NWP vs ROTC

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by RyWalk, Apr 6, 2011.

  1. RyWalk

    RyWalk Candidate-2015

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    This question has been discussed a little bit in the Reapplying Club thread, but I felt like it needed it's own thread so prospective reapplicants like me can see both sides in it's own thread seperate from other conversation.

    It seems like a lot of QNV candidates from this year are motivated to reapply next year, so I know I'm not alone in the NWP vs ROTC dilemma. So my hope is that people from each side can post their opinions and experiences in a universal address for Plan B-ers. Also, if anyone knows the admissions viewpoint on one versus the other, that would be helpful to know.

    I do know that this decision is not the same for everyone though, one is not necessarily better than the other for everyone. So if anyone wants to give an opinion on my personal dilemma, that would help too. My ALO is suggesting I stay home, go to the local University, and do AFROTC. Her reasoning is that my academic score does not need improvement. There's definitely room for improvement in that score though. My SAT score is average compared to other candidates (700-math 600-reading). My area needing improvement is definitely physical. I had mostly average scores on the CFA, and zero HS sports.
    I know either path can lead me to an appointment, but I guess I want to pick the one that is more likely to lead to an appointment for ME. And I'm sure every other reapplicant wants that too, so don't be afraid to make generalized posts about NWP vs ROTC.
     
  2. delaney

    delaney Member

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    From a mom's POV -

    #1 - DS wants to be an officer in the AF.
    #2 - DS would PREFER to be at the AFA.
    #3 - DS got the QNV letter - therefore has to look at other options now.
    #4 - Is the AFA the only way to achieve #1? No.
    #5 - NWP specifically gets you to #2. Hopefully. But
    #6 - ROTC will get you to #1, and still could get you to #2.
    #7 - There is a difference in my mind between being given a scholarship to NWP and self-prepping.

    If you are given a scholarship, you are almost guaranteed your shot at the AFA.

    Now - the downside I see to self-prepping at NWP is that you are pigeon-holing your future to the AFA. What if you are one of those 5% or so who doesn't get selected, especially when it looks like next year's class may be even more competitive than this years?

    If you go ROTC, you are still guaranteed a shot at the AFA, along with making progress towards your ultimate goal of #1.

    Lots to think about. My son is going forward with ROTC, unless he gets a Falcon Foundation scholarship, in which case he would take it in a heartbeat.

    I find it ironic that GREAT SAT scores are only average at the AFA. The class of 2015 must be totally stellar, and don't think for a second RyWalk that you are less than fully qualified to be at the AFA. Those "averages" mean some scored higher, some scored lower. I guess this year everyone had to score higher to be competitive.

    So my advice is go where your heart is. If the AFA is the #1 goal in your mind now, do what you think will get you there. If being an officer is your #1 goal, choose the route you think you will benefit from more.
     
  3. falconfamily

    falconfamily Member

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    Delaney: :thumb:

    Rywalk : Ultimately it does not matter where you get your commission from, just read the journeys of flieger83 and bullet. This years USAFA class was 1120 and the next two years are supposed to be 1050. In a "normal" class year it would be about 1300+-. According to admissions, this year only about 10 - 11 (!) applicants from the QNV pool will be offered appointments due to appointee declines. Next year? Who knows...they have to cut another 70 appointments from somewhere. These numbers might not sound like much, but this years cutback meant that there was on average 3-4 less appointments per state than the year before!

    Point is that you should not channelize your options to the USAFA. That said, there is also risk going the ROTC route. If you have been reading the ROTC threads, EA's for upper class cadets was cut back severely. Many ROTC detachments got less than 60% of their EA's. That means that those cadets might not be able to continue towards their commission. The difference might be with SMC's, I believe that Senior Military Colleges (VMI,Citadel, Norwich, etc), are not subject to the EA limitations that ROTC detachments are subject to (But you need to confirm this information). You have a lot of information to process. But there is plenty of good advice to be had on this forum.
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2011
  4. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Just my $0.028485833994 (Inflation)

    Unless the prep school was a direct offer by the academy, I don't consider the chances of being offered an academy appointment the next year as high. Definitely not as high as if the academy had offered you prep-school.

    ROTC on the other hand, with a scholarship is definitely very high for getting commissioned. They don't normally offer an ROTC scholarship for free. They want a commission and a pay back. Now; if it's ROTC without a scholarship, that would be something different to consider. And Remember, if you're in ROTC, you are allowed to apply to the academy. And being it's college, you're actually considered differently than high school students.

    Me personally; I'd take the ROTC route. Especially if it had a scholarship. Then, once there, I'd decide whether or not to reapply to the academy.
     
