NROTC Marine Option Scholarships

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by raider95, May 29, 2014.

  1. raider95

    raider95 New Member

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    This is just a quick post to inform potential applicants about the competitiveness of receiving an NROTC Marine Option scholarship. I applied for the 4-year scholarship in the fall of my senior year (2013). My package included:

    -4.2 GPA
    -288 PFT
    -1260 SAT (CR: 670 M:590)
    -8 letters of recommendation including one from an Air Force colonel, retired Navy captain, Marine major, and Marine chief warrant officer.
    -2 varsity letters for cross-country
    -leadership positions in student gov't, student council, and a community service organization as well as membership in my school's Leadership Institute Impact program
    -National Honor Society member
    -multiple academic and citizenship awards
    -summer part-time job cutting the grass at my church

    I also was selected and attended the 2012 US Naval Academy Summer Seminar, Virginia Boys State, and the USMC Summer Leadership and Character Development Academy between my junior and senior years.

    My application was finished well before the early board which convened in October (there are two boards for Marine Option, in 2013 one was around late October and one around late February).

    No scholarship awarded for either board.

    One thing I did note was the number of scholarships given out, or lack thereof. I live in northern Virginia, which is regarded as one of the most, if not the most competitive districts in the country for military scholarships/ service academy appointments. What surprised me were the numbers: for the first board only five were selected, for the second only two. So seven people selected out of the toughest district goes to show difficult it truly is.

    Now, fast forward to this past year. I chose to attend Virginia Tech, which is one of the six senior military colleges with a corps of cadets. One of the reasons for going was that they had one of the highest numbers of sideload (3 and 2-year) scholarships given out to any unit for NROTC Marine Option in the country. Long story short, the unit was great with working with me and setting me up for success as the MOI (Marine Officer Instructor) and AMOI (Assistant Marine Officer Instructor) essentially put together your whole package. You also automatically get a recommendation from your MOI (mine was a Marine major, although it's usually a captain) and your unit CO, which for me was a Navy captain. I just filled out the paperwork and gave them any information they needed.

    I finished up the semester with a 3.56 GPA and 292 PFT score. Additionally, I had gained a ton more experience by being in the corps of cadets and in the NROTC unit as a college programmer (non-scholarship).

    I received word in mid-april of this year that myself and the two other midshipmen who were nominated by the unit received the sideload scholarship. What I'm hearing is that there were 28 sideloads given out across the nation this year. This is good news since the past few years only had single-digit numbers from what I've been told.

    I'm writing this to show the current state of NROTC Marine Option scholarships, which are the hardest scholarship to earn in regards to the limited number of them. Since the Marine Corps is the smallest branch, they will always have the smallest number of scholarships. That's just the way it works. Hopefully someone finds this information useful and informative in their journey to obtain a Marine commission.

    Lastly, two important things. First, NROTC is NOT the only way to get a commission as a Marine Officer. Do some research and learn about PLC (Platoon Leaders Class), which should be your backup. Simply getting into the Marine officer commissioning pipeline is very difficult right now, so don't worry about which program is more prestigious or whatever. The Naval Academy also commissions Marine officers, so go check them out especially if you are still in high school. Second, my unit at VT would not nominate anyone for the scholarship who had below a 3.5 GPA and <250 PFT because those are basically the minimums to be competitive for the scholarship. Your first semester in college really matters if you're not on scholarship, so ensure you make a good impression on your unit and do well academically and physically. Good luck!
     
  2. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    Great post and words to the wise. It is definitely very competitive. And Congratulations! :thumb:

    That being said, if you want to be a Marine Officer the only guaranteed way to not get a scholarship is not to apply. Selection is an arcane system that I'm not sure anyone can understand. Someone with lesser stats from Valley City, ND who wants to attend Washington State University, Idaho could always get lucky. And no doubt you'll improve and begin to position yourself for a sideload just in the process of trying to reach your goal.

    As you mention, PLC can be another good option. My son's roomate next year was a college programmer in their unit. The handwriting was on the wall regarding getting a sideload scholarship this year. He now has a PLC contract and can still commission as a 2LT in the USMC.

    Semper Fi! :thumb:
     
  3. raider95

    raider95 New Member

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    Kinnem, thank you and I appreciate the extra info! Your last paragraph actually reminded me of something else that happened to me as I applied which could benefit future applicants.

    I applied to PLC in addition to NROTC during this past year and finished my application in January, which is before the third PLC board. There are four boards for PLC: two in the fall and two in the spring. I found out that my package got picked up for PLC that third board and was notified of my selection in March. If your package get picked by the board, you are REQUIRED to fulfill the obligation, which is to attend the PLC Juniors course for at least four weeks. In other words, I (and anyone whose contract get selected) HAS to go to OCS for four weeks after which point you can DOR (drop on request) from the six week program. That is all the PLC Juniors contract entails.

    However, like I said, I was selected for the NROTC sideload scholarship but didn't find out until AFTER I had been picked for PLC. So, I am still required to go to OCS this summer for PLC Juniors and will be there for second increment. I still got the scholarship though, so how does this work?

