AFROTC and Me: The Non-technical applicant

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by SecretRusski, Jul 31, 2013.

  1. SecretRusski

    SecretRusski Member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2013
    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hello ladies and gents of the forum! Firstly, I apologize for posting something that many have probably asked before, and thank you all for your time.

    My question refers to the AFROTC Scholarships, which I've stumbled upon about 2 months ago whilst searching SMC's. I've noticed that they are focused QUITE on the Engineering/Tech/Math majors, while there's also the remaining 20% that are handed to Foreign Languages. This last little chunk is where I'm aiming to get. However, looking at some of the other applicants, it's as if I'm running against a wall! I'm just wondering how my stats would look to a board of senior officers, or better yet - actual servicemen.

    Here's my general background:
    I am a native speaker of Russian(Which will be my desired major listed, though I will either DM or minor Criminal Justice), and was born/had lived there until 10. I have perfect fluency in both Russian/English.
    I've been interested in Law Enforcement since age 10. This resulted in me taking dual-credit classes, assisting local SRT, and being a member of Police Explorers(Also assisted in doubling said program via recruitment). I'm also currently a Community Service Officer.
    My ACT score was 31, GPA 3.79(uw), and Class Rank at top 20%. I've been honors/accel Math and Science for all 4 years. I generally take lead on group projects.
    I was borderline obese sophomore year(WoW player, of course.) Basically built myself up, dropped 50 lbs, and played football for a year.
    Current PA score(self tested) was at 86. I'm a lifter, not a runner(6'1, 208), but that's nothing another month or two of training can't fix.

    I contacted my local ROTC head;was told he'd like to have me in his cadre. Sadly it will never be my detachment because the college has no Russian.

    So I guess my ultimate question is: What are my odds, as a native speaker, of getting a scholarship? Does something like that increase your odds over the run-of-the-mill student? I would REALLY appreciate any and all criticism, so please don't hold back! Thank you all again for your time.

    P.S.- I'm hoping to end up in OSI if I do get commissioned.
     
  2. Strength and Honor

    Strength and Honor Member

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2013
    Messages:
    614
    Likes Received:
    28
    You might be concerned about how your ties to Russia and living there for 10 years could affect you getting a security clearance. This isn't the Cold War anymore of course, but it may be a problem, especially getting Top Secret clearances.
     
  3. Future2LtMom

    Future2LtMom Member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2012
    Messages:
    379
    Likes Received:
    2
    Pima will probably be your go-to person for this. She will probably see it tomorrow and respond.
     
  4. Pima

    Pima Parent

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2007
    Messages:
    12,795
    Likes Received:
    930
    Let's go 1 by 1.

    1. 20% of the scholarships are not just for foreign language. 20% go to non-tech which is what your major will be. It maybe that you misinterpreted the 20%.
    ~~~ IOTW, it probably is more likely that 20% of the 20% are foreign language or approx. 4% of all scholarship, if the numbers remain the same compared to previous yrs. You can expect 50 will go language out of a pool of 900 awarded from a pool of 5000 boarded.

    Now, understand that 5% of Type 1, which is 5% of all scholarships. Basically about 3 cadets out of all awarded will get a non Tech scholarship. Type 2 is 15%, and Type 7 is the bulk, which is where the bulk of non tech will get a scholarship from.

    2. Your SAT and grades are strong, but your class ranking may be an issue.
    ~~~ AFROTC looks at the school profile too. In the profile will be the % that go to Ivy, 4 yr private, 4 yr public, IS/OOS, 2 yrs and to the workforce. This allows them to see if the school is over inflating the grades. I.E. if 20% go Ivy, 60% go 4 yr, 20% go 2, it is seen differently 0% Ivy, 25% go 4 yr, 50% 2 yr, 25% work.
    ~~~ The profile will also include the academic rigor of your school. How many AP/IBs they offer. How many kids are taking them. Pre-reqs for these classes. They will not hold it against you if you have 0 APs because the way the school works since honors would be considered the highest as a jr. However, if you could be taking all APs now, but only taking honors, it will be not be seen the same way because they want to see you taking the most rigorous course load possible.
    ~~~ Also 31 is great, but what is the break down? A low E is going to hurt even if you have a 35 on M. Plus, AFROTC does not superscore, so if this is a superscore, what was your best sitting?

