Physics VS Engineering w/ NROTC Scholarship

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by AlastairRussell, Nov 15, 2014.

  1. AlastairRussell

    AlastairRussell Member

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    Hey All!

    I'm just curious as to what other people on here think-

    My scholarship application has my intended major as Physics (tier 2) but my mother is advising that I major in Engineering (tier 1) instead, because there are more tier 1 scholarships awarded, and Engineering will leave me more options than Physics. The problem is, I don't really have an interest in Engineering. I'm really interested in Physics, and my intended job in the Navy would be on a Nuclear Submarine.

    So, is it worth switching to Engineering even though Physics is what I'm actually interested in? Or am I giving the whole Tier system more weight and meaning than it actually has?

    Thanks everyone in advance for your answers.
     
  2. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    The tier system does have weight and meaning. Nevertheless, I recommend pursuing what you are interested in and not what might get you the scholarship. If you're not interested in engineering you will truly be miserable for 4 years in college and I suspect won't graduate with that major. Changing majors could cost you the scholarship should you win one. Stay with physics, be happy, and as a result be more successful.

    BTW - I tried to encourage my son to pursue engineering which he listed as his major on his application. Fortunately he was smarter than me and changed it to history. No, he didn't win a 4 year scholarship but he participated in NROTC as a happy camper and eventually won an in-school scholarship, in part due to his terrific grades. He wouldn't have had those grades if he was majoring in engineering and not just because engineering is hard. He probably also wouldn't be commissioning this May.

    Good luck. Follow your heart. There's more to this than just winning a scholarship! :thumb:
     
    AlastairRussell likes this.
  3. NavyMom19

    NavyMom19 Member

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    Tier 1 vs Tier 2

    My DS plans to major in Engineering (either Mechanical or Nuclear) and both of these are in Tier 1. Either of your choices are good majors however, in Nuclear Engineering you will have physics and serving on a sub, you will need to know some Engineering if you plan on working with the nuclear side...I am with your mom that an Engineering Degree will probably go further than a Degree in Physics. With that said, you are the one that has to make the choice....but just know if you do receive a scholarship for Physics..this will be your major and vice verse.....do what you feel is going to work best for you....Good luck:thumb:
     
  4. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    +1 kinnem

    JMPO, this forum is filled with kids that went engineering for scholarship chances AND because most kids don't understand what engineering curriculum will look like. They think that because they are strong in Math and Science that this is what they should put down.

    However, every year this forum gets filled with I am scholarship as an engineering major and hate it will I lose my scholarship. The other threads are I am failing a class should I change my major? The final one is I am failing a class, can I drop it and still keep my scholarship.

    It is a family decision, but I would have Mom get on this site and read those forums because impo this is not a path you will enjoy and as kinnem posted it can have repercussions later on. The biggest repercussion is going to be your career field options. Yes, you only need a 2.5 cgpa to maintain the scholarship, but honestly that is really scraping the bottom of the barrel for your OML (Order of Merit List). The better the cgpa the higher chance of getting what you want.
    ~IE in AFROTC engineering majors to get their first choices need @3.1 Not an easy feat when you are carrying 19-21 credits, doing NROTC and trying to have a social life. As you rise up the ranks in ROTC you will have jobs. It can be 20 hours of NROTC on top of those 20 credit hours. Now add in homework and studying, and you are doing @ 60 hours a week. If you are going to an SMC you need to add those Corps hours into the equation too.
    ~~ This is what kinnem and I are talking about when we say do something you want to do, because 40 hours of class and studying for a major you don't want will not make you a happy boy!


    FWIW, I don't know your college choices, but this is my favorite story regarding engineering at VT. Every semester the registrars office during finals will set up a table in the building because so many students decide that they need to change majors.
    ~ On the first week of school the profs will tell the students to look left, look right. One of you will not be graduating with an engineering degree. I am sure that not one of them believed they would be the one, but come finals week one of them is going to drop, thus the need for registrar to set up the tables.

