Overwhelmed Mom of High School student

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by Longhaul, Jul 11, 2016.

  1. Longhaul

    Longhaul Member

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    Hi. Thanks to all of you who contribute to this forum. My son is a rising 11th grade student. His goal is to attend college for engineering and be in either AFROTC or AROTC. I've helped many kids with college planning, but this is my first time looking at ROTC.

    My son had many personal issues in 9th grade resulting in dismissal grades. His grades in 10th grade were greatly improved, but not a 4.0. Conservatively, his stats after 11th grade will be:

    GPA 3.0-3.3 - includes honors & AP courses
    ACT - expected to be 30 or above based upon ACT taken in 7th grade
    SAT - expected to be 1330-1450 (M/V only) based upon last year PSAT and 7th grade SAT
    He has already Varsity lettered in 2 sports
    Civil Air Patrol member for 4 years and counting (attained Billy Mitchell Award last year)
    works part time
    multiple school clubs related to STEM and Debate
    PT - not sure of his current times, but he is actively working to improve daily.
    likely a candidate for Boys State as his school sends boys each year and those with ROTC aspirations tend to be selected first.

    His intended major is some type of engineering (materials, environmental or mechanical at this stage). His brother is current college junior as a Mechanical Engineering major, so he has a very solid view of the reality of this major.

    All and all, he is a good candidate for ROTC, but the GPA will be a huge hurdle for a scholarship.
    He is child 2 of 3 and finances are a huge concern for college.
    Since he wants Engineering, we feel any ABET school will provide the academic background, regardless of US News rankings.
    There are private schools that may provide good merit scholarship, but he would need to cast a wide net. If ROTC were not a factor, I'd be encouraging him to apply to 10-12 schools. Throwing ROTC into the mix seems to make this a bad idea.

    Is he competitive for ROTC scholarship before college begins?
    Should the college list be narrowed to 6 schools?
    Is it acceptable to ask ROOs at visits the number of students who receive scholarships once in college? I would think this would be easier to get at some schools vs. others.
    Is there an average number of scholarships that are "held back" for those who begin the ROTC program without scholarship?

    We realize he must choose a state school for ROTC scholarship application. We are PA residences and frankly, without ROTC, there are private and out of state schools that are less money than our state options. Also, many of the private schools are smaller and apt to overlook his overall GPA 9 -11 and instead focus on his rising GPA and GPA in the beginning of grade 12 (which we know ROTC does not review)

    Any advice is great;y appreciated as I am very overwhelmed in the direction to led him. Our house rule is to not look in depth/fall in love with any college until parents can determine if it is a school we can realistically afford. We are very mindful of our debt ratio so that child #3 is not shut-out of loans.

    Thank you.
     
  2. AROTC-dad

    AROTC-dad Just a dad

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    I have four children and can greatly identify with your financial concerns.

    My DS who is now a rising MS-II on Army scholarship, had to deal with similar financial concerns.

    He was turned down for USNA, accepted at The Citadel but did not receive a NROTC scholarship and would have been looking at 50K a year out of state tution and expenses. Although we could have done this it would have required loans and there was certainly no guarantee that he could earn a sideload (3 year scholarship) once he began attending.

    Instead, he chose to attend college at an adjacent-state school which granted him a discount tuition, plus a small scholarship that together made it almost equivalent to in-state (California) choices. We could afford all four years there, but it only offered Army ROTC. So he went for the regional school and Army ROTC and worked his tail off.

    Three months into his fall semester, he earned a 3 year AD scholarship.

    But what if he hadn't?

    Or what if he changed his mind about ROTC? What if he became injured and could not remain in ROTC?

    Attending an affordable university gave him the most choices about remaining at the school, while also not getting into major debt.

    I know some others on the forum have a differing opinion on this, but this made the most sense financially for us and it worked out even better.
     
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  3. k2rider

    k2rider Member

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    My total *personal* opinion after dealing with this **AROTC** stuff over the past (7) years is GPA, just as long as it isn't in the dumps, is less of a factor than most other stats. I think an ACT score over 30 and a high SAT are more important than the GPA...as long as he's in that 3.1-3.3 range that you mention. There have been many, many youngsters post on here that received 4-year scholarships with those low-3 GPA's.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2016
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  4. Sled

    Sled Member

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    The bad news is that his GPA is lower than typical and would hurt him during selection. That GPA is final as the deadline is Dec 1 for the scholarship application. As far as the ACT and SAT go, I wouldn't count on any numbers until he has a final score. For PT, I would look into going with him to take a practice test. Figure out his score and see what areas he needs to improve in. When I started I was in shape but not the same kind that the AF looks for. I can lift all day but when it came to the run I was toast. All of his other activities are sure to look great on the application. Maybe look for some volunteering opportunities or extra leadership opportunities.

