AFROTC vs Falcon Foundation Scholarship

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by FatherOf4, Apr 29, 2016.

  1. FatherOf4

    FatherOf4 New Member

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    Today my DS received a FFS which now put him in a dilemma between attending a "normal" college (UC Santa Cruz) with a 3 year AFROTC Scholarship and attending a PREP and going through the USAFA process again. Is anyone else in this predicament?

    Don't get me wrong, this is a good problem to have. Just wanting some advice, comments or anything that helps during this decision making process.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. BlahuKahuna

    BlahuKahuna Member

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    I was in the same position a few years back. It comes down to deciding whether or not the extra year is worth it in order to come to USAFA. For me, it definitely was worth the wait and I don't regret my decision. Feel free to let me know if you'd like more details on my particular decision.
     
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  3. FatherOf4

    FatherOf4 New Member

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    Yes I would like to know more about your decision regarding this same situation. My son just let me know he would like to attend UCSC and go the AFROTC route because he feels its more of a safer route since he will have to go through the USAFA application process and getting admission is not guaranteed. I know its mainly his decision but as a father, I feel he needs to have an open mind and get all the info possible to make his "final" decision.
     
  4. Blackbird

    Blackbird Parent

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    Either path to an AF commission(Falcon/USAFA or UCSC/AFROT) has risks. I'm not sure that UCSC/AFROTC is lower risk. Perhaps PIMA or someone more knowledgeable regarding AFROTC will chime in on the risk level with that commissioning source. However, getting an appointment as a Falcon Scholar is relatively low risk. Keep up the grades and stay out of trouble and the appointment is his. The reapplication process is even a bit abbreviated for Falcons. The risk with the USAFA path is primarily associated with getting through USAFA once he is there. A good 20% of the cadets don't make it to graduation for a variety of reasons. Now I don't now how that compares with AFROTC. That's the number that you need to make a meaningful comparison between the two paths.
     
  5. FFNWP'15

    FFNWP'15 New Member

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    If you want to go to USAFA and you receive a FFS, as long as you stay on track at your prep school and stay out of trouble you will receive an appointment. NWP is a great option because it gives you a taste of what life at USAFA may be like as well as life at a civilian university in the spring. A few fellow Falcons are currently doing AFROTC at their second semester and have realized that ROTC is a great option but that USAFA is definitely where they want to be.
     
  6. BlahuKahuna

    BlahuKahuna Member

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    My thinking was that if I was going to do something in my prep year that would potentially jeopardize my USAFA appointment (injury, fail classes, legal trouble) that I would lose an AFROTC scholarship as well-so I considered the risk basically equal between the two options (not even considering how difficult it is to get an AFROTC field training slot depending on the year.) Not sure if that makes sense but that was a big part of it.

    The biggest thing that swayed me, and it might sound shallow, is the insane percentage of AF resources that go into running USAFA when compared to AFROTC, and I wanted a militarily intense experience. AFROTC has fewer training opportunities, and as unfair as it is that we get greater funding, I was enamored with having unique opportunities (many during the school year!) like:

    -5 rides in a glider (including an acro ride)
    -5 freefall skydives
    -10-12 flight hours in a program designed to give a brief exploration into rated careers
    -4 weeks at Lackland AFB working with enlisted BMT trainees
    -4 week internship at a government agency on the east coast

    That's just a sample of the "enjoyable" training I've had here...the constant access to officers and enlisted personnel, mentors from any career you could imagine, and even the less pleasant field training or inspections/drill/etc were all still very attractive to me. I knew that if I did ROTC, my chances to do training opportunities aside from Field Training or maybe a base visit were much slimmer. More bang for your buck (well, no bucks, if you want to be even more pragmatic about it.)

    Additionally, I don't think I would have been as successful at any university without an extra year of prep. I really refined my study skills out at NWP, and my semester at a civilian college taught me a lot about balancing multiple things without a strict schedule over my shoulder.

    If you want USAFA, I would consider FF an incredibly low risk, provided you continue doing the good work you did in high school and stay out of trouble.
     
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  7. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    I am not sure it's the safer option either. With AFROTC he still has to be selected for field training. If he isn't, no more scholarship. FF is a golden ticket. Keep good grades, stay out of trouble, he will get into USAFA. And Kahuna correct me if I wrong, full application doesn't have to be redone correct? Nomination packages, yes. It comes down to a few things, does DS want a more 24/7 military experience or more normal college experience? I think Kahuna did a great job of highlighting USAFA training opportunities which are very large. Also of DS wants to fly, really take a look at pilot selection rates of ROTC vs USAFA.
     
