Afrotc v army rotc

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by Lpshrtr, Jun 20, 2014.

  1. Lpshrtr

    Lpshrtr Member

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    So I'm an incoming freshman at San Francisco State University and since my junior year I've been highly considering joining ROTC and becoming an officer, but I'm having the hardest time choosing a branch. I really want to join AFROTC since Berkley has a cross town agreement, but I was curious what happens if you're not selected for summer field training, not saying that'll happen or anything I've been a consistent student all my life and graduated from one of the hardest high schools in America. But what happens if I don't make SFT, does it just like stop there or can I go do Army ROTC. What should I do to make sure I get selected for SFT? Does anyone know the selection rate at Berkley? I don't really have a firm understanding on how ROTC for either branches work besides the fact you get commissioned after your sophomore year. I've seen things on forms such as MSI-MS4, and 100-400s and things like 250s can someone explain what those are to me also. Thank you.
     
  2. Thompson

    Thompson Member

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    Hi Lpshrtr, welcome to SAF.

    If you are not selected for SFT, there's a chance that you may be allowed to stay another year to try and compete again. Keep in mind though, that if you do compete the next year, you will be competing against the class under you.

    In the event that you are not able to secure a slot for SFT, you're chances of commissioning into the AF goes out the window.

    Don't take this the wrong way - but try not to compare high school to college, regardless of how hard high school may be. Sure your may have taken some AP courses; but at the end of the day college courses and high school courses will never be the same. In college (especially bigger ones) professors may not personally care for students due to the sheer size of classes ... or they're just cold hearted. You may be put in to classes where the only grades are: the midterm and the final. That's it. If you don't do well .... well not much you can do about it. College becomes a place where you make your own decisions, and start your own life, unlike high school.

    I don't know enough about selection for SFT, someone like Pima will chime in on this. My extent of AFROTC ends at the application (that's as far as I got).

    One thing that I want to correct you on. You DO NOT commission after sophomore year. In any of the ROTC branches you would commission your senior year (at the earliest, STEM majors can be different).

    Here's how it typically works:
    academic year = Army = AF
    freshman = MS1 = AS100
    sophomore = MS2 = AS200
    junior = MS3 = AS300
    senior = MS4 = AS400
    super senior = MS5 = ???

    AF also has AS500 and AS250, I think. 500 being those who did not get selected for SFT sophomore year, but were allowed to stay on to the following year to recompete; 250's are those who start the program ... junior year. I could be wrong - don't hold me to my word on this.

    So AF and Army are two very different programs. I will discuss/contrast between several big points between the two programs.

    As previously mentioned there are for 4 "levels" MS1-4/AS100-400 (MS5 is typically used for cadets who commission past 4 years, ie: STEM majors --> engineers). In between your MS3 (junior) and MS4 (senior) year -during the summer - you go to LDAC (Leadership Development & Assessment Course). For all intents and purposes, and for a lack of better word choice, and to be loosely interpreted, it's sort of like a boot camp if you will. I don't know all the details, but basically it's the culminating, keystone event of a cadets career. At LDAC you will be tested on various aspect you've learned over the 3 years; land navigation, marching/drill & ceremony, marksmanship, etc. In other words, it's the Army's equivalent to SFT.

    Now, one of the nice things about LDAC is that there's no competition to go; there are no X slots to fill. As long as you are contracted (note how I did not say "have a scholarship") you will go to LDAC. A common misconception is that one must have a scholarship to commission (false). Basically the only difference between the two is that just a contract ... only gives you a contract to commission. A scholarship is money + contract.

    On the other hand, SFT as you know - requires a slot to go, and it occurs between AS200 (sophomore) and AS300 (junior year) in the summer.

    Now you must be thinking, why is it so? Army seems like a better deal. There's what I consider, a trade off to this.

    For Army, you're guaranteed to go to LDAC provided you have a contract, SFT you need a slot. BUT for commissioning, herein lies the difference. For AF you automatically go Active Duty. For Army, you have to compete for Active Duty, regardless of whether you have a scholarship. For Army, should you not get Active Duty you will go into the Reserves/Guard.

    Both are a double-edged sword. If the Military is what you want to do for the rest of your life, AF can give you a better shot at securing that goal. However if you want to get a civilian job but also want to Serve, just not 24/7 Army can work out. Keep in mind this is just a basic illustration; this is not the only way things happen.

    There's are probably 2 of the biggest differences between the programs. Now granted there's a lot of smaller moving parts involved; this is just to serve a basic overview without getting too in depth.

    You might also want to check out this thread; it might be of some use: AROTC/AFROTC Interview tips? (Just a heads up - it's long)
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2014
  3. ABF

    ABF Member

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    The Army and Air Force are VERY different military branches (think not just "apples and oranges", but rather "apples and strawberries"). If you think the Army will be a good "fall back" plan when it doesn't work out with the Air Force, you'll be very disappointed. If your heart isn't telling you to be a soldier, you should think long and hard about joining.
     
  4. skatp

    skatp Member

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    250's are AF cadets that do both the 100 and 200 year at the same time, so freshman and sophomore year. You are entering the program your sophomore year of college but you still have to complete the 100 (freshman) year AFROTC classes.
     
