AFROTC Hopefull

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by awfarley, Jul 8, 2013.

  1. awfarley

    awfarley Member

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    Hey guys, I've been researching to find a great source for info and this site seems to be the best in terms of speaking to real people about how different ROTC programs work, specifically the AFROTC. This is my first post.

    I've been dreaming of becoming a pilot since I was young but my parents always shoved me away from joining any of the services. I love military technology and would love to make a career in the AF as a pilot, nav, or ABM.

    Here's my backstory to give some insight:

    I'll be 24 on July 25th. I graduated high school in 2007 with a great GPA (3.9) and received an academic scholarship to the University of Alabama and many other scholarships to the point that I was getting paid several thousand dollars a semester over what I actually needed. To sum it up short, I took advantage of my situation and it ended up putting me on academic probation and eventually I lost my scholarships. It sickens me to say that I left there with a 2.14 GPA, roughly 30 hours, and the title of sophomore after 4 semesters of school.

    Fast forward 4 years:
    I was recently laid off of a good job and it forced me to rethink my career. I've decided to pursue my dream of becoming an AF officer and have applied and been accepted back into the University of Alabama. I also spoke with someone (cadre) in the AFROTC office and they pretty much told me that I was still young enough to give pilot a try. From what I gather I will have to be younger than 29 before I commission.

    I know the selection process to become a pilot is among the most competitive and I have fully committed to giving it everything I have to make it work. I know my 2.14 GPA is hideous and going in as a non-tech major I will need practically straight A's to remain competitive there. I feel like I can make the A's and bump my GPA up substantially in two semesters.
    I have started a running/pushup/situp regiment to prepare for the Fall PFA. I currently run 1.5 miles in 11:00 but I know I can knock at least one minute off that time before the semester begins. I should have no problem maxing the pushup and situp portion.

    My ACT score from many years ago was a 27. I most likely could have made a 30 if I had retaken it. I have always been a great test-taker so I feel like I could make great scores on the AFOQT. I started reading up on how to get my private pilots license simply to familiarize myself with the mechanics, terminology, etc of flight controls/operations. (My wife even told me that I could start taking lessons if I got all A's haha)

    I want to be as competitive as I can be and was wondering what others thought about my chances at becoming a pilot (or nav).
    Is there any advice that you could give on what to expect or what positions within the AFROTC may make you a better candidate for a FT spot?
    Will it be weird for a 24 year old to possibly be in AS100 with younger people or is that a common occurrence?
    Could my age possibly be a negative on the "whole person concept" that I read a lot about?
    I know the road will be tough, especially given my GPA and age, but I am fully committed to giving it 110%.

    Sorry for the long first post and thanks for reading. I look forward to hearing some opinions.
     
  2. Reaper

    Reaper AFROTC Cadet (AS400)

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    I just got a pilot slot and will be a senior so I can answer some of your questions.

    Is there any advice that you could give on what to expect or what positions within the AFROTC may make you a better candidate for a FT spot?

    The only thing you can really do as an AS100 to stand out is to volunteer for things such as selling programs at football games and whatever else your detachment does. With your really low GPA I would try to focus on your classes as much as possible and put volunteering for things as a last priority. Another way to stand out is to max your PFA. If you can do that you'll really get noticed by the cadre. As an AS200 things get a little different. You'll most likely have more opportunities to be a leader and get positions in your flight. Volunteer to do stuff within your flight and help people in your class and that will be noticed. The big thing is to not throw people under the bus. The people that cadre like are the people that help others without expecting anything from it. If you can help people with anything then they will like you and if your school does peer rankings then you'll probably get ranked pretty high which will help for field training. Getting to field training isn't as hard as it seems, but for you it may be with such a low GPA. If you can get your GPA to at least a 2.5 you should be pretty set if your PFA score is high and you aren't a complete douche to people.

    Will it be weird for a 24 year old to possibly be in AS100 with younger people or is that a common occurrence?