  8. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    A couple of things of why in your case I would take the Falcon Foundation. Listed in importance from what I gather in your post.
    1. You want a military type experience for your collegiate years. Unless you are attending an SMC, your experience in the beginning is going to be more college less ROTC. As you go up the ranks you will have jobs that will demand more time, but certainly not in your 1st year. Typically your freshmen year is LLAB and PT with a small job (responsibility).
    2. Summer Field Training (SFT) is always a risk. Nobody can predict 2 years out what the selection rate will be for your year group. I.E. 2 years ago the selection rate was 58%, but last year and this year has been 93-98%. The reason for the variance in such a swing is tied to the pool size and the amount of slots. HQ AF MPC will have a number they want at that point for commissioning and USAFA at that point usually will not drop alot like it does the 1st year. Plus, they always have the option of OCS if they are short, but if they are over like they were 3 years ago, than that means they will have to cut loose cadets from AFROTC.
    3. A majority of kids that say I want to major in a STEM degree because I did really well in Math and Science classes in HS, however,, HS and college are 2 different things. If you accept that AFROTC scholarship as a tech major, but once in college you decide you want to be an Econ major you need to get their approval to keep the scholarship, which is highly unlikely, whereas for USAFA you have the option.
    4. As far as it goes for a pilot slot I would not say that should be a part of the equation. For eons now, if you maintain @3.0 (tech), 3,3 (non-tech), have some flight hours and do well on the TBAS, plus no medical issues you should get a UPT slot. It has hovered around 95% since 2010, could be longer, but that is when I started to pay attention because of my DS (AFROTC).
    ~ Due to the fact that airlines are hiring at a very fast pace now the AF is losing at a much faster pace than in years (decade) past. Pilots are not even taking the bonuses at a high enough rate for HQ to stop the pain. On top of that they are losing RPA pilots too at a rate too fast to stop the pain.
    ~~ The flight hours you get at USAFA are great, but it is not going to necessarily equate to getting that fighter. I.E. DS's UPT class...the top 2 were OCS prior E. Number 3 was AFROTC. Fencers DS (USAFA) was with my DS (AFROTC), they are both C130J pilots.
    ~~~ The reason why is because once you commission those IPs don't care what was your commissioning source, it is all about handling the stick.

    My DS opted the AFROTC route, but honestly it was because he is a rare bird. He was an AF brat. He did great in Math and Science, but found no joy in those classes while he loved govt. and history and excelled in them too. When we sat him down and had a heart to heart with him, it was obvious, USAFA would never be a fit for him. Going to an SA because it is free or greatest chance for pilot is not a reason to go. You can't become a pilot until you commission, and if the school is not a fit you are risking it all just because it is free or has a higher chance. My DS flat out said those were the pluses, the negatives were the lifestyle and his desire not to do STEM. He had spent his entire life as an AF dependent and he knew he would owe at least 10 years if he was pilot....meaning he would be 32 before he could walk, the idea of having 4 years of keeping his toes in the water (ROTC) while enjoying the "real" world as just a kid was when we called the ball and said go ROTC. IOWS, he had no desire to sit at attention when eating his meal or making his bed. If he wanted to visit his friends at another college as a freshmen in another state, so be it, he didn't need anyone's approval.

    Just saying if you want the rigor of a military SA than you will never be happy with the ROTC lifestyle unless you go to an SMC, and there are only 7 in the nation that offer you that option.
     
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  9. BlahuKahuna

    BlahuKahuna Member

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    You're correct. There are a few things that need to be updated, but it's a relatively painless process in the USAFA portal. Nominations have to be redone, but I actually didn't have to do anything with my congressman's office except a brief phone interview (they saved all my info from the first time around.)

    Also, didn't include this, but NavyHoops may appreciate this-the opportunity to spend a few months at another service academy (USNA in my case) has really shaped the way I view leadership and gave me a big-picture understanding of the way the Navy and Marine Corps contribute to the fight. Couldn't have gotten that anywhere else.
     
  10. 6KDogwhistle

    6KDogwhistle Member

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    Pima nailed it. The bottom line is, how much "military" experience do you want? One institution does not produce a better officer than the other. One can argue until the cows come home but it's equivalent to talking about religion and politics. You take a guy like me, I would have lasted about 10 minutes at a SA. They didn't call me cadet stealth for nothing when I was in ROTC.:D A driven person will excel regardless, whether he/she is at the zoo or ROTC. Always keep the big picture in sight and that is pinning on those gold bars at the end of your 4 years. The day you report to your first assignment, no one will give a fart where you came from and that's just the beginning. Which ever path you choose, take it a day at a time, pace yourself, and enjoy the ride!
     
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  11. FatherOf4

    FatherOf4 New Member

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    Well thank you all for the advise, I really do appreciate it! After long talks with my son about utilizing the FFS and attending NWP or utilizing the AFROTC scholarship and attending UCSC, he has come to the decision that he wants to attend UCSC and major in Health Bio and pursue a career in medicine. Either way, I'm confident that he will succeed.

    Again, Thank you all for the comments and advice.
     
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  12. jbjtitleist124

    jbjtitleist124 Member

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    My 2 cents, from a FFS and USAFA Grad. If he wants a pilot slot, USAFA, statistically, is the route to take. Also, don't think of the extra year as "going through the process again." Yes, "technically" you still re-apply, but all the FFS schools (at least back in my day) have close to a 100% success rate for getting into USAFA. The extra year gives one good perspective and allows him/her to learn about themselves before they get shell shocked at BCT. FWIW, I went to Wentworth.
     

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