Penn State vs. Va Tech

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by tripleplay, Apr 26, 2011.

  1. tripleplay

    tripleplay Member

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    My DS rec'd a NROTC scholarship to Penn State in Jan. He put hs name on the wait list for Va. Tech. His name has come up for a transfer to Va. Tech. Now he is unsure which he should pick. Does anyone have any insights in comparing the two NROTC programs? He wants to study Aerospace engineering and become a pilot. He will be reappling to USNA next year.
     
  2. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I know you also posted on the VA thread, but I wanted to place this here because of PSU.

    Since your DS is going to re-apply to the USNA, contact the ROTC commands at both schools. Ask point blank statistically how many get an apptmt out of their command?

    Find out also how many they typically put up for SAs out of the school. The reason why I state this is because they will write recs for the cadet. If 6 apply, than one of those cadets will get the "golden rec" where the CC is going to say my NUMBER 1, and it might even say out of 6. The others will than be watered down in wording to ONE of my Top cadets, watered down even more to a strong cadet. That is the military system. They use particular key words to tell the boards where the cadet is standing in their review.

    You should also inform the CC of your intentions to reapply. You need to do this because these recs for noms will be due in the fall. If you show up in Aug., and drop this in their lap late Sept and it is due in 2 weeks, they will not be happy.

    Reason why is PSU is a very large cadre. The CC will not only have to be dealing with that and not know your child, but other things. People tend to forget there are several boards that occur in the course of the yr., and the major one is career field. I don't know about NROTC, but for AFROTC, there are 2 career boards, one is rated, and one is non-rated. The commanders submit reviews for every cadet that will be graduating. Also for the AFROTC there is a summer training board, which also requires CC review. That is on top of just the plain old mentoring reviews. Take a cadre of 200+ cadets and that is a lot of paperwork.

    One other thing is to make sure to ask if there is an ROTC dorm at PSU. VT has a CoC dorm. If your DS wants to enjoy that military atmosphere as close as it can be mimicked to an SA, living in dorms with ROTC cadets will give him one more perspective.

    Not every college has ROTC dorms even if they have a large section of ROTC students. Our DS is at UMDCP. I can guarantee you that between the 3 ROTCs they could easily fill one dorm, but that is not their system. Their system is to dorm them academically as in: Scholars, Honors, Gemstone and traditional.

    Last, one issue is distance. I don't know if this is your 1st or last child to go to college, but I can tell you distance does matter in their freshman yr. DD attends VT (not ROTC), it is 4 hrs away and she couldn't wait to fly the coop. We told her we supported her decision, but hoped she realized that we would not be driving 16 hrs (8 hrs total ea way) to bring her home for a 3 day weekend. She was okay with that, however, without fail Columbus day rolled around and she wanted to come home because everyone else was going home. If VT is going to be the same distance as PSU than the point is moot, but if one is considerably closer than the other, it is something you should consider. PSU and VT are big football schools. When the team is home everyone is there, when it is away dorms empty out at a higher rate.
     
  3. rkrosnar

    rkrosnar Member

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    Penn State vs Va Tech

    I know that Va Tech has a great reputation, but Penn State has one of the finest ROTC programs in the country, I know a few students 2 Navy and one Air Force ROTC and love it there. Especially NROTC. Your son has made a fine choice here, it academics are good, as well. (aerospace) big time. Tell your son thanks for his willingness to serve our country and defend freedom. Happy Valley says welcome to the entire family.

    God Bless and God Speed,

    RGK
     
  4. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I do agree PSU is renown as a great ROTC school. I honestly believe that is the opinion for every branch there. People speak highly of it whether they are A/N/AFROTC.

    I hope that you did not take from my post that I did not believe they were not highly respected.

    My point was and is to remember both schools have large cadres, AND as a parent your priority should be to your child. That is why I stated to talk to both cadre commanders, to review their academic programs, the statistical results for their goals re:military and to remember as much as kids want to leave home, it is common to get homesick as a freshman.

    Do I lean to VT? Yes.

    I have to say I was born and raised in NJ, and PSU is like UMDCP, a very big draw to NJ residents. The school is a great school. It has that great school pride and feel one expects.

    VT is the same. Great school, great spirit.

    VT has one thing going for it that PSU doesn't. CoC. It is one of 7 in the nation, and if you want that military experience, I have to say the edge goes to VT.

    As a parent of 2 at large state schools (same class size), VT to me has a feel of being a small college in a small town For DD that was the pull. For DS he would have rather put needles in his eyeballs than go there. The CoC would not have been enough for him to be swayed to go there. It felt too small to him and in his words "claustrophobic".

    It is a personal decision. It is important to realize that there is more to college than academics or ROTC. It has to be a fit socially too.

    I hope and pray that your child gets into USNA next yr., but just like this yr, you know it is important to have plan B.

