Is there an advantage to attending a Senior Military Institute?

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by Hoff2012, Dec 27, 2011.

  1. Hoff2012

    Hoff2012 New Member

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    Hi, I applied to USAFA, but my backup school is Texas A&M. I received a type 7 Air Force ROTC scholarship. As far as getting the assignment you want in the AF is there any advantage to attending a Senior Military Institute such as A&M over doing normal Air Force ROTC that is present at many universities around the country?
     
  2. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    Check out this thread:

    http://www.serviceacademyforums.com/showthread.php?t=21993&highlight=SMCs+Commission+Slots
     
  3. bjkuds

    bjkuds Parent

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    DS is at VMI in NROTC...They will tell you what percentage of their Midshipman get advanced standing and what percentage get their choice of duty.. At VMI it is considerably higher than a regular college and that is for all branches. A & M AFROTC should be able to provide those statistics and give you a national comparison. I am sure they can answer that in a simple phone call. VMI is quick to point that out as a "Selling point" for lack of a better term and I can't imagine that all SMC detachments wouldn't know those stats.
     
  4. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Quick answer YES.

    Long answer when you are comparing TAMU to another college with AFROTC you need to ask a few questions.

    1. % of C200 selected for SFT
    ~~~ GPA for these cadets

    EX: National rate for SFT 2011 (class of 13) was 55%, but SMC's had rates close to 70%, I believe VT had 68%.

    For the national selection the avg gpa hovered @3.0 tech, 3.2/3.3 non-tech. I do not know what their gpa was for SMCs, but again it gives you a ballpark of what is needed.

    2. You spoke of career fields, ask the % of C400's that got your career field.

    Key here is PERCENTAGE, not numbers.

    I know people will think I am slamming on ERAU, but I am not. I am highlighting how they position themselves from a recruitment purpose. ERAU is not an SMC, but in the AFROTC world their name/status means a lot.

    ERAU has the 2nd highest amount of pilot slots awarded after AFA. This is fact, but as a cadet, you should not concern yourself with if they have 100 or 1. Your concern should be your chances, which is statistical and percentages.

    What good is it if they have 100 slots, but 500 applying and you are number 152? Now if you ask the % of those applying for X AFSC, you know your chances.

    Many ROTC CC's will state if you have X gpa, Y PFT, Z AFOQT, C TBAS you have B % chances.

    I believe, I may be wrong, but all SMC's had 100% selection for rated if they follow the premise set out by the command.

    I will also state for our DS who is not an SMC, his CC had equivalent gpa, PFT, etc, had 90% selection rate for pilot. The one that didn't get it was because he had an eye issue, however, he got CSO.

    Talk to the commands, talk to the C400's.

    The issue I would say for you to determine is that SMC's like TAMU require you as a ROTC cadet to be in the Corps. This takes up time from classwork and socialization. Traditional ROTC units do not have Corps, so the question I would ask is how much ROTC life do you want for the next 4 yrs?

    If it is go in, do ROTC and be a college kid, TAMU is not a fit. If it is I want to experience life as close as I can get to an SA, TAMU will be a fit over the traditional ROTC college.
     
  5. patentesq

    patentesq Parent

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    In addition to everything that has been said, you learn much more at an SMC than just academics. The plebe system is an amazing thing, looking back at it in hindsight (sucks when you're going through it though).

    And the many intangible things you learn from the plebe system carry over into military and post-military life. I suspect this is why the commission stats are higher for grads from SMCs, than in regular ROTC.

    One might argue that it is the "tougher" road to follow when it comes to ROTC, but I would argue that it is not. If you go civiliarn ROTC, there will be obstacles that you have to overcome that SMC grads do not (such as lower stats for an AD slot, learning the lessons taught at an SMC over a longer period of your life, etc.).

    I also think the bond you form with not just your own classmates from your SMC but also the "classmates" from other SMCs is very strong. As an employer, if I got a resume that had "USMA/USNA/USCGA/USAFA/USMMA" or "Norwich" or "The Citadel" or "VMI" or "N. Ga." or "VT/TAMU CoC" on it, I would look very, very, very close at that application. The plebe experience really means something to me (of course, if I didn't have personal SMC experience, I might not do so).
     
  6. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    Good advice.

    I wanted to add something in regard to the percentage of cadets getting their choice of branch. I know the OP asked about AFROTC, I am speaking more for AROTC in case others read this thread.

