Army ROTC increasing interest in STEM (Science, Tech, Eng, Math) majors

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by dunninla, Sep 14, 2011.

  1. dunninla

    dunninla Member

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    About a week ago I mentioned that the Army ROTC, starting with this year's applicants for Scholarship, will pay more attention to, and have more requirements concerning, the Academic Discipline Mix (ADM) of the applicant.

    Background:

    The Army ROTC has four ADMs plus Nursing:
    1: Engineering
    2: Hard Science and Math
    3: Social Sciences, Finance
    4: Humanities

    I wrote here that a PMS told me in April that starting with this coming year's Awardees (entering college Fall 2012), a cadet may not change their ADM from lower to higher numbered category without Battalion approval. That apparently was news to most.

    Additionally, I ran across a post (#26 in the thread) from 2009 that generally supports the fact that the Army has been headed in this STEM direction for at least two years, probably three. here it is: http://www.serviceacademyforums.com...tion+board+candidates+majoring+STEM#post79245 So, how does this affect this year's applicants? Know that if an applicant likes equally the subjects of English (ADM4) and Biology (ADM2), and isn't sure what to pursue in for college, that choosing Biology makes an application a lot stronger in the Board review than does English (or History, or Philosophy, or Sociology, or Music, -- all ADM4s, etc.). Assuming an equal attraction to both, the applicant is well advised to pick and pursue Biology as the intended major.

    If an applicant simply isn't interested in any STEM subject, that's fine too, but understand that does affect the chances of receiving a scholarship, and plan accordingly.

    If an applicant has been told by someone not familiar with the new protocol to "Just put down Chemistry on the ROTC Application, and when you get to college just do Econ for a major", understand that bad advice is based on old information and that that tactic will not work going forward.

    The Navy ROTC has long been transparent about this preference for STEM majors. In fact, 85% of all Navy ROTC scholarships are mandated to be for STEM majors. The Air Force ROTC has been the same, with Engineering being preferred, then technology, etc. exactly like Navy though I don't have the exact data for % of scholarship money going to Engineering vs. Tech vs. non-Tech scholarships.

    Looks like Army ROTC is emulating these other two ROTC programs in its increasing preference for STEM majors.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2011
  2. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    It will be interesting to see how this plays out this year. When this years applicants begin to post they have received a scholarship it would be interesting as well to find out what they listed as their major. It will be fun to see if STEM indeed makes a difference this year.

    My son received a scholarship on the first board last year, he listed himself as a Political Science Major, Very high on leadership and athletics, not so high on ACT, and a 3.6 GPA. His Major didn't seem to have an impact on his selection. It will be fun watching this years process.

    dunninia is right on regarding majors. Don't select a major you do not like just to improve your chances, it will come back to bite you in the end.

    As Clarkson and others have stated, scholarships are not the norm. Not too long ago almost all ROTC cadets were not on a scholarship, our current situation in the world has increased the need for recruitment into the service, scholarships were a way to recruit. That need is coming to an end and it won't be long before most cadets are non scholarship again, it's starting already.

    The best thing you can do is to pick a school you really want to attend, find a major that interests you and then apply for the scholarship, if you get it great if not you will be in the same boat as the majority of other students and cadets. Don't make your selections based on increasing your chances for a scholarship just to end up in a school you hate and a major you have no interest in, it will only hurt you in the end.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2011
  3. Ohio2015Parent

    Ohio2015Parent Member

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    I quoted and added the BOLD emphasis -- in the end, you must live at this school and complete this major in 4 years, nothing will make you more miserable than stacking your application and thinking its "free" I can make it work. The needs of the military, public and private sector are all changing - not everyone is going to be an engineer(thank goodness, how boring would the world would be:wink:). But honestly, you need to have a certain amount of passion for what you study - I still believe my DS should be an education major - but he's not convinced and will continue to explore all his options. So if the Army is going to pursue tech majors, so be it, contracting isn't limited to tech majors and that commission is the BIG GOAL!!
     
  4. Packer

    Packer Member

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    Careful!- an engineer gave you the ability to post. :biggrin:
     
  5. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    is there a mechanism to ensure an applicant doesn't change his or her major once selected for a scholarship. Most colleges, if not all, doesn't stop students from changing their majors if they change their mind.
     
  6. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I would assume that they will follow AF/NROTC scholarship...meaning you must declare your major and if you want to change it HQ has the option to revoke the scholarship...in other words you can change it, but you broke the contract by changing the major and they can say we will not pay.

    For AROTC I am sure they never understood the "gaming" posts for AF/NROTC.

    Both of them for HSSP, offer 85% to "Tech" majors. If they accept the scholarship major, and decided to go "non-tech" once in college they needed to get HQ approval for the conversion of the scholarship...i.e gaming it.

    Don't go down this path, unless you are positive you can pay for college without ROTC scholarship.
     
  7. dunninla

    dunninla Member

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    Yes, each marking term (Quarter, Trimester, or Semester) the cadet must complete the Form 104-R for Cadre review to demonstrate he/she is on schedule to graduate, the specific courses taken and specific courses projected for each term, and the Declared Major.
     