    OBTW, my DH, Bullet would probably be the first to say do what you want to major in. He did AFROTC and engineering because his Mom said that would be better than what he wanted (architecture). This was during the stone age. He lost his scholarship because he hated classes and his GPA fell below 2.5. He had to take classes over the summer to pull up his grades for two summers in a row. To this day, if you ask him what his biggest regret is. It was not going architecture. He would have been happier in school and he would have never lost the scholarship in his mind.
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2014
  5. terp1984

    terp1984 Member

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    I think you probably have a slightly better chance at a scholarship with Tier1 vs tier 2. On the other hand if you are super competitive you could put tier 3 and get one. My DS received a 2 yr sideload scholarship with a finance major. He is now in his 4th month of Nuclear Power School. There are about 5 tier 3's out of 105 students. He is ranked in the top 20% doing fine not being an engineer. IMHO pick a major you will be happy with and perform well.
     
  6. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Absolutely agree terp.

    My DS got a type 2 for AFROTC. It is a different system, but basically his odds as a govt major were slim. Only @50 in the entire nation got a type 2. I am sure his ACT scores were the thing that pushed him from a 7 to a 2. PAR for AFROTC is 60% of the candidates score.

    I don't know how it works for NROTC, but for AFROTC it is strongly suggested that you don't game the system for the scholarship, because once contracted if you want to change your major you must get CoCs approval and HQ AFROTCs approval.
    ~ Granted for AFROTC their tier system is tech major vs non tech. I would assume Physics would be considered tech for AFROTC so they would be approved. Just like if my govt major DS wanted to go tech major.

    The ones they have been revoking are the ones that request to go from tech to non-tech.

    That is AFROTC though so take my opinion with a grain of salt!

    I really do believe kids and parents don't realize even at a traditional college, ROTC is going to be more than waking up and doing PT 3 x a week plus LLAB. I also think that parents assume that their academic superstar is going to handle the academic load easily, but depending on the college that program can be filled with all academic superstars and the profs know it! They are not going to slow down the class for Johnny or Janie to catch up.
    ~ I am not saying major in underwater basket weaving for ease, but as others have stated if you don't like the program and are struggling through it, you may or may not graduate. On top of it, you will hate it!
    ~~ Bullet had the brains, but he absolutely hated his classes....take a guess what he did a lot? Can we spell SKIP classes? That was his downfall! He just didn't want to be there! It was easier to sleep in than go to the 9 a.m. class and hear what he thought was Charlie Browns teacher droning on, on a subject he didn't care about in the first place!
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2014
  7. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    NROTC is pretty much the same. Permission to change major is needed from a fairly high level although I don't know if it goes all the way to HQ. Permission to move down a tier (say 2 to 3) is seldom given. Going the other way is usually not a problem. You also need permission just to drop a class although your NROTC adviser is the only one needed for that.
     
  8. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    So basically it is the same Kinnem.

    They would be gaming the system and if they do they better be prepared to pay Come sophomore year if they revoke it for downgrading.

    Not to harp on it even more, but again if it is like AFROTC the CoCs rank of the cadets are part of the OML.if they are drowning trying to keep up grades, the mid is less likely to be very involved compared to their peers. Now it is two areas that they are in peril.
    ~ CoC ranking for the OML in AFROTC is 50%.

    It really is a delicate balance. Those impo that truly love their school and major will do great in ROTC. Those that attend a school or major in a degree for a scholarship typically will have to fight for it harder.

    JMPO and 1.98 will get you a small cup of coffee!

    LMAO right now because of my new signature. Janie Raincloud again! Very sad for me, but I would rather be Janie if it meant that only one candidate/recipient walked in with eyes wide open as a freshmen.

    I believe that is why many of us are here....to show the details that are in the contract that we didn't read when us/our kids happily signed on the dotted line as a HS senior!
     
  9. navymomwannabe

    navymomwannabe Member

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    My 4/C NROTC son just told me this weekend that he thought he could move from Tier 1 to Tier 2 fairly easily now that he is at the unit. Tier 1 only has 7 majors (all engineering) so if you really decide engineering is not your thing, you have to switch out of Tier 1. But he seemed to think that now that he is there and they know him, that the switch wouldn't be that difficult. I don't know about switching to Tier 3, that's a different thing since those are not STEM majors.

