AROTC: Better to apply early?

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by Malraux, Aug 6, 2011.

  1. Malraux

    Malraux New Member

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    I know this may seem a bit uneducated regarding the process, but does applying early make an incredible difference? This past year has been the only experience we've had concerning the scholarship process. Because of some family decisions, my son decided to apply for the AROTC scholarship rather late- Jan 2011. Although he'd already received a couple of full scholarships, we were very proud he'd wanted to try for the scholarship anyway- we are an Army family and my husband just went on 'terminal leave'. His first board was in March and in June, he was and we were delighted he'd been awarded the scholarship. He'll be entering his freshman year at Rhodes in less than two weeks and we couldn't be happier or more proud.

    That being said, our other son has always planned on entering the military. Unlike our oldest, he's been a member of the JrROTC and has prepared himself for some time to be the best candidate he can be. From our experience...and a positive story, I guess that wasn't terribly distressing....is it better to apply later as we did with our eldest or as early as possible? My son is a current junior in high school, so the earliest option would be next summer. We don't take anything for granted and he doesn't want to place himself in a position with less options. I must say, as a mother, I despise the hurry-up-and-wait that can arise once you've finished your tasks in a timely manner. I also have to say that my nerves were blessed by not finding this forum until a week before the results were posted! I don't mean that negatively, but I found myself caring about every one of your children and becoming nearly as excited or as upset as the parents when certain results were posted!

    So...what are the pros and cons of applying early vs applying later? And...does an ROTC hopeful gain or lose by having a family member selected as well? Good luck to everyone and know that perfect strangers care about each and every one of you!
     
  2. goaliedad

    goaliedad Parent

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    Applying early is almost always better. It gets the candidate to all boards, ensuring that slots at the preferred schools will still be available if the candidate has the stats to be selected early.

    The only time I can think of when applying later is better is when an equally important collegiate objective (acceptance to a prestigous program within a school or recruiting for a varsity sport) has questions that won't be answered before the first board. Even then, taking your chances with taking a scholarship and transferring it can be better than waiting too long and not getting a scholarship. If your first decision is school, then ROTC scholarship, then apply early and hope you choose right, given that you can afford the school withouth the scholarship.
     
  3. Malraux

    Malraux New Member

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    Thanks for the information. The school, I don't expect, will be a terrible issue- but again, I have learned to take nothing for granted. I suspect we will apply as soon as possible and join the ranks of those who had to wait for months on end.
    I wrote that my son received the news surrounding his scholarship in June, but it was in April...
     
  4. gojack

    gojack ....

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    Yes
     
  5. Marist College ROTC

    Marist College ROTC Member

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    Your goal should be to complete the scholarship application and your early decision application to your first choice school by September 15th.
     
  6. clarksonarmy

    clarksonarmy Recruiting Operations Officer at Clarkson Army

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    Disagree with Marist...Getting the scholarship done early is important, but ED is not for everybody. If you are sure of your #1, are sure you can afford it if you don't get the scholarship, and have visited the school his advice would be valid. Ed locks you into your decision, so if you were counting on the scholarship, and you apply ED and then don't get an offer you could be in trouble. Also not sure where the 15 September date came from. My 2 cents.
     
  7. dunninla

    dunninla Member

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    Our daughter applied in the last possible week, and got a 3 yr. Private / 4yr In-State option in the last Board.

    However, this past year, after reading through hundreds of posts, I concluded you cannot predict anything from one year to another.

    This past year, the 1st Board offered a substantial number of 4 yr. Private scholarships, and several school options to most awardees. The 2nd Board offered fewer 4 yr. Private, and tended to offer only one choice of school. The 3rd Board also offered very few 4 Yr. Private, but tended to also offer two choices -- 3 yr. Private of 4 yr In-State/Public. I can only infer from this that the directives from whomever is in charge of ROTC budgets kept changing as the Budget Crisis kept going on -- and Cadet Command kept changing the mix of expensive vs. less expensive awards.

    So, I will say that it appears that last year it was better to be awarded out of 1st Board, followed by 3rd Board, follwed by 2nd Board.
     
  8. CoachBart

    CoachBart Member

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    Soooo.....

    ...so does this mean that you could apply for a 4 yr ROTC Scholarship but the CC could come back and only offer you a 3 year scholarship? Am I understanding correctly?
     
  9. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    Yes it is very possible that Cadet Command could off a 3 year Scholarship even though your application is for a 4 year scholarship.

    A lot will depend on the school choices. If you list only private and out of state schools there is a good chance that a 3 year would be offered. If you list an in state school you may receive a 4 year offer for the in state school and a 3 year for out of state and private.
     
  10. CoachBart

    CoachBart Member

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    Another Related Question

    So if you are offered a 3 yr scholarship and you are an incoming freshman does that mean you pay for your freshman year up front? How does the 3 yr scholarship work?
     
