I need to make a decision by Tuesday.

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by Patient0, Apr 10, 2016.

  1. Patient0

    Patient0 New Member

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    Hi all,
    This is my first post on this forum. I'm a high school senior set on UC Davis as an Electrical Engineering major. Long story short I was approached by recruiting officers who wanted me to join the Army Reserve during college. I have no prior knowledge whatsoever about any college programs offered by the Army, so even after the exhausting 3 hour interview I was still left confused. Here is how they marketed the Reserves to me. Correct me if I'm wrong.

    1. The Army Reserve is a great stepping stone for people who want to have an advantage in civilian careers.
    2. The military offers financial assistance for me. (Drill Pay, GI Bill/Kicker) Something like 40k altogether.
    3. I need to take BCT and AIT which will result in a 1 year deferment of school.
    4. Alternatively, I can choose to apply for the SMP which exempts me from AIT, but excludes me from the GI Bill/Kicker benefits. However, I become an officer after graduation and get better drill pay.
    5. I have to work a weekend every month in a specialized field (engineering for me)
    6. I have to stay in the Reserves for few years.

    I'm attracted towards the SMP more right now since I would rather not miss 1 year of school doing AIT. Financial aid seems pretty bad. My family can afford to pay for college without the stipends. My mother is concerned about the potential of deployment. All in all it seems like a pretty good deal, but I still have a vague understanding of my obligations. I have a few questions.

    1. How long do I stay in the Reserves after graduating?
    2. For the SMP, besides doing BCT, ROTC, and working a weekend a month, is there anything else I have to do after graduating from college?
    3. If I'm specializing in STEM work for my part time job, what am I going to do?
    4. Are there better programs offered? I heard about an SMP offered by the National Guard. Is it better?

    The officers were trying very hard to get me to say yes on the spot, so I want to get more opinions. Thanks for any help.
     
  2. cptenca

    cptenca Member

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    First, don't feel pressured to sign anything on the spot.

    These first items all sound about right:

    1. The Army Reserve is a great stepping stone for people who want to have an advantage in civilian careers.
    2. The military offers financial assistance for me. (Drill Pay, GI Bill/Kicker) Something like 40k altogether.
    3. I need to take BCT and AIT which will result in a 1 year deferment of school.
    4. Alternatively, I can choose to apply for the SMP which exempts me from AIT, but excludes me from the GI Bill/Kicker benefits. However, I become an officer after graduation and get better drill pay.
    5. I have to work a weekend every month in a specialized field (engineering for me)
    6. I have to stay in the Reserves for few years.

    The bottom questions:
    If you go to BCT and defer AIT by going SMP, you are non-deployable because you don't have military occupational specialty (MOS) as either enlisted or officer. Once you graduate from AIT you would be deployable (depending on medical readiness and a few other factors). Likewise, once you graduated college and BOLC (see below) you would be deployable because you would have an officer MOS.

    1. How long do I stay in the Reserves after graduating? This depends on your contract. If you enlist it is typically an 8 year obligation divided between active reserve and inactive reserve. For instance a 6x2 contract would be 6 years in the active reserve (one weekend a month/2 wks summer) followed by 2 years in the inactive reserve (no drilling duty). The types of contracts vary depending on recruiting goals, etc. so I don't know what they are offering currently. If you successfully complete the SMP program and get commissioned, the remainder of your enlistment contract is cancelled and you are discharged from the Army upon commissioning. Then you will have an officer service obligation.

    2. For the SMP, besides doing BCT, ROTC, and working a weekend a month, is there anything else I have to do after graduating from college? Yes, you would have to go to BOLC Basic Officer Leadership Course in your specified branch. This course length varies but figure 6 months after you graduate from college. Then you will have a service obligation as an officer which again can be a combination of active reserve and inactive reserve.

    3. If I'm specializing in STEM work for my part time job, what am I going to do? This is a question to ask the recruiters.

    4. Are there better programs offered? I heard about an SMP offered by the National Guard. Is it better? The program will be the same however many states offer tuition benefits up to free tuition at state universities for members of the National Guard. You should speak with a NG recruiter or at least do some internet research on what benefits your state offers.

