Plan B

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by EchoSierra, Jul 2, 2014.

  1. EchoSierra

    EchoSierra Member

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    This forum is host to an incredible resource of people with experience and wisdom, so I was hoping I could ask some of you about what you think of my plan of action.

    I'm dead set on going into the Air Force, one way or another. I'm also dead set on going to the Air Force Academy, and if I could I would do nothing but continually apply until I get in. However, time ticks away. My plan is, spring of my Junior year and onward, apply for the both USAFA and a ROTC scholarship (preferably to Embry-Riddle's Arizona campus, but competition for ROTC scholarships there may be very stiff. If anybody has any extra info on this, I would be very grateful to hear it). If I don't get a slot in USAFA or the Prep School or a Falcon Foundation Scholarship, I hope that I will at least get a ROTC scholarship somewhere. (If I get absolutely nothing at all, I have already won scholarships to other colleges that I can use until I re-apply). If I do get the ROTC scholarship, is it possible to still continually apply to USAFA while on a ROTC scholarship?

    Or would my purposes be better served by going prior-enlisted and getting into USAFA through that route? (I've heard it's much less competitive). I understand you may not be able to tell me if this is a good plan or not if you have no idea if I'm even competitive for any of this, so quick overview, 4.0 unweighted GPA 30 ACT 680 Reading 600 Math SAT (taken in middle of my sophomore year), active as leader of several clubs, founding a sports club at my school, run races, student pilot and will solo soon.

    Absolutely any thoughts, comments or suggestions are very welcome. Thank you all so much!
     
  2. aglages

    aglages Parent

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    Yes....you may continually re-apply each year until you are past the age requirement. Just let your Detachment Commander know of your plans when you start the school year so that they can (hopefully) help you with a recommendation.
    Don't do it. Stick with re-applying each year and joining AFROTC as a Plan B. JMPO...

    Good Luck! :thumb:
     
  3. Frankie

    Frankie Member

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    I don't think it's necessary for you to enlist unless you want to serve your country as an enlisted airmen for awhile. It will probably, at least, take a year or two until you can apply, get accepted (probably to the prep school), and then move onto the academy.


    Absolutely apply for a ROTC scholarship. Choose a major you're interested in pursuing and not one that you think will improve your chances of getting a scholarship. One thing about those ROTC contracts is retaining a certain GPA and if you choose a major you hate and do poorly (grade wise) then you can kiss that scholarship goodbye.

    If I were you, I would apply to schools that are local/In-State with an AFROTC detachment. The services also look on the cost of tuition for schools. The AFROTC in School X is not going to prepare you less for the Air Force than School Y.


    The best way to tell what your chances would be is to look at the class profile for the AFA and if possible the stats on AFROTC scholarship recipients.
     
  4. EchoSierra

    EchoSierra Member

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    Thanks so much! I'll definitely apply for a ROTC scholarship. Any tips on what to do? When I go in for the interview, should I mention at all that I actually want to go to the Academy?
     
  5. Frankie

    Frankie Member

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    I wouldn't mention it unless they ask you if you are.
     
  6. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Actually most CoCs understand that many cadets go ROTC as plan B.

    Also many AFA candidates will have their ALO submit their ROTC rec. They won't meet a CoC unless they opt to. Our DS interviewed only with his ALO for his AFROTC scholarship.

    Our DS was upfront when he visited the det. He had his AFROTC scholarship in hand and was waiting to hear from the AFA. This was 1 month before the AF# closed their applications. DS told the CoC it was between this college or moving forward with AFA. The CoC stated that if in the fall he regretted attending ROTC he would support him as his number 1 for the AFA via the ROTC nom. In Sept. the CoC came to him and asked if he wanted to re-apply. DS said no, but appreciated and respected the CoC for remembering and offering him the support.
    ~ AT DSs det almost every year there was a cadet selected for the AFA.

    I also agree don't go enlisted unless you want to be an enlisted memberbecause that is not an easy path.