    3. Russian is not the language that they are currently placing on the top of their list, compared to others like Chinese and Arabic.
    ~~~ I would think it would be a hook, esp. for college, but for AFROTC they also look at the major. If you get the scholarship for foreign language, realize that if a yr from now you want to switch majors you will need approval from HQ. Typically transferring from one non-tech major to another is simple, but if you were awarded foreign language, than that becomes more difficult. They are bringing you in for foreign language, not just as a non-tech.

    4. An 86 is low for PFA. The way the system works is bust one portion of the PFA and you bust the entire test even if you max everything else. Again they are looking for the Whole person. It is a small chunk of the score, but every point counts. Others will have scores in the very high 90s...like 98. In the 4 yrs our DS was in AFROTC, the lowest PFA he ever had was a 95, which was due to a stress fracture with his foot.
    ~~~ Make sure when you take the PFA, you do it exactly the way it says. If it says a 2 min. break, than it is 2 mins. If it says your feet and hands must be in a certain placement, than it must be. You cannot contract without a passing PFA, and it is also 15% of your score for SFT selection as a C200.

    Finally understand the 1st board will not occur until Dec. It is a queue system. First in First boarded. This is a national board, not a geo-centric board like the SAs. They also do not care about which college you will go to as long as they accept the AFROTC scholarship, which is different from A/NROTC scholarships where the college choice matters.

    Many candidates get re-boarded. It is not necessarily a negative. It is just they want to see a larger pool because you are most likely on the cusp, maybe it is between a Type 1 or 2, 2 or 7, or 7 and nothing. Don't worry if you are re-boarded.

    Hope that helps.

    OBTW, forgot to say the biggest thing for AFROTC especially if you need the scholarship for financial reasons. The AFROTC scholarship is truly only guaranteed for 2 yrs. As a 200 (soph) you will need to be selected for SFT (field training). If not selected they can dis-enroll you. Your PFA, your SAT and your cgpa at college will account for @50% of the score. Commanders rec is the other 50%. As a non-tech typically the cgpa is @3.3/3.4. The board meets Feb of your 200 yr. Only your 1st 3 semesters will be used. Get a 2.5 1 semester, you will really need to ramp it up the next 2 semesters. Many HS kids think that because they did it in HS it will be a snap in college, but for some if they were just book smart, with little time mgmt experience they find it hard to juggle it all and their grades tend to suffer.

    It is also why they use the WCS with weight being given to ECs. EC's show time management while maintaining high cgpa. It shows long term dedication and hopefully some leadership too. Plus, it shows team work. All things that will be needed when it comes to AFROTC.
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2013
  5. SecretRusski

    SecretRusski Member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2013
    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi Pima,thanks for replying!

    1. My bad, from the website they said it broke down 80/20 by tech/language, then very little out to anything else.

    2. I have a fair sized school, and to be honest not sure about class rank myself. However, I'm glad to hear that they'll look at profile and classes taken, since that should help me out. As for ACT, this was my first time taking it. I'm going to re-test in September, with writing this time, so it may even improve to a 32 or so. My breakdown's pretty even, 30 E 30 M 34 R and 29 S.

    3.This is true. Though they list it as one of their "Critical Languages", hence my hopes. As for the major, I'm not going to change mid-year. I would like to have another one, but that's just ability based. I'm trying to pave my way in by language, since I'll most definitely be ahead of the class. My fluency and knowledge is essentially my strongest suit of the whole application.

    4.Yeah, you're absolutely right there. My score's not where I'd want it to be, mainly because of the cardio. However, I improved it from the barely passing 75 to the 86 within about 3 weeks. I think just continuing training daily should get it up to where it needs to be by December easy.

    As for the boards, are you saying to just turn in my stuff as quick as I can? I'm currently a bit stuck on the listing of the colleges I'd want to go to, but it's sounding as if they don't really care?

    As for the SFT, I'm not too worried. Local said only one guy failed out of his whole cadre of like 150 or so, and I'm pretty good with grades. As for Commander's rec, I can't see myself ever having issues with something like that.

    Thanks again for the reply.
     
  6. DeskJockey

    DeskJockey Member

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2009
    Messages:
    73
    Likes Received:
    16
    You invited honest criticism, so here it comes. I think that you need to establish your priorities. What is most important to you – becoming an AF officer, getting a scholarship, majoring in Russian, or having a career in law enforcement? While it is possible for you to have all of these things, you will probably have to make some compromises.