    Not at all. There were people that I worked with that were the same age and there was even a guy that was 26. It's not a problem and it may even help you because everyone else will be young and will want to look up to you. Age is not very important at all in ROTC.

    Could my age possibly be a negative on the "whole person concept" that I read a lot about?

    No. Your personality and your willingness to help others is what will make or break you. If you are a nice person and don't try to backstab people then you'll be fine. If you're a douche and don't care about other people then you'll have some problems.

    I don't know if you have any medical problems such as asthma, eyes, etc., but you may want to do some research on that also because there are a few things that can make you disqualified and if you don't know about them before going in then you'll be out of luck.

    You're able to take the AFOQT 2 times so if you can try and take it sometime your AS100 or AS200 year and then your AS300 year before the rated board meets.

    If you have any other questions let me know and I can probably answer them for you.
     
  3. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Unless something has changed regarding age requirements, you need to start UPT by 29, it is common not to start UPT for almost a yr after commissioning. Our DS commissioned May 2012, 13 of his yr group got rated, all of them went to casual status before starting UPT, and they all started @ Mar/Apr. timeframe. The reason why is the cadets out of AFA go 1st. They may push you up 1st because you are going to be up against the clock.

    Additionally, if I read your post correctly you are returning to the same college, thus you would be at least a sophomore, and in that case you would be a 250, not a 100, unless you are planning to start all over as a freshman and do 4 more yrs in college.

    If it is the case that you will graduate in 3 yrs. than you will only have 1 semester to get that cgpa up because the SFT board meets @ Feb every yr., thus only your 1st fall semester will count since you will be a 250.

    If you plan to come back as a rising jr., than it becomes even more tenuous because you typically need to be a POC(300/400s) for at least 3 semesters, and as a jr. after SFT you would only have 2 semesters left, so it may mean you have to stay for another semester to fulfill that 3 semesters. Again, you would be a 250, and the cgpa is only going to have 1 semester to get it raised.

    For rated they can substitute the AFOQT with the TBAS. With the new PCSM, flying hrs are placed into the score, so it is to your advantage to get flight hrs in.

    As reaper stated if you have had any medical issues you will want to research it now because waivers if given can take months to get through the system. For cadets with a rated slot will go to Wright Pat during the summer of their rising sr. yr. It is a 3 day TDY, 2 days of physicals. It is not the DoDMERB 1 hr physical. It is an FAA flight physical.

    Hope that clears things up a little more.
     
  4. awfarley

    awfarley Member

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    Thanks for the awesome responses!

    I really appreciate you two taking the time to help me. That also cleared up some questions on how going in with a group of 18-19 year olds would affect me overall. I didn't think about it possibly giving me an advantage by being someone to look up to but that is a good perspective to take.

    I've been 99% healthy my entire life, no asthma or anything, but my vision is correctable to 20/20. I've been wearing contacts since about the 7th grade. From everything I've read that doesn't necessarily dq me right away. I've been told that as long as everything else checks out, my vision could be corrected with lasik or PRK in the AF approves it. I don't know how true that is and if you have any insight it would helpful.

    My GPA is low but my total hours are also. I talked to my advisor and she said that 8 hours of 'B' graded classes would knock my GPA up over 2.5.
    I'm going to really nail it down and shoot for A's though. I feel like I can bring it up to almost a 3.0, maybe a little higher. It is not going to be easy either. I have to work full time through school as my wife and I have a house and lots of bills but she works full-time and has committed to making this happen for me as well. No kids yet thankfully, I've heard having dependents could dq you from AFROTC.

    I plan on being someone who is motivated to do this and I hope it shows. It's hard to know right now but I'd love to volunteer for whatever leadership positions I'd be available for and stand out with my PFA scores. I feel like with the program I'm on now I can max all areas but time will tell.

    I will talking to the cadre about the possibility of bumping into my sophomore AS classes but it would honestly be better if I could stay in the freshman level course due to my GPA, I think. Time will tell though and I'll be sure to update the thread as I go.
     
