How does ROTC Cadet receive designated branch?

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by CrossCountryRunner12, Jun 20, 2012.

  1. CrossCountryRunner12

    CrossCountryRunner12 Member

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    Hey Everyone,

    I'm going to be in the Army ROTC program this year as a freshman and just had a question about commissioning. If a cadet successfully graduates the program at the end of their senior year of college, how does that cadet get placed as an officer into whatever branch they do.

    I've heard of cadets earning points throughout the program, which help them become competitive over other cadets. So when earning a commission, does it depend on the needs of the army? Or does it depend on how competitive you are against the hundreds of other army rotc students being commissioned?

    On a side note: I'm pursuing a degree in Aerospace Engineering and would like to become an Intelligence or Army Corp of Engineers Officer.

    Thanks.
     
  2. goaliedad

    goaliedad Parent

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    Very complex process dealing with OML scores (a complex formula) and what everyone asks for. Look at the slide deck here...

    http://www.career-satisfaction.army.mil/rotc_branch_slides.html

    Also poke around other areas on the site to see more options about Branch ADSO and other variables that go into the branching process.

    When you are finished, you can ask more questions about the contents of the site... :smile:
     
  3. clarksonarmy

    clarksonarmy Recruiting Operations Officer at Clarkson Army

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    It will also be explained to you often during your ROTC career. The process changes a little from year to year, so you will hopefully be briefed each year about the process. just remember GPA counts for 40% of your score.
     
  4. EDelahanty

    EDelahanty Member

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    The posts above are both accurate. In addition to formal presentations such as in the link provided by Goaliedad, in the coming years you will learn quite a bit from upperclassmen about how the system works.

    Keep in mind that the GPA calculation is based on your grades through the first three years of school. Similarly, the point system will be primarily concerned with your activities and accomplishments through that period.

    If you are setting your sights high (a top 10% OML rank, for example), you can't afford to take a semester off, or for that matter to slack off in any of your classes. Your Aerospace Engineering major will be academically rigorous so there will be additional pressure on you.

    There is a scorecard which the PMS/cadre will maintain. Links to it have been posted on this forum in the past. Also, I'm not sure if there are any differences for someone in a five year engineering program.
     
  5. Aglahad

    Aglahad Member

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    As the sir said above you will be briefed many times throughout your four years regarding accessions and the OML ranking system. Don't trouble yourself with the minute details right now just work on your APFT, maintain a high GPA and eventually do well at LDAC
     
  6. Armydude2012

    Armydude2012 LT

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    Branching

    I just went through the accessions process this year. It went well for me, I accessed active duty and branched infantry, stationed at Ft. Drum. Both were my top choices. The only advice I can give on the subject is put in the time and effort early to adviod being disappointed when your a senior. Finally, DO NOT GET STUCK IN THE 30-40% on the active duty OML. Once in those percentiles it becomes mathematically impossible to get a competitive branch(ie. infantry and aviation). Hope this helps.
     
  7. dunninla

    dunninla Member

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    At first I thought you meant "bottom 30% - 40%", then I realized you meant 60th - 70th percentile. OK, that is called the Dead Zone in Branch assignments. Not high enough to get 1st of 2nd Branch choice, but above the 50th percentile line, below which a lot of choice spots are reserved for "bottom halfers". Strange sort of communism within our ranks. OH well, blame Congress.

    Actually, per slide #5 of this deck: http://www.career-satisfaction.army.mil/rotc_branch_slides.html , the Dead Zone In the Active Duty Order of Merit List for 2010 cadets was:

    Aviation: 22% - 50%
    Infantry: 26% - 50%
    Armor: 30% - 50%
    Medical Specialist: 38% - 50%
    Intelligence: 38% - 50%

    Note: 20% in the complete OML might actually be 28% in the "Active Duty" OML, so make sure you make this mental conversion to the complete OML during your first three years. Or, just really screw up everything except for GPA, and get yourself into the 55% (from the top = 45%) where you get your choice of Branch... just kidding. But in all seriousness, why create a system of merit evaluation that takes a top 40% OML cadet and rewards him/her for purposely sabotaging things to go DOWN in the OML to below the 50% AD OML line (just far enough to escape the DEAD ZONE) in order to get his/her choice of Branch?

    This system must give rise to some really strange late night conversations among MSIII cadets:

    Cadet A "Hey, getting ready for LDAC? Brushing up on Night Navigation?. Are you still above 290 on your APFT?"

