AROTC scholarship complications

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by shootingsilver, Apr 10, 2012.

  1. shootingsilver

    shootingsilver Member

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    Hi,
    Tonight, I discovered that I have been awarded an AROTC scholarship to the University of Vermont. I am so incredibly happy and excited to have received a scholarship - I assumed that I wouldn't get one because I applied so late. The problem is that my college list has changed drastically since I first filed my application. I want to do AROTC and I want to be contracted, but I'm not sure that UVM is the right school for me academically.

    I was wait-listed at Middlebury and I have been accepted to the University of Chicago. I have to deposit somewhere by May 1st, but I won't hear from Middlebury until mid-May at the very earliest. Can I deposit somewhere other than UVM without voiding the scholarship offer? If I am then accepted off the Midd. waitlist, could I try to transfer the scholarship? Middlebury's ROTC program is through the University of Vermont, so it's the same program, I would just be at a different school.

    I'm assuming that it would be highly unlikely that I would be allowed to transfer the scholarship from UVM to UChicago. Can anyone tell me about the ROTC program at the University of Illinois-Chicago? UChicago doesn't have it on campus and I haven't been able to find anyone who has done it. If I end up at Chicago, I would like to participate even without the scholarship.

    Thanks in advance for all and any advice. I'm thrilled to have the scholarship at all, but I'm also so completely lost and confused that I definitely need some guidence. Again, thank you.
     
  2. AROTC Parent

    AROTC Parent Member

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    shootingsilver,

    Contact the Cadre at UIC. They should be able to guide and assist. Interesting article below.

    http://chicagomaroon.com/2012/02/03/still-off-campus-rotc-soldiers-on/

    Have a list of questions. Are there any other UC students in Army ROTC at UIC? What is the likely weekly schedule? What is the commute time? Will I need a car or is public transportation available? .....

    Be prepared to thoroughly introduce/sell yourself and your interest to be an Army Officer.

    UIC Cadre was responsive when my DD interviewed with them for the scholarship two years ago. She was not applying to any school in Chicago.

    Good Luck
     
  3. goaliedad

    goaliedad Parent

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    Uh, I looked here http://www.goarmy.com/rotc/find-schools.IL-.results.html
    and I didn't see University of Chicago listed. Am I missing something here? or has the University of Chicago been added as a satellite campus for University of Illinois, Chicago (2 very different schools).

    As to your question of Middlebury vs. UVM, the first question you need to know is whether this is a 4 or 3 year to UVM and are you in-state or out-of-state. Right now, CC is not giving out very many 4-year scholarships to higher cost privates (such as Middlebury). UVM is a fairly expensive state school for OOS students, so if you have a 4-year as an OOS, you MIGHT be able to get it converted to a 3-year AD for Middlebury. If your letter says 4-year, talk to the cadre at UVM about the possibility. If it says 3-year or you are in-state, the odds get slim.

    Clarkson made a comment Tuesday that a lot of the late-comers to whose schools were filled up are getting 3-year AD scholarships, so don't count any chickens until the letter is in your hands.

    If your goal of commissioning is higher than your choice of school, take the scholarship where you get it. These days with the reduction in number of officers needed, some units will be thinning their ranks of walk-ons in the near future, going by OML which typically is heavily weighted by GPA. Putting yourself in a more challenging school could affect your GPA and put you in a less competitive position if your unit is overproducing. Having a scholarship keeps you out of the walk-on issue though you will still have to do well in your classes, ROTC, etc.

    One last thought - love your safety school. There is no shame going to UVM and quite frankly, the Army doesn't care where where you get your degree, but that you have top grades. A 4.0 at bi-directional state-U is better than a 3.0 at Harvard when it comes to OML for commissioning at your Junior year.
     
  4. Aglahad

    Aglahad Member

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    Middlebury: 53k a year approximately

    UVM: 13k in state
    32k out of state

    Your chances in this day and age are not very high. Middlebury to UVM would be a lot more likely obviously.

    Go to UVM, I cannot fathom what Middlebury offers for undergrad that UVM does not academically.

