HORRIBLE AROTC interview....

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by riroka, Sep 8, 2011.

  1. riroka

    riroka Member

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    Hi all - my DS just had his ARTOC interview. Let me first say my eldest son is AROTC, so I am familiar with how things work. First off my son was told in the first 5 min. that he was not competitive bc he did not have a varsity sport. He continued on and asked "have you ever run a mile in your life". My son runs 2-3 miles every other morning. My son also has held a leadership position in a 300 member marching band for 3 years. He is in charge of the largest section of the band. He was told that was not a leadership position and meant nothing. Then he looked at my son and said "a little part of me is saying you are wasting my time!" THEN he told him to tell his parents to give up on a scholarship and that the AF and Navy won't want anything to do with him either!!

    Now - my son is not the king of activities, but he has done a sport every year, participated in marching band, has volunteered and is damn smart! He skipped 7th grade, goes to college half time carrying a 4.0 with over 20 college credits below his belt. He has 33 ACT, but only a 3.32gpa, because he had a bad freshman year.

    I am just in shock at the way he was spoken to - has anyone else had an interview like this or was this guy out of line?
     
  2. robinhood17

    robinhood17 USMA Cadet

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    If it is any help, I too did not have a varsity sport...as I was a full marching band student. It definitely takes as much or more time than a sport.

    In my AROTC interview...I got a sceptical "really? no high school sports" look...before he found out about marching band commitments,lifeguarding,etc and the 295 APFT score that I recieved from him later on that day. This situation is odd, because most pms's recruit a candidate to come to their school during the interview...from what I've heard.

    I personally think that the remark was out of line, but it is true that the board wants to see sports to make sure you can pass the pft. Now, I am only an applicant, so whether he was out of line is not for me to decide..
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2011
  3. patentesq

    patentesq Parent

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    Wow. This guy appears to be a real dud! Some PMSs are truly outstanding, but there are plenty of boneheads around. I met some of them last year while exploring the AROTC route.

    I wouldn't let this go. I would see if your son can obtain another interview before his interview report gets filed with Cadet Command and placed in his file. I think you know that this is actually your son's battle to fight, and he may want to contact this guy just to be sure that this was not some sort of a "test" (seems implausible that someone would be that much of a knucklehead without having a hidden purpose -- maybe I'm wrong).

    Your DS deserves to be interviewed by a professional officer, and there are plenty of professional officers out there (like this yahoo's boss, if this wasn't some sort of a weird "test").
     
  4. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I agree with patentesq, your DS deserves to be interviewed by a professional officer.

    I am sorry that this occurred. If I were you, I would try the back door channels and take this to a pm with Clarkson or Marist. I believe MemberLG is also highly involved with Army (WP). All of them can give you better suggestions on how to approach this situation.

    We can give a shoulder, and a place to vent... vent on!
     
  5. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    Surely this wasn't the PMS who interviewed him? I'm with Patentesq on this one- I wouldn't just let it go. Assuming that your son is accurately relaying the interview (just occassionally I have found with kids including mine, a detail or two left out so double check), this sounds pretty gross. If it were me- I would be on the phone to the PMS myself and relay this to him (I hear what Patentesq is saying, but there is a time and a place to intervene- whether it's for your kids or your soldiers or employees, and my suspicion is that no 18 year old alive is going to be able to convince an Axxhxxxx that he is being unprofessional even if it's true. Sometimes- you have to bring your own experience and gravitas into the equation to get it resolved as it should be. My opinion - this is that time.)

    Then - assuming that the PMS is reasonable- work with him to dump the interview record and start fresh with him or somewhere else. If you don't get any joy with him- then try Cadet Command- but that's more of a faceless bureaucracy , so I think I would start with the boss of the guy who did this.

    Clarksonarmy may have something more useful to add.

    Good luck - jump quickly would be my take.
     
  6. goaliedad

    goaliedad Parent

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    Another thought...

    If the PMS was at your son's #1 choice, I suspect that he won't be getting a scholarship there and if that same PMS is still there next year that your son wouldn't want to be there.

