Double major possibility?

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by dlee96, Dec 16, 2012.

  1. dlee96

    dlee96 Member

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    Hello all. I'm currently a junior in high school and am planning ahead for my future.

    I was wondering if I could receive the 4-year ROTC scholarship (for any branch) and do a double major?

    I'm planning on mechanical engineering and either go pharmacy or biomedical engineering.

    Any thoughts or experiences? Thanks :shake:
     
  2. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    You can, but those are both very demanding majors, and remember ROTC as you go up the rank will require more time because you will have a job in ROTC too.

    For our DS by the time he was a POC (last 2 yrs) he dedicated about 20 hrs a week to ROTC on top of PT and LLAB. As an AFROTC scholarship cadet to make it to POC you will need at least a 3.1. cgpa, and that cgpa will also be needed for the OML when it comes to career selection.

    You also will need approval from the college itself when it comes to how many credits you can take per semester. I know some will be duplicates for requirements, but still it could be hard to graduate on time with these majors. Plus, if they do allow it and at least for AFROTC, the cost could be over the amount awarded. 95%*** of all AFROTC scholarships will cap no higher than 18K per yr for tuition. Most colleges will not charge an additional cost until you surpass the 21-22 credits, and after that you may be looking at 600 per credit, taking 24 per semester can be an additional 3K a yr.. and that is before you start tallying the cost of books. Again, AFROTC book allowance is 900 a yr., for engineering majors even when they buy only used books, they are usually out of pocket a couple hundred a yr.

    So if financially you need the scholarship to cover just 1 major, 1 minor; traditional route, take the time to look into how much it will truly cost.

    5% cover all tuition no limit, but look at the chances realistically, 5K traditionally are boarded for an AFROTC scholarship, 900 are awarded, 45 would get that scholarship, or about 1% of those boarded.
     
  3. cb7893

    cb7893 Member

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    Engineering double majors are very rare. Exceptions would be:
    -A college has a specific laid out plan like for Engineering and Business
    -You carry in a lot of college credits from high school
    -The Majors have common requirements, like Chemistry and Chemical Eng.

    My DS, a sophomore, goes to Big State U, doing Honors Chem. Eng. Advisor told him it would be extremely difficult or impossible with AROTC. He took it like a grade school dare. He arrived as a Freshman with Chemistry, two years of Calc already completed and he is still getting his butt kicked.

    The best advice he ever got (but didn't understand until now), is to pursue engineering you better love it and you won't know if you love it until you do it.

    He discovered two things:

    First, he would rather work at a lab bench, than pour over spreadsheets to determine if the mass going in equals the mass going out. So, he is changing his major to Chemistry. He discovered his academic passion only through the experience of actually being in college. Plus, he can always go back to Chem. Eng. or Mat. Sci. for graduate school.

    Second, he loves ROTC more than he imagined and does well at it. However, he didn't realize that his reward for excelling would be more responsibility and more demands on his time. Having a high PT score means an extra day of PT at 6AM in order to work with cadets who can't their PT scores up to speed. His O Chem lab instructor doesn't care. Nor does his next up in the chain of command care that he was in the lab until 2 AM because he was trying to get a compound purity to 98%.

    dlee, I hate to sound like your parent, but you have no idea what your world will look like in one or two years nor do you know how you'll repond to it. No one here expects you to.

    The first thing you should do is look at all of the threads in which posters share their stats and ask for comments. All the advice will distill down to concentrating on the here and now:

    -Schoolwork, PSAT/ACT/SAT preparation. This where the ax first comes down. Fairly or not, every college, SA, XROTC will assume that your academic performance in HS is a predictor of performance in college. Plus add the layer of military training on top of it.
    -If you're in sports, concentrate on being a good teammate and leader
    -If you're not in community/church/BSA activities, get involved
    -Enjoy your HS years and relish your friendships
    -If you are hellbent on STEM, ask for a subscription to Popular Mechanics and Popular Science for Christmas.
     
  4. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    cb has made some excellent points.

    One thing is many students in HS taking AP classes believe they are really equivalent to a college course and getting an A in AP Physics would equate to the same in college. Reality sometimes does not meet theory.