  8. 89Bison

    89Bison Member

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    In an era of low-intensity conflict where the emphasis is on winning the hearts and minds local populations--picture those platoon leaders and company commanders having tea with tribal leaders--it's preposterous that the United States Army would place greater value on, say, a chemical or mechanical engineering major, than on public relations, history, political science or international relations.

    Yes, the tools of war continue to grow more technologically advanced, but does the use of those tools require deep knowledge of their inner workings? Among other things, I competently used night vision goggles and a PRC-77 radio during my time in the service--without knowing the first thing about the hard science that enabled them. Likewise, most of you are easily reading this post without knowing much about the innards of your computer or how the internet actually works. (Beats me, too!)

    As implied by another poster (can't find it now), it seems this is less an indication of the true needs of the Army, and is likely an unintended and unfortunate consequence of a broader federal directive to emphasize STEM.

    I almost concluded by saying "...but it's the Army money, so they get to decide"--but then I remembered that every scholarship dollar was either surrendered by a taxpayer or borrowed from someone else.
     
  9. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    Touche!!
     
  10. Ohio2015Parent

    Ohio2015Parent Member

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    Whoops. I didn't mean the emphasis to be that all engineers are boring - just that if everyone did that career path one, it would be boring 'cause we'd all have the same education/career goal and two, without the other types of education and careers, life would be boring. Sorry to all the engineer types - I'll pick on lawyers next time:wink:
     
  11. Packer

    Packer Member

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    Lawyers are fair game.:shake:
     
  12. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    At son's school they fill out a new 104R form each year if required by the HR person. They have a HR Person that monitors each cadets 104R and degree audit provided by the university, if changes need to be made the cadet is notified well in advance so they can adjust their 104R. Normally the cadets will complete a new 104R at the beginning of each year to make sure they are on track if something does not look right on their degree audit.
     
  13. goaliedad

    goaliedad Parent

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    Paging Patentesq... Flame war about to erupt... :hammer: :rolleyes:
     
  14. patentesq

    patentesq Parent

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    The Army appears to be evolving and focusing its recruiting efforts on the next major national security challenges -- cyberwar and WMD.

    [​IMG]

    Also, based on some of the discussions on the board, although I don't have access to recruiting statistics, it may also be that the Army is not currently experiencing problems in recruiting non-tech folks, so why spend money there?

    P.S. Have you hugged your lawyer today?
     
  15. Ohio2015Parent

    Ohio2015Parent Member

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    I knew that comment would get you. Consider yourself cyber hugged, you're one of the few practicing attorneys I know:smile: Two of DS's favorite teachers left practice to become educators, so they don't count and actually are the best sources of all jokes/stories etc... about lawyers and all things judicial:shake:

    I agree, the Army has no difficulty recruiting non-techs - Criminal Justice is the big major at DS's school. DS doesn't like math and science, which is a shame considering he's really good at those areas, but I would never tell him to chase a scholarship pretending to love something he doesn't.
     
  16. Aglahad

    Aglahad Member

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    I think the army is emphasizing tech majors for a few reasons:

    1. To compete with AF and Navy in the tech department, believe it or not the army isn't just all infantry and combat arms

    2. As the army transitions to a more garrison type of role, more emphasis is placed on technological improvements and updated systems (future soldier etc.) to deal with new battlefield conflicts (Analytic mode of thinking not necessarily a need to
    know inner workings of the new technology)

    3. In a battalion of over 100 cadets coming from 5-6 different universities I can literally count the number of tech majors on one hand. Kind of lopsided huh? When asked why they chose their majors, there were a lot of different responses ( better OML chance, their passion, hated science etc). This might be another reason.

    To the poster saying the army should place more emphasis in international relations and history, I respectively disagree. I have taken a few history/poly sci classes in college (counter-terrorism, military ethics etc) and I seriously doubt anything thing SUBSTANTIAL learned in those classes could significantly effect a PL's decision making beyond what the army has already briefed and trained them (my opinion of course). Were the classes interesting? Sure, but beyond all the biases, theory and dogma, I think the degree's (or any degree) use in warfare is overestimated. The training as well as analytic thinking that can be learned in army pre-deployment schools and college (critical thinking) is more effective in my opinion.

    50/50 seems like a good split for tech and non-tech majors in ROTC


    However, do not go to college majoring in something just because it makes money or might give you a shot at a scholarship (happens with pre-med all the time). Major in something you enjoy and just work hard...good things will happen.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2011
  17. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    God help us if the Army were to go to a 50/50 split with tech-non tech.

    I work closely with engineers, I respect their abilities and knowledge of their field, but to be honest I wouldn't trust half of them to lead their way out of the building. We have had long discussions about the military since I have 2 son's going that direction and many joke that they would get lost or left behind because they would try to over engineer the situation.

    To be effective if the Army were to follow the Navy regarding tech degrees they would need to change the way they do branching. As it is now it is entirely based on the OML. If the army starts requiring tech degrees they will need to find a way to make sure those cadets branch to a field that needs that education.