    I am also confused as to why this particular PMS decided to take on what is CC's job. His job in the interview is to measure character, drive, and interest in a military career - some of the things that don't necessarily show as well on paper. Perhaps he is overrun with kids looking for an easy financial fix for tuition? <shrug>

    This sounds like one of those "toxic leaders" there was a thread about recently. This experience should server as an example to your son that you can run into them any time and this is as good of a time as any to learn how to effectively deal with them. Marist and Clarkson should be good resources on how to deal with this situation in the ROTC environment - whether CoC is a good approach or whatnot. The other thing he will need to learn in the Army dealing with these situations is how to use the resources around him. Perhaps he should get himself an account here and pm one of them and start the conversation...
     
  7. riroka

    riroka Member

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    Yes, it was the PMS. The PMS at my other sons school is awesome, beyond awesome!! So we are in shock at how this interview went. I agree it is my sons battle to fight and I spoke with him about calling the PMS to have the interview tossed. Hopefully he will do that tomorrow.

    Thanks everyone for your input!! You really helped!!!!
     
  8. debcst

    debcst Member

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    Just want to chime in here and echo that my son's experience was very different from this.

    As we expected, the officer conducting his interview was beyond cordial and professional. He was genuinely kind and interested in my son and his application.

    I totally agree with Goaliedad-this is more information about that particular ROTC program. I hope this school is not at the top of your son's list.
     
  9. educateme

    educateme Member

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    My son interviewed with the PMS of his #1 choice school. He just came back from Irag or Afghanistan, I forget which. Very wooden in his demeanor, my son said. Did not show any affect at all - no sign of encouragement whatsoever, and my son thought he bombed the interview.

    Later, a recruiting officer from another battalion who saw his file told him that he got the perfect score in interviews. Perhaps that PMS was still in the "combat" mindset, and I can easily imagine to him how this whole thing of interviewing 18 year olds applying to posh private schools felt when he was in a life-death situation on a daily basis just a month ago.

    That said, the description of the OP's son's interview does seem totally out of bound. It's actually shocking.

    When my son visited PMSs in a few more battalions, they were invariably cordial, encouraging, supportive, and helpful. One PMS from a local in state school my son did not even apply to coached him on APFT just to help him out (he met my son in some Army related event). A PMS at the current school where he is attending (4 year Army scholarship) actually gave him a lot of tips - both for the scholarship process and how to succeed once you become a cadet and how to emerge as a top candidate for commissioning etc, and what his battalion can do to help him. In fact, he did such an outstanding job in impressing my son his school preference changed after this meeting. This school became his #1 choice.

    I think most PMSs are outstanding officers with a genuine interest in recruiting top candidates for Army, and your son happen to have a bad luck of encountering the exception. Please do not be discouraged. Keep on fighting.

    By the way, the GPA is a bit of an issue. Is this weighted or unweighted. On a 4.0 scale or something else? Last year, they did allow weighted GPA as long as you "marked" it as weighted. If the GPA you mentioned is unweighted, and if the school uses weighted GPA system or both, I suggest your son put a weighted GPA, provided, though, of course, that the weighted GPA is higher. Human mind being what it is, the initialn impression is hard to beat. There is different mental filing system when one sees something like 3.7, rather than 3.2 even if it's on a different scale. I am telling him to lie. if the form is still the same, you do have a choice to report either weighted or unweighted provided that you mark it appropriately.

    Good luck.
     
  10. educateme

    educateme Member

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    another thing: if your son participated in any sports, outside the school, it's still a fair game to put it as a sport activity. I learned the ROTC scholarship evaluation process is very much a "check mark" game - based on input from several PMSs my son met last fall. If I remember correctly, any outside sports activity with some kind of organizational structure count as "sport" check mark item.

    The awful PMS was reacting to the fact that there was not check mark for the sports, right? if so, it's a fair bet that the board may also take one quick look at his application file, noticing that there is NO check mark for the sports, and just puts file at the bottom of the pile.

    Please know that this year's competition will be unbelievably fierce, and you can't go by any experience your other son had gone through. if I remember correctly, if your son is MS IV, that year, anybody who had enough qualification to be admitted to the school got the scholarship at that battalion. Even the class of 2013 want's bad. They were even giving in school scholarship very frequently. That's stone age as far as how much things have changed. There were already writings on the wall for the class of 2015 (my son) - which was already a measurably much tougher year. All indications are, it will be much worse this year.

    So make the lemon out of the lemonade. See what your son can honestly put on the sports check list, even the activities outside the school. One retired PMS whom my son got to know even said that you can join an activity now, and put it on the check list. That, I think, is a bit too opportunity, and my son did no such thing, but still...... it shows you how rule driven the CC can be.

