Help with NROTC essay?

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by Littlepenguino, Jun 27, 2012.

  1. Littlepenguino

    Littlepenguino Member

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    Hello everyone! In addition to applying for USMA and USNA, I'm also applying for an NROTC scholarship to keep my options open.
    I came across a little dilemma with my recruiter (very similar to the rush that the OP for the thread "NROTC Dilemma?" had). When I attempted to open a file with the NROTC program, the application said I was too young to apply and that I should try again later.
    What it DIDN'T tell me was that it kept my records, so I just got a call from a recruiter today that my application was due in 3 days, because he wanted me to do the Officer Interview/Review Board in August. So today I've been trying to pull every string possible to fill out my application, and now that I've finished most of it, I've been working on the essays.
    So quite simply, would you please review my essay? I realize it may not be close to perfect, but I really want to do this in time. I'll post the answer to the second response tomorrow (or rather, later today).
    Thank you so much for taking the time to read this!


    1. Discuss your reasons for wanting to become a Naval Officer. (Limit 2500 characters)

    Joining the military had never been a childhood aspiration. Ironically, I had never even considered the possibility until high school, when I finally understood how narrow minded I had been up until that point. Joining the JROTC unit at my school awakened me to the principles of integrity, diligence and a self sustaining character. The day I received the informational letter regarding the possibilities the NROTC program offered, my interest was immediately captured. I desire to become a Naval Officer to serve my country and set the example for not only those Sailors that would be assigned to me, but those that I encounter in my daily life.

    First and foremost, I wish to serve my country as an officer in its Navy. My sense of patriotism began to grow after a recent telephone call from my extended family in Mexico. I learned of the murder of three Mexican citizens in the city of Durango’s plaza; yet, this seemed to only raise an eyebrow across the dining room table. Dazed, I could not fathom as to why no one else was surprised at this news. The answer was simple. Quite frankly, I had taken everything that the United States offered to me as a citizen: protection, respect and stability. Everything I had defined as stable and regulated had stemmed from what this nation taught and offered me. I then began to understand the words of the Honorable John F. Kennedy, “Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.” I recalled the statistics I had heard on the news; less than one percent of the population wear’s their nation’s uniform. From that moment, I knew I add to that percentage.

    Setting the example has always been a pivotal part in my life. My father had always preached against hypocrisy, and firmly instructed me to act morally and respectfully. As such, the Navy principles of honor, courage and commitment would only help to develop these values and become a greater citizen. Ever since the Vietnam War, the military has retained an unfavorable image by the people, which resulted in the lack of support for recent military involvement. The only way to rectify the negative stigma the public eye has is to support the institution. I feel that only by serving dutifully as an officer, I would demonstratively exhibit to my family, friends and community the gallant code of ethics that this noble profession instills.

    Char Count: 2,234
     
  2. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I see 2 things in your essay that I would correct.

    1. "From that moment, I knew I add to that percentage"

    2. "Ever since the Vietnam War, the military has retained an unfavorable image by the people, which resulted in the lack of support for recent military involvement. "

    You are young, but that is the furthest thing from the truth. In Gulf I, there was an insanely high support for the military. Gulf II, was the same drive, around and you will see a lot of cars with yellow ribbons stating "I support the troops".

    There is a difference of supporting troops and supporting the conflicts. I have not seen people spitting on soldiers returning home like they did for Vietnam Vets, instead there are volunteers at airports, such as Bangor Maine that will greet every returning soldier off the plane, even if the plane is landing at 3 a.m.

    Myself, when Bullet returned home from Iraq we went to a restaurant that night (family of 5, bill was @$125-150), when it was time to pay, we were informed the table next to us picked up the tab. They had overheard our dinner conversation, saw Bullet wearing an OIF polo shirt (small emblem), and found out from the waiter he had arrived home that morning. Bullet went to thank them and tell them it was not necessary, the father with 2 children, said it was a small price to pay so he never had to leave his wife and kids to fight like Bullet did for him.

    Americans in my mind remember the shame of their acts to returning soldiers and have never repeated it again. Okay fringe groups do, but they are the fringe, and the avg American will protest against the fringe to defend the soldier.

    I also do not think it is wise to tell an organization that you want to become a part of, society has a negative image of them. It maybe true in your area that they don't support the military, but there is no need to slap them in the face with that acknowledgement.