    The Army Corps of Engineers is staffed primarily by civilian engineers, there are some military just not close to the number of civilians, and as it stands now there is no direct pipeline for an engineering grad to go straight to the Corps of Engineers.

    Aglahad,

    You are a senior in college and have not yet strayed past the confines of school and ROTC. You find things will be different then yo expect. While I agree that for the most part the degree you choose will have little bearing on your branch unless you are Jag or Medical, but to say that degrees like History, Political Science and other Liberal Arts will bring nothing to the table is naive. A history major that studies mainly Middle eastern and Asian history and a Political Science that studies International politics will have much to offer when deployed and there skills will be needed just as those that are engineers.

    I majored in Architecture, before I went to my first ship I barely knew the stern from the bow. After systems training I could operate all the systems without a glitch, what I studied in school was no help at all. I just needed to be able to work the system, not build it, civilians did that just fine.

    Another thing to remember, in the Army most of the maintenance on equipment is done by enlisted and Warrant, not officers, they all seem to do just fine with the specialized training they receive.

    I am in no way saying that there is not a need for tech majors, just that it is not a good idea to push towards the levels the Navy does. The Army needs a balance of all educations and strengths, to start eliminating non tech majors will leave a big gap in the Army. The Army is not the Navy or the Air Force, the mission is different, they are much more up close and personal and will need officers from every educational background, yes even History and Political Science as well as Philosophy and others.
     
  18. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I don't see how it would hard to do branching with tech regarding OML. AFROTC does it and so does NROTC. Their OML determines their career path.

    They use the gpa like AROTC does, but all they do is give tech majors some extra points than non-tech due to the rigor of their course load. Every other aspect remains the same regarding their scores. Basically, a non-tech needs to have @ 0.3+ on their gpa to equal the tech major.

    I agree about all walks of life, and that we need diversity. FWIW, our DS is a govt major and has a UPT slot for AF. That is why I state, the major/field plays little importance when it comes to branching, the cadet and their abilities plus their resume matter.

    Finally, your perception, of at least the AF IMPO is a little bit off. The AF has ALO's and BALO's embedded with the Army. Bullet spent 6 months in the Green Zone as an AF officer. The reality is the AF's mission may be Air, but not everyone flies, just as there are many Army officers that don't drive tanks or fly helo's or jump out of perfectly good airplanes. Had a person been commissioned into the Army in 1993, did their 4 yrs AD to payback their scholarship, what would be their "up close and personal" mission, in comparison to AF. The Army had missions, but they were unique in nature, Haiti is a prime example.

    At the exact same time, the Navy and AF have never left the sandbox since August 1990, they did have an up close and personal mission and basically everybody played in the sandbox at one time or another, if not multiple times. When they fly, they still need permission from the country that is hosting them like Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Germany, Korea, etc. There is an actual liaison between the AF and the country's AF.

    I am not trying to slam the Army, or support the other branches. I am trying to highlight that just because it is the norm now, we should not assume that it will be that way in the future.

    I can see the Army also wanting to get more Tech majors because they want to get less reliant on the AF and Navy regarding UAVs, this will be a big career field in the future.

    This is also on top of cyber warfare.

    Our society is moving to more technological industries and the Army needs people with that background.

    As I said I have a DS who entered ROTC as a govt major, but his career field will not be non-tech.
     
  19. MNDad2015

    MNDad2015 Member

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    I agree that it's a lot more than their major. DS decided to go the CE route because he loves math and science, and at some point in his life he wants to have the degree (and most likely a grad degree) in a field he finds interesting and rewarding. As far as his ability to lead, after everyone got to know each other he was chose to be squad leader the first time the did FLRC's. His squad was the only one to complete things on time without any point deductions. He is also one of the tops for new cadets for PT, and his goal before the end of his freshman year is 300+ and already well on his way there. Does PT 4 times a week, extra cardio workouts and hits the weight room 4-5 times per week. Doing very well in all of his classes so far, which is great because he's carrying 18 credit hours plus a 1 hour required course that you get no credit for. Really got his act together his senior year of HS in terms of time management and organization skills. Those, if you can teach to others, will also help you be a great leader because the others gain something very tangible from it.
     
  20. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    I would be the first to agree with you that all the services have had their time to be Up Close, even the Coast Guard for goodness sakes. My comment was more along the lines of percentages which overall the Army and Marines make up most of the boots on the ground.

    As far as the OML, in the AROTC it seems most cadets gravitate to the combat arms when making out their branch wish lists. A friend of my son's that graduated last year was an engineering student, he received the extra point on the OML and was thrilled because he would have a better chance to get Infantry, he was not interested in the Engineers or Signal where he might have a chance to use his degree. It would be good if they could offer scholarships for engineering majors that stipulated they branch to a tech field.

    Overall I think you would agree that the Air Force and Navy are the more tech savy branches. Whether you fly, support, sail, or travel 800 feet below the surface these branches are hungry for engineering graduates. The Army may get further into UAV's and cyber warfare which will require special levels of education, just not to the extent in numbers the Air Force and Navy require.

    While my son is a History major, he plans to fly in the Army, his best friend is getting an Aeronautical Engineering degree and he plans to branch Armor...Go figure.
     

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