    You already know that the vast majority of AF scholarships – and virtually all of the high-value ones – are going to be awarded to engineering majors. From what you have told us about your academic background, you obviously have the aptitude to study engineering. That is what the AF needs and wants most. Quite frankly, I think it reflects somewhat poorly on you to choose an easy major in something that you already know instead of challenging yourself to learn something new and difficult. Of course, if you have a passion to study Russian at a university, or a strong dislike of engineering, then maybe you are on the right track. But if your goal is to maximize your odds of getting a scholarship and a commission – and to maximize your value to the Air Force as an officer - you should seriously consider selecting a Tier I major.

    I think you also have to consider if the AF is the best option for you. OSI is a small, highly-competitive career field, and it will not necessarily make use of your language skills. In fact, if you were to major in Russian, you may be predestined to be assigned to a language-related career field (like intelligence) other than OSI. On the other hand, there are non-military law enforcement agencies (FBI, CIA, HSA, etc) that may be more directly relevant to your career goals. If that is where you want to end up, then AFROTC may be an unnecessary detour.

    Finally, I think that you should also consider whether Army ROTC might be a better fit for you. The scholarships are not as tightly linked to technical majors, and I would think that the range of law enforcement and language-related career fields is likely to be broader.
     
  7. Pima

    Pima Parent

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2007
    Messages:
    12,795
    Likes Received:
    930
    1. The problem is you can only guesstimate the breakdown and that is after doing some more searching. For the past few yrs it has been around 900 awarded, thus you can figure out the non-tech numbers by doing some simple math.
    ~~~ Here is the problem. DoD budget for FY 14 has already been announced and it is taking another hit. Nobody can project where that loss is going to come from. It could be from AD personnel, it could be from operations, it could come from ROTC, or it could be all 3 or none of the above. Anyone in the know will not tell you because right now that is just the big number, not the nitty gritty.

    Just because yrs passed 900 were awarded, doesn't mean this yr. they will only award 750. Plus any ALO for the AFA worth their weight in salt will tell the candidate to apply for AFROTC scholarship as plan B. You will be competing against them too since AFA and AFROTC boards do not talk. They do not know if the candidate is using this as their plan B. I always say 95% of SA candidates will apply for a ROTC scholarship, however, 95% of ROTC candidates will not apply for an SA apptmt as plan B. AFROTC scholarships are national.

    2. Your ACTs are strong. They are above the avg for recipients. You stated you are in the top 20%, all you have to do is ask your GC % breakdown (Ivy, etc). It will give you a better feel.
    ~~~ This portion is called PAR (Prior Academic Record). It is @60% of your WCS. There is a breakdown from there on the wt for the SAT/ACT, the cgpa, the class rank.
    ~~~ Personally I would take the SAT and ACT again in the fall. The only thing AFROTC allows to add as a sr. are these scores. They will take the best. Our DS took both, he got a 1390 on his SAT, and a 33 or 34 (can't remember). They took his ACT because the score translated to the SAT was higher for him.
    ~~~ As I said that score unless you take the AFOQT will be used for SFT.

    3. Critical manning changes. I.E. when DS entered in 08, EE's were not considered critical manning majors. When he got his UPT slot in 11, EE's still were getting rated. A yr later EE was considered critical manning, and basically you had little to no chance going rated. It was the same for this past yrs board.
    ~~~ I know you don't want to fly, the point is in 1 short yr. majors changed regarding critical manning.
    ~~~ I am sure Russian is probably still on there, like I said it is an edge, but nobody knows the breakdown of the languages. If they set aside 50 for language, it maybe 35 for Chinese, 12 for Arabic/Farsi and 3 for Russian. AGAIN...national. They may decide to give all 50 to Chinese because for the 17 class they have enough of Russian majors in the pipelne. It could be they have 0 in the pipeline and need you more.

    Putin is crazy, and now with Snowden they may really want more Russian majors.

    That being said, also understand if you do Russian, and they award you the scholarship for that major, they also have a hand in what you will do ADAF. I.E. Rated and EEs. You want to be on the SP side of the house. They may say you are going to go Intel for cyber space to translate.

    That's the military. Service before self. Your desires will always be 2nd.

    4. You want to take that PFA way before Dec. It is a queue. The way the boards work is ADAF officers are sent TDY to Maxwell for 3 days. They are handed the files, and at the end of the 3rd day, if they get through all of them, great, if not, the candidate is told at this time they were not boarded and will meet the next board.
    ~~~~ Closer you get to Dec. the further you will be down on the pile and a higher risk that you may get the you were boarded notification.