  11. SCcandidate2015

    SCcandidate2015 Member

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    Three-year scholarships awarded to high school seniors are called "Advanced Designee" scholarships. It's basically a promise that, as long as the Cadet participates and is proficient in his or her academics and ROTC detachment for his or her freshman year, then there will be money for him or her to use towards tuition during his or her sophomore, junior, and senior years.

    Yes, the winner of such a scholarship must come up with other finances to pay for his or her freshman year. This could be other scholarships, grants, loans, savings, whatever. But after that, at least for tuition (R&B is not covered), it will be paid by the Army.

    Notice the part I mentioned about having to be proficient in academics and in ROTC. Advanced Designee three-year scholarship recipients are held to the same standards their freshman year as four-year scholarship recipients are. They don't get a year off to slack or anything.

    It's all about money. It makes fiscal sense for the military to distribute funds this way. Generally three-year scholarships are awarded, in many cases, to applicants indicating private and/or out-of-state schools on their applications. These schools generally cost much more, obviously, than StateU. It's still very possible to win a four-year scholarship to an out-of-state and/or private school, but I would expect an applicant who did to be closer to the top of the spectrum of scholarship recipients.
     
  12. tonk002

    tonk002 Member

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    I agree that applying early is often a smart move for the same reasons that everyone else has listed.

    That being said, I also agree with Clarkson that applying ED is not for everyone. As a rising senior I can tell you with confidence what schools I am interested in but not the school that I am set on attending for four years. Applying on the first few days that the regular decision is a better idea, in my opinion. With ED, you really are locked in with no room for a change in heart which often happens in the college process.
     
  13. CadetMom777

    CadetMom777 Member

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    Another important factor to consider when deciding to apply early or late is slots available in particular battalions. The more popular ROTC programs fill up sooner. If University A is your first choice and you wait until the second or later boards to apply, they may have already filled their allotment from the first board. Therefore, even though you are awarded a scholarship, it will be to University B or C. Then you have to get on University A's wait list and hope that a slot opens up and you can transfer it after the scholarship award process is over.
     
  14. riroka

    riroka Member

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    Is the candidates file reviewed by all the boards or just one? If you don't make the cut with the first board, is that it?
     
  15. gojack

    gojack ....

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    AROTC rolls you to the next board, until all the boards are done. If you study and raise your ACT score you can increase your odds.
     
  16. Marist College ROTC

    Marist College ROTC Member

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    I agree that ED is not for everyone. With that said, ED is only binding if you are accepted ED. It works really well if your top choice is a reach. If you are rolled over to EA or RD, it is not binding. If your clear top choice is a highly selective school, ED gives you the ability to gain acceptance much earlier than RD applicants. The difference is that you can update your ROTC Scholarship application with the information "I have already been accepted to college X" in time for the first or second board. RD applicants will have to wait until the third or fourth board to update their application with similar information.

    None of our prospects that got pushed to the fourth board received a ROTC Scholarship offer to our school. Some did receive offers to state schools.

    All of our ROTC Scholarship winners had their packet completed in time for the first board and were selected during the first board. 3 of our prospects that applied ED and had their ROTC Scholarship application completed in time for the first board, were not selected for the ROTC Scholarship, but were offered academic scholarships by our school based on a combination of the strength of their application, their interest in ROTC, and the fact that our school is their top choice.

    Making a school know that they are your top choice makes a difference. Applying ED removes any doubt over which school is first choice.

     
  17. goaliedad

    goaliedad Parent

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    Stepping into the ED discussion, I will stake out my place that there is a time and a place for everything including ED.

    As Marist pointed out, scholarships for highly competitive units (like his) are generally awarded early in the process. I'm not sure if I agree with his statement that you can get the ED decision in front of CC, because everything I've read seems to indicate that once your application is complete, the only thing that can be updated is SAT/ACT scores.

    That being said, if you are applying to a school that is highly competitive (which by nature probably has a highly competitive ROTC unit), it can be beneficial to have an admissions decision that arrives shortly (within 30 days) after an ROTC scholarship decision. It would allow you to make a decision on both school and ROTC scholarship with both in hand at the same time.

    Accomplishing this however is no easy feat. CC does publish board dates, but as we found out last year, those dates can be delayed/cancelled without much notice. Other years have been more predictable, with the second board usually happening within a month of the typical ED notification (December).

    Of course, if you are counting on the ROTC scholarship to pay for your tuition because without it you would be going to local state U, I would highly recommend against ED. Binding ED is supposed to guarantee a financial aid package that will meet the "Expected Family Contribution" at the institution, but often that financial aid package is packed with a variety of loans, often including parent loans. The EFC is determined by the University as well which can lead to very different ideas of how much a family can afford. You can take your chances with ED, but you may very well be betting the farm (they look at the equity in that too) on the FA package.

    If the ROTC Scholarship is more of a nice to have (not depleting the savings account), and the college is truly a first choice, by all means go for ED and maybe bypass the earliest board (keep an application incomplete by withholding one item like the APFT score) to try to sync up the timing of the two events.
     
