Please don't pin your hopes on NROTC or any others...

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by kmaidaho, Jan 15, 2011.

  1. kmaidaho

    kmaidaho Member

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    I REALLY don't want to be a downer or discourage anyone here, but I want to encourage all of you who are waiting to hear on ROTC scholarships to apply for every other non-military scholarship out there. The funding is diminishing AND more people are staying in these programs. The result is fewer scholarships being awarded.

    We learned this the hard way last year when DS was hoping for an appointment to USNA. NROTC was plan B. He was an outstanding candidate, but was dropped by both...in APRIL! By then it was too late to apply for the "normal" scholarships. So here he was at the top of his class and "all that" with basically nothing for college.

    He ended up going to a university near here that awarded him about $4000 just based on his academics. Hated the thought of going there, but we had no alternative. He joined NROTC and after looking at his records,the first question asked of him was "Why aren't you on scholarship?" He's worked his tail off first semester...had a billet within the first two weeks of school, served on a disciplinary review board, top PT award, etc. AND a 4.0 student at the end of the first semester. Again, a scholarship was supposed to be on the way and we wait. Last report AGAIN is that the funding is very low and he may not get it...again!

    On the plus side, he loves it and I never thought I'd see that after the disappointment of not getting in to USNA last year.

    So please...don't put all of your eggs in the Navy basket if you are serious about college. It's slim pickin's!
     
  2. aglages

    aglages Parent

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    Let me re-word this so that it isn't such a downer.
    I want to encourage all of you who are ROTC applicants and unable to afford the college of your choice to apply for all available scholarships from every possible source. Competition for ROTC (and probably most non-ROTC) scholarships is becoming very intense and should not be counted on as a source of college funding until you have actually received one. Furthermore consider carefully how you will pay for school if for some reason (such as medically) you lose your ROTC scholarship while you are already attending school.

    ROTC scholarships can be fantastic opportunities with excellent benefits for those people that choose to enroll for the "right" reasons but no applicant should feel confident of receiving a scholarship until they have actually received the award.

    Good Luck to all of you!:thumb:
     
  3. patentesq

    patentesq Parent

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    kmaidaho: I am SO HAPPY that you posted this! I want to recount my own horror story, not to intimate that anyone on the ROTC boards is incompetent, but rather to make clear that "Stuff Happens" in life that has absolutely NO bearing on the quality of the applicant and is completely outside of his or her control. These kids are applying for VERY competitive things, and -- love it or hate it -- so much is placed in the hands of God and destiny. That is why I will always encourage any student to apply for EVERYTHING (as you do) -- this includes SAs, ROTC Scholarships (from ALL branches), non-military scholarships at the college to which they are applying, FINANCIAL AID, as well as the small $500 scholarship from the local orthodontist who installed braces on your DS back when he was 14 years old. Here is my story.

    When I was in law school after military service, I applied for a position on the law review (a coveted spot for law school students). A huge number of students competed but only 10 were ultimately going to be selected. After all of the applications were in, a secretary deep in the bowels of the law school without any participation in the selection board, received a rank-ordered list of applicants from the selection board. The secretary apparently had a brain-freeze, however, and inadvertently generated a list through her computer that, at the end of the day, listed the lowest-scoring applicants at the top and the highest-scoring applicants at the bottom! Needless to say, only the 10 lowest-scoring applicants ultimately received offer letters, and the rest were left out in the cold. I was the one who suggested that something was amiss, because none of the top candidates were selected, and I urged the law school to investigate and make sure there wasn't an error (I almost didn't do that, because I didn't want to sound "whiney"). The result of this was that the law school then learned of the error, re-ordered the ranking list, and extended offers to the top 10 candidates as it should have been. I was on that list! Because of this error, the law school did not withdraw the offers that had been inadvertently extended, so we had double the number of accepted law review members that year. The lives of 10 individuals in my law school were forever changed because of a simple clerical mistake.

    It was this life lesson that has driven me as I try to convey advice to my DS in this process. For example, a student may have his or her heart set on getting an appointment to USMA but -- because the MOC wants to "spread the wealth" of nominations to his or her constituents -- a staff member in the MOC's office generates a list of candidates and arbitrarily awards a nom to, say, USNA or USAFA. The student, then, has his or her destiny set for attending the SA that wasn't on the top of their list initiatlly. But then he or she does a great job in the Navy or Air Force and ultimately becomes the Chief of Staff of that service, and things work out and our country benefits.