    What's are your major? Does Middlebury have some niche chemical/polymer bio-engineering program or something that UVM doesn't have?
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2012
  5. goaliedad

    goaliedad Parent

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    OK, I take back my question about U of C. It appears that the AROTC school finder is not listing it correctly.

    The odds of transferring your UVM scholarship to U of C is still a long shot. Within battallion is relatively easy, within brigage a bit more difficult, outside of brigade - very difficult. Low cost to high cost outsid of brigade - almost impossible.
     
  6. goaliedad

    goaliedad Parent

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    It offers a small LAC environment with small classes and the trappings of NESCAC. If there is a specialty it has the UVM doesn't, it would be an obscure humanity/social science type specialty.

    I don't remember off hand if Middlebury is need-aware in its admissions, but there are typically 2 types of students who are waitlisted at this type of school - very needy very smart and full-pay students who they have too many similar profiles.

    U of C will admit where they see someone who can pay and is likely to accept (they like high yield percentages) and tend to deny many needy (not known for generous FA).
     
  7. Marist College ROTC

    Marist College ROTC Member

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    Very true, and going to a low cost public university should allow you a greater amount of time to perfect the skills and techniques you will need to succeed at LDAC.

    Another factor to consider is the quality and climate of the 2 programs. Visit each, do an overnight program, and see which one you feel more comfortable with.
     
  8. tonk002

    tonk002 Member

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    Frankly the opportunity to go to Middlebury is one that should be carefully considered. It is one of the top schools in the country, and UVM, though a great school, simply does not compare to it academically.
     
  9. shootingsilver

    shootingsilver Member

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    Wow - so many helpful replies. Thank you all so much.
    I just emailed the ROO at UIC with some of the questions that were suggested and also some of my own. That article was really interesting - the James McKinney mentioned seems to be the only UChicago student to do ROTC in recent years. I plan on emailing my regional admissions rep. for UChicago to ask if he knows anyone at the university to whom I could speak.

    goaliedad - I also noticed that UChicago is not specifically listed as a satellite school and I haven't been able to find an answer as to why it isn't. I figured it was probably due to low participation but I'm not sure.
    I am OOS at UVM (I'm from DC). I emailed the ROO at UVM last night and have exchanged several email with him this morning. He said "Congrats on the 3 year scholarship" so I'm assuming that's what I was awarded, even though I haven't gotten my letter yet. I'm not as familiar with the 3 yr award - would I contract at the beginning of my soph. year instead of at the beginning of my freshman year? Is that the only difference?
    He also told me that the chances of transferring the scholarship to an expensive private school are effectively non-existent, echoing what many said here. I do love UVM, but Chicago is also an amazing school.

    I don't know what my major will be, but I'm interested in neuroscience and law. I also want to learn German and Arabic and I love writing (hence why I applied to Middlebury). Chicago has a lot more majors that I would be interested in exploring. At Vermont, I have enough AP credits to knock off a year of school.
    I wish I could visit again, but unfortunately I just don't think there's enough time (plus the cost of last minute plane tickets). I did an overnight at both schools but neither one was a fantastic experience so I didn't really learn much. I sat in on a class at Chicago but not UVM and found that I was able to follow the material (analysis of Democracy in America).

    One last question - Does anyone have any experience with gap years? I'm assuming that if I were to take a gap year (which would most likely be spent working as an au pair & learning German), I would lose the scholarship. Would deferring affect my participation as a walk-on the following year? Thanks in advance for the help.
     
  10. dunninla

    dunninla Member

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    I am 95% sure that deferring is not an option with your Scholarship Award (nor is it an option at the Academies).

    wrt Middlebury, Chicago and University of Vermont:

    - you aren't in at Middlebury yet, so you cannot even qualify to ask CC to consider a transfer of yoru Award. If you do get in off the wait list (understand each school manages the wait list differently... for some schools, 1% of the list get in, for some 20%), Middlebury might be generous with Financial Aid. It is possible you could figure out a way to participate in ROTC without a scholarship there IF you get in, and IF CC doesn't transfer your Award.