  5. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    You also can get one more nom source....ROTC.

    As I always state be smart about this and inform the det ASAP. No commander likes to be informed that they need to write a rec and it is due next week.

    There is a fallacy that if they tell the det that this is an option they are pursuing the det will hold it against them. They don't!

    Most ROTC commanders are very supportive and understand that this may have been your plan B.

    It also looks good on their OPR since they can state that their leadership was so strong in grooming future officers that X% of AFA applicants were selected from their command. They also have a vested interest in you getting that appointment.

    Our DS opted ROTC over AFA. We were up front and honest in the spring that he went this route. CoC stated to us if he decided in the fall that this was a mistake, he would support him if he re-applied. Sept rolled around and the CoC called him to find out his decision. DS had no qualms and said I am staying put. Soph. yr rolled around and the CoC called him again...DS gave the same answer.

    I state that so you can see they make it their mission to support every cadet in obtaining their dream to the best of their ability.

    OBTW his school has sent 2 cadets over the past 2 yrs, and the third received his apptmt this yr. They are 3 for 3. It is not the rarity to get det support. It would be the rarity to not get it, and IMPO, it probably is more of a reflection of the cadet than the det.
     
  6. flyerdreamer

    flyerdreamer USAFA alumnus and parent

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    :help: I've been following this ROTC info and it's raised a few questions for me. Does this mean they simply will be taking the ROTC training but on their own dime as opposed to the scholarship paying expenses? Or, will they be unable to be commissioned after graduation, unless through OTS?
     
  7. flyerdreamer

    flyerdreamer USAFA alumnus and parent

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    As a parent who took the $8500 FAR (free agent risk) with NWP, I can tell you that as far as I know through the NWP parent network all the non-diversity, non-recruited athlete free agents are still awaiting word on their QNVs. While disappointed, we free agent moms and dads recognize the historical limitations imposed this year and are hopeful USAFA recognizes the extra step these kids took in order to secure an appointment. If not... well, I don't regret us having chosen this route. It's a wonderful school. Just be aware that going in as a free agent IS a significant risk the next couple of years...
     
  8. Tailwind Angel

    Tailwind Angel Member

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    Excellent thread. This definitely firmed up our family's decision. If DS receives Falcon scholarship or USAFA Prep School offer, he would take it in a heartbeat. Not going to self-prep. Otherwise, going to good college with ROTC, reapply to USAFA this summer and see what develops down the line.
     
  9. tlangford

    tlangford Member

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    My insider advice and from my experience well:
    NWP did more than improve my test score. First the culture shock. It was a culture shock having to make my bed a certain way, fold my pillow into a certain form, and fold/hang my clothes in a certain fashion; also, having my stuff out for everyone to see was quite a different experience. So first, it helped me adjust on a smaller scale what the culture shock at the academy will be. Second, the academics. I have never received a C let alone a D in high school, even on a test. At NWP forget that everyone got at least one D. Being surrounded by the best of the best (well those who didnt get into the academy) pushed me and everyone else to become better and truly be the best we could be, and help each other in that process. Third, physically. We sat at just above 5,000 elevation and coach kicked our butts! The elevation mirrored in way how and what we will need to adjust to the even higher altitude at USAFA. I began being able to run about 2 miles a day and now can run at least 3 miles a day and 8 miles twice a week. I also maxed out every aspect of the CFA and saw differences in my body. Fourth, discipline. Oh boy did we learn this. Every aspect of us was watched from dorm inspections, to dress inspection, to fingernail checks, sock checks, and just being watched. Having 3 study halls every day where you are not allowed to talk or get up even for the bathroom teaches you to actually study, and study well, and be disciplined and do that, and not to mention hold your need to go pee. I cannot even count the number of times on Saturday, after class was over, how many of us sat in the lodge with books scattered over the table studying after a long week of everything, what did we do on our very little 'free' time, study!!
    Having the whole day scheduled 8am-10pm taught you to learn to deal and use that 10 minute break to refuel in what ever way works for you (well I generally woke up at 5am and ended my day at 10 but often stayed up after 11 curfew to talk and stuff going to bed at 12). So from my experience NWP is more than just improving test scores; it improves you physically, academically, study skills, improves your discipline,and prepares you for the culture shock of USAFA. Also, I have made so many new friends that really are my family. Even though I did not become 'besties' with all 85 of my classmates, we all have eachothers back no matter what, and have that relationship where we could not talk for months then pick right back up where we left (which is hard to find).
    I can't speak for ROTC but prep school did way more for me than my spring semester at college has done, or even my 4 years in high school did.
    So NWP is way more than improving test scores.
    No yes, I am a falcon so I basically had my spot 'insured' to me. As for the free agent perspective I think flydreamer can tell more on that. It is risky to apply and attend as a free agent, but regardless of being a free agent, falcon, or navy foundation student, the experience is the same and an amazing experience, but risky for the free agents. I also know that some free agents applied to ROTC scholarships as back up plans for the academy and all those who applied to ROTC has received a scholarship to the school of their choice.
    So a long answer to a simple question but in the end, all I can do is give my insight and view from NWP. Do what you want with the info, but in the end don't let anyone tell you go here or here. It is your choice and make sure it is what you want. You need to be happy where ever you decided to go and make sure that it is what YOU want.
     