  5. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    You can have dependents in AFROTC (i.e. a spouse), but you must submit a family plan which they will approve. Basically their bigger concerns are children.

    As far as being a 100 or a 250 it is going to be based on your graduation date. Currently you have 30 hrs., and that would place you as a sophomore. 2016 yr group. That would make you a 250 and meet the SFT board in Feb. Now if you are going to graduate Dec. 2016, that is where it can become a 100 or 250. The big reason why is May 2016 would be FY 2016. Dec. 2016 would be FY2017. (FY runs Oct 1st to Sept 30th).

    For your eye issue, do not do anything with your eyes regarding surgery until they make it an issue. Our DS had a friend in AFROTC that did the surgery in the summer of his rising jr. yr. after SFT. Rated boards meet Feb. jr. yr., paperwork is submitted @Jan. His eyes were not healed in time, and he was given a CSO slot. The thing is, like our DS he was on the cusp of PRK and went forward with the surgery. Our DS didn't and he got UPT.
     
  6. Reaper

    Reaper AFROTC Cadet (AS400)

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    The only reason you'll need to get LASIK or PRK is if your vision is worse than 20/200 uncorrected. If it's better than that then you'll most likely get a waiver. I did forget about the 29 year old cut off, but I think that you can easily get around that. Here's a thread on another forum about the age issue: http://www.flyingsquadron.com/forums/index.php?/topic/17828-getting-older/ That forum is also very good at answering all questions related to becoming a pilot. I suggest you browse around it a little bit because there's a wealth of information.
     
  7. awfarley

    awfarley Member

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    Thanks again you two, I'll check that site out.
     
  8. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Learn something new everyday....I thought the vision was much less than 20/200.

    As far as the age limit pass 29(waiver), just remember it really comes down to manpower needs. If they are meeting their numbers they will not need to give out waivers for age. However, the OP even if they enter now as a freshman, and waited 6-9 months for UPT, they will still be under 29.

    I would really place the concerns on the cgpa because I would assume that they will be commissioning 2016, and thus a 250. A 2.6 cgpa with only a 27 ACT as a non-tech is going to be difficult since those two things count for a nice chunk. I would re-take the SAT/ACT again this fall. The higher the ACT is the more breathing room you will have on the cgpa. The avg non-tech cgpa is 3.3/3.4. A tech major is @3.0/3.1 It is the avg, so there will be higher and lower cgpas, but that is why an ACT/SAT score higher up can help someone with a lower cgpa.
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2013
  9. Reaper

    Reaper AFROTC Cadet (AS400)

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    For vision you can be up to 20/70 without a waiver, but between that and 20/200 you need a waiver. After that you need LASIK or PRK.
     
  10. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I was thinking it was 20/70, because that is one of the reasons our DS was pushing for it, his friend that did it also had 20/70. He thought by doing it he would be more attractive to the board, but it had the opposite result.

    Like many other cadets, the reason the AFA waits until their 20 is due to the fact their eyes are still changing. DS's changed and his vision corrected itself.

    For the OP since they are 24, I would think that is his only option, but it would not DQ him for ADAF if he didn't have it, maybe just UPT if he is above 20/70. Of course it would be on his own dime.

    The OP also needs to understand that the way the rated board works is you must apply for all 4 options, not just UPT or UNT. RPA and ABM must also be on the list.
     
  11. awfarley

    awfarley Member

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    Thanks for clearing that up Pima. I went to the doc about my eyes last week and I have a contact prescription for -4.75. From what I can gather online, that is roughly 20/400. I'll wait for them to make it an issue before I try to get anything done about my vision.

    I was wondering how the ACT and AFOQT scores worked. Do they look at both scores in the selection process or just one or the other?

    I could retake the ACT and probably do better if need be.

