Joining the National Guard before ROTC?

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by Rachtak, Apr 19, 2011.

  1. Rachtak

    Rachtak New Member

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    Hi,

    I am very much committed to doing Army ROTC next year as a freshman in college. I am looking into my summer plans and am very much entertaining the idea of joining the national guard during the summer after my senior year.

    My thinking is that the national guard will give me:
    -A way to confirm if I truly want to pursue a military career after ROTC
    -A summer full of purpose and meaning
    -More experience than other ROTC cadets
    -Help with college tuition and extra spending cash
    -More drive and discipline than average college students
    -SMP (still unclear on the exact specifics of this, but it sounds good)

    My plans after undergraduate are to apply to medical school and serve in the army as a surgeon. Can anyone think of any complications that joining the national guard this summer will create for me (other than the once/month commitment)?

    Thanks!
     
  2. mariner116

    mariner116 Member

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    Have you already received an ROTC scholarship this year?
     
  3. FloridaDad

    FloridaDad Member

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    Well technically you are enlisted and deploy-able once you reach 18. You would only get drill pay your college freshman year unless you did basic training and AIT then you could get GI Bill and kicker. They would pay tuition for sophomore thru senior year though, plus the ROTC stipend.

    I would think pre-med would be VERY difficult with SMP and ROTC commitments, it not impossible. If you are set on a medical career I would hold off on the NG and concentrate on a 4-year ROTC scholarship.
     
  4. Ohio2015Parent

    Ohio2015Parent Member

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    Don't rule out campus based scholarships. My own son will be attending his #1 choice school, we can piece together freshman year w/o financial help from Army(means a loan, but NG/SMP will cover loans when/if you join at a later date). This will allow him to take ROTC classes this year and prove himself to the cadre. I would rather have a 3yr AD scholarship and it may benefit you as well to pursue your medical school dream(also allow more time to study and get that undergrad GPA high enough to stay competitive for medical school and/or IF you change majors/goal the higher GPA will get you a better shot at Active Duty, should you want it.)

    Good luck to you.
     
  5. Rachtak

    Rachtak New Member

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    Thanks for the info, guys.

    This is what I think...

    If I go to a private school (USC), classes will be easier to get into and the size of each class will be smaller so, doing my pre-med shouldn't be too hard.

    In addition, I dont plan on playing a sport (which I do now which involves training every day), so I will have more time than I am used to to focus on my studies.

    If I decide that ROTC is not for me through my NG experience, I will have less obligation as an enlisted NG rather than a graduated ROTC cadet. (am I completely wrong on this?). Anyhow, NG will give me valuable experience to help me decide on if a military career as an officer is the right path for me.

    Perhaps I am being a little naive, but the only downside to NG that I can see is being deploy able once I become 18 (in late-November). Is this a high chance? Because I would think that the NG would want me to stay in school, especially if I am in ROTC.

    Please correct me if I am wrong on any of this, and I really appreciate the imput.
     
  6. FloridaDad

    FloridaDad Member

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    You will have a very good chance of finding yourself in pretty undesirable locations if you have NG obligations. You join the guard freshman year and decide ROTC is not for you then you would be a deploy-able member of the NG. You might not make it through four years of school without a long vacation somewhere baron and rocky.

    What are you trying to achieve? Is it just a financial thing or a strong desire to serve.

    If you want to pursue medicine you will have to be knocking it out of the park academically, and that is hard at the best of times for pre-med. The added strain of ROTC classes, PT and NG drill will make it extremely hard to maintain very high grades.

    There isn't a lot to be gained freshman year in the NG. You wouldn't get tuition/books or ROTC stipend. Without basic training and AIT, which would mean missing a few weeks of school, you would just get drill pay for giving up one weekend a month. In your sophomore year you would get the stipend and tuition (only for State schools).
     
  7. -Bull-

    -Bull- Member

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    Contracted SMP cadets are non-deployable. However, you can't contract til you have around 27 credit hours.
     
