Another "Decisions, decisions, decisions" thread

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by onetimeoneplace, Apr 10, 2013.

  1. onetimeoneplace

    onetimeoneplace New Member

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    So my college options are firmed, but I'm really stuck on what I have to choose:
    -Michigan NROTC (scholarship)
    -Ohio State (Honors) AFROTC (non-scholarship)
    -Penn State (Honors) AFROTC (non-scholarship, in-state)

    I have been accepted to all three. I cannot go to Michigan without the scholarship. I was rejected for an AFROTC scholarship, and while Michigan AFROTC would have been perfect, the gamble of getting an in-school scholarship is too risky (considering how expensive Michigan is for OOS). On top of everything, I am waiting for a DoDMERB waiver, and it may come after the May 1 acceptance deadline for most of these schools (and possibly any deadline extensions as well).

    It all comes down to a quality of education vs. career path decision. I want to be a pilot, but I want strong backup options as well. I want a school that can provide me with a high-quality education, but also one that can put me on a good start towards a long career (military or not). Finally, I want a great college experience, but also a great experience in the military as well.

    I don't know why, but I'm having some feelings against the Navy. Maybe it's because of my long time in Civil Air Patrol, or my lifelong sub-par swimming ability, or life aboard a ship or sub. I don't want to go to a school just because of the money factor, but I'm striving for a good education. Out of these three options, Michigan blows everything out of the water when it comes to my intended major (Aerospace Engineering), but it's also the farthest away.

    I'm in a tight situation. If anyone could offer some guidance, that would be awesome.
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2013
  2. goaliedad

    goaliedad Parent

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    Hard to go wrong here.

    Given the fact that you cannot afford Michigan without the scholarship, I would nix it. Too many bad things can happen (not just getting past DoDMERB, but throughout your 4 years) that can force you out. The question is where would you rather be for 4 years?

    Hint... At the top level, you are what you make of yourself - the difference in programs may very well be more than offset by how happy you are in the situation.

    Do you want to be in a city (Columbus) or away from the city (State College)? I've been to both myself and they are different enough to be a big factor in how your overall experience will be.

    You have the preparation to be successful in either. The undergraduate degree will from either will get you interviews just about anywhere (or make you competitive for any graduate program) if you are at the top of your class. Where will you most likely to be at the top of the class.
     
  3. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    Although my bias is Navy and I would love to steer you that way I have to say +1 to goaliedad, especially since you have reservations about Navy. There are many things that could happen that force you out, or even where you decide to drop. Yes, believe it... attrition rates are sometimes 50%, and none of them thought they would drop out either. If you can't swing the school without the scholarship I would say its risky to attend there.
     
  4. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    AF chiming in here.

    The fact is college is 30 weeks a yr and maybe 20 hrs in class.

    AF and Navy you will go AD for 4 yrs at least, and that life is you go where they send you, not where you choose, It is a 40 hr work week (if you are lucky), 7 days a week, 365 days a yr.

    Think about being 22 and assigned to Minot AFB, or Norfolk on a boat.

    You have to decide which branch you are willing to take the bad with the good.
     
  5. Thompson

    Thompson Member

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    I must say - that is a tough decision, as both have SOLID engineering programs.

    First off, a congratulations is in order - as you are lucky enough to be part of Schreyer Honors program ... a very prestigious honors college.

    Unfortunately I do not have much information to advise you about Ohio state; but I am going to Penn State this fall ... for mechanical engineering. (I have declared Aerospace .. but I'm thinking about changing it). I can share a bit of info with you that you may/may not have known about the Aerospace Dept. The Dept is one of two colleges in the country that has received a rotorcraft lab from the Dept of the Army (so if you are thinking about specializing in the rotary world - this may appeal to you). The Dept also has a wind tunnel, and from what I remember a water tunnel is in-progess for installation.

    Penn State just has a really solid engineering program in general. If you haven't had a chance to visit yet, I would highly recommend it. I personally love the scenery around the campus - but to each their own right?

    Penn State also has a vast job-networking program for post-graduation, but since you're going AF, you probably wont be to worried about that. But it may come in handy should you decide not to continue with the AF after your AD time is up.