    Cadet B "Nah, I really want Infantry, I mean it's all I've wanted since I was 5 years old, but I'm at the top 33% OML right now. I've got to screw up LDAC big time to drop down to 55% AD OML, so I can get Infantry out of the bottom half. I'm targeting a 260 APFT and I think I'll just fail Night Nav. Oh yeah, and I'm dropping off the Club rugby team, cuz I don't want those 2 PMS OML points awarded for sports participation"

    Cadet A "Yeah, but what if you miscalculate your gaming and end up at 48% AD OML? You're not the only one trying to screw the pooch, you know. YOu have to adjust to how badly everybody else in the Infantry DEAD ZONE will also be screwing up at LDAC. You might need to mess something else up too"

    Cadet B "Oh, crap, didn't think of that."
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2012
  8. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Love this post!

    Is Dunninla being facetious? NO!

    That is the issue for many ROTC cadets. They never took into account that ROTC is national. You can be the best at your school, but career choices are NATIONAL. LDAC is national.

    Every step you take as an ROTC cadet will matter.
     
  9. Armydude2012

    Armydude2012 LT

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    Its all a game of numbers. I know a couple of people who ended up getting "S"s at LDAC who got there first choice of branch becuase they were in the 51% percentile on the AD OML. Had they gotten an "E" they would have most likely been in the dead zone. Bottom line do your best and accept that you put forth your best effort. I watched many of my peers worry about branch day, but at the end of the day the Army needs good officers in all branches.
     
  10. dunninla

    dunninla Member

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    Are you saying they should have tried to get E at LDAC, which would have put them at 46% AD OML, and then NOT gotten their choice of branch? I don't disagree with you at all, but these kids in the DEAD ZONE are 20 year old cadets being faced with a moral dillemma... do your best and kiss your branch choice goodbye, or screw up and get your Branch choice. I think this is a strange choice to put in front of a young cadet. Around 3,000 cadets commissioned and Branched AD that year, with about 200-250 in the DEAD ZONE prior to LDAC. So, while not a matter of National Security, I don't think the moral position these 200-250 cadets are put in is optimal.
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2012
  11. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    Branching through AROTC is a mystery sometimes. A cadet at my son's battalion was 87.6% on AD OML, that's from the top down. His number one choice was AG, he listed Field Artillery as his one top 3 combat arms. On the day of branching he received Infantry, Go figure. He later tried to switch branches but the request was denied. I know this cadet and even though it was not his choice, the kid was made for the Infantry and will be a great officer. You just have to shake your head sometimes when trying to figure out how the OML and Branching combine.

    Best advice is from Armydude, do your best and leave your options open, and remember the ultimate goal is to commission as an officer in the US Army and serve with pride in any branch you get. A cadet from last year branched Chem Corps, he is in Korea and loves what he is doing....it's all in the perspective you have.
     
  12. Armydude2012

    Armydude2012 LT

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    I think you misunderstood me. I am not saying they should "throw" LDAC. In my program it was all layed on the line for us from the start. Everyone knows the loop holes and has an understanding of how to war game the system based off of the last 5 years OML results. I have yet to meet anyone who actually tried to play the system. If you are really unhappy with your branch you should have probably picked another profession. I trained to become an officer and at the end of the day thats what my peers and I became regardless of branch.
     
  13. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    Prior to going to LDAC it is almost impossible to know just how much you would need to "Tank" to secure a spot in the 50% area. This is a very risky thing to try and do. As the Army starts to cut back many of these cadets that try to work the numbers may find that they do not even make the AD cutoff line.

    I talked a lot about this with my son before he left for LDAC, he didn't think anyone he knew in his battalion was even thinking about trying to gauge how they would end up on the OML by trying to slack off at LDAC, again just to risky.

    My son did tell me about a cadet they knew at a cross town school. This cadet was determined to get Infantry, he knew he had to do poorly at LDAC since his grades were not very high, he just didn't know how poorly he had to do. This cadet did just that, he barley passed the APFT even though he had high scores at school, he did the bare minimum and just passed LDAC...barely. When the OML came out he was in that golden 50% spot and was confident he could now get Infantry, bragged about his ability to work the system. The thing this cadet forgot was that the PMS has to give his evaluation and can make comments regarding the cadets branch choice. Word got out that the PMS was not happy with his performance at LDAC, he knew the cadet could have done much better based on his performance at school. When the branches came out this cadet received Signal Corps, a great branch in my opinion, but not in his. It is believed that the comments from the PMS was the reason he did not receive Infantry, plus the low marks and APFT at LDAC didn't help either. Just goes to show, things can sometimes backfire.