  18. dunninla

    dunninla Member

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    I thought there were only 3 Boards for the 2010/2011 selection year?? Were you remembering back to the 2009/2010 selection year?

    Here is what I found in another post:

    Was there a fourth Board?
     
  19. educateme

    educateme Member

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    I am on the camp against apply ED if money is an issue. If you get an ED admission, and not the scholarship, then you are really in a bind. You may or may not be able to transfer scholarship.

    Even if money is not an issue, if you are really serious about military career, I am not sure going to the ED school as a non scholarship ROTC student is a good idea.

    I am not as much of an expert as others here, but I will also share some ill-vetted impression I got. I think scholarship is not just the money. I think it provides a lot of opportunities that are not available to the non-scholarship students who couldn't get contracted immediately. Some special programs and summer training opportunities are not available unless you get contracted.

    If you don't have scholarship, you don't get contracted from the day one in the freshman year. If you don't get contracted, you are already step behind other cadets who took advantage of all the opportunities a year or before you. With all this talk about RIF and what not that may not commission ALL the ROTC cadets, it's becoming competitive just to be commissioned. So, this is another thing to think about. In this case, getting into the ED school at the risk of not getting scholarship may cost you not just the money but the prospect of becoming an officer 4 years down the road.

    disclaimer: I am far less qualified than other experienced posters here in giving advice like this. So, take my input with a giant shovel of salt. what I said above is just my impression, which could be entirely wrong.

    As for whether ED acceptance helps for scholarship board decision - umm..... I think the opposite may be true in highly competitive schools.

    My son lucked out: he (class of 2015) got a full 4 year ARMY ROTC scholarship to one of the most expensive schools in the country as a non-tech major. Truthfully, I don't think he would get it if he were to go through the process this year.

    He applied as soon as possible, in time for the first board. Got the scholarship award notification in Nov (three full 4 year scholarships - all private schools, including his top choice school - he only put private schools in his school choice form - another long story), just in time to apply as ED to his top choice school with this scholarship in hand. Then he got the ED acceptance in time to turn in the school selection form to Cadet Command with a few days to spare before the deadline. For him, everything was done and concluded by mid december, including DodMerb.

    This is a very competitive prestigious school, and I know his application package was a borderline case even as an ED applicant at this school (ED does provide some advantage for acceptance).

    I know for a fact (based on my son's conversations with the admission officer assigned to his case) that without the ROTC scholarship he might not have gotten the ED admission outright (no deferment to regular decision, etc). The scholarship status tipped the balance. that said, we were told by the battalion officers we met when we accompanied our son to the admitted student day event at the school that two other ROTC scholarship winners to their battalion got rejected by the school. This school also provides free room and board to 4 year ROTC scholarship students. So between the name value of the school, and their generous support for the ROTC students that makes it an attractive destination, they probably figure they are not going to lower the standard for ROTC scholarship winners.

    So, if a student is applying to a competitive school, the ROTC scholarship can tip the balance for the admission decision, not the other way around.

    Tough year this year for the class of 2016. Good luck to you all.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2011
  20. Marist College ROTC

    Marist College ROTC Member

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    All 5 of the ROTC Scholarship applicants that applied ED to our school were accepted and received at least partial academic scholarships from our school.
    Only 2 received Army ROTC Scholarship offers. Both offers were to lower cost schools. We were successful in getting 1 of the scholarships transferred (same Brigade). All 5 Cadets and their families were aware of the risks of the ED process and were more interested in securing their place at this college than in increasing their chances in a scholarship by applying to lower cost, less selective schools. Plan A was always ROTC at Marist College. Plan B was ROTC somewhere else. When presented with the decision of admission to Marist College but with limited financial assistance or attending a lower cost school, 4 of them clearly chose Marist College despite the financial implications. The 3 cadets that were not offered the Army ROTC Scholarship were in fact not the top candidates for this scholarship. Their grades and their test scores were not quite good enough. But they were good kids and they came from very supportive families. We worked together with Admissions and got them accepted when they otherwise would not have been accepted. This only happened because the school was secure in the knowledge that Marist was first choice, and the parents had a plan on how they would pay for the education without an ROTC Scholarship.
    They all had one thing in common. They had been attending Marist College
    recruiting events since their junior year. They were well educated in regards to the college application process and were 100% sure of what their first choice was.
    If you wait until Fall semester of your senior year in high school to figure out what your plan is, you will have less time to execute that plan, and less ability to get third parties to assist you.
    Here are the questions that you have to ask yourself:
    1) How important is it to me that I attend my first choice school ?
    2) How much am I willing to pay out of pocket or borrow to finance my education ?
    3) Am I realistically even a candidate for the ROTC Scholarship ?
    4) If none of my primary plans work out, will I be satisfied walking into a local state school, paying in state tuition, and joining that ROTC program ?
     

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