Dropping NROTC Marine Option Scholarship

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by TrevorsMom, Sep 28, 2010.

  1. TrevorsMom

    TrevorsMom Member

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    Hi.. I haven't been here for a few months, but I received a very serious phone call from my son today who is at a University (Freshman) with the scholarship.
    Since 5th grade he has talked about becoming a Marine. Early in high school he said he was going to enlist when he got out. My husband and I talked him into applying for the scholarship, getting his schooling done while going through the NROTC program. He agreed, got the scholarship, then today, hit me with... "this is not what I want mom. This is not how I want to be a Marine. I want to enlist."
    He is not home sick (only a couple of hours away), has a great roommate and made many new friends. He said it's not the studying and school work being too hard... it's he is just not happy. This is not the route he wanted to take and he was so afraid to tell me because he knew that is what I wanted. Anyway, I know he is going to follow his heart and do what he wants to do.
    Anyone else ever been in this situation? What happens next? I know he loses his scholarship but does this count against him in any way? He is still going to enlist in the Marines. I would think he needs to finish this semester if I can talk him into it before making any changes in his life.
    What about room and board for the year? If he quits school to enlist, do I still pay for the year room and board? Who should he speak with about giving up his scholarship at the University? There are so many questions.
    Any input, thoughts, experiences with this type of thing with your child or someone you know, please let me know. I am so frazzled right now. I hope and pray he is not making a big mistake. Thanks for listening.
     
  2. dunninla

    dunninla Member

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    sorry to hear that. I suppose it's not uncommon.

    Gut reaction -- your kid just doesn't like college. Bores him. Did he like the academic part of high school?

    Maybe if he enlists he can cycle back to college/ROTC when he is a little older and the hormones have calmed down some (program is called MECEP). Or, he can just stay in and work his way up to become a non-commissioned officer over time.

    Seems like your son and the Unit Commander (or whatever it is called at his school), and the MOI should sit down to discuss. Not sure if your presence is needed at all... just encourage him to discuss openly with his chain of commmand. If he is solid enough to have earned a scholarship, he is probably mature enough to handle this on his own, with just your advice, moral support, and counsel for help. He really needs to know that whatever he decides, he has your complete support now and throughout his life.

    I do not have first hand experience, but my understanding is that prior to the first week of classes sophomore year, the midshipman is free to exit the NROTC Scholarship Program without any financial repurcussions. To the extent that his room & Board has been subsidized by the Unviersity (not the Navy), you'd have to ask the school if their subisidizing of your son's R&B must be paid back. I strongly think not.

    He should absolutely, 100% finish this semester. Not finishing what you start is a terrible habit to form. In fact he should really finish the freshman year, if at all tolerable, for the same reason. If he wants to cycle back later, he's only got 3 years to go. Of course his chain of command will give him the best advice. I'm sure they see this every year with a few.
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2010
  3. gojack

    gojack ....

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    My son has a couple friends who dropped ROTC at UC to enlist.
    They are in a hurry to 'live life' and saw college as a continuation of high school...
    dull and boring. At that age 4 yrs seems like a lifetime.

    I was exactly the same when I was 17, and when I started college 4 yrs later,
    I was much more mature and highly motivated student.

    Remember there are educational opportunities during and after enlisted service.
     
  4. SubSquid

    SubSquid Member

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    TrevorsMom;

    Yep. Heard the same sounds out of my son's mouth about three years ago. Really wanted to, a) be a Marine, b) play football ,and c) get a good education so he ended up at good civilian school. As a freshman, the football wasn't that good, had met a lot of people but didn't have the "Posse" yet, things were strange, mom not around to clean up and do laundry, food different... Second semester he found himself. Started building the "Posse", found entertainment (frat) and found out about Marine OCS.

    I think if you offer the support that a first semester freshman needs, make the drive and take him out to dinner and listen to the frustrations, offer independent solutions, tell him to give it full effort for freshman year and then disscuss the enlistment during summer break. You may not think that they are "home sick" because they all want to put on the big show for everyone but they do need some support that first year.

    Good luck. I hope that three years from now you'll be discussing graduation and where he wants to commission. Oh yeah, tell him that Bulldog Company at Quantico is worth working for!
     