  5. AlphaAlphaSigma

    AlphaAlphaSigma Member

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    Your Detachment (School) Commander will determine if you are allowed to compete again for SFT the following year. Before that you must be nominated for selection. If you have bad grades, PFA or attitude your commander can simply say you will not be put on the board for SFT. If you earn a scholarship within AFROTC and fail to get a slot for SFT you are automatically in the process for disenrollment. According to those who were disenrolled they can return to AFROTC but they will lose their scholarship (They don't have to pay back). Army does offer those who do not make SFT to become MS3s in Army ROTC. This does change by unit and by year as last year my schools Army Detachment allowed those who did not get slots in SFT to become MS2s.

    Get good grades. To get good grades you must be proficient in your major/classes. Do not choose a major because you think it makes good money. I did that and it destroyed my GPA until I changed majors. The common fallacy is that the Air Force likes STEM majors. You can have Golf Course Management (An actual major in my uni) as your major and that's ok as long as you have a degree by your commissioning. On the other hand you shouldn't choose a major just because you can skimp by school. It would make you a lazy student and would leave you unprepared to the strenuous world of the Air Force. Take College seriously or it would bite you back when you commission.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2014
  6. aglages

    aglages Parent

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    Not quite a fallacy. When you compete for SFT your major (tech vs non-tech) is a large consideration. Particularly important if you are not applying for a rated AFSC.

    http://www.serviceacademyforums.com/showthread.php?t=37810&page=3
    2,650 cadets nominated
    1,590 selected
    1,060 non-selected

    Overall Select Rate: 60%
    Tech Select: 65.5%
    Rated Selects: 60.4%
    Non-Tech/non-rated select: 17%
    Nurse Select Rate: 43%

    Select Averages:
    CGPA: 3.38
    SAT/ACT: 1287/27
    PFT: 96.8
     
  7. DocGramps

    DocGramps New Member

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    An excellent illustration. The Air Force really does love STEM majors, particularly engineers.

    I was surprised though to see the nurses taking it on the chin this year. My AFROTC det lost a lot of good nursing majors to the Army this summer.
     
  8. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I am not surprised about nurses. For several years MPC had deemed nurses critical manning, and placed an emphasis on getting more in, but if you understand MPC, and promotions, they have hit that golden number, thus they need far fewer from a personnel perspective in two years than have in the past.

    The fact is ROTC is an MPC pipeline for ADAF. It is going to determine how many are needed for a 5 year goal, and that impacts the amount that will be offered SFT.
    ~ Three years ago if a cadet promised to go CSO or ABM, they offered scholarships to the cadet, and SFT was basically a guarantee as long as you didn't coast compared to even a type 1 scholarship recipients. FFWD a year later and that scholarship was not offered because from a manpower perspective they had enough in the pipeline .
    ~ Same can be said for this years SFT....they only need X amount.
    ~ Same can be said for how certain engineering majors that want rated will be forced to go engineering because they need the engineers.

    Skatp,
    The OP is an incoming freshmen so they will be a 100.

    OP,

    I would add that SFT selection is not just grades, but also PFA and AFOQT for SFT selection. They will also look at whether you want to go rated or not which is a huge player if you are non-tech.

    I would also say that as it has been stated their lifestyles and missions are much different. You will go ADAF upon commissioning for at least four years, and depending on your career field you may wait 6-9 months before going ADAF, thus in essence your first chance for leaving would be early 2023. Go pilot, and your first chance will be @2029.

    Look past ROTC and think about what career field you want to do as an officer in either branch.

    Finally, I would say pay attention to the selection rate, BUT do not obsess over SFT, see my opening response. It has been and always will be a pendulum, it can swing either way and can do it very quickly.
    ~ DSs year was the same as this year group and the two years following it was in the 90s, and this year it is back to 60%

    As far as Berkeley you need to talk to the cadre, and ask very specific questions, such as what is the avg cgpa/pft/afoqt for your major or at least tech/non-tech.

    OBTW I agree with Aglages regarding the AF loving STEM. They illustrate that fact with scholarships since 80% go to tech majors. They illustrate it again at the SFT level because they give them points for their cgoa to offset it against the Golf Management degree. They prove it again if you are rated and want to become a Test Pilot/Nav since to attend TPS you must hold an engineering degree.
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2014
  9. Lpshrtr

    Lpshrtr Member

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    Thank you to everyone who replied, I gained a lot of information from your guys post, and I just want to go into whatever branch doesn't restrict my ambitions of becoming a doctor. And that's interesting I didn't know Army lets cadets who weren't selected for SFT to become MS3s, that's kinda comforting but thanks for answering my question guys, I have my college orientation soon so I'm gonna sign up for the AFROTC classes and see how those are. Much appreciated everyone.
     
  10. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    AROTC does not have SFT, it is LDAC...I think that is their equivalent.

    Also remember the biggest difference between AFROTC and AROTC is that EVERY cadet in AFROTC that makes it to POC and commissions will go ADAF.Hence why the SFT board selection is the AF's cut from a manpower perspective for ADAF.