    Since you're IS like me, Penn State is what, 10k'ish cheaper than Ohio? If paying for college is a big deal, this may be something to consider.

    BUT, at the end of the day it is ultimately your decision. Just like ROTC, college will be what you make out of it.

    If you have any questions about Penn State/engineering or Det 720 feel free to PM me.

    Best wishes,
    Thompson
     
  6. psychedmom

    psychedmom Member

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    Just visited tOSU

    Just visited tOSU with our DS last week. I have only great things to say about the city, the campus and the det. Not sure yet if it is where our son will attend, but it is in the top two...just making sure they can convert his 4 year type 7 to a 3 year type 2. I see so many benefits to the on campus good sized det. Keep us posted. You and my son may end up together!
     
  7. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    psychedmom,

    I am assuming you mean AFROTC. If so,they will convert to a Type 2 3 yr. It is not OSU's decision it is HQ AFROTC.

    I have never heard AFROTC denying the change. The beauty of AFROTC is the scholarship is tied to the cadet, not the school.

    Logistically it is possible to have a det with 100$ on scholarship and a det with 0% when it comes to AFROTC.
     
  8. psychedmom

    psychedmom Member

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    You are correct Pima, AFROTC it is...he called his scholarship tech today and left a message. He accepted it as a type 7 because he only had a few days to do so and had not visited OSU yet...now he is down to the decision weekend. Hoping he has strong feelings one way or another because he really has three good options, IS school with some merit as well as OSU with some merit and accepted at Maritime, but looks like no $ there, as his major is not accepted for the AFROTC scholarship. Blessing to have so many great options, can't wait to see what he will do. At this point we are trying to stay out of it so it is his decision. We raised him the best we could, so ready, set, go.
     
  9. GoBlue1984

    GoBlue1984 Member

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    OneTimeOnePlace,

    I'm biased on your three choices but will still offer my opinion.

    First - it doesn't look like you have any "bad" choices. You mentioned a DODMERB waiver and I assume that is for NROTC. That should give you some pause as to whether you will be able to get a waiver before you can activate.

    IMO, you are right that Michigan Engr is the highest ranked of the three. My DS was thoroughly impressed with his visit there, and Michigan was his #1 NROTC choice. Michigan has a long history with all ROTC branches and is strong in all Engr programs.

    I have a DD at OSU (non-Engr). She loves the school and the campus. I'll warn you that off campus housing is nearly as expensive as on campus housing. Although I hate to admit it, OSU Engr is fairly good and I've known several engineers who have gone there (much better today than when I was in school). Again the ROTC units are pretty strong. But again, not inexpensive OOS (just significantly less than Mich). DS was not nearly as impressed with facilities and standards at OSU as Michigan. Again, he might have been biased as he visited the two schools on consecutive days, and he has had 18 years living under the my bias.

    Penn State also is a top notch engineering school. I've never been to campus but have known others who have gone there. DS did not apply so I don't know too much there. I can attest that the Penn State engineers I've known are good engineers.

    Other things to consider:

    - Many engineering students who start one program finish in another, and although Aerospace has some specific nuances, ME has almost the exact same classes with a few minor differences. And once you take Fluid Dynamics, you might find out that Areo is not for you (since you do advanced Fluid Dynamic classes as Areo; the math is as hard as Electrical). I know ChemE's who started Mechanical or Electrical; Areo Engrs who work as Mechanical. My main message is I wouldn't let ranking in one specific branch of engineering color your overall decision too much.

    - College is a marathon, not a sprint. You will likely go 9 semesters to finish your BSE degree (I don't know many who were in my class that graduated in 8 semesters). The ability to complete it is what is important, not the ability to start.

    - As cuts continue, it seems that ROTC is getting squeezed. Sounds like you are dedicated to serving. NROTC will get you active duty, as will AF. However it seems from other threads on this forum that AF is really raising the bar in selecting who goes on to summer training. And without that, you won't commission out of ROTC.

    - Your peer competition at Michigan will likely be steeper than the other two (look at the average SAT scores, and how competitive to get in OOS). Don't overlook the competition - how you compare to your peers is the most significant factor in your grades.

    Best Wishes in your future and let us know what you eventually decide.
     

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