  5. goaliedad

    goaliedad Parent

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    Agree with the above advice and sentiment.

    One thing to remember, enlisting is not like walking into the recuritment center on Friday and off to boot camp on Monday. If he is to enlist, I would insist on him making the most of his time at school while waiting for a reserved date off in the future (June would be a good time). That would include getting solid grades, doing well in his unit and whatever other committments he has made for the year.

    The Marines (or for that matter any other service) want people who make a commmittment to try something and take that committment to a logical breaking point before pursuing another committment. He is not going to impress a recruiter (or anyone else he runs into in the Marines) by dropping out mid-semester to enlist. Heart may be in the right place, but the head is not. Need both cooperating to be successful.

    His is a normal response. The Staff Sargeant where Goaliegirl is did the same thing - one year of ROTC and decided that enlisted life was for him. He's been having a great time for almost 10 years but realizes that he must make a choice soon as to whether he wants to finish his degree and bump up to an officer (with the better pay grade and resulting retirement) and give up some of the fun or to finish out his years enlisted.

    Point is that eventually, they do revisit the college degree decision. And the ones who do choose college at that point have their heads and hearts in the decision and do better than otherwise. And the ones who don't choose college probably don't desire to do the occupations that come with a college credential and will be happier doing other work (trust me there are mechanics/plumbers/electricians/etc. who make more than this experienced professional). Ultimately, we all want our kids to be productive and happy (can't really be one without the other) citizens no matter where that leads them.

    Letting go of your kid to go to college and do ROTC is one thing. Letting go of them to enlist is entirely different. Best wishes in working through all of this.
     
  6. TrevorsMom

    TrevorsMom Member

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    I want to thank all of you so much for taking the time to respond. This has been a heck of a day and your kind words and encouragment is what I needed today. Thank you.
     
  7. Centhea

    Centhea Member

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    TrevorsMom: He needs to sit down with his Marine Officer advisor and talk over this decision. I'll bet the advisor has worked through this with other Mids. Definitely encourage him to finish the semester and hopefully all of freshman year. He's only a few weeks into this program...he needs to give it some time before making such a huge course change. See if he would consider staying for the year and if he still wants to go enlisted, talk to a recruiter about accession next summer.

    As for Room and Board, most colleges bill by the semester (another good reason for him to finish the semester :redface: ). Hang in there and know my thoughts are with you...please keep us posted on his decision.
     
  8. CronusMom

    CronusMom Member

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    I am so sorry, TrevorsMom. Wish I had some wise words -- Goalidad said it all so well. I agree that he should finish at least the semester and preferably the year. He could possibly have a change of heart with a little more time.

    You and Trevor are in my thoughts.
     
  9. gojack

    gojack ....

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    I was looking for something else entirely, when I ran across
    a presentation on first year retention/dropouts at Miami University.
    Could help identifying what the problem is?

    Factors that explain first-year persistence.
    *Four primary factors
    1) First Semester GPA
    2) Commitment to Higher Education
    3) Homesickness
    4) Satisfaction, highly correlated with "sense of belonging" and campus living environment.
     
  10. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    TPG makes an excellent point.

    He is giving up because it wasn't what he envisioned is not an excuse. Tell him to remember the military adage SERVICE BEFORE SELF. He made a commitment to them. End of subject. He wants to walk, ask him how he is going to walk as an enlisted member when they give a career assignment he doesn't like?

    Sometimes, as parents we need to deal them the harsh reality of the real world. The military is an employer, picking and choosing jobs is not always an option.

    Ask him, what if you choose to leave what will you do? He will respond XYZ, then ask him, what if they don't offer you that? What if they offer you ABC?

    Ask him to pull up the DFAS website. Have him look at the pay for an E3, then have him add in a car pmt, insurance, gas and spending. See if he has figured out in dollars and cents how he will live life. Not saying it can't be done, just saying a kid on an NROTC scholarship who will spend 4 yrs in college can easily understand a pay chart and that they don't want to live an E3 pay scale if they could avoid it. Anyone in the military will tell you, we don't ship curtain rods because we want to, we ship them in hopes that we can save one more penny. We don't buy from domestications.com because we think they are better than Bed Bath and Beyond. We buy from them because it is a fiscal issue.