    Remember what your folks taught you when you were little? If you have nothing nice to say, than say nothing at all.

    I do understand your position, but as you get older you will realize people hold a very positive image of troops, they hold a low image of politicians that use tax dollars to fight a war they don't support which results in Americans lives being lost. Two different things.
     
  3. Lawman32RPD

    Lawman32RPD Member

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    I haven't served in the military so you have take that into account when reviewing my comments. That said, our daughter is a rising sophomore at Texas A&M (Pisshead in the lexicon of the TAMU Corps). While I enjoy writing a great deal I'm a lousy editor because neither the rules of grammar nor the current protocols of spelling and I are on a first name / exchanging of Christmas cards basis. I also understand you are under a time crunch. There was a writer in the 16th Century who coined the phrase - if I had more time I'd have written a shorter letter. I think Pima's comments are spot on and I would counsel you to take them to heart. My hunch - caveated by the admonition that I'm speaking from the perspective of abject ignorance - is that the boards will be looking for essays that are clear, that have a theme, and which provide a basis upon which the reviewers can feel like they "know" you. I liked the link you were making between what your extended family in Mexico is experiencing and your desire to service in armed forces of the United States. As a federal prosecutor with 25 years on the Southwest Border that connection really rang home to me. Look for typos, don't rely on spell check for editing (red isn't read - but the spell check thinks it is fine). Good luck. Lawman32RPD
     
  4. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I do agree with Lawman, one thing they are looking for is to connect with the applicant, and I believe you have done that quite well. You have managed to tie in how and why this desire came about, without ever doing the typical:

    "When I was 6, I went to my 1st airshow and knew at that moment I wanted to be in X branch to fly, be on a sub, drive a tank, etc."

    Your essay embodied what the military says all the time...Service before self, and that your aspirations are not tied to a specific career, but to the Navy in any career.
     
  5. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    I agree with all the above comments. I would only add that you should re-read it with particular attention to missing words or phrases. For example, I think you missed a "take for granted" or something like that in one part of your essay.

    Good Luck with your application. Sounds like the recruiter wants to get you before the first board.
     
  6. Littlepenguino

    Littlepenguino Member

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    Thank you!

    Thanks to all of you for your replies. They were extremely helpful. And I do realize now that I made a very unprofessional assumption with the second paragraph; since my family (father especially) has always hated the idea of me joining the military since several of their friends suffered from PTSD after Vietnam, I believe that's mainly where I got the idea.
    I'll definitely revamp the third paragraph and take a closer look at my first two like you suggested.
    Again, thank you so much!
     
  7. USMCGrunt

    USMCGrunt Member

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    Sent you a PM
     
  8. Littlepenguino

    Littlepenguino Member

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    Revised

    Thank you sir, your message was very helpful.
    After examining my essay again, I saw the corrections everyone advised. For example, for the "From that moment, I knew I add to that percentage" I meant to add a "would" before the "add to that percentage," which makes a very big difference! So I'm very grateful to all of you for noticing these major mistakes.
    I just revised it, if you could please review it again, it would extremely help.

    1. Discuss your reasons for wanting to become a Naval Officer. (Limit 2500 characters)

    Joining the military had never been a childhood aspiration. Ironically, I had never even considered the possibility until high school, when I finally understood how narrow minded and self-centered I had been. I enrolled in the JROTC program at my school, which awakened me to the ideals of integrity, diligence and a self sustaining character. The day I received the informational letter regarding the NROTC program and the opportunities it offered, my interest was immediately captured. I desire to become a Naval Officer to serve my country and set the example for not only those Sailors that would be assigned to me, but those that I encounter in my daily life.

    First and foremost, I wish to serve my country as an officer in its Navy. My sense of patriotism began to grow after a recent telephone call from my extended family in Mexico. I learned of the murder of three Mexican citizens in the city of Durango’s plaza; yet, this seemed to only raise an eyebrow across the dining room table. Dazed, I could not fathom why I was the only one surprised at this news. The answer was simple. Quite frankly, I had taken for granted everything that the United States offered to me as a citizen: protection, respect and stability. Everything I had defined as stable and regulated had stemmed from what this nation taught and offered me. I then began to understand the words of the Honorable John F. Kennedy, “Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.” I asked myself that question, and my answer would be to serve as a Naval Officer.