    The key thing is that the NROTC scholarship does not kick in until the FALL of next school year. So, while all the 4-year scholarship recipients are going to CORTRAMID this summer, I nor any of the sideload recipients are able to go. I am not officially contracted until I go back to the unit and do so this fall.

    However, I had talked with my OSO about this possibility, and he again reminded that my PLC contract would end after those 4 weeks at OCS (I'm still planning on staying for all 6, I'd be quitting if I didn't and that's definitely not the right thing to do). But since my scholarship wouldn't kick in until the fall, I could then disenroll from PLC having fulfilled my obligation by attending the Juniors course and then contract with NROTC for the scholarship.

    Bottom line: THIS IS A CONVERSATION YOU NEED TO HAVE WITH YOUR OSO IF YOU ARE STILL COMPETING FOR THE SIDELOAD SCHOLARSHIP. If your OSO is like mine, which is how they should be, he/she will understand the additional benefits (financial arguably being the biggest) of being contracted for NROTC over PLC. By doing it this way I created a very good safety net for myself in the event that I didn't get the scholarship because I knew I was guaranteed the opportunity to commission through PLC. Your OSO should not be offended or apprehensive if you talk to them about this because it shows you are thinking ahead and creating a path for yourself to succeed. Plus, if this does happen to someone else, just realize you're going to have to do Bulldog/PLC Seniors (essentially the same thing) either way, and there's no better preparation for that than PLC Juniors. Hope this all makes sense and if not I'd be happy to answer all questions.
     
  4. Sampia

    Sampia Member

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    Congratulations to you! Your perseverance has paid off. My DS was recently awarded a sideload marine option scholarship and and we are all very thankful for that. There was only one given out at his school so it is indeed a very competitive process.
     
  5. VMI82

    VMI82 Room 131

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    Kinnem,

    (the below is presented with utmost respect and affection)

    not to make too fine a point … but General 'Mad Dog' Mattis graduated from Central Washington. :smile:

    to quote you: Someone with lesser stats from Valley City, ND who wants to attend Washington State University, Idaho

    so those of us from 'middle of nowhere' (in my DD's case Yaak, MT) may or may not be "lucky"

    they may simply be good!

    Mattis sure as hell is :smile:
     
  6. USMCGrunt

    USMCGrunt Member

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    Kinnem: I have to disagree with you on this point. I understand the scholarship selection and school selection to be two distinct processes. I am confident that I have read this on this forum and in some other published sources. I don't have time to find these references today but wanted to state an alternate view for future readers to investigate.
     
  7. USMCGrunt

    USMCGrunt Member

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    Raider95: Congratulations on your sideload scholarship! :thumb:
     
  8. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    I knew I'd get in trouble with a hypothetical example. Of course Grunt and VMI are correct. Nevertheless, the point about always striving and applying remains. People shouldn't write themselves out, in my opinion anyway.

    Thank you for your gentle corrections gentlemen.
     
  9. USMCGrunt

    USMCGrunt Member

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    No problem Kinnem! First "mistake" of the year - correct? :smile:

    Agree 100% with the point: The only way to position yourself for a scholarship is to apply and the only way to guarantee that you won't get a scholarship is to fail to apply!
     
  10. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    No. The day! :biggrin:
     
  11. VMI82

    VMI82 Room 131

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    Folks, if you are reading this thread you have, before you, the definition of a CLASS ACT!

    I give you a man of integrity and honor: Kinnem.

    I already enjoyed and appreciated his writings here. NOW I appreciate the man .

    Always Faithful Brother

    Semper Fi
     
  12. raider95

    raider95 New Member

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    Thank you Sampia and USMCGrunt!

    Since there are probably a lot guys like myself in high school and college reading this who are interested in NROTC as a Marine Option midshipman, I felt it would be beneficial to address the biggest part of your package besides GPA: the PFT.

    You NEED to become familiar with the Marine Corps PFT (Physical Fitness Test) asap in you're one of the people I mentioned above. It consists of pullups, crunches, and a 3 mile run.

    I won't bother posting the minimums since they will not make you competitive for the scholarship at all, but maxing the test is 20 DEADHANG (NO KIPPING) pullups/chinups, 100 crunches (NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH SITUPS, CRUNCHES ONLY REQUIRE YOUR ELBOWS TO TOUCH YOUR LOWER THIGHS), and 3 miles in 18:00 min or less.

    When I got the scholarship, my numbers were:

    -20 pullups
    -100 crunches
    -19:19 3-mile run

    I would recommend striving to reach 18 pullups, 100 crunches, and a sub-21 minute run as a minimum before you are satisfied with your PFT enough to submit it. However, above all else just make sure you give it 100% every time you take it.

    Below are some of what I have used and other aspiring Marines I know have used to better themselves:

    -Pullups: Armstrong Program, Recon Ron Program
    -Crunches: Killer's Crunch Workout
    -Running: timed 3-mile runs, 5-10 mile endurance runs, 400m-1mile interval repeats

    Good luck to everyone and I'm happy to help out more in any way.
     

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