Need advice for guiding an incredible young leader

Discussion in 'Publicly and Privately Funded Military Colleges' started by Pastorwill, Feb 12, 2014.

  1. Pastorwill

    Pastorwill Rev. Will Baker

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    I am in need of advice, particularly from any college admissions folks, reguarding helping a young man break a cycle of poverty. The short of it is, I have a hispanic, high school senior from a rural area who comes from nothing that would like to be a military officer. His parent's didn't graduate high school and are little help. He hasn't taken any tests and has a 2.45 gpa. I'm not looking for miracles just to get him headed in the right direction asap.

    I pastor a church on Virginia's Eastern Shore, a very rural and isolated place. I have a young man in my church who will graduate this year from high school. His parents are of hispanic descent from immokalee, FL. I don't believe either graduated high school. This young man is an incredible leader. Whenever we take youth on mission work he is always out in front, taking innitiative and guiding the younger students. Recently we hosted a large group of youth from off the shore. Every morning he would be at the school where the campers were staying by 7am and he didn't leave until the band stopped at 8:30pm after a full day of framing a house. Later I found out that he was staying up until midnight picking crabs with his mother (a cottage industry here, the watermen drop off a few bushels of fresh crabs and come back to pick up the meat for market later). I could go on, I am proud of this young man.
    I took the family out to lunch this past Sunday which is when I found out that his family doesn't have a clue about where to go or what to do. I made bourgeois assumptions about his planning up to this point. Now I know better.
     
  2. BlindROTC

    BlindROTC Member

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    The 2.45 GPA isn't competitive for a ROTC scholarship or service academy appointment, but there are other ways to pursue a military career. I would ask him to look into the possibilities of enlisting. My brother enlisted and ultimately retired as an O4, but I don't know if the same paths are still available.

    I would be cautious about advising him towards enrollment at a regular college. While there are ways to make that financially feasible, it sounds like he might have a lot of distractions if he stays close to home.
     
  3. EDelahanty

    EDelahanty Member

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    I agree with BlindROTC's comments about his GPA not being competitive, though there are no doubt many reasons for this.

    A more important issue is: can he adapt to the college environment? If he has the drive and basic intelligence, he can overcome his non-academic background. This, however, remains a huge question mark. Also, you haven't mentioned his level of physical fitness.

    You may want to investigate Liberty University in Lynchburg. This school does have an AROTC unit (which may be affiliated with UVA) and his GPA may meet their minimum admissions requirements. I would think he would have to prepare for and take standardized tests though.

    Alternately, the above-mentioned enlistment option is available. If he has the leadership potential you suggest, there are ways to turn this into officer candidacy.
     
  4. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    If you are on the Eastern Shore of Virginia-(he will be an instate status) I would suggest that you contact VMI - Maj Aldrich (aldrichks@vmi.edu) and tell them this story. Forget for a minute the average GPA of the class being admitted- there are always exceptions (that is why it is an average). He will certainly need to take SAT/ACTs. I appreciate that he is a hard worker from tough circumstances- but you do have to ask yourself- is he college material now? If not then perhaps the best thing you could do would be to help him get into a Community College (ESCC) and get some college academics under his belt. But I think this is a very compelling sounding story and I think that you could get some very good advice from Maj Aldrich. If college isn't on the immediate horizon- his story is one that many soldiers can relate to- and a career as a Soldier is a rewarding and respected one .
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2014
  5. meh126

    meh126 Member

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    Wouldn't it be amazing if someone on this board were able to help this young man on his path! Pastor, please keep us up to date on what transpires, he sounds like an inspiration.
     
  6. glen

    glen Member

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    need advice for young person

    Couple of Suggestions:

    Enlist in a service and then apply to take service academy test - my cousin did this and was able to go first to a USNA prep school and then admitted to the Academy - graduated and became a career submariner.

    Enlist - get GI bill and enroll in college when more mature - can take ROTC then if still motivated to be an officer - and will have an advantage over most college kids who never served enlisted.
     
  7. ABF

    ABF Member

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    He should consider community college for a few years to get his general education out of the way without spending too much money. He can then enter the ROTC as a junior and commission in two years with his degree.
     
  8. LongAgoPlebe

    LongAgoPlebe Member

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    Not to state the obvious here, but do any of us know for certain that this young man is looking for a military experience? There are many, many ways to develop emerging leadership skills. It seems that whatever advice you offer really has to be tailored to this young man’s aspirations. If he doesn’t have aspirations, then inclinations.

    Does he want to go to college? If so, then ABF has it nailed: a community college might be perfect. Contrary to some popular opinions, they are not (as a general rule) low-quality hovels. They are full of students like this young man – really astoundingly committed young people, who need some assistance with (typically) math and writing to make it in college. They are reasonably priced, most class sizes are small to medium, and based on what the OP wrote, this young man is likely to qualify for Pell Grants that would reduce his out-of-pocket tuition costs. As a college instructor, I’d want to see more evidence that he can succeed in college – or it’s just a setup for him to fail. If he can do well at a CC, enroll in and succeed in a non-developmental course, then he’s ready for the intense academics of a SMC like VMI.

    If he does not want to go to college, in addition to military leadership experiences, as I mentioned there are a variety of other excellent, reputable leadership cultivators: AmeriCorps, City Year, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, the Justice Corps. And I haven’t even mentioned the various faith-based leadership programs (i.e. VISTA) if that is something that is important to him.
     
  9. glen

    glen Member

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    Advice

    LongAgoPlebe - but all of those other "leadership" routes are available outside the military service route - which is the subject of this board. I am sure the person asking advice has access to those other opportunities.
     
  10. LongAgoPlebe

    LongAgoPlebe Member

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    Sure, I understand. I was writing more from experience with the young people I teach, who often DO NOT know that leadership experiences other than/in addition to military are available to them. We have no way of knowing whether the OP or his mentee has access to those possibilities. As such I had no agenda other than providing information.
     

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