    So many kids enter as enlisted thinking, "well, I'll get my college degree while I am AD as an enlisted". Here are the problems
    1. Getting a 4 yr degree in 4 yrs means you are a full time AD member and a full time student....burning the candle at both ends maybe?
    2. Hard to get a 4 yr college degree in 4 yrs if you are deployed.
    3. You need command support for OCS/OTC. You just can't apply because you got your 4 yr degree as an AD member. You need the command to release you.
    4. The AF just cut OTC for this yr. Imagine all of those ROTC members who thought this was a clear shot and easy to do, only to find out RUT RO, they can't!

    You need to discuss this not from a parent to child issue, but a fact issue which he may not have thought about as an 18 yo at college from a long term point of view.
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2010
  11. dadkone

    dadkone Member

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    In Re: TPG

    TPG's advice in this situation is as solid as it gets -- you will do both yourself and your son a great favor to heed it well.
     
  12. green4life

    green4life Member

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    He IS a Marine

    If I am not mistaken, the Midshipman, MO's raise their right hand on Day One and, by taking their oath are part of the USMC. Their paid job is to study, matriculate, participate in PT, drill and NROTC Labs. Represent the USMC on Campus.

    What happens when he enlists and the crusty Gunny tells him to do something he doesn't want to do? "Not what I had in mind, Sir."

    Might also want to look up the Military pay tables.

    He just may need some input on the following: "Son, the USMC MRMC handed out about 500 4 year scholarships nation wide out of thousands of applications. They were all reviewed, vetted, scoured and looked at by the good and proper procedures of the United States Marine Corps. You were selected. Which part of "Proceed to..." do you not understand or makes you think you are smarter than the USMC officer candidates selection process? It is the considered wisdom of the Marines that you are qualified to enter the Officer Candidate Process. Hit it as hard as you can."

    Something like that.

    Russ
    NROTC/MO Dad
    USMA Dad
    one more to go.
     
  13. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    The comments for this post sure have taken downward turn. I don't think this is a situation that needs sympathy as much as understanding. From reading the original post the young man had always wanted to enlist, the parents doing what they felt was best steered him toward college and NROTC MO. By the way, I probably would have done the same thing. It's not often that our kids actually take our advice without resistance, in this case the parents were probably quite convincing. Once he was away from home and had time to think it sounds like he decided enlistment was the right thing for him. College and ROTC are not for everyone, and not everyone is ready right out of high school. The young man seems mature enough to know what he wants and make the decision not to waste other people’s time and energy. I think it's wrong to just tell him to "Buck Up".

    As far as raising your right hand, every cadet on scholarship in every ROTC program does the same thing. You have no official standing or commitment in the military other then being a cadet, at least not until the beginning of the sophomore year.

    During my time in the service I would have much rather had someone under my command that was happy in their position then someone who was miserable, always wishing they had taken a different path. I had terrific NCO’s that had tried OCS decided it was not for them and enlisted instead. That decision never hurt them or tainted my view of their commitment, they were the backbone of our operations.

    My son is also in the ROTC program, Army. He is in his third year, during that time there have been 2 cadets that have left the program to enlist, both have excelled and are happy with their decision and the enlisted ranks were happy to have them. I know we only want the best for our kids but as we find out there comes a time when we have to trust their decisions and support their choices.

    As others have said, your son made a commitment to the Marines, as far as I can tell he is not breaking that commitment, just taking a different path. As far as looking at the pay tables, I have never known anybody that joined the military for the pay, there are many other reasons, the great pay is usually not one of them. It doesn’t matter what your paid if your miserable in what your doing.

    I would agree that it would be great if he could finish out his semester, he could even finish the year with no commitment or requirement to pay back any of the scholarship money, but if this is really what he wants then he should talk with his command and discuss his options. Tell him to be honest and tell them exactly how he feels and what his plans are. Make sure he has all the information about enlistment so he can make an informed decision.

    I truly wish him the best, tell him to have pride in what ever he decides and to give it his all. Remember once he enlists there is no changing his mind, that is a real commitment.
     
  14. PaddyyD

    PaddyyD Member

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    If college bores him, tell him to apply at the Naval Academy. I'm sure he'd have more fun there than ROTC
     

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