    VT which is an SMC gathers all of their engineering students as freshman, and tell them look to the left, look to the right, 1 of the 3 of you will not graduate as an engineering major. If you go AFROTC scholarship, that is a lot of pressure because you need approval to switch from a tech to non-tech major, and in today's AFROTC it is uncommon they will grant it, which means your scholarship is revoked if you switch majors. Additionally, although they say 2.5 is the min. needed to maintain the scholarship, if you have a 2.5 in this current environment, you might as well start figuring out after fall semester sophomore yr., how you will pay for college come fall jr. yr. Also realize you will not commission as an AF officer because you will not attend SFT.

    There is alot of little things that are facts which scholarship recipients don't realize until they are in the system. Little things can make or break people if they didn't place that into the equation when they selected their path.

    cb is correct, they know the rigors of ROTC and college, thus, they want to see a candidate that has managed to maintain high academics, while having other responsibilities outside the classroom. They also prefer quality over quantity...sticking with it yr after yr, instead of trying one thing and leaving the next semester. It shows insight into dedication, plus personal success.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2012
  5. BDHuff09

    BDHuff09 Member

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    Would ROTC pay for a minor, assuming you would be able to complete it in 4 years?
     
  6. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    when you get your undergrad, that is part of your degree. Our DS majored in Govt and Politics, minor in International Relations with a core concentration in military history. Colleges expect kids to have a minor, it is part of their tuition.

    As an AFROTC cadet you must take 12 credits in foreign language, so many also get either a core or a minor in foreign language.

    One thing to realize depending on your ROTC branch, i.e. AF and Navy require AD upon commissioning for at least 4 yrs., that your job might not utilize your degree. DS is at UPT, govt and politics has nothing to do with his major.

    For AFROTC it is also important to understand some majors are considered critical manning fields. I.E. Nursing, electrical engineers, certain foreign languages. You will go into that field for your career path regardless of the career field you want.
     
  7. gojack

    gojack ....

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    For Army ROTC - some schools (like University of Arkansas) have 5 yr engineering programs, and if you get a AROTC scholarship there, it covers you for all 5 years. Might be easier to get a double major if you had another year to get it done?
     
  8. Non Ducor Duco

    Non Ducor Duco I am not led, I lead

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    Just to be clear. The foreign language requirement is dependent on your major and your school. I go to a big engineering college. At my school, engineering majors are required to complete 6 credits of humanities which may be satisfied by language classes, but they are not required to be while anyone with major that is not related to engineering or science at my school however is required to complete a certain amount of courses in the same language. AFROTC does not independently require it. I know several cadets whose majors don't require a foreign language and don't plan on taking any foreign language classes. Pima, your DS had to take a certain amount of language credits because of his major, not because of AFROTC. All AFROTC requires is that you satisfy the requirements set by your school in order for you to obtain a degree in your major.

    On topic. A dual majors are difficult, dual engineering majors are especially difficult. Biomedical engineering is a difficult major even among engineering majors, mechanical engineering carries a similar reputation. Even taking a dual major or minor in a foreign language or social science alongside one of them would be difficult, but majoring in both??? Despite the fact that they are both engineering majors, very few of the classes overlap. BME requires a ton of chemistry classes and major specific classes, ME requires a lot of physics and mechanical workshop classes and many of the major specific classes are only offered at one time slot once a year. It may be feasible if you go to a college with some sort of program for it or if you go in with a ton of college credits accepted by your institution and your majors. You should sit down, go to the website of one of the schools your looking into, and pull up the academic plans for each of the majors your looking into and see what each one requires and what classes overlap and whether or not it is possible for you to do this and graduate within the time frame required of you by ROTC. If it turns out you can do it in 4 or 5 years and this is what you really want, then by all means, go for it. If you get a scholarship, it will pay for 4 years of college, up to 5 for an engineering major. So it will pay for a dual major as long as you can complete it within the time frame. The only question is if your institution makes it possible to do so, mine makes it hard to finish one engineering major in only 4 years and neigh impossible to dual major in two engineering fields, especially ones so unrelated to one another.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2012
  9. Aglahad

    Aglahad Member

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    Double major with what? You do know pharmacy is a doctorate/graduate program which would require an ed delay right? Also, I don't think you realize how difficult those majors are (even alone) in conjunction with ROTC. It's easy to say on paper that I am going to be a quantum physics and biochemistry major, but in reality not so much. Just some food for thought.
     