    You want to meet boards early because many candidates don't get the DoDMERB exam request until they are deemed competitive. The sooner you get the exam done the better off you will be in case you get a DQ or remedial. If I had a dollar for every candidate on here that didn't realize something a doc diagnosed them with after 13 caused a DQ, I would be spending a 3 day weekend in the Bahamas. If I had a dollar for every one that was DQ'd because the doc gave them an inhaler for JIC, I would be there for a week. Same is true for vision.

    Many get tripped up on the DoDMERB. A waiver can take a few weeks, or a few months.

    5. Don't read into the SFT selection unless you ask the true questions. In 2010 the rate was 55%, 2100 +/- were selected. In 11 and 12 it was 90% +/-, 2200 selected.

    Statistically the only way to jump 35% with only 100 more slots was a smaller pool.

    There is a poster here that has pm'd me. They attend a very large det. They are now a 400, and cadet wing staff. The incoming class for 17 (C100) registered is @200...the entire size of 100, 200, 250, 500, 300, 400 combined just for 1 yr. group. It is 2 times the size of the avg 100 yr group.
    ~~~ Many people that did not think of going ROTC because of Iraq/Afghanistan operations, now view ROTC in a different way. Fear is reduced. Economy still stinks, and 4 yrs AD doesn't seem that bad when the AF will guarantee a job, pay tuition, pay for 900 bucks for books, and give a monthly stipend. The pool gets bigger just due to the fact that this is attractive. No HSSP, they can get an ISSP.

    Just saying for that posters det., if they stick it out their rate is going to drop a lot.

    Something to think about when they say only 1. You should also ask a deeper question. Did you hold a mini-board, or did you submit all cadets up for SFT? What is the % rate for 100s commissioning 4 yrs later? A det of 150 cadets, will have bigger 100, 200, 250, 500 classes than a 300 and 400. DS had a commissioning group of 26. He entered as a 100 scholarship cadet and the group was about 100. His yr group as I stated had 55% selection rate.

    As for Commander's rec...don't fool yourself. It is not personal, and flowery. It is bullet statements that include jobs held in the det. They will rely on the inputs from your instructor, Cadet Wing Commander, Cadet Flight Commander, and Cadet PT instructor. Cadet hierarchy writes reports regarding every cadet. They have weekly staff meetings discussing cadet status.

    Commander's are ADAF. They are at least an O5. They are signing their name on the line when they support you. They are going to listen to staff. Larger the det., less they know you. The smaller the det., the more you are in the spotlight.

    Personally, if you get in as foreign language major; critical manning, I wouldn't be worried because the board, like scholarship will place weight into the equation when it comes to selection due to your major. It would be an edge.

    I just wouldn't jump to an assumption that you will get CoC support. OBTW, that Rec. usually in their bullet points state:
    ~~~ Number 1 cadet
    ~~~ One of my top cadets
    ~~~ Top 10, 20, 30% cadets . I.E. actual %
    ~~~ I support this cadet.


    ADAF this is how they work it for PRF and OPRs. The board is filled with field grade officers. They can read between the lines. Number 1 or 1 of my top, translates differently than top 30% or I support. How the CoC phrases his/her rec will have a huge impact.

    Finally, your score out of SFT also places an impact on your career field. How you rank out of SFT, will be placed into your OML. At SFT you will be ranked, and part of that is your PFA.

    Your SAT score will be replaced with the AFOQT. The breakdown is still @ the same for the non-rated boards. PFA, AFOQT, cgpa, and Commander's rec., but SFT ranking is now added.

    If you want to get your dream career field in OSI, you need to always keep the boards in mind.

    Honestly, I would look into your colleges and validating Russian. You may be able to validate, major in Russian, and at the same time get a major in criminal justice. I would ask to go Intel, not OSI.

    This can also help you as an ADAF member. If you were my kid, I would say from a long run perspective do it. You could also get the AF to pick up your law degree. Think about it...the US govt., such as Homeland, UN, DOD would pick you up in a heartbeat when you can bolt. You would have Intel experience, legal experience and Russian. Intel for cyber with a law degree and a TS clearance. and you probably can write your own ticket.

