both Colonels). He has shone some interest in the Coast Guard Academy. He has not visited but really likes what he sees in the literature they have sent him. I also think he likes it because of its small size. DS is also considering a couple of in state schools (UNC Charlotte and NC State). He asked the other day, “Do you think I should apply to VMI?” so that is on his mind also. (Trust me that is like a North Carolina fan thinking about attending Duke or a South Carolina fan thinking about attending Clemson in my DS’s mind.) Patentesq, the nearest Huntington is about 40 miles away and I will check further into it. Philmont, I assume from your user name you are a scouter or at least a strong scouting supporter. Again I left some of the information in my original post out in regard to the Venture Crew DS is helping get off the ground. DS was concerned that a regular crew would sound too much like a boy scout troop and was concerted high schoolers would not be open to the concept. The current plan is for the school to form an Outdoor Club with a church sponsoring a crew. Members of the school’s club would be dual registered in the crew. BSA has used this concept with a couple JROTC units in the area. Club/Crew would likely not wear the standard uniform and would operate more like a club; however, the leadership positions would be the same for a normal crew, members could work on advancement and the club/crew would be high adventure focused. Local BSA DE is onboard with this concept. Also, we seem to have the same problem, how much is too much. DS’s normal day runs from 6:30 am (wake up) until at least 7:00 pm. After that it is homework for two AP classes and an honors pre-calculus class. Days with baseball games run until 10:00 pm or later even on school nights. This morning (Saturday) he is off to help with a golf tournament that is the baseball team’s biggest fund raiser. There is really no down time and even most of that is still spent a school in club activities or supporting other athletic teams from the stands (although there may be another reason he wants to attend the girl’s soccer games, he is a16 year old male…). Summer is already filling up. He has been accepted to serve as a governor’s page one week and plans on going with the troop to summer camp to obtain his lifeguard certification for another. (I understand he may need to prioritize here but both the governor’s page program and lifeguard certification are certainly good things.) He also plans to work for a landscaper some this summer. I will have him check into Boy’s State. (Mom would like him to go on vacation with use for at least a week….) He is planning on running for club office(s) for next year. His school does not have a National Honor Society Chapter, they have a Beta Club which serves as their honor society and he was inducted into Beta this year. I have looked at both organizations’ goals and etc on their websites and they appear to be the same. However, I have noticed NHS is what is usually mentioned on applications. I doubt the school would have NHS anytime soon as Beta has been around on campus for a long time. His high school (of about 1200 students) is likely one of the oldest public high schools around. The campus has a great mix of restored historic buildings and brand new buildings. He is a member of what will be their 120th graduating class. Many of the current teachers went there. Heck, I went there. It is not hard to find third and fourth generation graduates. Tradition is sometimes hard to break. I will do my best to “pay it forward” in the future.
     
  7. Texmom

    Texmom Member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Messages:
    120
    Likes Received:
    0
    49er

    sent you a pm
     

Share This Page