  10. goaliedad

    goaliedad Parent

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    Lots of others have chimed in, here is the unclear answer that you need to know:

    It depends entirely upon the institution and the majors. Here is a list of factors that affect the possibility.
    1) The degree requirements for each major. As others have mentioned, related majors are often easier to do this way.
    2) Credits you start with. AP and other credits accumulated during your HS years CAN help with this. Some institutions use them as placement only (you still have to earn X credits at that institution in that field regardless of where you start). Others give you the full credit. These are actually most useful in non-major core requirements (freshman English for technical majors, Calculus for liberal arts types).
    3) For foreign language 2nd majors, many institutions will allow placement exams to lop off the early year sequences.
    4) For most public institutions, just getting the required courses in for a single major in 4 years is a scheduling nightmare, as budgets are squeezed to the point where not enough sections of classes are offered to satisfy everyone who wants to take them.
    5) The institutions policies towards ROTC courses as credits towards degree and/or maximum credits taken in a term. This can be a problem both ways. Many institutions treat ROTC credits like elective with no credit toward degree requirements. On top of that, many institutions limit how many credits you can take in a term (18 is common). Double majors almost always take more than the standard 120 credits (15 per term * 8 terms). Given that your ROTC will occupy 12 to 18 credits (depending upon school), adding another 15 to 24 credits for a 2nd major puts you in a situation where you are taking 18-20 credits a term. For a high school student 20 hours of class per week sounds like a vacation, but the independent hours reading, writing papers, etc. typically run 2 hours for every hour in class. This turns that 20 hours of class into a 60 hour work week.

    If you really want to find out whether a double major is possible, I would start by getting the course catalog for a school you are interested in and then plotting out the degree requirements over a 4 year schedule. Then get the class schedule for a full year and see if you can make it work with the course offerings as laid out during a year (try your frosh schedule first, then try your soph schedule, etc.). This will tell you if it is THEORETICALLY possible (odds are that more senior students will get the class spots you want in your early years).

    For most schools, this information is publicly available on their websites. I suspect you will spend upwards of 8-16 hours doing this. The good new is that this will get you ready to fill out your 104R which is required every term to show how you intend to complete your degree on time.

    From my daughter's experience, the plans change every term based upon what is actually available for her to enroll in. For example, this term (she is a Jr), she is only taking 2 courses in her major requirement and 4 courses in General Ed and ROTC. She would have rather taken more courses in her major field, but they were either filled (by seniors), weren't offered, or had scheduling conflicts with ROTC or the other courses she could get in her major field. She was barely able to piece together 15 credits for next term that fulfilled her degree requirements for similar reasons.

    The good news is that she has kept a course load that will allow her to take on 12 credit hours both terms of her senior year. The bad news is that she has very little flexibility in those courses. Every credit she has taken so far has gone towards a major or degree requirement except for ROTC (which only counts for the 120 credit hours required for any degree).

    Point here is that getting 1 major can be difficult in 4 years. You need to have a very accommodating school and a lot of built in advantages to make a double major work.

    BTW, I have spent many years working in higher education myself specifically in student records management.
     
  11. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    +1 to goaliedad's post, especially about scheduling issues.

    Curiosity, but why do you feel the need to do this? What is it in your opinion that drives you to put yourself through the academic ringer for the next 4 yrs?
     
  12. dlee96

    dlee96 Member

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    Thanks for all the replies :shake::thumb:

    @Pima
    I feel that a major in mechanical engineering and pharmacy or biomeds will help me in what I want to do after the military. I have this goal of going to third-world countries and building necessities for the locals and helping them with meds
     
  13. Aglahad

    Aglahad Member

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    Once again a bachelor of pharmacy is not available in the US, it is a graduate program. Biomedical sciences is usually offered as an undergrad degree though.
     

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