    Asking about the number of students who get a scholarship is not too useful. When applying, everyone is put into the same stack that has no care in the world what college students are going to. The AF could give all scholarships to the University of Middle of Nowhere North Dakota for all they care. These are older stats but they may give you an idea of what to expect:

    Type 1: 1435 SAT/ 32.7 ACT and a 3.91 cgpa
    Type2: 1324 SAT/30.1 ACT and a 3.79
    Type 7: 1278/28.6 and 3.77

    The vast majority of AFROTC students go without scholarships. There is a chance to set yourself apart in college and get a retroactive ICSP scholarship though. It was suddenly announced and just like that I had a scholarship.

    Your plan for selecting a college is a smart one. It may sound rushed but it is a decision you child has to make....decide if ROTC is something they want to do or not. Possibly narrow it down to one school if he does do ROTC and another if he chooses not to?

    Edit: I would also like to add that I had a 3.4 GPA when selected for the ICSP which is arguably more difficult as they have cancelled it completely in past years due to lack of money. The GPA may not play as large of a part as you might expect.
     
  5. Longhaul

    Longhaul Member

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    Thanks for the responses.

    The ACT and SAT are very conservative estimates as he scored near that in 7th grade and based on 10th grade PSAT. Not over estimating those at all. As a matter of fact, I think the scores will hurt him at some colleges since his GPA is out of line. That is where the college list must be focused more on an admissions office that will look at each year GPA and allow him to explain the 9th grade issues.

    He is determined to go ROTC (barring any physical injury). His goal is to serve. receiving or not receiving a scholarship won't change that.

    @gokings814 - Yes, as a parent I have to look at the big picture for our entire family. That means I have been currently nixing some schools he wants because without ROTC they are not affordable. Your words certainly help me calm down. His goal is serving as an Officer. My goal is to see my kids/family not take on a large debt.
     
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  6. Ohio2015Parent

    Ohio2015Parent Member

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    If not already considering, take a look at Ohio University. Great academic scholarships for those 30+ ACT score ranges, good engineering programs and awesome AROTC and AFROTC.
     
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  7. USMA 1994

    USMA 1994 Member

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    I would expand your search area some to include the larger schools in the south. Most of those schools have lower admission requirements and will give scholarships to all students that meet a certain threshold with GPA and test scores. You could then reach out to the local ROTC detachments and see what extra things the school may give for ROTC cadets. We spent a mad few weeks deciding where to go after my DD got a TWE. I am attaching the link to LSU's website that shows the value of the awards. By the way, I am not necessarily recommending any one school, I just have some very recent experiences in this over the last 4 months. This was her #2 choice but chose a private school in Texas that will let her run track. They have a similar chart but it is not published like this one. I think you can find many similar schools like this one you just need to do a little research.

    I also agree not to get completely worked up about the GPA. There are so many different ways schools calculate it that it should not be that big a deal if everything else is above average. If his test scores are really where you think they will be then you should be fine.

    There is also a search on the Army ROTC page that shows what some colleges may offer a scholarship winner in addition to what the Army pays.

    http://sites01.lsu.edu/wp/financialaid/entering-freshman-scholarships/
     
  8. ENwifeArmyMom

    ENwifeArmyMom Member

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    Once you start looking at schools Weidner University in PA offers room & board to AROTC scholarship winners and they have Engineering!
     
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  9. Dckc88

    Dckc88 Member

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    It is a whole person score, the GPA is one factor. For AROTC to get full points on the interview he needs a 3.0 or above. Yes to be the most competitve, over 3.5 is preferable, but it is what it is and will not take him out of the running. His junior year will be very important that he can demonstrate that he is taking this seriously and doing the best he can in grades, and he has time to take the ACT/SAT several times. His freshman grades might come up in his interview, what a great story to show his maturity and growth that he was able to turn that around! Finally, he cannot win one if he doesn't apply, good luck to both you and your son.
     
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  10. EDelahanty

    EDelahanty Member

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    Dckc88 makes an excellent point. Your son should be sure to emphasize the turnaround after ninth grade in the interview. In fact, the story could make for a compelling essay.

    I never heard the term "dismissal grades" but it doesn't sound good.
     
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  11. Dckc88

    Dckc88 Member

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    I am glad that Gokings814's words helped to calm you down, I understand the overwhelming part, just remember that getting him started looking toward the application a year in advance is going to help him a ton! Also a good reason to breathe is this is a marathon, not a sprint. The little bump in the road with the GPA is not insurmountable, and there are a lot of examples where kids have gotten scholarships even with one area not being in the "competitive" range by itself.

    As far as asking ROO's questions on visits, ask away! especially as a junior, your son and you are just trying to understand the process and the opportunities. Every visit my daughter went on, the ROO talked about how campus scholarships worked, in case she did not earn a national one. And they did this without us asking. Remember, the ROO's job is to get great student's for their program, so giving you all the reasons to go there and what opportunities they have are going to be something they will want to share!