    - I cannot tell from your post what you like about UChicago other than its a "dream school" for you. What specifically do you like about Chicago? I'm sure you've heard the horror stories. One of my colleagues did attend there 25 years ago and tranferred to Wisconsin. Make sure you fit the Chicago culture. I can't tell you what that culture exactly is since I haven't studied there, but it is legendary for being "different", "where fun goes to die" (along with Tufts and Hopkins), etc.

    Prioritize your end goals.

    ........Understand that your GPA in college is a very large component of your Order of Merit Score, which determines whether you qualify for Active Duty or are forced into Reserves/Guard (I believe last year 15% were thusly forced), and more importantly, within the Active Duty 16 Branches, how your rank ordered wish-list for Branch Placement is prioritized within Cadet Command. I say that because you need to assess which school will likely lead to the highest GPA for you... and that is generally the school where you feel the best "fit". Chicago and Middlebury are each academically demanding but with different cultural feel. It is possible for your GPA at either to be the same or higher than it would be at UVM, but not likely. See where I'm going with that?
    ........ If serving as an Officer in the Army is more important to you than the difference in classroom experience between UVM and UC/Midd, you should consider that at UVM you would be under less academic stress, and have more time to devote to Battalion activities, than at either of the other two. Also consider that being one of only 1-3 cadets on a campus, and commuting to the Host Battalion, is a completely different experience than being one of 40 or 60 cadets at a Host campus. Just night and day. Your opportunity to interact with Cadre and fellow cadets, and assume roles of leadership and responsibility within the Battalion, is much greater while being a student and cadet on the Host campus than being a cross-town-affiliate commuter cadet.

    Yes, that is correct. There are several threads on this Board about "3 Yr. AD", which stands for "3 Year Advanced Designee". You have to participate just as though you had a 4 Yr. award, and don't disqualify yourself by failing the APFT (performance, body fat %, or medically disqualifying injury or condition), or getting convicted of anything stupid... like excess speed or underage drinking, or get on Academic Probation at the U. Those are the same things that get any cadet (non-scholarship, or scholarship) separated from the program.
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2012
  11. Aglahad

    Aglahad Member

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    Top school for what? The school ranking is arbitrarily tossed around so often with little heed to specific programs. Ya it's a more exclusive East Coast LAC, so what? UVM could likely have a better program for pre-health and engineering while Middlebury has a better classics program. It all depends on what studies the student wishes to pursue, a simple name drop of a upper mid tier LAC doesn't mean anything without substance to back it up. I go to a decent LAC and the whole "well-rounded" approach to schooling is an archaic 17th century English schooling system that impedes students trying to specialize themselves for the workforce IMO (Tons of gen eds in non-major related subjects).

    I asked about the OPs major because a history degree is a history degree anywhere you go (aside from maybe the Ivies because of the reputation). If the goal of the OP is to be a commissioned US Army officer then take the offer given. Degrees don't matter and the school you go to doesn't matter.

    Neuroscience and law? State schools are usually heads and tales above small LAC funding wise for science programs and usually outfitted with professors and TAs who do tons of research. That being said neuroscience and law are very different (degree path wise- Biology focused vs poly sci/social sciences) and you probably have to pick one or the other eventually. Your interests are unique but I assure you that in order to graduate you will need to focus down to one major and one to two minors.

    Gap year? Just no.
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2012
  12. dunninla

    dunninla Member

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    No, for reasons I give below, that's like saying going to one baseball hitting instructor is the same as going to any other baseball hitting instructor. Or that going to a group lesson is the same as going to an individual lesson. I'm not saying that a highly ranked school will necessarily offer better training, but usually that is the case. It mostly has to do with individual attention.

    Generally, I'll agree with that. The Army doesn't compute reputation or difficulty of school (and very, very little adjustment for major) into the OMS. School is school.

    I agree with much of what you wrote, but you missed a very important aspect of college for some: they VALUE a high octane broad based education that fosters critical thinking and writing, regardless of the immediate career implications. Most who follow higher education in the US would agree that both Chicago and Middlebury will deliver on that critical thinking/writing training better than UVM will, mostly because they can afford to hire enough professors to give students true individual feedback to their discussion points and writing.