    Frankie is also incorrect regarding AFROTC. They DO NOT look at the cost for college. The scholarship for AFROTC is more about entering as a tech major vs. Non-tech. The scholarship is tied to the cadet and their major not their college unlike AROTC and NROTC.

    The OP needs to understand a few things that are different than the other scholarships.
    1. @80-85% of all scholarships are awarded to tech major.(sim. To NROTC)
    2. SAT/ACT are best sitting, not super score. Type 1 avg is over 31 ACT, and @1360 SAT. Type 7 is 28/1280.
    3. Although the letter states 4 year, it is only guaranteed for 2 years. This is due to SFT. If not selected for SFT, chances are they will disenroll you from AFROTC, thus revoke the scholarship.
    ~~~~ This is one big reason to apply IS because if disenrolled you will need to find the money to pay for college.
    ~~~~ It is also where Frankie is correct about gaming the system and GPAs. For AFROTC SFT selection for tech majors are @3.1. 1 semester at 2.8 will allow you to retain your scholarship, but SFT selection chances are going to decrease tremendously. The board meets Feb sophomore year, that means you have only 2 semesters to get to that 3.1 after getting 1 at 2.8, in math terms you will need to avg @3.3 for the other two semesters to hit that 3.1 mark.
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2014
  7. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I was thinking about one more important tidbit.

    Many posters think of ROTC as plan B, and I believe many assume that their chances of getting a scholarship are higher than getting an appointment. This is a fallacy for at least AFROTC.
    ~ Statistically the % of getting a congrat letter is the exact same...@18%. I believe those are the same odds or close to it for A/NROTC too.

    The difference comes down to a couple of factors for why some get the BFE from the AFA and a At thus time we regret to inform you from AFROTC.

    1. AFROTC is a national pool. AFA is geo-centric. A candidate from Timbucktoo will be slated with 9 other candidates from there. an AFROTC candidate competes against everyone in the country.
    2. AFROTC does not consider anything in your ECs after your junior year, nor your academic curriculum of your senior year. The only thing accepted senior year is your SAT/ACT. Again, if you are only taking APs senior year and you could have taken them your junior year, it is not going to matter to them.

    If you are looking at this as a way to pay for college, statistically look for plan C. Type 1 scholarships are only 5% of all scholarships or about 50, yes 50 nationally. 2-3 for non-tech.
    Type 2 which they pay 18k a yr are awarded to less than 150 kids. The remainder get a 7, and in numbers it is around 750. OBTW also AFROTC scholarships only cover tuition. Granted most scholarship recipients are merit recipients via their college, but still it is only 1 part of an ever increasing cost.

    All in all on a national perspective AFROTC offers approx. 400 less scholarships than the AFA offers appointments.
    ~ AFROTC and AFA boards do not talk. IOWS AFROTC does not know if candidate Smith is applying for AFA or has an appointment to AFA when they decide, vise a verse AFA does not know about AFROTC. Hence many can have both, one or none.
     
  8. EchoSierra

    EchoSierra Member

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    Pima, thank you so much for all the good information! I'll definitely take that into consideration. It's good to know that it should be fine if I'm open about ROTC being a Plan B. I didn't know that it was just as competitive as USAFA-yikes! Thanks for the heads up. I'll definitely give it my all to get in. By tech major, do you mean majors in the STEM fields? I plan on going into either Biology or Physics (Astrophysics?), maybe Astronautical Engineering. Would any of those be under tech majors?

    If I were to apply for an AFROTC scholarship, how soon should I start? This coming school year I will be a Junior. Is the application process like the one for the Academy, starting pretty early, despite no need for a nomination?

    Again, thank you all very much!
     
  9. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    If my memory serves me correctly the AFA PCQ opens up in March, and the AFROTC scholarship opens up @May/June.