    The errors in the NROTC Bulletin have me a bit concerned. Someone at NROTC apparently believes that it is possible for a student to obtain an ACT composite score of 49, when the max score is 36. All it takes is a secretary in the bowels of the Navy to receive my DS's application, observe that he has an ACT composite score of 34 (top 1% in the nation!), then check that score againt the Navy's edict that the candidate must have an ACT Composite Score of 49, and he is OFF the list and his name is never forwarded to the board for consideration!! I hope someone in NROTC reads this post before it is too late.

    I don't want to fault anyone, but the one life lesson that I have learned over the years as a parent, is that everything happens for a reason. If it was not the destiny of my DS to serve in the Navy, then that is not his destiny. We have the silent hand of God at play here as well. I am not an overly religious person, but I don't think anyone can argue that "chance" has no role to play here.

    Even if my DS is lucky to receive an appointment to USMA, we are still going to fill out Financial Aid forms and apply for non-military scholarships, etc., because so much can happen between the day the appointment is offered to the day he is instructed to report for R-Day. All it takes is a simple car accident caused by an inattentive driver, and my DS is INSTANTLY medically disqualified from entering military service

    I think anyone who suggests putting all of their eggs in one basket is not providing the soundest of advice to their DS or DD.

    Go ahead, Pima, flame away!!!!!:wink:
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2011
  4. aglages

    aglages Parent

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    Just to play "devil's advocate": If your son is removed with a 34 ACT wouldn't all the other candidates also be removed with scores of 36 or below....in other words ALL the candidates? At least the secretary from the law school had 10 names to submit (despite being wrong), how long before the NROTC secretary "in the bowels of the Navy" realizes that NO one is qualified?

    I think people are making a bigger issue out of what is probably a typo than needs to be made. I am not suggesting by any means that the NROTC application process is perfect (or even close to it) but I am sure they have this little glitch corrected internally or no one would receive a NROTC scholarship.

    Good Luck to you and your son!:thumb:
     
  5. patentesq

    patentesq Parent

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    Not necessarily so. NROTC receives so many applications and the packets are sorted out by multiple staff personnel. If there is a typo and if 99% of the staffers already "got the word" about this, what about the staffer that just joined, say, last Thursday and read the bulletin yesterday for the first time?

    Again, I don't want to suggest that the Navy doesn't know what it is doing -- it does! What I was simply trying to point out is that the system isn't perfect, and "Stuff Happens." Applicants should not place all of their eggs in one basket.

    On my DS's NROTC application, the Navy converted his ACT score to an SAT score and gave him an SAT score of 1570 (out of 1600), so at least I know that even if there is an error on the ACT side of things, any staff person will see the 1570 SAT score and forward his name to the board for review. At least I hope that's what happens.

    The random nature of the MOC nomination process for SAs, however, is something that should be improved. It is completely out of the control of the candidate. That is why the SAs urge candidates to apply for noms from every source AT THE SAME TIME (congressman, senators, and the vice president). I totally understand that every kid from every state should have an equal opportunity for an appointment. But some kids are getting 3 noms for, say, USAFA when they really wanted a USMA nom. Other kids from the SAME congressional district are getting 3 noms for, say, USMA when they really wanted a USAFA nom. The system is flawed.

    If I am ever elected to Congress, one of the first pieces of legislation that I would introduce is to make this process fairer -- and faithful to the noble objectives of ensuring that our SAs represent America while removing duplicity in the process. Perhaps we should have a system where the Representatives have to choose their noms by, say, October. Senators then have to choose by December. And the Vice President has to choose by February. As kids get noms from the Reps., they are automatically taken off the list for the Senator nom candidates, and so on. This way, we don't have kids with 3 noms to a particular SA. Just a thought.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2011
  6. aglages

    aglages Parent

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    While I understand that we are discussing a hypothetical situation, it is difficult for me to accept a possible scenario where last Thursday the Navy hired a secretary and then, without adequate training, had her "evaluate" NROTC applicants based on criteria in some outdated bulletin AND s/he wasn't sharp enough to notice that EVERY one failed to meet the ACT criteria.