    From what I read in the post above is that when you apply for a rated slot you apply for them all?
    Does that mean they could put me anywhere?
    I pretty much make myself as appealing for a pilot slot as possible and then the selection board decides who goes where?
    I wonder if they consider your 'wishlist' or if everyone is basically wanting pilot straight out of the POC. Every time I think I have my head wrapped around all of this I think of 20 more questions.

    *On a side note, today I picked up Barron's Flight Test Aptitude from the bookstore. That should help me get familiar with flight terms and the general idea of how the AFOQT will be. I know it's early but every bit of help I can give myself should help me down the road.
     
  12. Reaper

    Reaper AFROTC Cadet (AS400)

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    Your vision is a little worse than mine was. I was at -4.25 in my eyes. You're definitely going to need LASIK or PRK if you want to be a pilot. You're most likely going to have to get it done during the summer after you go to Field Training, but you can talk to your cadre about it and they'll let you know for sure.

    As for your other questions. Yes, the way rated slots works just changed and now you have to apply for all of them or none at all. You'll put pilot as your first choice and then it will be RPA, CSO, and ABM after that. If you don't get a pilot slot then you'll be categorized as something else and I don't think you'll be able to try again for a pilot slot, but I may be wrong. They'll rack and stack all of the cadets across the nation and they people with the highest scores will get what they put, usually. They do consider what you put on your sheet, but if you have low scores on everything then you'll have a harder time getting what you want. Also, the PCSM (A combination of the TBAS, your AFOQT, and flying hours) counts the highest now at 40% of your score. So if possible get some flying hours and play video games to get your hand-eye coordination up. That book will help a lot on the AFOQT, but I don't know how much it will help on the non-flying portion of the test because there are a few more things that count toward your pilot score and it's not just the flying part that counts on the test.
     
  13. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Actually since he is 24, he can do the PRK now...I am almost positive that Lazik is the one that will automatically DQ him for rated. It is one or the other so def. check into which one it is.

    The reason most go for it after SFT is age, nothing more than that. Most docs do not want to do it until the person is 20.

    Reaper is correct, if they assign you something else, than you either take it or go non-rated. Most cadets take it, and once completed with that school and operational, if they still want to go UPT they than apply for xtraining to UPT.

    For you that will be a no go because at best if all of stars align with all of the training (IFS, UNT, SERE, Water survival, FTU, and operational MQ) you will be about 32. From start to finish it is 2-3 yrs to become operational as a CSO, or an RPA...minus out SERE and water.
     
  14. Reaper

    Reaper AFROTC Cadet (AS400)

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    I guess that makes sense with the age. You can have either PRK or LASIK done now though. I had LASIK done and got a waiver.
     
  15. awfarley

    awfarley Member

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    I see. So when it comes to the actual committee to get a pilot slots what are the credentials they look at? PCSM, GPA, ACT/SAT, Order of merit in ROTC or FT?
    I'm trying to determine my real chances and I want to focus on improving what will directly it. I've already looked into starting flight school to get some hours, hopefully around 60-80. Do you know how many hours it takes to 'max' the flying hours portion of the score?
    The book I bought has two practice AFOQT's and goes over each section and what to expect.
    I want to understand how the pipeline works between the freshman/sophomore phase to junior/senior and then to UPT and here is how I understand, please correct me if I'm wrong:
    ----------------------------------
    Freshman year complete
    Sophomore year complete (FT slots given out starting Feb. of your Soph. spring semester)
    FT completed during sophomore summer
    Junior year (first year in POC)
    Senior year (at what time frame is the selection for rated slots?)
    UPT
    ----------------------------------
    (PS. I've been a gamer since age 2, when I first beat Super Mario Bros. haha)
    So basically I've got one shot at this. I think I would still love back-seating a jet but pilot is my main goal. I'm going to speak with my cadre about correcting vision so I don't ruin my chances. I've heard you would also have to wait a year after corrective surgery before commissioning.

    It's all becoming more clear now. Let's say I get into AFROTC in my sophomore year as a 250. I will have one semester to qualify for a FT slot right? The way I take it, they choose in February giving me a very narrow window of improvement.