    If your son end up coming up with sports items he can honestly put on the file that he did not think about listing before this interview, that awful PMS actually did your son a favor, because he could have been very cordial and gave him a terrible interview score anyway - and your son wouldn't know why he was not offered a scholarship.
     
  11. dunninla

    dunninla Member

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    Wow, what a tough thing to hear as a parent!

    Let's step back and look at the larger picture:

    - would it have been better for the PMS to keep his thoughts to himself, and only reveal them in his evaluation? That would have been death.

    I think not. At least now your son may request another interviewer, though Cadet Command or whomever set the interview up.

    Here's my thoughts -- you found a drill sergeant type who is prejudiced against Marching Band -- the type that thinks marching band is for pansies. I'm serious. People who have not been in marching band often think it is to a real sport (like football or wrestling) as synchronized swimming is to a real Olympic sport (no offense intended to all you synchro swimmers).

    Now, taking another step back:

    - Scholarships will be down this year.
    - 3.32 is not a great GPA
    - No Varsity Sport (can be) a deal breaker
    - No formal leadership position, as defined in that sheet that PMS' use to score the interview (Class Officer, School Officer, Varsity Captain, etc.) (can be) a deal breaker

    Your son will only maximize his chances of receiving a scholarship by figuring out how to highlight, in the NEXT interview, 1) that his position is Marching Band ought to count as a leadership position, 2) that the PMS administer a PFT test to determine fitness rather than a Varsity Letter, and 3) that his freshman year GPA should be disregarded, as it is in the University of California system, and many other Admissions Committees.

    Best of luck to your son.
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2011
  12. clarksonarmy

    clarksonarmy Recruiting Operations Officer at Clarkson Army

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    First off...there is a block on the application called Additional SAL criteria (or something like that). I am seeing many applicants that are leaving this block blank (some are also leaving the personal statement blank). The additional SAL criteria is where your son hopefully explained that the runs 2-3 miles a day, that he led 300 musicians, and that he is currently enrolled in college classes.
    PMSs are human. Your son will definitely have to ask himself if he wants to deal with that PMS for the next year or two if he is the PMS where your son wants to attend school. Finally remember that scholarship will only get to be more competative. If I have one scholarship left, and I have a captain of a hockey team and the leader of the brass section from the marching band the athlete is going to have the advantage.
    I feel for your son, but I think we are going to hear more straight talk from PMSs and ROOs. I had to email an applicant today to let him know that the school he is looking at may not have any scholarship allocations this year, so he may be "wasting his time" by listing one of my schools. If your son truly wants to be an Army Officer all applicants need to be prepared to come to school without a scholarship.
     
  13. goaliedad

    goaliedad Parent

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    I'll agree that if the items that spell out his leadership and physical capability weren't spelled out in his applicant statement, he failed in his application.

    However, I do have an issue with this part...
    The kid didn't do anything to waste the PMS's time. If his application was truly that poor (like not spelling out his leadership on his personal statement) then CC was wasting the PMS' time by sending him to the interview. If the PMS's opinion of this kid's chances are slim and none, but the kid was unaware of how competitive the situation is, then the kid is wasting his own time, but I think this kid was earnest in his desire and honest (even if unqualified) in his assessment of his suitability for ROTC. He didn't come there to waste the PMS's time, but to be told that is unacceptable in this parent's book. I can deal with "You are wasting YOUR time applying", but the PMS' job is give the honest truth about his assessment of the candidacy, not the candidate's motive or to blame the candidate for occupying an hour that won't yield a scholarship. That is on CC.

    I agree wholeheartedly that PMSs need to be blunt in their assessment of scholarship applicants, but they cannot let their frustration with the system sending them less than ideal candidates (in the PMS's opinion) for interview result in their losing professionalism with a kid.

    Perhaps I read too much into one statement, but their is a fine line between what is needed and what is out of line.
     
  14. singaporemom

    singaporemom Member

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    Have you considered having your DS ask for an interview from your older son's PMS? Mine did just that when we visited older DS's school. He did the rounds of admissions, Math department and AROTC and AFROTC during that visit. PMS got into the system and made that his official interview. They had a very good meeting and son returned in the morning to work out with the cadets. PMS attended PT that day and watched him.

    Perhaps they can have an interview and also a conversation about his strengths and different aspects of his application.
     