    Setting the example has always been a pivotal part in my life. My father had always preached against hypocrisy, and firmly instructed me to act morally and respectfully. As such, the Navy principles of honor, courage and commitment would only help to develop these values and become a greater citizen. “You are responsible for every success and failure in your unit,” my JROTC instructor always told me. As such, I realize that should I receive a commission as Ensign, I would gain the privilege of leading the admirable Sailors in my charge; the trust that a unit offers to its leader is a precious gift that should never be taken for granted. In every way, shape and form, I want to be the example that deserves this trust. I am prepared to use every bit of knowledge that I have gained to effectively fulfill my duty and obligation to my unit and country.

    Char Count: 2,423
     
  9. Littlepenguino

    Littlepenguino Member

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    Question 2

    I also finished the recommended question, if you could take the time to review this one as well, it would be greatly appreciated.


    2. How might your background and experiences enhance the U.S. Naval Service? (Recommended, Limit 2500 characters)


    Although my life experiences may not have enough substance to fill the next Great American Novel, I can certainly say that the experiences I possess worked together to form a character that would effectively serve the United States Navy.

    Ever since my childhood, I have had an extreme fondness to mathematics. I learned to multiply and divide, while my peers learned to subtract and borrow. Even to this day, I continue to finish my in-class Calculus exams twenty minutes before the rest of my classmates, and I still manage to earn the top score. The Navy utilizes technology extensively, and thus I believe a background that required quick, sound logic and reasoning is a crucial component in leading others.

    Furthermore, my time in JROTC has allowed me to experience the stress of situations that need quick responses. For example, my JROTC instructors described the potential I had as a leader, and so they placed me in charge of drill meets, color guards and the like. There is no magical panacea for every situation that goes awry, so the day our instructor did not arrive to unlock our color guard supplies, I responded quickly. I pulled every resource and connection I had at the school to retrieve the equipment needed far before the event began. One cannot expect to be rescued in every situation; rather, a true leader must be prepared to act at a moment’s notice.

    During my sophomore summer, I volunteered extensively at the Boys & Girls Club of La Habra. Working with the children in their most populated room, The Games Room, taught the virtues of patience and understanding. My role was to supervise and encourage fair play. Although it felt difficult to reason with them at times, because their arguments often centered around subjects that seem “childish,” the hours spent at the Boys & Girls Club are priceless. Even if something does not register with what I perceive as logic, for them, it does. I also noticed that as soon as I developed a closer friendship to these children, they became harder to maintain. As such, a leader must be willing to learn and understand the background of their subordinates, but realize that they must distance themselves enough so that the chain of command is not broken.


    Char Count: 2,223


    The two things about this one that I'm not too sure of are:
    1. If the overall feel is pretentious. I don't want to give the wrong impression.
    2. Saying that my JROTC instructor not showing up to an event. Although I felt really good knowing that I handled such a case, I feel a bit disrespectful for mentioning the story.
     
  10. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    Don't worry about 1 and 2, it's fine. Again I suggest you review for wording.... eg. its "fondness for" not "fondness to".
     
  11. Littlepenguino

    Littlepenguino Member

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    Thank you so much! I definitely will. Now I just need to revise and give my recruiter a call.
    Thanks to everyone for their help!
     
  12. EDelahanty

    EDelahanty Member

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    sent you a pm
     
  13. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Littlepenquino,

    Just remember there is more to this process than academics and JROTC involvement.

    Do you have any sports? In both essays you discuss JROTC, yet, nothing about athletics.

    They are going to read both essays, they will see your school transcript. Highlighting your volunteerism is great, but that leaves them with wondering if you do any sports.

    If you do sports I am sure there was time you showed leadership like you did with JROTC.

    Look at the WCS, W stands for Whole. Athleticism will be part of NROTC. You want to use this time to illustrate that you have every aspect of the WCS covered...academics, volunteerism, leadership and athletics.

    I read this the other day and it is true; Don't give them a reason why NOT to select you.
     
  14. Littlepenguino

    Littlepenguino Member

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    Pima,

    This is probably not the answer you want to hear, but no, my athletics have pretty much stayed in JROTC. Ever since I've been in charge, I've put a bigger stress on physical fitness since my program's been lacking in it. That's mainly how I've been keeping in shape while helping the rest of the cadets. I don't think that's really counts for athletics, though.
    This year I've recently joined Cross Country to keep me in shape, and I've been offered a Varsity letter, but I don't believe I should be writing about that. I've only had about three practices so far.
     
