AROTC application: personal statement NOT important at all???

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by educateme, Oct 27, 2010.

  1. educateme

    educateme Member

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    My son had a conversation with a PMS of one of the schools on his school of intent list.

    He told my son that essays and personal statement, and whatnot are not important and mostly overlooked or read only when a candidate is a borderline case.

    Did anybody else get this kind of input?

    I read in other places that essays and personal statements etc are very important.

    It could be one of those personal preferences/tendencies. If so, it gives credence to a few statements from other posters on this forum that each "board" is different and doing it (scholarship selection) differently.

    Even with standardized, automatic scoring system etc, opinions of the board members of the particular board carry 350 points out of 1000 total score. How they assess the candidates has a significant impact on the outcome. And, this is unpredictable and changes for every board since they pick 3 active PMSs for each board - it's a rotation assignment, I take it. One board may be just recounting the number of check marks, while the other board may be paying close attention to the "quality" of the candidate by carefully reading the essays and what not. So, the consistency is not there, like there is in college admissions.

    I hope the Oct board that is taking place now for AROTC has board members who read essays, etc. A significant portion of my son's leadership qualities did not fall into any pre identified box they listed on the application form that he could put a check mark on. If none reads essays, my son will come up short, because just based on the number of "check marks" on the leadership side, he is not going to appear to be a strong leadership material.
     
  2. gojack

    gojack ....

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    Emailing back and forth with S's 2nd choice school PMS on Monday...
    He stated that he remembered S's file and essay, and had a very positive opinion as a result.

    The PMS had been reviewing applications prior to the board, and hopefully the time and effort put into the essay puts S into a stronger position.

    I would guess every PMS has their own system for selecting cadets, weighting various attributes based on their own experiences.

    One PMS we spoke to at great length, stated that after many years of watching cadets, he felt that he could not predict who succeeded and who failed AT ALL. He said the most marginal cadets sometimes did exceeding well and sometimes the strongest looking cadets crashed and burned horribly. (He did not read essays)

    Another PMS we talked to (who happened to be a communication major) said he read every essay carefully.
     
  3. clarksonarmy

    clarksonarmy Recruiting Operations Officer at Clarkson Army

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    This one seems like a "no brainer". Applicants should take every opportunity to explain their scholars/athlete/leader attributes. Why would someone not take the time to fill in all available space? Want to set yourself apart from the pack? Leave those spaces blank and see how much that helps.
     
  4. educateme

    educateme Member

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    clarksonarmy,

    it's not an issue of not filling the available space (for extra check marks).

    The application form goes on and on and on listing items and asking the applicants to put a check mark on relevant "pre listed" items. Examples: church leadership positions, student government association leadership, etc, etc. There is no such thing as "if there are activities not listed here, list them youself". the only place you can talk about your significant activities not pre-identified and listed on the application form is the essay.

    The problem is, my son did not do "standard stuff" (read: the usual suspects they put on the application form) (no affiliation with organized religion based activities, not very active within the four walls of the school). Or even paid jobs and such. Since finance was not an issue for us, he spent available hours doing other "leadership" related activities that require a great deal of discipline, commitment and time.

    He had SIGNIFICANT, and rather impressive, I might add, leadership activities and awards that can be easily verified but do not fit into the categories they already pre identified. As such, if a board member goes by the check marks on "leadership" items on the form, he is not going to see much. if he reads essays, he will realize the depth and breadth of the leadership qualities he brings to the table.

    So, if this October board happens to be run by members who do not read essays, my son is a toast. I am concerned.
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2010
  5. cjs

    cjs Member

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    Educateme, I know you are stressing and I completely understand. There is little that you can do at this point so I would say to sit back and take a deep breath.
    It's hard to know exactly who will receive scholarships from the first board. I would assume like in years last, they will set the bar at whatever OML score they decide upon and the very top candidates will receive the scholarship the first round. They may only award a few scholarships this time around just like they did last year with the first few boards.

    There is no way for you to find out what the board is going to do. You know that your son and you have done all that you can. As hard as it is, you are unfortunately going to have to simply wait.

    I wish your son the best of luck.
     
  6. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    cjs is correct, all you can do now is wait.

    It stinks, but as I have stated to you in other posts, this is the easiest.

    Three yrs later I have sat on my hands and worried about our DS. Right now we are sitting on our hands because DS is going up for his career.

    We have no control, it's all him. Just like it was all him when he applied 3 yrs ago.

    Our job is to prepare him...hope for the best, expect the worst.

    You are on a roller coaster, just like us. You need to say they put 110% in and then just wait for the shoe to drop. You may catch it and cheer, you may drop it and pick it up, and you may totally miss it.

    Walk away now, go and get a burger with your DS, he will be gone in 9-10 months regardless of the scholarship. Enjoy every second you have with him. Build memories.

    It will all work out, trust me, the Mom of 2 who has walked this walk of being a hs senior parent.
     
  7. educateme

    educateme Member

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    you are all so right!!! Waiting at the airport for a delayed flight lets my mind wonder...... should read a comic book instead to occupy mind more productively :smile:
     
  8. clarksonarmy

    clarksonarmy Recruiting Operations Officer at Clarkson Army

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    I see applications in the system every day with the Additional SAL achievements and Personal Statement left blank. If you filled those spaces and the board doesn't read it you've lost nothing by submitting that information, but time and effort. If you don't fill in the spaces and one of the board members likes to read those you've lost the opportunity to influence the board. Or should I say your lack of effort may have influenced the board.

    My point is applicants should take every opportunity to provide as much information as possible in as many places as possible (as it appears Educateme's son did).

    Everybody hang in there. Go for a nice long run and clear your heads!!!

    From the Front!...Golden Knights!!
     
  9. educateme

    educateme Member

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    I am flabbergasted that some applicants would leave the additional remarks section blank. In any competitive selection process, there is no such thing as "optional'. It is only optional if the applicant does not care either way whether s/he gets the scholarship or not.

    Furthermore, I thought that the personal statement is a must and the application is not even considered complete without it.

    I am keeping my fingers crossed that the board pays attention to the essays. For my son, they are what will allow him to stand out.

    By the way, I will heed the advice on this thread, and will be going to a political rally this weekend instead to sublimate my anxious energy and channel it through a different mode of expression :shake:
     
  10. gojack

    gojack ....

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    clarksonarmy,

    It appears that the system is largely dominated by the initial interviewer and the board, I am curious if the individual schools are allowed any input.
    It makes sense to me that each school's PMS could place all the applicants to their school in some order of preference, is anything like that part of the system? Or is there any place in the system for comments from the prospective schools PMS's?
     
  11. clarksonarmy

    clarksonarmy Recruiting Operations Officer at Clarkson Army

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    There is not, but there are campus based scholarships. At a small school like Clarkson, and being proactive I reach out to every applicant that lists my schools. Not sure if Notre Dame or another high vis school does the same. Then I do my best to interact with every applicant that responds, and I coach them through the process. If they want to come to Clarkson, and they interview here we have a lot of control over the process. If we are just one of the schools on their list, and they don't want to accept my help I wish them good luck and move on to the next willing victim. The process is not perfect, but it's what we have and I do the best I can to make the system work for the GKB and anyone willing to come to my schools.
     

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