  15. Aglahad

    Aglahad Member

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    Varsity sports/team captain is a very big deal in ROTC-land. That being said it is very peculiar seeing that type of reaction in a interview. Most of the AROTC PMSs I have seen have very high standards but are usually extremely cordial as well as supportive of a young cadet's potential growth in a battalion. I have no place to tell a LTC how to behave and carry himself, but that seems a little overboard even if a interview went terribly south.

    Like I have said on other threads I received my scholarship back in 2008 (on-campus private Lib-Arts school) and they literally handed them out to anyone who qualified. Now, there is a drastic cut in resources and funding resulting in many disappointed potential cadets. Granted, his GPA was rather low for HS, yet his ACTs were very good....Perhaps the PMS was an athletic stud at WP and prefers athletes? Who knows....However in any case it seems to be a weird response to a hopeful cadet when the same batt's ROO works so hard to uphold the image of ROTC and bring in as many applicants as possible.
     
  16. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    Straight talk from the PMS would be : " I will forward your application, I am concerned that you have no positional or athletic achievements on your record and so I believe you probably will not stand that highly in the board rankings. I would not expect that you will be offered a scholarship". Unprofessional talk would be : "you are wasting my time". We're all Human but officers are paid and expected to be professional and especially so in that position: x% of this guys time is to conduct interviews- fruitful or not -and if he can't figure out how to do so professionally ( and assuming that this guy really did phrase things as related), then I would be peeing all over him as high as it takes in the TRADOC chain of command, not just to get my kid reviewed in a fair and professional interview, but also to tank whatever remains of this guy's career, because if I was convinced if he actually interviewed this way with a total stranger- then he is unfit for the job. In short I would be enraged and I would make sure that there was a General Officer who knew it. That's just me. There is a time to charge and a time to take a seat IMHO.

    I want to qualify that though with the caveat that I would first make sure that your kid is not paraphrasing and just putting into words his perceptions of how the interview went. If the PMS simply told him that he didn't have the qualifications to be successful- and did so courteously and professionally and the kid then spun it into something else (which most of us have seen happen countless times in High Schools across the country), then I would not fault the PMS for essentially telling him the truth. So I would make sure that the young man is accurately relaying the words as well as his perception before I went Don Quixote to Cadet Command.

    I have been harping for a while that interview prep is really important- for this and for everything else. Most people of any age interview badly. Teens generally interview the worst of all. They need to practice and some of that practice needs to be with someone other than their adoring mother and hypercritical father- ie someone who hasn't become attuned to darling Johnny's habit of saying "uh", "I guess so" and who doesn't know exactly what they mean without them actually verbalizing it. They need to learn how to sell themselves to a stranger. Whether you get an ROTC scholarship or later a job- if, in an interview, you can't verbally summarize quickly what you have done, why you are really interested and why they want you- then you won't get the position. Parents could do their kids a lot of favors by getting a business acquaintance- (or at least someone who the kid is not already on a very comfortable personal basis with and preferably someone with some military experience as an officer or NCO) and have them run a mock interview with your kid. I don't know much about marching bands- but if I were in the position of that PMS I would agree that the leader of the brass section is not a leadership position- Unless your son convincingly and succinctly convinced me otherwise. How do you do that? Well- leadership requires responsibility and in an interview, a kid should be prepared to talk about what the position requires: selected by someone and recognized by your peers, responsibilities for scheduling practice time, reviewing performance and making corrections, coordinating with other sections, motivating your team.

    Finally- Clarksonarmy is relaying reality of scholarships- which BTW is not new but rather a return to the norm. There was a couple of year blip where the Army was handing out scholarship money like water- but those days were an anomaly. Most people getting commissioned thru ROTC historically did not have scholarships and they won't again either. If you want to be in the Army , then you will take ROTC whther or not you are on scholarship. The stipend in the college program after you contract is a good deal- it's up to $500/month senior year and you will have at least a small shot at getting a scholarship while on campus.
     
  17. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    Most kids on this board will get a lot of mileage out of heeding Bruno's advice, as usual!
     
  18. patentesq

    patentesq Parent

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    And a lot of applicant-parents should heed this advice as well.
     
  19. 49er

    49er Member

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    Riroka, I am not sure what to say…..I would be shocked as well.

