Changing major on scholarship

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by kimmystarz, Oct 8, 2014.

  1. kimmystarz

    kimmystarz New Member

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    My son is a Freshman at a big State school who is on a three year Type 7 AFROTC scholarship, with additional school funds for room and board. After only 6 weeks in the program he has become disillusioned, mostly because he realized that he does not want to major in Atmospheric Science that the Air Force wants him to, but he wants to major in Geology....which is not on the list of technical majors. He is also having difficulty with time management, only getting a few hours sleep a night. It sounds like he is ready to quit, and I feel like he is making a rash, emotional decision. I think he should stick with it a while after all he has gone through to get these scholarships. I know money should not be the only incentive for staying in....but he will have to take out loans for over 100 thousand if he quits ROTC. How long do you think he should stay in if he is miserable, and is there a chance he could contact the AF to see if he can major in Geology, or would that be a waste of time?
     
  2. paradoxer

    paradoxer Member

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    My 2 cents

    He should certainly finish the semester and I'd probably say stay for two as it takes a while to figure out the college experience with those many pieces that can fit together in various ways.

    The loans are another issue, he can't without your help or someone who is credit worthy borrow enough to cover the costs. From the federal loan program he can have $27000 spread over four years if he files the FAFSA, but if he needs another $70,000 the basic options are that the parent borrow the $70,000 from the federal PLUS program or the parent co-sign for the $70,000 using a private lender. So this is not something that can be done without parent involvement and sometimes not even then if there are credit issues.

    Keep talking and gathering information from all sources.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2014
  3. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    1. Nobody here is part of HQ AFROTC.

    However, if I was to be brutally honest, I cannot see them approving the major from a ROTC POV.
    ~ It is insanely rare they will approve, especially at this point he is not contracted, but YES tell them.

    2. It is very common for kids to feel this way their fall freshmen semester. They are adjusting.

    3. The scholarship is only guaranteed for the 1st 2 years. No SFT and it can be revoked.

    4. Does he want to serve as an AF officer? If not than remember...money can't buy happiness, especially when he owes 4 years and those years could be in Alamogordo, Eilson, Grand Forks or Kusan!

    IOWs not anywhere people traditionally volunteer to go to.
     
  4. Frankie

    Frankie Member

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    What's making him miserable? Is it the school, the ROTC program, the major itself or specific courses? If it is the ROTC program/AF or the school than he'll have to realize what he wants in life and how to approach those goals. If it is the major or specific courses than he should view all of his options. Maybe he can change his major to another similar major and be happier then while keeping his scholarship. Why does he want Geology? What's appealing about that major as apposed to his current major?

    If it is because his lack of sleep and that alone than that is something he himself must learn to do. He must manage his own time because no one else will for him. Create a good schedule and prioritize.
     
  5. kimmystarz

    kimmystarz New Member

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    changing major

    Pima- Yes, he would like to be an officer in the AF. He participated in JR AFROTC all 4 years of high school and held some of the highest leadership positions, so this change in attitude comes as quite a surprise. He claims he LOVES the school, but it is 8 hours from home, and I think he is kind of homesick. He never intended to make the Air Force a career, and wants to pursue geology after he fulfills his four year obligation. I have read on this forum in the past to make sure your major is definitely what you want, because of how tentative the outcome of ROTC might be. I guess he broke that rule and is now regretting it. He was willing to try Atmospheric Science out because it was closest to Geology, and because his scholarships add up to over $100,000!
     
  6. Frankie

    Frankie Member

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    I would say for him to continue the path he's walking now until well into his second semester. Thanksgiving and Christmas are just around the corner, kind of. It's normal for first semester freshmen to be homesick. I thought I wouldn't be, but Vermont is a long drives away from Texas and going home for those two breaks was something very needed.
     
  7. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    kimmystarz,

    This is going to be a hard decision for your son. Both my son's went through similar issues when they started ROTC, lack of sleep, time management issues, and yes a bit of homesick thrown in. Things did get better as time went on. My older son did change his major but he was AROTC and it was easy to change when he was in the program.

