NROTC College Program or PLC?

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by Curious3, Aug 4, 2015.

  1. Curious3

    Curious3 Member

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    Hello, In a few days I will arrive on my campus as a freshman NROTC-Marine Option non scholarship(college program) midshipmen. I read about how difficult it is for even the most competitive midshipmen to pick up a 2 or 3 year scholarship. I am currently working hard to improve my profile for the NROTC scholarship however if I don't get the scholarship I have two options;

    A) Stay in NROTC, complete OCS during my Junior year and commission on graduation and arrive at The Basic School. This path is called "Advance Standing" and provides a stipend during Junior and Senior year but no tuition benefits. However I don't know how competitive "Advance Standing" is .

    B) Apply for PLC, Go to OCS during the summer times and only have to focus on my studies (and possibly work during this time to help pay for tuition) . The wait time for TBS would be longer and I am not sure if tuition benefits are granted immediately after one summer of OCS or if it's a competitive thing like the scholarship. I am a little nervous to bring it up with my OSO because I don't want him thinking that I am only joining for the tuition benefits.

    The only negative thing about PLC in my eyes is the long wait time I hear from Marine Officers. If anyone has any experience with either one or any advice, please feel free to inform me of it . Thank you all so much.
     
  2. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    My son picked up a 2.5 year scholarship as a Marine Option. It's doable. Just work hard in the unit and in the classroom. Determination and time management are key.

    PLC is doable but competitive as well. There are no tuition benefits with PLC that I am aware of until you've gone active duty and GI Bill benefits kick in. Yes it is a long wait time for PLC. Even with NROTC it can be a while. My son has had a three month wait and leaves for TBS at the end of this week. I know of NROTC folks on here who wait 5 months or even longer.

    You forget the option of doing OCS after college but that's probably the least desirable route as it's even more competitive. The plus side is that there is zero wait time until TBS. On the other hand you'll probably wait 6-7 months post graduation for your OCS slot.

    If I were making a recommendation, I'd say to stick with the NROTC option as long as possible and seek other scholarships from the college. It gives you four solid years to work on leadership, bearing, knowledge, etc within a solid support system.
     
  3. Curious3

    Curious3 Member

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    Thank you for your answer but I think MCTAP is available to PLC members however I don't know if this is still true even with all the cutbacks happening. I read if you take MCTAP your contract is extended (which I won't mind).
     
  4. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    kinnem is spot on as usual. Exhaust every avenue starting with NROTC, then PLC then the OCC route. Worst case scenario you get two years of leadership and Marine Corps exposure before moving on to the PLC route or OCC route. Also, remember that PLC and OCC are where the USMC will cut back most as they reduce officers. You gain advanced standing its a guarantee (barring anything crazy). Not sure on MCTAP as TA programs in general have been cut back in recent years. Good question for an OSO. Don't be afraid to ask the OSO questions, this is your future and he is there to answer them.
     
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  5. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    kinnem, good luck to your DS. Hope TBS goes well. Been a long time since I was there, but from what my buddies say, not much has changed. I personally hated TBS as I found it more a pain, but we had a great CO. The good news for him, land nav gets much easier without all the leaves! That was actually my favorite evolution as we got to walk around the woods for nearly 8 hours with no one around. I sort of equated TBS to learning the fundamentals of a sport. Did it do that for me? Yes, it did make a basically proficient rifle platoon commander which carried me through a few tours in bad parts of the world. So I am thankful it did do that for me!
     
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  6. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    Thanks. I'll pass along your well wishes and words of wisdom. And thanks for the contributions you make to the site. I always appreciate your posts.
     
  7. USMCGrunt

    USMCGrunt Member

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    Curious3: Kinnem and Navyhoops give excellent advice as usual.

    I agree you should pursue all NROTC options first. Then PLC, then OCC. As Navyhoops says, don't be afraid to ask questions of your OSO and your school's cadre.

    By way of stating the obvious, you should consider all USMC commissioning programs to be very competitive.
     
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  8. USMCGrunt

    USMCGrunt Member

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    Navyhoops, I wanted to comment back on TBS. From what I can pick up, it is still a fine course that sets all newly commissioned officers on the same firm footing. They do their job as well or better than when I spent my time there 30+ years ago. The mission remains the same. I have always felt the common base between Marine Officers was part of our unique fabric. I am glad to hear it prepared you for leading Marines in harm's way.

    Kinnem: wish your son well for me. My DA follows 30 days later. Quantico will never be the same...
     
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  9. rocatlin

    rocatlin Member

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    Curious3:

    My son started out as a college program Marine Option. He had applied for the 4 year scholarship during high school and didn't receive it. He reapplied for the 4 year MO scholarship before he started college -- and was selected during the early board in November. Being able to receive the 4 year "outside" scholarship while a college programmer is relatively new -- within the last 2 years or so. There is another MO that's in the class year before him that did it.

    He was also considered for the "sideload" scholarship, but since he had already been awarded the 4 year before the spring semester of his freshman year, he didn't need to take that route.

    I think here are your options:

    Prereq: Visit the OSO.

    1) Reapply for 4 year. Hopefully you have already done this, but technically you still have time. The earlier the better. There are 2 boards: One in November and one in February.
    2) While a college programmer as a freshman, work your butt off and get competitive for the sideload. Seek honest feedback from the MOI on your performance and state your goals. In theory, you don't need a 285 or better PFT score, but frankly, it's that competitive.
    3) Keep in contact with the OSO about PLC options.
    4) As far as Advanced Standing option, if you get it, the main benefit is going to one 6 week Bulldog course at OCS vs. either two 6 week PLC "Jr-Sr" OCS summers, or one 10 week summer. You also have the option of the 10 week Officer Candidate Class after graduation -- but this path is the very narrow as far as number of slots.

    Stay engaged in the process. Follow up on paperwork, etc.

    As far as PLC folks waiting longer on TBS, I'm not sure that's the case. There are 2nd Lt's from both NROTC and PLC shipping to TBS at the same time in our region. TBS is the great equalizer from all commissioning sources.

    Good luck and keep charging.
     
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  10. Curious3

    Curious3 Member

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    Thank you so much to everyone who replied. Due to my financial situation I was not able to attend the college of my choice with the NROTC unit to be able to do the non scholarship route.I would've loved to do it but things happen. I plan on trying for PLC as a freshman at my community college and keep applying until I earn a spot. Thank you all so much for your advice.
     
  11. rocatlin

    rocatlin Member

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    Have you reapplied for the 4 year scholarship for next year? As long as you don't have 30 hours of college credit, you should still be eligible.
     

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