    I understand and agree with your points about how "Stuff Happens" but again I think this NROTC bulletin error is minor and not something that candidates should worry about happening to their applications. Just my opinion...:wink:
     
  7. USAF52

    USAF52 Member

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    I agree wholeheartedly with the concept of applying for all possible education sources (academies, colleges with ROTC, without ROTC, etc.) as well as scholarships. My son hopes to go to the AFA (still waiting to hear), has Tier 1 scholarship from AFROTC with scholarship $ from his #1 college also, but we highly encouraged (OK, basically forced :shake:) him to apply for other colleges/scholarships in the event something happens to him between now and the summer when he reports and he no longer meets the medical criteria for whatever reason (broken back from a car accident etc.) for AFA and AFROTC. He just finished applying for the honors scholarship from a large state school he's been accepted at (#3 backup), is working on scholarship apps from my husband's company, my work, etc. Like I told him, even if you do go to the AFA and your schooling is paid for, you still will have to buy books, a computer, uniform, get haircuts, etc. etc. The money you earn from scholarships will be used to pay for some sort of college-related expense, even if its not the tuition. Who knows how much he'll actually get from these outside sources, but at least he's tried.
     
  8. Texasblues

    Texasblues Member

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    I like that!:smile:
     
  9. FloridaDad

    FloridaDad Member

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    Seems to me that parents seem to over fascinate on academic scores, which isn't all the military are looking at. We live amongst several high ranking officers from all three branches and the majority don't come across as being close to genius.

    Very few of the highly graded kids at my DS's school wouldn't be able to command the respect of enlisted men because they are basically class geeks.

    Just saying :wink:
     
  10. P-Flying17

    P-Flying17 Member

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    Some of these posts make me laugh, that being said some are well put and great information. It is normally not the statement that makes me smile, it is that I can just imagine the personality behind them and how great it must be from some of you.

    I love this one. Well put.

    I agree that you should always have a back up plan. Not that all are not qualified, but some are seriously the most amazing kids you would ever want to meet. Homeless kids, who still managed to take IB classes and play football, or kids where both parents died their sophomore year that still pull A's in AP Calculus. Kids that are now responsible for 6 brothers and sisters. Kids that want the Navy so bad, that if they don't get a scholarship, they are going to enlist or join the college program. They don't care about the money, they care about the service to their country. The word competetive is honestly an understatement.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2011
  11. patentesq

    patentesq Parent

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    So true!!! I've worked arm-and-arm with many an Ivy-Leaguer that couldn't lead a horse to water!! That's why officers are so marketable in the civilian world (including the professional and business schools) after their service obligation time is complete.

    I don't think Albert Einstein would have made a very good Infantry platoon leader and lead troops into combat! To his credit, though, he did find his niche.
     
  12. FloridaDad

    FloridaDad Member

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    Don't get me wrong academics are important but they are not the be all and end all in the military.
     
  13. patentesq

    patentesq Parent

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    FloridaDad: Just curious. With all his smarts and all, do you suppose the Army would have granted Einstein a waiver from the requirement of getting a haircut? They did, after all, permit George Washington to wear a pony-tail!:smile:
     
  14. FloridaDad

    FloridaDad Member

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    :shake:

    Well he would probably be a bit of a loaner, and not a natural leader so he would get a nay!

    I would prefer it if the military short listed kids through the process and sent them to weekend camps to observe them interacting with others. Team building exercises and getting up at 4:45am sorts out the men for the boys (and women form the girls of course)
     
  15. breadcrumbs

    breadcrumbs Member

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    :frown: Now this just makes me want to cry, the fortitude and perseverance coupled with desire to serve is astounding. Yes, our kiddo wants *it* that bad as well, but has no such obstacles. Thank you P-F17 for the humbling reality check, seriously.
     
  16. gojack

    gojack ....

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    This thread has taken on a bit of a anti-intellectual bent,
    which I think is inaccurate (one can be a scholar w/out being an egg-headed geek)

    - look at General David Petraeus in high school and college as
    an example of idea Army officer material (leadership, star athlete, scholar)


    -he got up every morning early to deliver the newspaper.

    -He diligently tended to his lessons in school.
    His old friends remember a boy who kept meticulous notebooks, and who followed instructions.