    Looking at only the raw percentage numbers of cadet branching choices can be a bit misleading. A large percentage of cadets that receive one of their top 3 choices is due in part to the how good the counseling is they receive from their PMS. All the cadets at my son's school received one of their top 3 choices many received their top choice. This does not mean all the cadets were high on the OML, just that they received great counseling on how to list their choices based on where they were on the OML. For AROTC it is better to ask how many cadets finish in the top 10%, how many were DMG's, how many received active duty that requested it, this may give you a better idea of how the battalion performs.

    AFROTC and NROTC have easier benchmarks to look at, SFT and Advanced Standing, that can help with your decision.
     
  7. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I have to concur with what patentesq stated about SMCs especially as it pertains when you are in the system.

    I don't know TAMU, but I do know VT cadets/mids live in ROTC dorms, and they have their own set of regs. Stinks when you are living in a no frills dorm and your friends in classes that aren't in ROTC have every frill you could think of, including no inspections.

    However, I would bet without a doubt that the SMC grads have a stronger bond with their brethren than a traditional ROTC grad. Remember traditional ROTC grads can be X town commuters, they can live off campus with any one they want, compared to the SMC cadet.

    You need to ask yourself not only if you want an SMC life, but also what type of academic life you want. Success in college is dependent on you wanting to be at that college. You may want TAMU, love TAMU, but not want that SMC life. You may want that SMC life, but hate the academic degree TAMU offers.

    The only way as an AFROTC candidate you will be commissioned is to make sure you find the right balance.

    I am assuming, although you have not stated yet, your career goal is rated, because the reality in AF from a ROTC or SMC position rated boards are 1st. and cadets not selected for rated go up on the non-rated board. Intel is probably the most competitive.

    That would mean to me you are looking at your AFSC in your selection between an SMC and a traditional college. Goes back to my earlier post. VISIT the school, talk to the det. TAMU will not equate to UPT because it is TAMU when you hate it and are pulling a 2.8 gpa.

    You need to find balance of what you want. If you want that Corps experience, TAMU is your place. If when you visit TAMU and walk around the campus you don't feel comfortable, look somewhere else*

    *Parents, make an apptmt for them to meet the CC and than excuse yourself. Pre-plan a meeting place for an hour later. Cadets talk differently if the folks aren't around...no dog and pony show, just peers. This also allows him to walk the campus by their self as if they were attending. Believe it or not college kids even walking on campus act differently when they see Mom. Dad and kid walking by. Your child will get a true glimpse of next yr if left alone for an hour. They will get to talk cadets and decide if in that small pool they feel a connection. They will be able to envision walking on campus going to class in that solitary moment. You with them is still a safety net. IMPO, it keeps them tied to here and now. They constantly here questions thrown by you of what do you think, or tour guides touting what the school wants. Leaving them alone on the campus for even 30 minutes gives them the time to be honest with their thoughts.

    That is just me, throw it in the circular filing cabinet.
     
  8. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    Second Pima on success factor

    I second Pima on this. DS was denied a HS NROTC MO scholarship but was still able to attend his #1 choice out of state school due to an academic scholarship he received. He is thriving there, both in NROTC and academically. He has far exceeded even my wildest hopes for him with his first semester achievements.

    I don't believe he would have accomplished as much if he had attended some nationally known and highly ranked colleges within easy driving distance of our home; because I don't think he would have really been happy at these schools.

    Finding the best match for you is everything! :thumb:
     
  9. dunninla

    dunninla Member

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    Right, that's a VERY important point. If the cadets in the 30-50% ACTIVE DUTY Qualified OML band (17%-28% in the entire OML) know from past years' results that they are highly unlikely to get Aviation, Infantry or Intelligence from that OML band (dead zone), then they are incented to not waste one of their top 3 choices on any of those three branches, whereas if they were top 15% they might list exactly those three.

    So, listing the % of cadets that received one of their first three choices is indeed, as you point out, not what it at first might appear.
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2011
  10. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    The OP is AFROTC, no offense to other posters, but we are muddying the waters going into AROTC.

    I get going into TAMU and A/NROTC over AFROTC because cadets/mids will change branches at TAMU.

    The poster/candidate is asking about SMC's on AFROTC scholarship compared to traditional colleges in AFROTC.

    Army is not in the equation and we are diverting the thread for the OP when they need to decide between a traditional AFROTC program at any college and an SMC AFROTC.

    At this point they don't care about the OML process for AROTC. in 2 yrs if they are not selected for SFT they will care, however I doubt any AFROTC scholarship recipient in HS walks in AFROTC with the intention to commission into the USA.