  15. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    I would at least mention that you joined the Cross country team in some way.
     
  16. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Littlepenquino,

    I will repeat to you what you posted to me with true consideration of your feelings, and how it will make you twinge.

    This is probably not the answer you want to hear, but that is going to be an issue.

    Athletics is huge, it is not a small thing. It shows dedication, time management, leadership and team involvement on top of being physically fit and dealing with loss (competition). Yes, JROTC does, have the 1st four aspects, but not all aspects. The military is all of these aspects.

    I agree with kinnem, find a way, because on top of the athletic components of X country, you also illustrate that you juggled JROTC and athletics at the same time, while maintaining great grades.

    WHOLE Candidate.

    I also agree with kinnem for a different reason, your 1st impression is not at the interview it is with your essays. This is similar to anybody applying for a job, to get the interview your resume matters. Once in the interview your experience will be questioned.

    Leaving out X-country may be a reason they pass you over. Again, repeat after me WHOLE candidate.

    NROTC scholarship is the most competitive out there, and for some more competitive than an apptmt. Scholarships are national, tied to schools and the applicants, appointments are tied to the state that applicant resides in. S.D. candidate probably has a better chance at the USNA, than a VA resident. VA resident, due to top ranking schools nationally may have a better chance at a scholarship.
     
  17. Littlepenguino

    Littlepenguino Member

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    Dear Pima and kinnem,

    You both have very valid points, and thank you for paying attention to where I'm slipping up. I'll definitely find a way to put it into my second essay. My coach says I'm doing very well for a first-timer, so I'll work with what I've got.
    Thank you for your thoughtful responses.
     
  18. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    No problem, not to divert this further, but have you started to match up your colleges?

    NROTC is a combination of both AROTC and AFROTC.
    AROTC ties the scholarship to the school, not the cadet per se, or in NROTC case mid. AFROTC ties it to the cadet. In other words, AFROTC recipients can take the scholarship to any college that is approved. The AF doesn't care if one unit has 100%, and another has 0% on scholarship.

    AFROTC is like NROTC where @85% of scholarships go to STEM/Tech majors. It plays into the equation. Only 5% are given the Full ride, tuition cost covered at any cost. Only 5% of that 5% goes to non-tech majors.

    Best advice I could give is visit every college, and make an appointment to visit the unit too. You have to be comfortable with accepting a scholarship to your number 5 on the list. Look at this thread http://www.serviceacademyforums.com/showthread.php?p=260387#post260387

    You don't want to be in that place next yr. Visiting the unit will allow you to decide if you truly are willing to take a scholarship to that school.

    Make sure you don't put all reaches on your list, because every yr there are posters that got a scholarship, but a rejection to the college. Conversely there are posters that got in, but not a scholarship. Take the time now to investigate. If you have not found the forum www.collegeconfidential.com, I would suggest you visit it. College Confidential has almost every school out there, and it is littered with Chance Me threads. If you have not used Naviance at your school, go and utilize it. Problem with chance me threads is they tend to generalize from their own experience, and not know your school. Naviance is a system that uses only those from your school who applied to the college you are interested in, however, it really is only academic, and not does not put ECs into the equation. Using both, plus this site, your picture will become clearer regarding your true chances since now you have more information than you would if you only rely on 1 aspect.

    Good luck.
     
  19. Littlepenguino

    Littlepenguino Member

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    Yes, I've actually already picked out my 5.

    1. UC Berkeley
    2. UCLA
    3. USC
    4. U of Illinois
    5. Carnegie Mellon

    I'm trying to go for my BSEE, so that's mainly where those came from. Even though I know it'll be difficult to get in, I'm reluctant to move Berkeley from #1. It's was my dream school before I considered the military as an option. I qualify for in state tuition for #'s 1 and 2, so I'm hoping that my main obstacle, is of course, getting into Berkeley's engineering program.

    Quite frankly, I feel comfortable going to any of these schools, even though I haven't personally visited #'s 4 and 5; I'm willing to relocate for the scholarship. I will definitely do more research on these, though.
     
  20. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Your life, your choices, I respect that.

    I don't want to divert this thread any further, I would suggest that you post a Chance Me NROTC thread with all of your stats. so you can get a larger pool of respondents.
     

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