    Right now study for the SAT and the ACT. Take the PSAT this fall.
    1. PSAT is the only way to become a National Merit candidate.
    ~~~ This sends a large sign to every college and both the AFA/AFROTC boards that academically you are competitive.
    ~~~~~~ It also will make you competitive for SLS at the AFA as a rising senior. Look on the AFA threads regarding this issue. I believe they open those applcations in Dec/Jan junior year.

    The NMSF/NMF can be placed under awards in your resume. It will also help for MOC nominations.

    2. You will not need a nom., but like the AFA and the ALO rec, you will need a rec from either the ALO or an AFROTC PMS (typically a CoC) to be boarded, thus start as soon as it opens.

    3. Again start it early. Unlike AFA, this is all about you. There is no MOC charging factor. Our DS got his congrats scholarship Dec. 23rd, first board results. Hence why he was able to make his final decision a month before the AFA closed their board, and pull his application. For him, he was given a free ride between his college merit and AFROTC, plus he wanted to go non.tech. If ypou follow me, you know my DS is a C130 pilot....if you think that the AFA or engineering gives you an edge for fighters you are wrong. The top two out of his class (22/15E) were not AFA. Fencers DS will be at Dyess flying 130s with my DS.

    4. I am not sure if Biology is tech. The others are. Beware some engineering majors get classified as critical manning and they may decide not to release you for UPT.

    5. If you know you have holes in your resume shore them up. They want the WHOLE Candidate, hence the WCS. They don't want just a book smart kid that is the valedictorian with no outside life. they will take the top 5% kid that was the NHS President, Swim Team Captain while working at Target part time for the past two years.
    ~ You might not see it in the post, but what this also says to them is long term commitment and the ability to juggle academics and other things. You don't become the team captain after only being on the team for a year unless you are gifted. Working at Target is no great shakes, but it shows commitment.
    ~~~ Honestly, I don't know your prior academic record {PAR), but I know you will already be dealing with medical issues from DoDMERB, and as a rising senior applying for colleges, writing MOC essays, filling out AFROTC scholarships, interviewing and DoDMERB exams, plus SAT/ACT exams and college visits your senior year can be filled every minute, getting the medical issue cleared up now can help you alot next year.

    AFA and AFROTC do have one thing in common for the application process. They will want your school profile. They do this to level the playing field. For example, if you can't take an AP until your senior year due to your school system, than they won't hold it against you. If your cgpa is 3.68 and rank 20%, but 40% go Ivy they are going to acknowledge that your school is tough on grading.

    There is a lot of finesse in this and that is also why posters never like to chance a poster.
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2014
  10. EchoSierra

    EchoSierra Member

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    I wouldn't say I'm confident in the EC section of my résumé (I've seen way too many people on here with stellar records looking for chances) but I do have ample evidence of commitment and leadership: Robotics for 7 years, 2 as Team Captain and 1 as Assistant Coach; Mentor to my school's robotics team; Hopefully (getting it approved as we speak) founder and captain of my school's first physical activity extracurricular; Kiwanis club; 150 and counting hrs of volunteer time at the National Museum of the United States Air Force, I could go on. I'm always on the lookout for ideas on how to improve my résumé (especially since my school doesn't allow an athletics department and my parents don't support me playing sports, which makes me nervous for the sports requirement). Currently I believe the two huge chinks in my armour are SAT and ACT scores (hopefully they will improve with time, since I haven't even begun the second half of my high school career) and sports. As I mentioned, I'm working with my school to establish a sports club--not only for my application, but also because I really like sports darnit--so I'm sizing up my chances right now with what I have currently and trying to decide what I need to add.

    One thing that did have me worried, if I could ask: I found out about CAP just this year, and I promptly joined. It took my squadron until May to get me all set up, but now I'm ranking up very fast and being very active in the squadron. Will my experience count against me on my application, because it may actually look like I joined it last-minute in a search for ECs and am not really committed?
     
  11. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Our DS was not in CAP nor AFJROTC that was offered a his HS. He got all 3 MOC noms and the scholarship. Not one in AFJROTC or CAP got either. The only other to get a scholarship and noms was also not in AFJROTC. There were 7 AFJROTC cadets that applied. Joining now is not going to hurt unless your grades drop or your course rigor takes a hit.