    Another thing is, don't nix all of his dream schools/reach schools, just do your research. My daughter's reach school showed on past statistics that her GPA and test scores (single sitting 25 ACT/superscore 25 ACT and gpa 3.57 unweighted), that some kids got in, but the majority got wait listed. This is what happened to her. After finding out that she got the AROTC scholarship and that stretch school was listed as an option, I am pretty sure that is why she was moved from the wait list to admitted. Some schools it does not impact admissions in the least, but some schools it does. Also with her stats, we were not confident she would end up getting a scholarship, she received a 3 AD on the 3rd board. She will be reporting to school in just 6 weeks and she is so excited to not only get started with school but with ROTC. Her first school visit was fall of her Junior year, about where your son is right now, it goes fast and slow all at the same time! Once you have 10 posts you can PM people, feel free to reach out to me if you would like.
     
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  12. Akrogan

    Akrogan Member

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    AFROTC scholarships are really dependent on if you have someone fighting for you...

    I had a 3.2, lower SAT (don't remember), decent PT, and did a lot of extra curriculars, but I also went to a very highly ranked high school and did IB and a ton of AP courses.

    However my interview went very well, and my interviewer marked my application so that it could essentially be ensured that I got a scholarship.

    And here I am 2 years later, graduated field training, and on my way to a commission.

    The point is, is that stats on paper don't define someone. If he wants it, he'll fight for it.
     
  13. Longhaul

    Longhaul Member

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    Thank you all!

    @ENwifeArmyMom , Widener is one that I was considering nixing because without a ROTC scholarship it is more than we can swing financially. Maybe I'll reconsider. He has several friends who will be starting there in August. I also am not a fan of the area.

    @USMA 1994 , my oldest actually attends a big SEC school. Although my ROTC wanna be kid wants colder weather, we certainly have many southern universities on our list. The number of Mechanical Engineering jobs in the South were a big consideration when my oldest made his final determination.

    I can't thank you all enough for helping a Newbie.
     
  14. brovol

    brovol Member

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    I would have your son start taking the ACT now, and often. I would not assume anything, but more importantly, if he does better than what you predict, then his GPA becomes less of a barrier. The more often he takes the ACT the better the chance of a higher score. If he gets a 33, for example, he would be in great shape, assuming he has an otherwise competitive application. It's all relative though.

    Keep in mind also that AROTC and AFROTC are different applications, different criteria, and a different animal all together. Typically different schools available with each too. AROTC is, in my estimation, easier to get a scholarship, and also has more school choices. It offers more scholarships I believe.

    Your son should be working on other things, like leadership roles in school, varsity sports, and his fitness test. If he presents himself as a well rounded candidate, with a very good ACT/SAT, he should be fine. It's more about commitment to the process than anything.
     
  15. Sled

    Sled Member

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    If he is looking for cold weather he should come up here to MN/ND! :shake:
     
  16. Dckc88

    Dckc88 Member

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    I think there are two schools a thought. To be honest, my DD pursued both. One is, pick schools you can afford without a scholarship, 3 of her 4 were schools she could attend and we could swing without one. The other is to be able to attend a school that you would not otherwise be able to afford. Honestly. she only had one in this category and it was not by choice. Her fourth school was a school she had to select on her application. You have to have one school in your home state. There was only one option for nursing on the application in our state, it was her academic stretch school and a very expensive private school. It is not a school she would attend without an ROTC scholarship. Before receiving the scholarship, she chose an affordable school, her number 1 choice and we paid the registration fee, housing fee, etc. After receiving the scholarship, her first reaction was to accept the spot at that school she had already planning on attending. Her Dad and I encouraged her to step back, take the 30 days that Cadet Command was giving her and assess all her options. This fourth school offered room and board all four years, even for a 3 year AD scholarship, had direct entry nursing (no need to apply to nursing school as a junior), and she had interviewed there and the cadre and ROO had already been a great help to her. Basically, she really let herself look into that stretch, "required" school and she really felt that was the best fit for her. This is such a confusing process, and it is okay to have several strategies all at the same time!
     
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  17. Longhaul

    Longhaul Member

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    @Sled , ND School of Mines is on the current list. It is cheaper than our in state schools. His former Headmaster lives in MN and he would not mind at all going there. Of course, it is easier to say that before you experience a winter there.
     
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  18. txpotato

    txpotato Member

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    Or school or thought number 3: choose a school where he already has merit money based on ACT/SAT scores. If he's fortunate enough to get an ROTC scholarship, he can apply that money to R&B and he will go to school for FREE, provided the school allows stacking. That is what my two sons have done at the University of Alabama. They are literally getting paid to go to school. As an aside, Alabama provides VERY generous scholarships to out of state students, and we have been very pleased with the Crimson Tide Battalion.
     
  19. Longhaul

    Longhaul Member

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    @txpotato, His GPA will not be high enough for a scholarship from Bama. His brother is currently a student there and he will be applying regardless of no merit money. Even paying full price OOS tuition, UA is relative in cost to our in-state options of Pitt or Penn State Erie since our in-state charges more for upper level engineering and UA is generous with AP and CLEP. If you don't mind, can you private message me so I can learn more about the Crimson Tide Battalion?
     
  20. Dckc88

    Dckc88 Member

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    Keep posting, once you hit 10, you can PM and others can also message you at that point, until then, you are stuck on the forum!
     
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