    We all divert threads, and we all as posters should to the best of our abilities make sure we keep it on track for the OP, even when we unintentionally divert it.
     
  11. Packer

    Packer Member

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    TAMU is also my son's academy backup school and he also has a type 7 AFROTC and an AROTC scholarship. He likes the SMC's because with the plebe system they are more like an academy from a military training standpoint than regular ROTC is. They do seem to get a somewhat higher SFT selection than the national averages. With regards to getting chosen assignments they also seem to have a somewhat better percentage than the averages. Some of these statistics are difficult to get at from the SMC's because there are a lot of cadets in the Corps that have no intention of commissioning and they tend to dilute the numbers.
     
  12. nick4060

    nick4060 Member

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    Take it from someone who goes to a SMC...don't go to one simply because you're hoping it will improve your chances for an EA, pilot slot, etc.

    In the bigger picture, ROTC is ROTC. No one really cares what school you go to. When I was at field training, the kids from SMCs performed no different from the others. Some were good, some were crap. AFPC treats us all the same.

    Recruiters from SMCs will tell students/parents that their program offers all kinds of advantages, etc. But percentages and statistics change every year. If you perform well, you'll achieve your goals no matter what school you're at.

    No perceived advantage is worth four years of being miserable at a school you don't like.
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2011
  13. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I don't know about TAMU, and Nick4060 can correct me if I am wrong, but what I have been told regarding at least VT which is an SMC, if you get there and decide to drop ROTC within the first few weeks, VT has the right to dis-enroll you as a student.

    Not every kid that enters ROTC will stay even through the 1st yr. However, at a traditional college if you drop ROTC even after the 1st week you are not dis-enrolled from the school.

    As I stated, I am not sure if that is true, or if it is rumor, but I would suggest you look into that if you are unsure of your academic path.

    I was told the reason why the colleges have that rule is because they don't want cadets/mids gaming the system for admittance into the college. I believe the earliest you can drop is after mid-terms. Again, this is what I was told from a VT student.
     
  14. Goarmymom

    Goarmymom Member

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    When my DS went for the overnight visit with the corps of cadets at VT, they told us that they relax the standards for admission a little if you apply to be in the corps of cadets. If you change your mind about being in the corps, they take another look at your application and decide whether you would have been admitted if you hadn't been in the corps. If not, then you are dis-enrolled.
     
  15. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Thanks for the clarification.

    To me that still highlights the big difference between an SMC and a traditional college, since you still have that risk of being cut if you drop ROTC.

    Transitioning into college for many will be emotional, the extra burdens of ROTC and Corps will play into the equation.

    Like I said, you can love VT, but decide ROTC and the Corps aren't for you, that means you now have another pressure point as a freshman.
     
  16. patentesq

    patentesq Parent

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    I don't know what the precise percentage is of greater SFT slots at an SMC when compared to those from a traditional college, but suppose for the sake of argument that percentage is 5%.

    Couldn't the 5% be actually attributable to the fact that there is a 5% greater chance that the average student population at the SMC will be more focused on the military than those attending a non-SMC, rather than any special benefit conferred on the enrolled student by the SMC itself? In other words, if you are a non-SMC cadet and totally focused on SFT (and would have done just fine at an SMC) wouldn't you have the same chance at the traditional college than you would at the SMC following this logic?

    That said, I continue to believe that the training is more intense at an SMC than at a non-SMC, and that may, itself, boost the candidate in terms of OML standing down the road. It is the group of "average" cadets that stand to benefit the most from the added training at an SMC, but the stars would shine regardless at either the SMC or the non-SMC. I suppose that I will never know how I would have turned out if I did not attend an SMC, but I do believe that the SMC prepared me for things in life way beyond just academics.

    Just a thought.
     
  17. bjkuds

    bjkuds Parent

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    And you get a REALLY cool ring too:biggrin:
     
  18. patentesq

    patentesq Parent

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    The ring does work well for opening a beer bottle whenever you're in a pinch. :shake:
     
  19. CapeRunner

    CapeRunner Norwich 2015-AROTC

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    The ring works well for many things; there are still confirmed kill jokes running around on the UP!
     
  20. patentesq

    patentesq Parent

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    I do think it's kinda funny that, each year, the Junior Ring Committee has to "out-do" the prior year's committee by making the ring slightly larger than the last. I suspect this happens at all the SMCs. My condolences to the future class of 2975, when the cost of the ring itself will likely be DOUBLE or TRIPLE that of the cost of attendance!

    I understand that they now make "field" rings (black in color for OPSEC purposes).
     

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