    My son’s interview was three weeks ago today at a SMC. His interview was 180 degrees in the opposite direction as your son’s. We arrived 30 minutes early and the Lieutenant Colonel that my son was to meet was not in his office. As DS was knocking on the door the interviewer walked up behind him while texting on his phone and in a gruff voice asked “can I help you”? DS responded he was looking for Colonel XX and the interviewer responded “you found him”. As the interviewer continued texting on his phone, DS explained he was there for his interview and stated he knew he was early. The interviewer respond with an “oh yeah” called DS by his last name and escorted him into his office. It was hard to tell but one could have thought his approach was part of a “test” to see how DS responded. I went to sit in the lobby but to my surprise he called me in also. The interviewer apologized for being distracted and from this point on the interviewer was nothing but courteous, polite, helpful and etc. Everything you would expect from an officer and a gentleman. I observed the interview (yes, I had to bite my tongue HARD once or twice, but DS pulled it through with no help from dad). It was obvious that the interviewer had reviewed DS’s file before we arrived and it was it was very obvious that high school athletics was very important to the interviewer in my son’s case. As he checked off blocks on his form it was obvious that he was making notes about details not on the form. (DS plays football and baseball, lettered in baseball in 10th and 11th grade, football in the 11th grade, and received an award in baseball in the 11th grade. DS also runs 5Ks in addition to the high schools sports and runs 3-4 miles three times a week after football or baseball practice. He is in no way a college athletic prospect, just a decent all around athlete.) There was some discussion on how athletics, competition and etc translate into Army training and personal development. After the standard questions where completed the interviewer talked a lot about the particular SMC we where at, their AROTC program and even a little about DS’s second and third choice schools. DS asked questions about summer training opportunities, leadership roles in the program and etc. After all this, the interviewer leans back and obviously relaxed a little and guess what we start to talk about? Football. College football, pro football and etc. It was very obvious that organized team sports are very important in this process.

    While DS had not practiced a mock one on one interview he had prepared in other ways such as reviewing possible questions he found on-line, studying Army core values and etc. In addition, one of DS’ best friend's father is a Colonel in the Army Reserve, one of my close business associates in a JAG Colonel in the Army Reserve and a member of our church is a Major General in the Army Reserve. I think through his association and conversations with these gentlemen helped DS feel relaxed and confident going into the interview. In addition and I think a very big plus, DS had communicated with the interviewer several times over the preceding month via email so there at least a little connection going in. DS had planned on wearing a blazer, tie and etc; however, upon arriving and seeing everyone on campus in ACUs DS decided to leave the blazer in the car. He still wore a tie because in his words “I feel good in this”. DS had his resume and other material with him to refer to in the interview. Again, as I mentioned earlier it did feel that DS was being tested when he first arrived for the interview but overall it was a very professional situation from start to finish. In fact, everyone we have dealt with along the way so far at two different SMCs has been professional and I am hopeful your son’s experience was an isolated incident.

    I will add this. If this is what your son really wants, he needs to keep fighting for it. I have been very active with Boy Scouts for several years. I have served as a District Commissioner for almost five years. In this role I have been asked to look into a couple of situations where potential Eagle Scouts have been “road blocked” by an all knowing adult or group of adults. In all of these cases, after a very quick review it was obvious it was the adults that where not playing by the rules and where at fault. Although it is usually parents that contact me, it is working with the young man and the adults in his troop directly on the issue that gets it resolved. I will echo bruno’s advice as it was the young man that sold himself and his potential as an Eagle Scout. Patience, persistence, courtesy, honesty and etc. is what proved these 16 and 17 year old young men where worthy to be Eagle Scouts. I am happy to say in most cases I have been involved in and then stepped back out of my reward was an invitation to an Eagle Scout Court of Honor several months later.
     
  20. Aglahad

    Aglahad Member

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    Exactly, my father was rather surprised when I received a scholarship because in his college days ROTC cadets would go 4 years (commission with pilot slots) and still not receive any funds. Even though I was a qualified candidate (varsity sports, college select baseball, 280+ PT, decent SAT/GPA, club president, NHS etc) I never really counted myself among the best of the best. ROTC classes who have lived through the years of 04ish till 10' have enjoyed abundant funding and scholarships now give way to a more traditional version of ROTC.

    I really have to hand it to a lot of the new cadet sticking it out for ??? years to receive either a partial scholarship or just become contracted. While many have praised my class and before for joining at the height of a war I commend these new classes for not joining just for the money.
     

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