    You wrote that you attend an LAC. That may be the problem -- you may not be aware of how "self-service", "vending machine"-ish public unis have become, especially in the first two years of classes. Most of these classes would be just as well delivered via internet, as there is no actual discussion, or even better, in Community College which does have better Professor/Student ration than most public 4 yr. unis. Larger public schools don't have the funding for the smaller classrooms (higher professor/student ratio) that promote actual discussion (which helps in forming the CRITICAL part of thinking), and the detailed feedback on written assignments (structure, logic, syntax, etc.). Really what is the difference between being seated in row 30 in a lecture hall of 320 students, and viewing a lecture on your computer screen? Neither the professor nor the computer screen will interact with you, so what's the difference?

    There is certainly a place for a more vocationally focused major (Nursing/Pharmacy, Accounting, Actuarial Science, etc.), but also for a school and a major whose focus is training in critical thinking/writing.
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2012
  13. cZyk

    cZyk HPU

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    I'm majoring in Accounting. What branch would that put me under?
     
  14. dunninla

    dunninla Member

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    Accounting is a trade = Vocational. and by the way, don't know if it is still the case, but four years ago when I last had a conversation with an accounting firm partner larger accounting firms were *scrambling* to hire new accountants. Something about socks. :)

    If by Branch, you meant which of the sixteen Branches you could branch into as a newly commissioned 2LT, there is no connection, generally, between major in college and the branch you get in the Army, with the recent exception that the Engineering Branch reserves about half its slots for actual Engineering majors in college, with the other half going to any major.
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2012
  15. cZyk

    cZyk HPU

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    So the Army has no need for an Accountant? Do they not have a Finance branch of some sort?
     
  16. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    They do, but it is not easy to get, very few branch Finance. A lot of the Army's accounting is done by civilians, they tend to stay in one place and are not transfered all the time like Active Duty.
     
  17. shootingsilver

    shootingsilver Member

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    I don't want to be an accountant. I'm drawn to Chicago because of the quality of education offered. In my opinion, it is equivalent to an Ivy, even if it wasn't part of some arbitrary sports league a century ago or so. I know that UVM is a very good school and I'm not trying to say that it isn't a great option (sorry for the double negative). I just worry that it lacks strength in my areas of interest. In addition, and I feel terrible about being superficial here, the facilities at Chicago (gym, dining halls) were exponentially nicer than at VT. I liked the people more at VT - the ROO asked one of his freshman girls to email me to answer my questions and to give me a more personal description of the program. One ofthe reasons that I was drawn to ROTC in the first place is because I wanted that kind of a supportive, helpful community. At Chicago, I'm worried that I would be isolated because of my schedule.

    But yeah, academics are hugely important to me. If I were interested in engineering or something, I wouldn't be as torn. For the humanities, however, the professor plays a huge role in the quality of the class.
     
  18. Aglahad

    Aglahad Member

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    I agree a lot of state school are cookie cutter mega research machines that don't care as much for undergrad. I sat in on a few chem sessions at a state school with 500 students and it was distracting to say the least.

    My bone to pick with LACs is the constant self-promoting of themselves as harbingers of critical thinking for a future work force. I really enjoy the small class sizes and approachable professors, however I now have a minor in a humanities subject that I care little about yet was forced to get it because of gen eds. That's 4-5 classes just for that minor. Since I average 20 credits a semester, those classes I needed for pre-med are now forced to the summer semester. My take home point is that it might be a right for some but not for all.

    UVM has ~10k students which isn't really that bad for a state school (Plus they have a cool mascot :p). Anyways, it seems like the OP is leaning towards UofChi regardless of scholarship.
     
  19. goaliedad

    goaliedad Parent

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    I'm going to start with a couple of assumptions here:
    1) Financially, you can attend either school with or without the ROTC scholarship.
    2) You want to serve Active Duty when you finish school.

    Money aside, I can see why you would want to go to U of C. You pay a lot, you get a lot both in the academic experience (less self-serve vending machine as mentioned above) and the social experience (facilities, the student body is closer to your expectations).