  10. flyerdreamer

    flyerdreamer USAFA alumnus and parent

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    We're with tlangford on this one! If we had to do it all over, we'd still choose NWP over ROTC. (talking free agent and non-scholarship). NO REGRETS. And regarding risk, there are NO GUARANTEES, even for Falcons, even for Prep School. You're not In until Acceptance Day! And that's a fact!
     
  11. Karek

    Karek Member

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    Great post tlangford!

    Whether self prep or sponsored, after the NWP experience it has prepared my DS for anything he will face. It helped shaped his success in college this spring. My DS graduated from a college prep which did prepare him academically but the self management, control, committment etc. that he learned while attending NWP could never have been done elsewhere.

    Best of Luck and prayers for all who are working through the next phases of life.
     
  12. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I keep seeing the word RISKY.

    ROTC is also RISKY.

    Every and any cadet must do what is right for them.

    There will be candidates that feel NWP is the best option. There are candidates that go ROTC. Neither is right. Neither is wrong.

    Honestly I prefer to look long term and ROTC gives that compared to NWP.

    Many ROTC cadets are at the school on merit not AFROTC scholarship. Our DS had a 100K merit scholarship from UMiami Florida. No penny would have been spent on our own dime for ROTC, since merit covered the cost.

    You can join ROTC and still be commissioned. Scholarship or no scholarship.
    OTS is not an issue.

    IF you get to 300 level you will get an AFSC. Again scholarship or no scholarship is not a factor re: C300. SFT is the factor.

    Again for AFROTC the SFT board does not look to see if the candidate is a scholarship recipient.

    It is all about the cadet, gpa, PFT,, AFOQT, etc.

    Lastly, a tech major would most likely be required to do 5 yrs at the traditional college. AFA is 4 yrs, again they would still graduate at the time they expected as an engineer.

    I agree that the preps do a great job at prepping for the SA, but I don't believe it is wise to do it as a free agent sompared to ROTC.

    AGAIN, I have no bone in this fight, just my personal opinion.
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2011
  13. usafacandidate8

    usafacandidate8 Member

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    I would also like to give everyone some insight on NWP. I was a free agent this past semester at NWP as well. I agree with tlangford completely! I have learned so much at NWP. Everyone there helped each other no matter what and we were all one big family for 3 1/2 months. I did too improve my ACT scores and learned a lot of study skills while I was up there. I am still awaiting news from both Navy and Air Force. I have not heard anything from either one. I do know that our class did have a many people already receive appointments that were free agents even with the cutbacks this year. And I believe there are 3 or 4 of us still waiting. So all in all NWP was a great experience and even if I do not receive my appointment this year I would not trade those 3 1/2 months for anything! I grew as a person and I met my bestfriends up there. I wouldn't change any of it!
     
  14. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Pima brings up some great points that need to be considered.

    Things to consider:

    1. If a prep school is being OFFERED by the academy, that's an "Almost" guarantee. They want you at the academy, or the prep school wouldn't have been offered.
    2. If an ROTC scholarship is being OFFERED, that too is an "Almost" guarantee. They want you as a commissioned officer, or they wouldn't offer paying for your college.
    3. If you voluntarily "Free Agent" a prep-school; it may prepare you better for possibly the academy and/or college, but there's no investment by the Air Force. They gain, nor lose anything if they appoint you or not. It shows some initiative on your part when reapplying to the academy, but it's only a short time. It's not a lot of weight on your application. And are you actually taking "College Credit Courses"???? Hmmmm
    4. Going to college and voluntarily getting into ROTC. Better showing of initiative and commitment on your application. You're actually taking college classes; if you don't get an academy appointment, you are still on track for a commission. Plus, you can keep applying for ROTC scholarships once in ROTC in case the academy doesn't pan out. ROTC scholarships aren't only offered out of high school.