  8. sember5

    sember5 Member

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    Check your state NG. I am doing BCT/AIT this summer after high school grad. I am missing first semester, but NG will be paying Tuition when I start in spring. As well as the kicker and GI bill. While deployment is possible in this 3 month window between returning from BCT and starting school, it is highly unlikely and no one we have talked to has seen it. As long as the military is really what you want and are ready to work hard, NG/ROTC SMP is actually a great financial deal for those who don't want tons of debt after grad. ROTC scholarship is great, but if you aren't getting other scholarship money, room and board and other stuff can end up being 10k - 20k a year for 4 years.
     
  9. WinterHater

    WinterHater Member

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    Just one other thing to consider; don't underestimate the possibility of injuries during basic and / or AIT. Getting hurt, or some other incident which causes you to get held-over, could mess up your schedule and college start date.
     
  10. FloridaDad

    FloridaDad Member

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    My understanding was you only get tuition assistance once a contracted SMP cadet, which would be sophomore year.

    A better option might be get loans freshman and sophomore year. The NG pays upto $20k of student loans off that are signed for prior to contracting SMP.
     
  11. sember5

    sember5 Member

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    No, NG picks up tuition to state universities (not private) right off the bat. You get a waiver sent right to the school, you don't even see a tuition bill. So any other grant money, scholarships, etc., can be put towards other fees, room & board, whatever. It is a great deal, as long as you know the commitment involved.
     
  12. clarksonarmy

    clarksonarmy Recruiting Operations Officer at Clarkson Army

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    Correct...remember that TA is paid to any NG soldier who is enrolled in college, whether they are cadets or not. This is a NG benefit, and there is a similar benefit for reserves. I would think that most soldiers who are enrolled in college would also consider ROTC, but it is not a requirement.
     
  13. FloridaDad

    FloridaDad Member

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    That is a good deal. Another option is get student loans prior to contracting SMP sophomore year. Say $10k freshman year and $10k summer before signing NG papers. You would be eligible for CLRP for the full $20k.
     
  14. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    Only if they are Federal Student loans. The max Federal Stafford Loan for a freshman is $5500 (subsidized and unsubsidized). If you are planning on the NG paying off your loans then you have to commission into the NG and not AD. However, I think there is a similar program for additional ADSO for loans to be paid off - who knows if it will remain intact in 4-5 years though.

    Also, Clarksonarmy - correct me if I am wrong but Tuition Assistance is $4500/ fiscal year. The fiscal year runs from 10/1 - 9/30.
     
  15. sember5

    sember5 Member

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    Yes they are only paying federal loans off, they are not helping with students loans you may get from a bank or credit union. And there is a dollar amount limit.
     
  16. sember5

    sember5 Member

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    In talking with financial aid at our school(In state public), if you are NG, they don't bother you about any payments. They flag your account and know that tuition is being waived and that it may take some time for other funding to follow (Kicker, stipends, GI Bill).
     
  17. FloridaDad

    FloridaDad Member

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    Not 100% true. All qualified loans are eligable: ALAS, Parent plus etc.
     
  18. sember5

    sember5 Member

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    Correct Florida, I believe those are considered Fed loans. I was talking more about private loans at your local bank.
     
  19. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    ALAS no longer exists.
    Be careful with Parent PLUS loans. They are held in the Parent's name not the student's name and the Parent is ultimately responsible for the loan. The payback also starts back immediately so you are going to be paying on the loan while your child is in school. If it all goes south - the parents are stuck wth the loan.

    The most common Federal loan in the student's name are the Direct Stafford and Perkins. Many schools don't even offer Perkins (normally you need to be Pell qualified or close to it).

    My overall point is - the Tuition Assistance and the Direct Stafford Maximum loan may not cover the entire cost for one year.

    sember5 - you are correct. The college will deduct any NG payments including TA from your bill when they receive notice that you are eligible. They will also deduct your Federal financial aid and any school based financial aid.
    If their is an outstanding balance they will bill you. If there is a credit they will send you a check.
     
  20. paradoxer

    paradoxer Member

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    Parent Loan

    If you phone Direct Loans you can ask to not pay while the child is in school and they will put you in a period of non payment but the interest still accrues.

    And yes you are correct that the amount the student can borrow is very limited and many times will not fill the gap for remaining costs.
     

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