    -Polite, articulate, charming — spit and polished at the age of 17

    -"David was always well groomed, one of the guys who had the right personality,"

    - "He was always on time, always had his homework done, always had a smile."

    -A flip through the general's high school yearbook reads like a U.S. Military Academy admissions brochure:
    President of the ski club; striker on the 1969 championship soccer team; National Honor Society scholar;
    actor; French club; Youth in Government; newspaper.

    -Goals scored as member of the Dragons' 1969 championship soccer team: 7; assists 1

    -West Point, where he graduated in the top 5% of his class

    -In his West Point yearbook four years later, Petraeus was remembered as
    "always going for it in sports, academics, leadership, and even his social life."
    (Dated/married West Point's Commandant's daughter)

    -Petraeus is seen as one of the Army's premier intellectuals, with a doctorate from Princeton to bookend his West Point education.


    Link LINK
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2011
  17. patentesq

    patentesq Parent

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    Excellent post, gojack. Let me try to steer us back to kmaidaho's original post.

    kmaidaho's point about applying everywhere and to non-military scholarships is really important.

    My own philosophy is that life is ALL about walking through open doors. Some doors will open for an individual at a given moment in time, and some doors won't. But if you don't knock on the door, it won't open!

    The one thing that I think is common to everyone on this board is that they love our great country, they are willing to put others ahead of themselves, and they are ambitious. These are precisely the types of folks who all would make excellent officers.

    The only other thing that I would offer to those who are applying for ROTC scholarships is don't fret if you're not selected. When I applied for a 4yr Army ROTC Scholarship in high school, I was NOT selected. I did not let this deter me and joined AROTC in college and was fortunately picked up on a 3yr scholarship. Granted, these were the days of Ronald Reagan when there was a MASSIVE build-up of our armed forces and scholarships were handed out like candy. Today, the landscape is totally different, and love it or hate it, scholastics are an important measure for distinguishing between candidates on a national level. Colleges do it all the time, and so do the armed services. I am certain that if I had to compete for a 3yr AROTC scholarship today, I would NOT be selected.

    When I entered the Army as a Second Lieutenant and reported to the Infantry Officer Basic Course in Ft. Benning, Georgia, NOBODY cared if you were an AROTC Scholarship student. NOBODY cared if you were a USMA graduate. The only thing that mattered was PERFORMANCE. Once you get a commission, there is no ribbon on your chest signifying that you are a "Former Scholarship Student". Certainly, none of my soldiers ever asked me if I was a scholarship student. Even within my AROTC unit itself there was nothing to distinguish between scholarship cadets and non-scholarship cadets. In fact, I don't think I ever knew who was on scholarship and who wasn't. I never asked because it wasn't an issue that was important among the cadets in the battalion (parents, though, tend to be MUCH more elated by the award of a scholarship than their kids are!).

    So back to kmaidaho's main point: My advice is that students should apply to everything they can, and let opportunities lead them to their niche in life. Albert Einstein did this, as did many other great and historic Americans. So did General Petraeus.

    One of the AROTC graduates from my college ultimately became the U.S. Army Chief of Staff (4-Star General, the Army's highest rank possible). I don't believe that he was an AROTC scholarship student.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2011
  18. FloridaDad

    FloridaDad Member

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    You certainly can't pin all your hopes on something you have no control over. My DS are lucky enough to have two scholarships that will be worth more than an in-State ROTC scholarship. One added benefit of missing out on the ROTC would be far fewer classes and more time to concentrate on his major.
     
  19. Ohio2015Parent

    Ohio2015Parent Member

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    Agreed! DS has more merit money than AROTC...if it were only about the financial side of college education he would be better off not to participate - but unfortunately he is a true servant leader and sees no better place than the United States Army to continue this role. Mom wishes he'd pick a nice civillian career (law, medicine - anything) but he wishes to serve. I can only hope he gains the experiences he desires and comes out ARMY STRONG:smile:
    Just my 2 cents....
     
  20. FloridaDad

    FloridaDad Member

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    If you don't need the scholarship it might be better to get a degree and do OCS later. 17/18 is very young to decide on your long term future so at least the kids get an extra four years to think about their careers. They would also have the option of doing post grad courses prior to commissioning, which will help them get promoted once in the military.
     

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