    If I wanted to be a commissioned officer in the air force, my order of preference would be coming out of high school:

    1. Air Force Academy
    2. Offer by Air Force to attend prep-school
    3. ROTC - Scholarship
    4. ROTC - No scholarship; go to college on other scholarships or self pay. Reapply to academy for 2 more years. After that, finish college and ROTC.
    5. Free-Agent Prep-School
    6. College - No ROTC, pursue OTS upon graduation.

    That's just my preference. That's what I would do. FWIW: Even though my son IS a C2C cadet currently at the academy, his appointment wasn't guaranteed. No one's is. His backup plan was different than mine above. He had 5 other Full-Ride Scholarship offers besides the Air Force Academy. His order was simply: #1 then #6. He didn't even apply for ROTC or consider Prep-School an option. "He knew his grades were too good to be "OFFERED" a prep school slot.

    Point is; like PIMA pointed out; you have to make your own decisions. Yes, non-offered "Free Agent" prep schools are really good at "Preparing" you if you're fortunate enough to get an appointment the next cycle. But what are your chances of getting an appointment the next cycle? Pretty good if they OFFERED you the prep-school. "There's a reason they OFFERED you prep". "Free-Agent"; not as good. Better than the person who simply went to college for a year and reapplied? Probably. Better than a person who went to college and also got into ROTC? Probably NOT. Best of luck. Just think about ALL the possibilities..... Mike....
     
  15. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Computer was messing with me before I could respond.

    Here's my question if it was my kid, again this is personal, I would say ROTC.

    You all know that the more noms you have the more slates you meet.You also know this yr and next yr will have less appointments, IMPO, those slates will mean more chances.

    I don't know about NWP, but I do know ROTC has the ability to nom, thus one more slate to compete in. I have never heard of a NWP nom.

    From what I have been told NWP is not accredited from a collegiate perspective. Which can hurt them academically in the long run. Play the game what if they decide not to apply, that means they are boffed academically and must start again. ROTC candidate will get credits, ROTC or not ROTC.

    I can be 1000% WRONG. Just saying what I have been informed...don't shoot the messenger.

    As a parent if my child opted to reapply I would try to cover every base, including the what if option and they wanted to serve in the AF.

    IF NWP doesn't have a nom option, I would go ROTC, again a slate issue. Also as a parent I have an issue of the program for NWP since it is short term.
     
  16. thealt

    thealt Member

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    I believe it was Flieger83 that once said if the AFA through the Falcon Foundation is offering to pay money to you for a Falcon Schloarship, that's a pretty good indication that the AFA is interested in you.
     
  17. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Yes. Hence my POINT #1 and PREFERENCE #2 above. If the air force is willing to pay, they they want you.

    If they aren't willing to pay, and you're on your own, but you have the opportunity to go ROTC; especially on SCHOLARSHIP, you should consider that.
     
  18. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

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    It was, and it is.

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
  19. RyWalk

    RyWalk Candidate-2015

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    Thanks everyone. I definitely have some good points to consider from both sides.

    I'm leaning towards ROTC. Another benefit to me is that it's my hometown college, so I'll know a lot of people from my High School in ROTC. Not that I couldn't make good friends anywhere, but I know some really good people going to do AFROTC at that school that I'm sure will support me in reapplying.

    I didn't get the 4-year AFROTC scholarship, but I have a state scholarship and I'll be living at home so money isn't an issue.

    Just a quick question. I've heard all over the forum to tell your detachment of your intentions to reapply to a SA, but who specifically should you tell?
     
  20. frisbforce

    frisbforce Member

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    I want to give my insight on this. I went to NWP as a free agent. My SAT's soared drastically, but my reading still wasn't what I needed. Although I jumped about 150 on both math and reading. It still wasn't what the Academy was looking for. Because of this I had to go to plan B which was ROTC at Embry Riddle in Daytona beach florida,then apply to the Academy again. I did exactly that, and last week I got the QNV letter :( . (stupid budget cuts) 3.0 college GPA 590 reading and 650 math still wasn't good enough. Oh well. Although I didn't get in this year I know that NWP has completely helped me here in college and ROTC. With studying, PT, and time management. Being a great leader (officer in the air Force) doesn't depend on where you got your commission, just that you got one. I am glad I chose NWP and I can't imagine where I would have been right now if I didn't go (lazy, bad SAT's , messy room, bad time management) I wouldn't be where I am today. So, yes I would say try your shot with NWP maybe you might not get an appointment, like me, but you will learn so much and it will help you later on life. Just never lose sight of what you really want. Good luck!!
     

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