NROTC process this year

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by servenow, Apr 10, 2015.

  1. servenow

    servenow Member

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    Hello all fans of NROTC,

    I am not from a military family, but have spent the past 2 years trolling this awesome forum, as well as doing research elsewhere to learn all I can.

    I am a proud mother of a son from upstate New York who was appointed to USNA this past March. The entire application process, including every interaction with DODMERB and academy staff my son reported to me, was incredible. It was challenging for my son, tested his commitment, but the goals were always clear and he knew when he needed to wait vs. when he needed to take action. We are all very excited about what his next 9 years hold.

    Unfortunately, his experience applying for the NROTC scholarship was much less stellar. Like his app for USNA, my son did the majority of the paperwork (essays, getting teacher recs, filling out apps, cfa) this past summer and had apps "in" by September.

    Unlike USNA, he did not receive one point person with whom to communicate through NROTC. He had to contact 4 different personnel and establish relationships with all 4 to get updates on his application since his portal read pending for a very long time (through September, October, November and into December). He recognized that the scholarship is competitive and figured that he just had very stiff competition for those boards until he received a call in December from one of the four (a recruiter from the station who was witness for his signing some forms), called and told him he had yet to turn in the forms because they were being updated this year. My son met him at his high school and signed the updated forms. My son, worried that this would impact his app, called his "regional coordinator", who then told him that the app was on hold until the interview was conducted. But....he had his interview at the recruiting station in September! That had not been filed. The coordinator hustled to get my son the name of the NROTC interviewer at Cornell and my son called every other day for 2 weeks until he got an interview (after all....the deadline was approaching!)
    The coordinator also told him that he had one of the most competitive files and should push on (not that my son had any other intention, although he was beginning to feel very irritated by the relaxed attitude and lack of organization of others).
    His interview at Cornell was an amazing opportunity. The highlight of the process because the interviewer was a knowledgeable and valuable resource with whom my son experienced an easy rapport. The interviewer reported that the interview had been the best of the season.
    App complete and in, no portal change.
    Son emails all 4 point people all January, told that portal lags behind...no worries.
    February, portal doesn't change. Son calls coordinator. Told his app is complete and getting ready for boards.
    March comes and goes. No change.
    Son calls every contact and finally, ironically, hears from the recruiter who had sat on that paperwork in the fall. He tells my son that the list is in front of him of scholarship recipients and my son's name is not on it. My son asks why he has not heard anything: no email, no letter, no portal change and the recruiter responds that the system is just lagging behind. NO KIDDING!!!!

    This may sound like sour grapes, but truly we feel so blessed! As parents we believe that learning how to handle disappointment gracefully is an important skill but the whole process just felt so unsupportive and disorganized!

    My son has a bright future at his first choice: USNA!

    However, it was a concerning experience to apply for the NROTC scholarship. We hope it is not reflective of how the Navy at large does business.

    Should we contact someone in particular to report this story?
     
  2. kaylar

    kaylar Member

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    That is frustrating. We had a totally different experience. My DD started her application and was complete with the entire process(including interview) in less than 2 weeks. Her portal was updated at the same time. Sorry for your experience.
     
  3. servenow

    servenow Member

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    Are you in upstate ny?

    Sent using the Service Academy Forums® mobile app
     
  4. Swabthedecks

    Swabthedecks Member

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    I, and my two sons, have been through 4 different service academy applications in two years, 1 AFROTC scholarship, 2 NROTC scholarships, 2 Ivy applications, 7 other college applications, multiple CFAs, Senatorial, House of Rep nominations, presidential and VP noms and met with 4 NROTC units- so I have some experience. The Navy ROTC process does not work well. This year we mysteriously went from one recruiting district to another and then back to the original all the while sending paper work back and forth. Son received an email in early March saying not eligible because of a missing form. I contacted the local recruiter to show him when the form was emailed to him and 2 days later got re-instated. As of this date no decision made. I have older son at USAFA and another on a wait list for a diff academy. In all I felt the Navy did a poor job on ROTC and the USNA was disingenuous as my son received the TWE at the last min in spite of attending weekend visit and constant back and forth on application and essay and having only 1 B in high school in prob the most competitive school district in the country and a 1470 SAT. He was academic overachiever, held a par time job, 3 varsity letter and leader of the marching band... on and on. AF did a superior job and I think that it was because they have devoted personnel (ALO) who are working reserve time to sheppard the applicants whereas Navy had Blue and Gold Officers who were not all in the process. Full disclosure, I am retire Navy.
     
  5. DeskJockey

    DeskJockey Member

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    I don’t know if it is fair to assume that this is reflective of how the Navy at large does its business, except to the extent that it is reflective of how every large organization does business. The individuals responsible for various administrative aspects of the NROTC scholarship process have certain priorities that may not always align with the ones we hold as parents.

    As you know from reading these forums, we typically view the scholarship process as a competition. As the parents of high achieving, highly motivated, smart, athletic students, we have certain expectations as to how competitions involving our sons and daughters should be run – that everyone should be given a fair shot, that no one who follows the rules should be penalized, and that the determination of winners and losers should correspond to specified, objective criteria.

    I doubt that the Navy views the NROTC scholarship process exactly the same way. Its institutional interest is in filling a certain number of scholarship slots each year, while meeting targets for diversity, technical majors, tuition costs, etc. The Navy will do what it takes to make sure that it awards scholarships to qualified candidates, but it may not make extraordinary efforts to ensure that it always awards them to the best possible candidates. And by “extraordinary efforts”, I mean doing the stuff that applicants and applicants’ parents care most about – which is keeping us informed, giving us assurance that nothing has fallen through the cracks, and giving some rational justification for its decisions.

    The USNA recruiters have a powerful incentive to do whatever it takes to attract and admit the most highly-qualified candidates, as the prestige of the school depends on criteria like selectivity and average SAT scores. It is understandable that the academy will be far more invested in making sure that outstanding students like your son are kept fully informed about where they stand. NROTC recruiters don’t have to worry so much about maximizing the stats of the scholarship cohort, but (unlike USNA) they have to efficiently manage a complex, multi-dimensional square-filling exercise. That is where their time and effort is going to be focused.

    All of this is not to say that the NROTC scholarship process can’t be improved; I’m sure it can. But I also suspect it is no better or worse of a bureaucracy than your son is likely to deal with – and be a part of – when he becomes a mid and a naval officer.
     
  6. servenow

    servenow Member

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    Thank you desk jockey! I had not thought of it that way. It was just hard for us to watch, and indeed frustrating. However, I am not the future midshipman and hopefully my son will have learned something from this experience that will better help him navigate that bureaucracy as an officer.

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