    The bottom line is the SMP program is a great option for many but you need to have all your questions answered and understand what you are getting into. Don't feel pressured. Take your time and gather all the information you need to make an informed decision.
     
    Disrancerunner3 and Patient0 like this.
  3. clarksonarmy

    clarksonarmy Recruiting Operations Officer at Clarkson Army

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    Were you talking to the enrollment Officer from the ROTC program, or the enlisted recruiter?

    Another alternative is to enroll in Army ROTC this fall and if you like it compete for a scholarship. If you don't get one go back to your recruiter and tell them you are ready for SMP. You can always enter the reserves or guard after college if you don't want to be active.

    You also need to ask yourself if being a full time officer is something you want when you graduate. It's possible through the SMP program, but there are some opportunities like GRFD scholarships that will take active duty off the table.

    I recommend you make sure you talk to the ROO at Davis if you haven't already. If that's who you talked to then you probably have the best information possible. The reason I think you are being rushed is that getting you slotted for basic needs to be done soon.
     
  4. swrakow

    swrakow Member

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    What is your ultimate goal? Become an officer? If so, there are other pathways than enlisting while you're trying to go to school full time. An earlier poster suggested joining ROTC, which is a great option, and then competing for a scholarship. If paying for school is not a problem right now, then don't enlist (unless that's really what you want to do). Otherwise, if you just want to attend school and serve later, you can do that by going to OCS towards the end of your time in college.
     
  5. cptenca

    cptenca Member

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    For those of you who don't understand the SMP :

    The simultaneous member program allows an enlisted Soldier who is enrolled in ROTC to participate in the National Guard or Reserves during weekend duty. The SMP wears ROTC rank and is typically assigned to a 2LT as an assistant Platoon Leader in order to learn, although in understaffed units I have seen SMPs perform as PLs in lieu of a LT. Upon graduation from college the SMP is commissioned a 2LT.

    It is a very viable program for becoming an officer. There are other avenues as well.

    As I said earlier, ask questions and obtain the necessary information to make the decision that works for you.
     
  6. Patient0

    Patient0 New Member

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    I think it was enlisted recruiters who came to my house. I want to do ROTC during my college education for the leadership experience, but don't want to become an active officer of the army. If the SMP requires me to do active duty, I may go with what you're suggesting.

    My ultimate goal is to pursue a civilian career. The recruitment officers told me that ROTC offers very good leadership experience which I like. I'm also not sure what Active Duty entails if I'm joining the SMP. Does this mean I have to work full time as an officer? I'm fine with working part time for the Army Reserves, but don't want to spend 4 years working full time.
     
  7. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    In the Army, you can commission and go into the Guard or Reserves if you like. You are not required to go on active duty. Keep in mind that in this day and age the chances of being called up are not necessarily slim.
     
    Ohio2015Parent likes this.
  8. Ohio2015Parent

    Ohio2015Parent Member

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    Unless this has changed, you cannot become contracted via AROTC SMP with state based National Guard or Reserves until early in your sophomore year. My own DS attended BCT the summer in between freshman and sophomore years, contracted November of sophomore year in a very competitive situation. There are a lot of highly qualified and motivated cadets in this group who seek to serve as a 2LT in any capacity the Army or NG needs. There are not enough contracts to go around.

    Op, you can take the first two years of AROTC without any enlistment or contract to obtain a look at the programs and leadership possibilities. Do not let an enlistment recruiter rush you into signing anything. If your primary goal is civilian employment you may do better to take AROTC as a class and try it before raising your right hand to swear into a program.

    Good luck.
     
  9. clarksonarmy

    clarksonarmy Recruiting Operations Officer at Clarkson Army

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    Agree with Ohio. You need to do a lot more research before making a decision, and if they came to the house they were enlisted recruiters most likely. If you 100% know active duty is not what you want after college then SMP with or without GRFD may be a good option. But I'm not sure you have a good understanding what all your options are. In three years you may change your mind. Ohioparent is also right about contracting with ROTC. You can't as a freshman, so if something doesn't work out with ROTC you'll still be in the reserves for the next few years. You should really meet with the recruiting officer at the ROTC battalion before you make any decisions.
     

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