    PIMA brought up the best point, AFROTC scholarships are only semi guaranteed for the first two years, if the cadet does not get the slot to SFT then they lose the scholarship for the remaining two years. This brings up the biggest issue, if your son is unhappy with his major and not 100% committed to the ROTC program, he could easily slip down to a point where he is not selected for SFT. If he stays with a major he doesn't want and does not make SFT then it will be harder to switch majors at that time and take longer to complete a new major, which will cost even more money in the long run. Then there is the decision whether he is able to afford to stay at his present school without the scholarship.

    Sticking it out for at least this semester sounds like good advice.

    Lots of tough questions and some serious soul searching on your son's part. I wish him the best of luck.
     
  8. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    When I look at the list of "other approved majors" here: http://www.afrotc.com/scholarships/other-majors
    I don't even see Geology listed. Based on what I see there I definitely don't think a change to Geology is at all possible, but your DS may have more insight than I. He could, perhaps, change to another technical major if he finds any of those appealing, but he'll need approval to do so, as I'm sure you know.

    One other thing to consider... perhaps a Master's Degree in Geology at some point?

    I do think getting the time management issues under control will be a big help. This is a tough transition for many freshman, with or without ROTC. I often hear how a ROTC program teaches time management, but from my experience they teach them by simply throwing them in the deep end of the pool. Perhaps some help can be arranged in or outside of the college campus on this.

    I guess just one more thing to add. There is certainly nothing to be ashamed about if deciding AFROTC is not for you. It's certainly not for everybody and I think someone who decides to give it a whirl deserves great respect. If he decides to leave, he might want to think about switching to a community college for a couple years to get the general ed/core requirements out of the way at a cheaper price. A state school closer to home might be of help. There are many ways to skin this cat, and get the degree he wants at a more affordable price.
     
  9. sheriff3

    sheriff3 Member

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    Is he dead set on AF? If not, perhaps he should go talk to Army ROTC cadre. Army does not care what your major is and geology may even count towards a STEM degree that the Army seems to be leaning towards. Certainly worth a visit. Good luck.:thumb:
     
  10. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    Interesting point. I would add that the Marine Corps doesn't care about the major either. A visit to the NROTC Marine Officer Instructor might be worthwhile. I think in either of these cases he'll need to apply and earn a sideload or in-school scholarship. You'll also need to consider when DS might make a switch, if he is so inclined, with respect to tuition payments etc.

    EDIT: Regardless of anything else, I think it's important to determine what the root issue is - major, time management, AFROTC, or homesickness, so you take the proper steps to address it.
     
  11. kimmystarz

    kimmystarz New Member

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    Thank you everyone for all of your wonderful advice. Does anyone know if he will have to pay back the school-based scholarships if he quits after 1st semester?
     
  12. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    No, if your son leaves the program prior to starting his sophomore year he will not have any obligation to repay the scholarship. Just make sure he does this before the start of his sophomore year, if he shows up for class in the fall then he will have an obligation.
     
  13. kimmystarz

    kimmystarz New Member

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    He said they were going to make them sign the commitment papers in April BEFORE second semester is over....guess to avoid paying scholarship to those who will drop out!
     
  14. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    The scholarship would have been paid out way before April. Typically it is paid within a month after the start of a semester.

    The commitment papers in April is more about which cadets will be return ing in the fall.

    People forget that ROTC instructors are AD and June/July is moving season for the military. They need to make sure that the units manpower is in order.
    ~ I.E. if it appears that their rate of return is dropping more than historical and that the next year class is smaller they may decide to keep a smaller staff and not fill the position.

    Vise a Verse if it is larger they may add more staff. This is why they also ask the HSSP recipients to sign their letter of intention in the spring with the name of the college. At least that is what they did with our DS in AFROTC. They knew in May what college he was going to be attending as a freshmen.

    At our DSs college they traditionally had 100 freshmen every year, and another 100 for sophomore. However, two years ago the numbers skyrocketed, they had over 175 freshmen and 125 sophomores.

    They couldn't truly predict that increase, but between the letter of intention for HS recipients and the students that registered in the spring for their sophomore classes they knew by May that they were going to need to keep their manpower at the same level at the very least.
     

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