    As far as becoming a doctor in the military, I really am stressing right now that for either branch it is not an easy path. I suggest you investigate this path. I know hornetguy (AFA grad) thought long and hard about this path....he wanted to become a flight surgeon before he decided on taking the Rand fellowship for his PHD.

    Getting to commission will mean clearing a lot of hurdles, getting an ED for med school will require clearing a ton more. It is like trying to go JAG.

    I am going to be honest, it can happen, and it does happen, but from a statistical perspective for an AFROTC cadet the chances are lower than getting an F22 fighter out of UPT. It occurs, but the odds are def. not with you.
     
  11. wildcatmom

    wildcatmom Member

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    AFROTC transfer to AROTC

    Lpshrtr,
    AFROTC cadets MAY be allowed to transfer to AROTC...
    First and foremost, the Army needs to have slots available in their program...AROTC would require you to attend LTC during summer before your MSIII year, as well as LDAC the summer before your MSIV year...
    Additional changes are in the pipeline, that could impact the ability to transfer branches in the future...
    Do NOT count on being able to transfer as a guaranteed Plan B...
     
  12. Thompson

    Thompson Member

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    Are you sure about that? I always thought that if you could successfully transfer from AF to Army (provided that you did not get selected for SFT + did AS100 + AS200 year), that you would automatically become an MS3, without having any additional training to do.

    You bring up a good point about transferring. Lpshrtr - from what I've seen on the boards, the possbility to switch branches half way like that has been decreasing over the years. Not saying you wont get that if it happens, but it's a possibility that you need to be aware of.

    So just don't walk into either branch blindly. Do your research, take your time to fully explore both sides before you make a decision. You've got plenty of time before school starts to make a decision. Don't rush it.

    Best of Luck.
     
  13. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Let's take a time out here and remember commissioning is 5 years away for any 2019 grad. a lot can AND will happen in the next few years due to DoD budget constraints, what was common place last year maybe rare in 2016.
     
  14. EDelahanty

    EDelahanty Member

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    Have you planned for travel between San Francisco State where you will be a student and host school UCal Berkeley where you must attend AFROTC activities?

    From a logistics standpoint, it would be easier to manage travel between SFS and the University of San Francisco, which is the local AROTC host school (assuming you live on the San Francisco side of the bay).

    By the way, does SFS give academic credit for ROTC courses taken at either of these schools? This could affect your course load, particularly if you are a pre-med major?
     
  15. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    EDelahanty,

    Are you suggesting joining a ROTC branch due to x town issues for attending ROTC should be a factor?

    Not trying to antagonize, but that is how's it read to me.
    ~ College is 30 weeks, 20 hours/5 days a week in a classroom, AD is 52 weeks 24/7/365 days a year for at least 4 years.
    ~~~~ Xtown IMPO should not be a player in the equation she it comes to this decision.
     
  16. EDelahanty

    EDelahanty Member

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    Good catch, Pima. I was about to modify my post to say travel was one of many factors in the overall decision, but got distracted by the Bite. (World Cup fans will know what I mean).

    Speaking of the overall decision, it's not clear whether the OP's real priority is to be a doctor, a military officer, or a doctor who flies Air Force jets.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2014
  17. Lpshrtr

    Lpshrtr Member

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    Okay so this is probably going to be the deal breaker for me is SMP. I know army has SMP and it sounds like a good idea since you can get a GRFD I believe it's called which sounds nice but what I really want to know is,

    1. When can I sign up for SMP, I read you have to have 30 credits in college, but I also saw somewhere else it's a 4 year thing so I'm kind of confused, someone please clarify when I am able to sign up for SMP.

    2. Is SMP non deployable, I see so many contradicting post, I read you're only non deployable if you're contracted with ROTC, but I also read that all ROTC cadets are non deployable in SMP regardless if they're contracted or not.

    3. If I do plan to go SMP, I shouldn't try for a ROTC 3 year scholarship or something should I.

    Please try go use as few acronyms as possible lol thank you guys
     
  18. Lpshrtr

    Lpshrtr Member

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    My overall goal right now is to be an officer than after that go to med school, or something like that I know it's been done before I don't know how exactly so I'll have to speak to whoever is in charge of the ROTC programs down there. And yes I do get credit for AROTC or AFROTC, the only one that doesn't count is navy rotc, they said it "May or may not count for extra credit" which is a weird answer to give. And I already know I will never fly a jet because my eye sight is horrible I have like 20/1000 right now, correctable to 20/40 ish 20/20 ish.
     
  19. aglages

    aglages Parent

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    Obviously it is not possible for me to predict what the AFs needs will be in Jan 2016 when you'd hopefully be submitted for SFT. However I would suggest that anyone considering applying for a non-tech - non-rated AFROTC EA slot had better be at the top of the applicant pool....academically and militarily. Otherwise.....start with AROTC and stick with it for the entire four years. JMPO.....Good luck!
     
  20. Lpshrtr

    Lpshrtr Member

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    Bump

    Can someone please answer my SMP questions, thank you.
     

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