    ~ I am not trying to slam either organization, but your PAR is 60% of the WCS. ECs fall into the 20% category, and even than it is only a portion of the 20%.
    ~~ The JROTC cadets forgot that it is national, and PAR is 60%. While they were in JROTC, my DS was taking another AP course. His course rigor mattered. APENG or APLIT helped him more on his SAT than JROTC.

    I am really not trying to slam the program. I am only saying at some schools that have a block system, it can hurt their PAR. It is something to think about especially when it comes down to class rank, cgpa, etc.

    Again it is called WCS for a specific reason. Both AFROTC and the AFA want to see you can juggle every aspect of your life. Social, academic, sports, leadership and volunteering at a high level. The flipside is this when from an EC perspective it can be the make or break point by being in an organization like JROTC or CAP.

    If you know right now that your SAT/ACT scores are low, time to take a time out of robotics and study the SAT/ACT. Take it as often as you can afford to do so. Nothng infuriates me more than a poster saying I got an XYZ on my SAT in april...I know a low score, but I plan to take it again in the fall. Guess what? you are behind the 8 ball because that low score at best means reboarding and the pot of ROTC scholarship money is limited. At worst the we regret letter can come right off the bat.


    As for sports my DS did not do HS sports. He competed nationally for TKD. Was a state champ USA medalist and jr. olympic medalist. He also was a lifeguard. It was his part time job. He had 23 saves. Everyone, including the MOCs took lifeguarding as an athletic check mark. He also was the YMCA's senior lifeguard out of 17, and they took that as leadership.
    ~ You can fill your athletic square without doing a HS sport or paying for a sport. Remember there are many home schooled candidates. Think outside the box.
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2014
  12. a400831

    a400831 Member

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    I was exactly where you were 4 years ago. I was applying to the Academy, and also going for an AFROTC scholarship as a plan B. I was also very active in CAP. Before I say anything else, CAP is a fantastic program and I learned so much through it. That being said... To the academy and AFROTC it's only a small check box. Does it help? Sure. Does it count for a lot? Not really. If you have to choose between being super active in CAP or taking a heavier class load/sports, I would choose the academics or sports. As Pima said, it's the whole person concept they are looking for.

    One more thing... I understand you really want to go to the Academy. I was there. I applied first year, didn't get in. I was simultaneously going for an AFROTC scholarship. Didn't get it. Joined AFROTC and applied to the academy for a second time. Didn't get it. Was put up for an AFROTC In-College Scholarship freshman year. Did not receive it.

    Why am I saying this? Your goal shouldn't be the Academy or a scholarship. Your goal needs to be becoming an officer in the USAF. USAFA and scholarships are means to an end, not the end in itself.

    From a pure numbers standpoint, the odds are not in your favor for USAFA or a scholarship. But that's ok. The best advice I can give you for become an officer is don't take no for an answer. I heard a loud "NO" from the Air Force 4 times. But eventually I got a lot of "YES". I eventually got a type 2 commanders scholarship, got accepted into field training, and got my pilot slot. I'll be commissioning in May. I'm not the smartest, fastest, or most charismatic... I'm just really stubborn. Hard work will beat talent every time. Best of luck in your application, and keep pushing!

    TL;DR: CAP is a small part of the application, USAFA and ROTC not the end goal commissioning is, don't take any no for an answer, good luck.
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2014
  13. beti berlian

    beti berlian Member

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  14. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    Why are you posting the Thumbs Up on several posts.
     
  15. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    My guess is to get to the 10 post min to PM anyone

    beti,

    If I am correct in my assumption there is an easier way. Just hit bump on the thread that you want 9 times.

    Otherwise you will be considered a TROLL and we will ignore you from here out at the very least, but most likely will report you to the mods and have you banned. IOWS: Speak now or forever hold your peace.
     

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