    Please read this link from here. http://www.serviceacademyforums.com/showthread.php?t=33157

    The gist is for GS jobs it is being that one candidate that has it all. Plot it out correctly and you can be sitting pretty. As others have stated if you need a TS clearance, the fact you were born in Russia may be an issue, but it is not something to think of as a No Go. It is to be seen as more paperwork.
     
  8. Pima

    Pima Parent

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2007
    Messages:
    12,795
    Likes Received:
    930
    DeskJockey,

    No offense, but as a parent of an AFROTC grad last yr. This portion of your post was for lack of better terms off the mark
    DS had a 720 M SAT best sitting...took it 1x. 35 M. 36 S ACT 1 sitting. He was in AP Calc, AP Physics, etc for Math and Science.

    He graduated from college in a degree of Govt/Politics, dual major International Relations, Minor Poli Sci, Core Military History. He interned on the Hill.

    He had the smarts for engineering, but not the desire.

    JMPO, I would say 4 yrs ADAF, 365 days a yr., 24/7 and wherever they send you is just not enough to major in something you have no desire. Can you imagine if they do engineering on scholarship and pull a 2.6 freshman yr? Chances are SFT is gone. Do 100 yr as foreign language,with a 3.5, they can get an ICSP.

    I agree with you on your premise regarding the dislike. I disagree with you that they should consider Tier 1. To me applying tech, is gaming the system. They are applying for a scholarship with hopes to pay their education. See my posts...AFROTC is truly only guaranteed 2 yrs even if you have a Type 1.

    OBTW for AFROTC there is no Tier 1. It is Tech or Type.

    JMPO and 0.189654 cents! Hit me with a wet Lo Mein noodle now!
     
  9. DeskJockey

    DeskJockey Member

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2009
    Messages:
    73
    Likes Received:
    16
    Pima:

    No offense taken, but I stand by my advice. Your DS was obviously an exceptional candidate, 2008 was a much different budget and operational environment, and choosing a non-technical major worked for him. It is not a viable option for most scholarship candidates today. My point is simply this - the odds of getting an AFROTC scholarship are very heavily weighted to tech majors (and my apologies for using inaccurate terminology). Perhaps this was not the case with your DS, but I presume that there are some candidates who may strongly desire to major in the humanities or social sciences, but will rationally choose to major in engineering in order to get a scholarship and commission. It is simply a matter of priorities. I did not intend to demean non-engineering majors, which I am sure are challenging in their own right, but the OP himself suggested that he was only choosing Russian as a major because it would be easy to get good grades.

    I don't agree with your characterization that applying for a tech major is "gaming the system". The AF has constructed a system that heavily incentivizes candidates to choose tech majors, because that is what they need right now. They want students to choose an engineering major just to get a scholarship, presumably because they can use engineers who grudgingly persevere through four years of difficult and uninteresting classes much more than highly-motivated non-technical graduates who love their coursework. Of course it would be foolish for a marginal student to take on a major beyond his or her abilities, but this particular candidate is an honors math and science student. He can handle the work and maintain an acceptable GPA. If a tech major is a dealbreaker for him, then he doesn't have to do it - but he will lessen his odds of getting a scholarship.
     
  10. SecretRusski

    SecretRusski Member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2013
    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    0
    DeskJockey,

    Although I know it would boost my chances dramatically, I have absolutely no interest in the engineer fields. As for the major, Air Force wants(and requires) a foreign language major for a foreign major scholarship. It's by no means "easy", nor am I just taking a breeze through college. I would rather take my chances with what Air Force wants than get a major that I'll be imprisoned with for four years. I agree with you that the needs of the Air Force come first, and I personally don't want to be a leech myself, but if they're willing to pay me money to go to college for this major, then I'm guessing they have use for me(and as a native speaker, I'll be quite a bit more productive, too).

    Pima,

    3. I didn't think about that, that's good to know. Hopefully there won't be a major surge for a while.

    4.That's not good news : / . I was hoping I had those extra months to perfect the score as much as I could. But like you said, time is ticking, so I'm just going to have to pick up the pace.

    5. The reason I say I shouldn't have issue with a recommendation is because I'm very, very good when it comes to authority. Not through boot licking, but rather the basic day to day things(punctuality, effort, team player, etc.). However, you are right, since people are different and while one officer may see me as top notch, another may say that I'm bottom of the barrel.

    The only reason OSI is on my choosing list is that I was told it's "AF FBI". This could be true, or it could be bs. I'm sure theres plenty of other work that I may fit even better, and quite honestly, I wouldn't mind where they placed me, as long as I'm not clueless when I get there.