    While the system seems skewed from the outside I can understand why they do it. The Army wants to spread the caliber of officers around. The top 1% do not always make the best officers and the bottom 1% do not always make the worst. Just look at the Captain that was just arrested, he finished No. 2 at West Point. Having the bottom 50% get a shot at the more popular branches also gives those cadets that had insanely hard majors, the type that a 2.8 is worthy of celebration, a shot at these branches.

    Once these new 2ndLT's start their BOLC's there is no more of this top and bottom %'s, it's all top to bottom. BOLC is where they really have to prove themselves. A classmate of my son that graduated a year ago finished in the bottom 45% on the OML, he finished top of his class at Ordinance BOLC and was selected for EOD school. It's all relative in the end.
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2012
  14. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    You couldn't have said that any better.

    You must have some great leadership at your battalion.

    Best of luck at BOLC......drink lots of water, HaHa
     
  15. Armydude2012

    Armydude2012 LT

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    Couldn't agree more.
     
  16. dunninla

    dunninla Member

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    I agree with both of you, but that comes from the perspective of adult experience. God, then Country/Family is some order, then Self.

    I hope our 20 yr. old MSIIIs have taken on that perspective and do their best at all times and trust that the Needs of the Army will place them where they need to be, where they should be. Having been 20 once, I am sure there are a lot of cadets who WILL sit up at night in 2nd semester of MSIII year and have a conversation not too unlike the fictitious, perhaps humorous, one I posted. It is not trivial. People perform best when they're doing what they feel is their "calling". If a cadet feels his "calling" is infantry, but gets Transportation, his sense of calling and his sense of duty will necessarily combat each other in his head and heart. Performing well in a Branch a cadet really doesn't want to be in is not something to be assumed. Human nature is just more complcated than "this is not where I'm MEANT to be, but I'll give it 100% mind, body and spirit".
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2012
  17. Armydude2012

    Armydude2012 LT

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    Thank you.
     
  18. Aglahad

    Aglahad Member

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    Trying to game the system with the prospect of maybe getting your first choice branch is pretty-shortsighted in terms of career goals. One should always strive to do their best and intentionally doing worse just to get a branch slot is a pretty poor excuse. At the end of the day the cadet will be an officer and get paid the same rate as every other O-1 or O-1E. Oh no I was 47% and got slotted into an AG slot instead of infantry, boo hoo looks like I will stay a bit dryer and thicker through these coming years. (It's a joke AG guys haha) Also in some instances if that 2LT cannot stand their branch there might be an option to switch later one\ at CCC like the branch detail guys.
     
  19. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    Not getting your desired career choice is not confined to just military branching. There are thousands of college grads every year that graduate and find themselves working in fields they did not expect. How many business majors are managers at Starbucks, engineers that work on the floor of a manufacturing plant, lawyers that are selling Real Estate. Most people have to make due with what they are doing at the time, many times it's not what they want, these days that's more the norm then the exception.

    Army cadets that are able to make Active Duty may find that they don't get their first choice branch, what they need to understand is that they got their first choice job, an officer in the US Army. Applicants today should be counseled that the first priority is to be commissioned and graduate, the second is what branch they serve in. Cadets should also know that even if they get the branch they want, they may not get the job they want within that branch.

    My son just started AD Aviation BOLC, he is right back into the competition mode. He will not know which airframe he will fly until the Primary Flight School is complete, it's all based on the class OML....the top person picks first and so on down the line. There are those there that have their heart set on one airframe, anything else will be a dissapointment. These students are just setting themselves up, they will all work hard to be the best they can be but there are only so many airframes to choose from. There are others, like my son who while they have a preference they will be thrilled just to be able to pin on the wings and fly, rest assured they will all compete hard but it won't devestate them if they don't get their first choice, sometimes there is only one Apache for 20 plus students, sometimes there are none.

    Good leadership at the battalion level helps to prepare every cadet for branching. I'm sure the new LT's posting here can attest to the counseling they received.

    I think Armydude and Aglahad put it the best in their comments. Work hard and be proud of the profession you have chosen, no matter what you branch.
     
  20. CrossCountryRunner12

    CrossCountryRunner12 Member

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    Thanks for the advice everyone, it was really helpful. I'm going to be a freshman at Penn State, so my engineering program is only going to be four years. I know college is much different from high school and my major will be tough, but I'm both motivated and determined to succeed and not give up.
     

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