    The ROTC experience at U of C would be one of your own making. You mentioned the dearth of people going this path. There are very good reasons. First, I think I've figured out why U of C is not listed on the Army site - the Army site only lists schools where ROTC has an official presence (i.e. they have staff on campus and the campus recognizes ROTC as part of their academic curriculum). You may have noticed that Harvard is now back in ROTC which means that the program is officially recognized by Harvard, whereas before this change, you could attend Harvard and participate in ROTC at MIT, but Harvard didn't acknowledge your participation. I get the feeling that U of C doesn't officially "support" ROTC. In other words, you are on your own to make it work. If you have to miss class Friday to go to FTX, professors are not required to give you a break on the test that day. You must negotiate that yourself.

    That being said, I'm glad to see you are inquiring as to how to make it work. The logistics of getting to and from 2 campuses for required classes/activities is the first problem you must solve. And you need to understand how much time that is going to take out of your day. And the saw about U of C being the place where fun goes to die is very true. It is a very very true statement as the classes there are known for having very heavy work loads. It is uber-competitive for grades as the student body isn't known for spending its weekends with a beer in hand. This is important to know because grading is far more competitive than at UVM.

    Where this comes into play is under the assumption that you will need to get the approval the PMS to contract at the beginning of your Junior year. The PMS is given a target for X number of 2nd Lts in Y year. Everyone with a scholarship in the unit and is in good standing at that point is automatically counts against that target. Then they look for walk-ons (what you will be essentially without a scholarship). They score them on a number of things from GPA to APFT scores to participation in unit events and teams. This is where going to U of C (as compared to UIC) puts you at a disadvantage. If the UIC kid has a 3.5 and you have a 3.0 (tougher to get than you think at U of C), and the UIC kid is on campus to participate in color guard and what not, and has a reasonable APFT (270 plus), my bet is the UIC kid getting the contract and your getting walking papers.

    I'm not saying this to scare you, but to make it clear that the U of C choice ups the level of competition on so many levels that you better have supreme confidence that you have everything worked out before going that route.

    Turning to UVM, I think you mentioned that you have a boatload of AP credits which you could use to shorten your stay. I recommend against that for a couple of reasons. First, it is very difficult to get sequences of classes completed, especially in science disciplines (you mentioned your interest in neuorscience). Second you also mentioned interest in foreign languages which also have long sequences of courses). I encourage you to take a full 4 years and perhaps double major (a science and a language - you won't have enough time to do 2 languages) to satisfy your broad interests. Preparing for law school is something you would also have more time for in 4 years - primarily taking writing intensive courses where critical thinking is developed. The LSAT test is not well prepared for in college.

    One last thought about UVM - Given that you are in the upper part of the admitted class, you will probably have a better chance of having a top GPA (given a solid work effort of course) which in turn would put you higher up the OML when it comes time to decide where you go for your first assignement. If being sent to Germany (a very competitive location) is important, you will need to do an ADSO (add 3 years to your AD time required) to stand a good chance of getting there and even then you need to be higer up the OML to use that.

    Point here is that in the Army, everything is scored, and the better you can engineer your college experience to maximize that score, the better choices you will have. And the Army doesn't care that you went to U of C. GPA is considered the same from either school.

    You have to decide whether the risks to your goal to commission is worth it to go your own way at U of C for the experience. Think about it for a while and feel free to throw out your thinking.
     
  20. goaliedad

    goaliedad Parent

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    The role of the professor is what you make of it. I've known kids who fail to take advantage of the discussion in the smaller classes at a LAC and known kids who have all the professor time they can want at a state flagship. Professor time is what you make of it. If you do the readings, think critically, and come to office hours (yes the long lost resource everyone chooses to ignore) with intellegent questions to discuss and talk cogently about the issues, you will quickly find that you will have opportunities (research) made available to you in your Junior and Senior years. This is true even more at state flagships which have large research projects as part of their mission and not so much at LACs. You can make a large school experience small.

    Unfortunately, the dining hall food is what it is...
     

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