    Your way of thinking is the same as mine. My "end of the road" job is currently FBI. Having any experience in the military shows that you are, at the least, committed, and with experience that I hope to get, the resume just gets bigger and better.

    I'm still not sure as to how competitive I am for this, but I'm glad that my grades are on par. Again, really hoping that they take fluency into account, since that would make my odds drastically better. As for the PFA, I guess it's just how bad I want it. I'll be damned if 100 feet of running break my chances.

    Thanks to all for the responses.
     
  11. aglages

    aglages Parent

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2009
    Messages:
    2,680
    Likes Received:
    4
    While I'll agree with most of your post, this sentence (IMHO) isn't completely accurate. The AF does NOT want students to choose an engineering major just to get a scholarship. I believe the AF wants students that graduate with degrees in engineering because that knowledge and ability is necessary for many of the jobs the AF needs filled. The AF currently doesn't find it necessary to offer incentives (provide scholarships) to many non-tech majors.
     
  12. Thompson

    Thompson Member

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2012
    Messages:
    767
    Likes Received:
    43
    I don't mean to harp on you - but I think Pima is referencing the idea of applying for a scholarship (w/ a major in engineering) - solely to get the scholarship.

    I will agree with you 100% that one should definitely go for engineering if that's what they truly want to do. But I also agree with Pima, that you should not,however, apply for a scholarship for engineering for the sole purpose of getting the money.
     
  13. DeskJockey

    DeskJockey Member

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2009
    Messages:
    73
    Likes Received:
    16
    Why not choose an engineering major solely to get a scholarship, if it it something that you are able to do and it will meet your immediate needs - to pay for school and to get a commission? Do you think that there is something dishonorable about putting the Air Force's clearly stated preferences ahead of your own? These days, the alternative for most students is to be a non-scholarship cadet who is getting a degree in a field that the Air Force doesn't need, and competing for a commission against cadets who are majoring in a field that the Air Force considers to be critical.

    Almost everyone who has the credentials to compete for an AFROTC scholarship is a good enough student to successfully complete an engineering degree. I don't think that anyone should be forced to major in engineering, but I do think that AFROTC candidates who want a decent chance to get a scholarship ought to at least consider majoring in it, even if they don't truly want to do it or think it will be harder or less interesting than they would otherwise prefer.
     
  14. Thompson

    Thompson Member

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2012
    Messages:
    767
    Likes Received:
    43
    My point is - you shouldn't major in something you don't necessarily want to do - just for the sake of money. (Money doesn't buy happiness - at least that's not the way it should work).

    And yes there is something dishonorable, if that's how you want to put it. Say someone does decide to do engineering but never really had that "interest" in it and only did it for the sake of the scholarship; shows up 1st semester gets a 2.7 CGPA and just can't get it up by 3rd semester - look who's not getting their butter bars now. Instead, said person could have majored in something they like and get a 3.7 CGPA - now look who will [probably] get their butter bars.

    Money is nice - but it will, by no means, get you to commission - on the other hand GPA can. End goal: to commission. Perk: scholarship.

    I'm not here to get into a fight.
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2013
  15. DeskJockey

    DeskJockey Member

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2009
    Messages:
    73
    Likes Received:
    16
    Do you really think that the AF is giving commissioning preference to non-scholarship sociology majors over scholarship electrical engineering majors simply by comparing their GPAs? I don't; and I don't think that students who get a valuable scholarship that places them on a path to a commission routinely throw them away because engineering turns out to be more work than they care to put up with. I assume that students who sign up for AFROTC are highly-motivated achievers who rise to a challenge. But if they don't, their choice of major is probably not the real problem.

    Students who are interested in AFROTC scholarships visit this forum for advice on how to improve their chances, and they are often told to retake the SAT, or work on their pushups, or become a team captain. That is all well and good, but it is also somewhat misleading. Based on the AF scholarship criteria, a candidate who has superior academic, leadership, and PT scores, but has elected a non-technical major, is at a serious disadvantage to a less stellar candidate who is willing to step up to the plate and major in engineering - and that is true whether the student likes engineering or not. Not everyone will make that choice, but the fact remains that the single most important thing that candidates can do to improve their odds of getting an AFROTC scholarship and a commission is to declare a major in electrical engineering - and then to work their butts off in school.
     