    Plan B for you right now should be what if you don't get it next yr? Will you be happy?

    Believe it or not there are cadets who enter ROTC and say I am re-applying next yr., only to get there and find out that they can have both their cake and eat it too regarding career fields. T

    Again this is a personal decision, some want the SA for career paths, some want for education/military experience.

    There is absolutely no wrong decision here. Both are schools as an AFROTC mom, I would feel very happy for my child, not only because of their ROTC program, but the caliber of the education.

    PSU is no slouch of a school. I believe it ranks in the top 20 public universities in the nation. Heck, in VA, I think we have at least 7. Multiply that across 50 states, and you know it is in the top 10% nationally on a bad day. (Taking into the fact that I doubt states like Idaho, Wyoming, AK, etc have more than 2 or 3 state)/
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2011
  5. tripleplay

    tripleplay Member

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    Thanks for the great advice. Contacting the CCs in regards to how many get appointments would have been the best thing to do. But DS came home from school knowing he wanted to go to Va. tech. The CoC most closely resembles the NA he is drawn to. He loved the NASS.
    I'll be sure he talks to the commander early.
    We are from MD (one reason NA was so hard to get into). VT is 5 1/2 hrs away, but alot of kids from here attend. He is one of three from his graduating class planning to join the CoC next year, but he is the only one on scholarship.
    Academics will be tough, but he seems up for the challenge. He has had 2 years of AP calculas, one yr each of AP chem and AP physics. He should have a good foundaton. He is aiming for a 4.0. Tall order I know.
    I realize PSU is also a great school with well regarded ROTC and engineering programs. I am sure other students would like to have his "problem" with plan B. Thanks again.
     
  6. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    VT's buildings even kind of look like Annapolis in regard to the stone work.

    I agree coming from MD and wanting USNA is very competitive, not only because it is there in MD, but due to the high percentage of military children it makes it even more competitive.

    You also will see this in the state of any of the SAs. CO is very competitive for AFA, NY for WP.

    One thing to look into for MD, is that I know at least for VA they have buses that go on the weekends back to a specific area, and they are cheap. To take one from VT to Vienna (NoVA) it is 29 bucks...much cheaper than a tank of gas, they sell out fast on the long weekends. They also have an online board for ride sharing.

    Good luck.
     
  7. rkrosnar

    rkrosnar Member

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    Penn State vs Va Tech

    tripleplay,

    Since, your DS will be going to Penn State and if your family or son needs any help, please feel feel to send a PM. I only live 90 miles away, by DS is currently a junior. Would be glad to help, in anyway.

    RGK
     
  8. CronusMom

    CronusMom Member

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    We are also from MD. Our son is just finishing a fantastic freshman year at VT (NROTC scholarship - aero engineering). Penn State was also on his list of schools (husband graduated from PS in 1981), also applied to USNA and was rejected last April after a LONG winter's wait. It truly was a blessing as he has loved everything about VT CoC. As a mom, I was worried about the academics as his scholarship is tied to his engineering major. I truly believe the structure of CoC helped him have a very successful acadmic year. Looking forward to having him home in a week to celebrate. Then off to CORTRAMID in July. He's haveing the time of his life!
     
  9. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I have to say VT has an amazing system for the cadre. It is truly the best bang for your buck when it comes to paying for an education hands down.

    Heck even their move in/out system is so much better than other colleges of the same size.
     
  10. tripleplay

    tripleplay Member

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    cronusmom, I am so glad to hear your DS has had such a great experience at Tech. DS feels good about his choice. I liked the "feel" of PSU myself. I understand there is a mandatory study hall each evening at least for the freshman. He will need that. He is used to getting good grades without alot of effort. Now he will need to put the extra effort in. He also wants to join the triatholon club! I think he should wait until after he resubmits his application to USNA. I appreciates everyones input.
     
  11. CronusMom

    CronusMom Member

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    Totally agree, Pima. Moving in was very organized and so exciting. We said goodbye to DS on the sidewalk, watched him walk away. Parents moved their limited belonging into the dorms, and the next time we saw him, he was a Cadet, shaved head and all. We will not be helping for move out as he has his own vehicle now and we live so far.

    The lifetyle with Coc is closer to that of USNA than one would have in ROTC at Penn State, which is more the typical ROTC experience. It would depend on the student which would fit them. Our son was looking for the best of both worlds (USNA regimen but at a regular university with civilian students/friends and some freedom, after freshman year of course).

    Not sure how clubs/sports could fit into a cadet's freshman year. They have so much to adjust to. Not sure if it is impossible though. Our son was a runner in high school. He does get some running with the Navy PT, but he's not in the condition he used to be. He just does not have time to run +/- 10 miles a day like he did while training in HS, but he's fine with it.
     

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