    All of this conversation is because one of the 14 NROTC mids to get BUD/S this year is at my son's unit (econ major). Needless to say, there are a lot of mids looking into SEALS now and my son is one of them. He's not sure he can handle mech engineering and the workouts (yes, I just try to take deep breaths and hope this is a phase, no I don't think he should drop his major for the slim possibility of BUD/S but yes, I'm biting my tongue. :) )

    So if he ends up trying to switch, I will let you all know how it ends up working out.
     
  10. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    It will be interesting to see how it works. As I said for AFROTC requires HQ to give the final stamp of approval. I would think that if NROTC allows the unit CoC to make the final decision they would have to deny some if many start switching to a Tier 2.

    It would also be interesting to find out if each unit is given a specific ratio of Tier 1 to 2 and 2 to 3. Just like they dole out a specific number of scholarships available to each unit.

    Point being, it might not be in the CoCs hands IF all of their Tier 2 scholarships allocated to the unit are filled. Assume 12 scholarships are allocated.85% go to STEM. Assume 9 Tier 1. That leaves them with 3 Tier 2. Now if they have only 2 currently in tier 2, that would leave 1 slot available.

    Honestly, I am just spitballing here. I just can't believe they would freely allow everyone to convert, because than everyone would game the system once at college. Where is the motivation not to game?
     
  11. Oldsalt

    Oldsalt Member

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    SEAL and EOD selection is an exception to the process. Mini-buds eval, PFT score, and D1 sports participation (water polo, swimming, wrestling, lacrosse are specific sports they look for) are much more important than major and/or GPA.
    OS
     
  12. DeskJockey

    DeskJockey Member

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    I agree with the OP's mother. Why not volunteer to major in something that the Navy wants you to major in, and is providing a big incentive for you to do so? A NROTC scholarship is worth close to $200K at private schools. I can't believe that it is worth risking that kind of money just to major in something that you think you might find somewhat more enjoyable, particularly when there is not all that much difference in the subject matter.

    There is a lot of concern expressed on this board about choosing a major that you will enjoy, because there is a risk that majors like engineering are too hard and you might not be able to keep up your grades. But you never hear anyone saying that you should be careful about choosing aviation, or subs, or special forces when you graduate, because it is assumed that once you are commissioned you will do whatever it takes to succeed no matter how hard it is. I presume you already know how grueling nuke school will be, and you are probably eager to take on the challenge.

    It seems to me that you should have that attitude now. NROTC is the start of your path to your goal. While it is possible that you can get a scholarship as a physics major, you are already competing against engineering majors just to take the first step to becoming a sub officer. You should think very hard before conceding a head start to them.

    By the way, your mother is also right about an engineering degree giving you a lot more options for your future, whether you serve in the Navy or not.
     
  13. terp1984

    terp1984 Member

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    IMHO if you don't want engineering, pick physics. If you want to be a sub officer, I don't think it makes much difference to the selection board if you are engineering or physics, you just need to be very proficient in calculus and physics. It may help in Sub school if you are EE major as that seems to be the hardest area, but most physics majors do just fine.
     
  14. BLUF

    BLUF Member

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    The earlier you start the process for NROTC the more options you will have.

    If you are submitting your resume late in the game the good schools with the many scholarship choices will be limited. Going Tier 1 and picking VMI will get you in, but you will be limited to Mechanical Engineering. Then again, most that graduate would be great candidates for the Nuclear Sub Program. VMI needs 5 sub drivers this year and probably every year.
     
  15. AlastairRussell

    AlastairRussell Member

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    Thanks for the responses everyone!

    As of now, I'm leaning more towards declaring physics for my major. There was a good point made about needing to be able to handle challenges, especially when my career goal is a Nuke. However, my issue with declaring Engineering as a major is not because I'm afraid of the challenge, but rather because I'm just simply not interested in the subject like I am with Physics. I would love to hear a few more opinions, but for right now I'm thinking I will put physics on the application, and if I don't get the scholarship because of it, then so be it. I've got plan B and C for paying for school, which are preferable to being contractually obligated to study something I'm not interested in.
     
  16. USMAROTCFamily

    USMAROTCFamily Member

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    I think that is a very good approach. If you get a scholarship being tier II in physics and later decide you want to be an engineer, then you can easily move up a tier. I don't know that it would be easy to move down. Good luck to you as you follow your dream.
     
  17. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Alastair,

    You seem to have good head on your shoulders, the Navy will be lucky to have you!
     

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