  16. Bullet

    Bullet Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    Messages:
    994
    Likes Received:
    99
    A little perspective here, folks, in the hope of giving the folks that visit here the sound advice they are looking for. Saying the goal should be to get the commission, and what makes so-an-so more competitive to get that commission, is focusing on the means to an end and not the end itself.

    There is a plain and simple truth as to why the AF offers substantially more ROTC scholarships to tech majors than non-tech majors -- they need officers in the career fields that require these degrees more than they need officers in career fields that don't. In other words, they need more engineers than they currently have candidates for, while on the other hand while there currently is a shortage of pilots, this is a training pipeline issue and not a lack of qualified kids wanting to be pilots. They have plenty of those in the latter category. Take that tech scholarship, and the strong chances are that you will be commissioned into a career field like acquisitions or engineering over a career field such as pilot.. Are there exceptions to this rule? Certainly. But they are rare.

    So, that being said. your real goal should be to first choose a career that you feel you want to serve in for a minimum of 4 years. Just as long as your college experience, if not longer. And don't forget this also will most likely determine what you'll be doing AFTER your service time is up. If you choose to leave the service after 4 somewhere in your mid-20s, this means you'll most like have the next FORTY years in some similar career field. Choosing to major in EE just because it increases your chances of a scholarship and getting the commission, even though you hate it and just want to study hard to "push through" to 2nd Lt bars? Well, this might serve your purpose for college, but good luck being happy for the next 40+ years doing something you hate.

    Your immediate goal under that should be working towards graduation and commission. You improve your chances in this by working hard in whatever major you choose. The goal under THAT? Getting a SFT slot, which requires you to be competitive in GPA and a host of other areas well described in other threads.

    Bottom Line: recommending choosing a tech major just because you increase your chances of a scholarship and think it might improve your chances of getting a commission (this is debatable) seems a tad short-sighted to me.
     
  17. Packer

    Packer Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2011
    Messages:
    1,877
    Likes Received:
    5
    I didn't do time in the military (although I think I should have) but I am an engineer. An 18 year old that knows what they want to do for the rest of their life and doesn't change their mind somewhere along the way is somewhat rare IMO.

    I chose to study engineering because I was pretty good in math and science in high school and I wanted to make enough money to buy into the family ranch. Well I graduated with an engineering degree and went to work as an engineer. I had also got married by that time and my wife did not share the passion for ranching. I also discovered I liked what I was doing as an engineer. Fast forward 30 years and I am still working as an engineer and I like it (not love it) and I passed up the opportunity to go back to my ranching roots but found ways to keep in touch with them. A good compromise for myself and family. Did I choose engineering for the "wrong reason"? Maybe, maybe not.

    So far as being stuck doing something you don't like for the next 40 years, hogwash. I know people that graduated in engineering and never worked as an engineer and some that worked as an engineer for a while and decided to make a change. They work in sales, marketing, insurance, business/finance, and business owners to name a few.

    The AF doesn't care if you love working in a particular field. They care that you do it and do it well.

    Some of these kids may not even go to college if they don't get that scholarship. If they have some aptitude for engineering and it helps them reach a goal, whatever that is, there is nothing wrong with selecting a technical major to increase the chances of reaching that goal. This idea of picking something you love is relatively new, the idea of picking something that will allow you to take care of yourself and your family is not.
     
  18. Bullet

    Bullet Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    Messages:
    994
    Likes Received:
    99
    I agree that the vast majority of 18 year-olds have no clue what they want to do with the rest of their lives. But we're talking about kids here who ARE making plans for at least the next 8 to 10 years of their lives, if not longer. So why should their focus be on the next 4, when the years after that will play a much larger factor in those years after they leave the service?

    Worse yet, how many of these kids are choosing tech majors JUST because they are focused on the chances of a scholarship, and are not looking at the bigger picture. Even worse than that, how many are being pushed into tech degrees by parents hoping for that scholarship, not caring if their kids hate these classes (which is a guarantee of failure). Sorry to say it, many will pursue a tech degree and get lower grades, no matter how hard they work. That lower GPA risks getting a SFT slot, or having to take longer to graduate (which the AF might reply to with "Bah-bye"). And isn't the goal to get that commission into the career of your choice.

    Full disclosure here. I majored in aero engineering, so I know the challenges and hard work needed to get that degree. And I almost didn't meet those challenges. Almost. Mostly because I really didn't care for the classes, something my folks pushed me into for many of the reasons being stated here. It eventually worked out for me, but I've seen too many, including many here, for whom it didn't work out for. All because people told them this was the way to go because they were focused on the wrong goals.

