gap year + NROTC

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by Buzzkill25556, Jun 29, 2015.

  1. Buzzkill25556

    Buzzkill25556 New Member

    Jun 29, 2015
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    Hi All,

    I've been accepted to my first choice school, and I'm on a gap year now, so I'll be entering in September 2016. I'm in the midst of my NROTC application, and I have a question for you all. I've heard over and over again to apply sooner rather than later, because then I can get in front of boards first. That doesn't make much sense to me, as I don't see how they won't reserve a similar number of slots for later applicants, but whatever. I accept that you have more experience and know better than I do. The thing is, I am not currently in good physical shape at all. Upper body strength is lagging significantly. I've begun working out, and I've made a lot of progress (for most of my, admittedly, young life, I have been in pretty good shape), but I'm still not near getting a good score on the physical portion of the NROTC application. My question is this- how do I balance being in not so good shape and applying earlier rather than later? At what point should I bite the bullet, cut short my steadily improving fitness, and take the physical fitness test so that I can finish my application?

    For context, I've been accepted to my university (top 15 in the country), am applying for a Tier 3 scholarship :(, and have really good test scores and other cool things :).

    What do you suggest? Thanks for taking the time to help me out.
  2. DeskJockey

    DeskJockey Member

    Oct 29, 2009
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    It seems to be a considerable advantage to get your application in early, so I don't think it is a good idea to delay it for very long while you improve your fitness. Unless you have some major issues (like being considerably overweight) you ought to be able to make rapid progress on your PFT scores - particularly if you maintain a regular training program that is specifically targeted to your weaknesses. If your progress is really slow, you should consider hiring a trainer. And unless you are applying as a marine option, you won't need to worry about maxing-out your scores.

    Quite frankly, both of those issues - applying early and being physically fit - are likely to be less significant to your chances than your choice of major, as only a small percentage of scholarships are for Tier 3. You will hear a lot of people on this site advise candidates that they should choose a major that they will enjoy, and avoid those which may hurt their GPA. That is fine as a general guideline, and the GPA part is a particular concern for AFROTC, but I think that most NROTC scholarship candidates should think twice before choosing a Tier 3 major.

    The fact is that that a high percentage of scholarships are going to be awarded to Tier 1 and 2 candidates. Unless your qualifications are truly superior, if you don't choose a technical major, you are not likely to get a scholarship; and if you don't get a scholarship, you may not have a path to a commission. That doesn't mean that you have to major in electrical engineering, but odds are that there are some technical majors that you have a sufficient interest and aptitude to study.

    Life is all about making compromises. We often have to sacrifice our preferences in order to attain our goals. Once you are in the Navy, you will be working in a technical environment - and you won't get to choose your job. If you are willing (and in fact eager) to do that kind of work when you graduate, it seems to me that you ought to be willing to choose a technical major right now - if only to get you where you want to go. Of course, if you don't think you can successfully complete a technical major, or that you will be miserable even trying, then don't do it. But if that is the case, you may also want to reevaluate whether you want to be a naval officer at all.

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