    I spoke with the cadre today and they said my level in the AFROTC is chosen by my estimated graduation date. If I purposely delayed/took fewer classes but remained a full-time student I wonder how that would be reflected or if I could do that. I know if I take 15 hours or more a semester I could most likely graduate in 3 years but If I relaxed that down to 12 it would take 4.
    I'll talk to my instructor about it more once classes start in August.
     
  16. Reaper

    Reaper AFROTC Cadet (AS400)

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    Your PCSM is a combination of the TBAS, AFOQT, and flying hours. The percentages for how people are chosen are:
    - PSCM = 40%
    - Det/CC ranking = 20%
    - PFA score = 15%
    - Field Training Performance = 15%
    - CGPA=10%

    Starting with the next board flying hours weighed into the equation a lot more. My PCSM score when I was selected was 78, but now it's 27 because I had no flying hours. The max amount of flying hours that will actually help is 200, but 60 to 80 is a lot more than most people so that will be good if you can get that many and your PPL. After 200 hours it doesn't count toward your PCSM anymore.

    Your timeline is pretty much right except for a couple things. During your spring semester junior year is when the rated board meets (pilot selection). If you get picked up for pilot or even RPA you'll then have to start your Top Secret security clearance paperwork and also schedule your flight physical which is 4 days in Ohio.
     
  17. awfarley

    awfarley Member

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    That actually makes me feel somewhat better about my GPA. Not saying that I am settling with what I have, but it is good to see it is the least emphasized portion. That doesn't mean I'm going to slack up on it or anything.

    If you don't mind, what was your CGPA when you were selected for pilot?

    I have looked over the TBAS and AFOQT and they look like something I would typically do well in. The AFOQT looks similar to the ACT (minus the pilot info/blocks).
    What all is involved in the clearance paperwork?
    Also, what in the world do they do to you for 4 days for a physical?
    I don't have any history of anything medical other than my vision problems, just wondering.

    This one is a little off the subject but do you know the breakdown for getting an EA for Field Training? I imagine the CGPA is weighted more heavily in that, right?
     
  18. Reaper

    Reaper AFROTC Cadet (AS400)

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    I had a 3.02 GPA when I was selected.

    The security clearance stuff is similar to this, but a little different: http://usmilitary.about.com/library/pdf/sf86.pdf

    For the physical they do all kinds of different tests. I don't know everything they do, but I know they look at pretty much every part of you to make sure you'll be able to fly.

    For field training I'm not entirely positive of the breakdown, but I think it's something like:
    Commander's ranking = 50%
    GPA = 15%
    PFA = 15%
    ACT/SAT/AFOQT = 20%

    Those numbers are probably a little off, but I know the commander's ranking is half. There may be one more thing included that I don't know about.
     
  19. awfarley

    awfarley Member

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    It seems like I need to be more focused on getting an EA for what could be as soon as next summer. I'll just focus on my grades and participate/lead anytime I get the chance and let my dedication to it hopefully prove myself to the cadre. I'm taking a discovery flight today and may begin logging hours to get my PPL very soon. I know it is early but I want this and I'm going to do what it takes to get it.
     
  20. kevster

    kevster Member

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    "I know it is early but I want this and I'm going to do what it takes to get it."

    Thats awesome, you are researching and getting a plan. Thats definitely the way that you want to start out. I would also encourage you to not worry over stuff. You have stated that vision and grades are a little problem but like reaper has said there are solutions to these problems. If you can really knock out some good grades it will help you out so much. For FT its 15% (and weighs heavily on the 50% CC ranking). This means its about ~55% of the EA ranking. Choose your classes wisely. Sit down for a couple of hours and research professors and how they grade. My 1st two years in ROTC I didn't care when classes were scheduled. If Profs were giving out As in some classes that I needed, then I was going to make time to attend them. Its all a game, be smart with it. Get the EA and then think about rated stuff. Best of Luck!
     

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