    Glad to hear it worked out for you. Tell me, how many of your fellow students who started out in engineering finished with you? Your goal was an engineering career, while these kids' goal should be their AF careers. Going the tech major route when you don't want it or have no interest in it, just to get a scholarship, well, that is putting the cart before the horse. You get an engineering degree and let the AF give you the scholarship because you WANT to be an AF engineer. THAT is why the AF will pay for your education, because most likely they WILL make you an AF engineer. And if your hope is to be a pilot, or a space guy, or an OSI agent (like the OP said he wants to be).... Well, I hope you learn to like being an engineer instead.

    Sure, I'll give you this. We all know examples of folks who went on to other things after their service was up. Just as we also know folks who are stuck in fields they are just "punching the clock" for because that is their background and "comfort zone".

    Absolutely! Mission ALWAYS comes first, despite the BS platitudes some Commanders spout about "people first". But I also have to ask: just how well does the mission get accomplished if the erson doing the job hates what they are doing? Well, I HAVE served (and led), and I can tell you the answer: Usually, not so well......

    My turn to say "hogwash". There are PLENTY of avenues to get a college degree without the ROTC scholarship. If they really want the true goal of a career of an AF officer, they will find a way.

    Re-read this discussion and ask yourself this again. If your goal is AF pilot or OSI agent, and getting a tech major scholarship will most likely mean the AF will make you an engineer, do you really want to use that scholarship? And what about those kids who DON'T have that aptitude for engineering, but are forced into it by folks with good intentions but the wrong focus.

    I'll say it again: your Ultimate goal should be on what you want to DO in the AF. How you get there is secondary. Too many are focusing on the path and not the destination.
     
  19. SecretRusski

    SecretRusski Member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2013
    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    0
    Bullet,

    Your posts basically summed up as to why I'm approaching the scholarships the way I am. Even though I have honors in math/science, I hate both of them with a passion. I can't see myself having to go through that every day.

    I'm one of those guys Packer was speaking of, and I know what I want to do for a living- Protection, main focus being law enforcement. That is what I love, and that is what I focus on, and that's going to be my endgame job.

    However, after looking at AFROTC Scholarships and speaking with the local detachment, I found that my skill set may interest the AF. That is the main reason for my application: I feel that my knowledge of Russian language and culture would be of great use.

    I understand it means that my odds aren't going to be as good as someone who has been wanting to be in the Air Force in any way possible since childhood, or someone who's selected a technical field. However, my goal isn't just to get in, it's to stay in as well, and a tech field just won't do it for me.

    Like you guys said, the Air Force cares that you do you job and that you do it well. I'm positive that I'll excel at any MOS dealing with Russian, be that Intelligence, OSI, etc. And that's what I'm hoping that scholarship board will think too.
     
  20. Packer

    Packer Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2011
    Messages:
    1,877
    Likes Received:
    5
    Bullet, I think we probably agree more than we disagree. There is a big difference between being forced/coerced into doing something and choosing to do something in order to meet a longer term goal.


    This sounds a bit condenscending to me but based upon the person I think you are I am going to believe that you did not intend it that way.
    Somewhere between 65 and 50% of my engineering classmates graduated with me. It was hard as you know. That is why I said have the aptitude for it.
    I did not post to pat myself on the back. I posted to illustrate changing goals and making shorter term sacrifices in order to achieve longer term goals. Life is about setting goals and and being able to adjust to changing circumstances. Apparently I wasn't clear, my goal was not to have a career in engineering but to have a short term job (5-10 years) in order to make enough money to allow me to do something else. Circumstances and goals changed and I adapted. Was I lucky, perhaps but I always tried to look ahead and do the work necessary to have some options.


    True, there are many ways to reach the goal but many of these kids lack the resources to find these other ways. They lack the family support, the mentors, the finances, etc. It is easy to forget where we or our parents or grandparents came from.

    I don't need to read it again, I fully understand that some majors are going to remove some options. I also understand that this matrix of majors and critically manned fields is a moving target. Most scholarship applicants are not on this board and are not aware of this.


    I hate to break it to you but for many the goal is not the AF. Many see the 4 years of service a good trade in exchange for their education. Wise? Maybe, maybe not. Some of these will end up making a career of it while others will do their 4 years and get out or they may not even commission.
     

Share This Page