Please Help! USMA ROTC, need guidance on situation!

Discussion in 'Military Academy - USMA' started by MindofIM1722, Mar 11, 2015.

  1. MindofIM1722

    MindofIM1722 New Member

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    Hello all,

    I am currently a junior in high school and at the beginning of this year I developed a very strong desire to attend West Point. However, I have some relatively large pitfalls I need to overcome and I need some help in achieving these objectives. My dream is to become a military intelligence offer and/or pilot and becoming an officer is typically the only way to become such.

    As far as my high school career is concerned, it has really been a bit of a dichotomy. In 9th grade I elected to enroll in cyber school. I did so because it was always something I'd wanted to try, and it turned out to be a mistake. The home environment was just not a conducive learning environment for me and I achieved very less than stellar grades. My overall GPA was about a 76, yikes! That is no excuse and I realize that this was my fault. However, I enrolled back into public school in my sophomore year, bringing my GPA all the way back to a 91. The only class I struggled with was Geometry, in which I got a C. Now as a junior, I have taken some of the most academically rigorous courses my school has to offer, they include: AP US History and Advanced Biology 2. My GPA as a junior is a 97 and has remained so throughout the entire year. I have had no grades lower than an 85. For my senior year I was recommended for and will be taking even more rigorous courses such as AP Physics, AP Biology, and AP English. How will the admissions board at USMA and Army ROTC boards look at this upward curve in my grades?

    In regards to the SATs, I took them in February of this year and plan to retake them in May. I scored a 460 on the Math section (not great), a 570 on the Critical Reading, and a 540 on the writing section. I know they all need improvement and I'm striving towards getting at least a 580 on all of them. Math is my weakest subject, but I know I will improve my scores in that section. I am not stupid, or lazy, etc. I'm actually a very ambitious person who made some relatively poor academic decisions. I'll do anything it takes to make myself look competitive to both the USMA and ROTC boards. What types of SAT scores will make me a bit more competitive for USMA and Army ROTC?

    As far as extracurricular activities, I'm very involved. I play football and run track. However, I currently have not won a varsity letter. Hopefully that all changes this spring for track. As a freshman, I won my head coaches award; being recognized for my ability "to be taught and be led, while teaching and leading others." I'm not sure how that can figure into my application, but I hope it can. I am in speech and debate, FBLA, Key Club, Big Brothers/Big Brothers Big Sisters, and a Bible study leader at my church. My math teacher this year recommended me for the Keystone Boys State Conference, so hopefully I get accepted to that as well. I also plan on running for senior class vice president. What other extracurricular activities will help me look better?

    Now, I know my chances right now and even on my first application to USMA and for the 4 year ROTC scholarship are slim to none. How well would it look if I applied again to USMA as a freshman in college, as part of ROTC? If I performed well academically and within the corps of ROTC would that make me a more competitive candidate? Even if not, what are my prospects for getting even a 2 or 3 year ROTC scholarship? Please help me out with this situation, with some guidance and practical advice that can help me in my objectives. It is my dream to become an Army officer and attend USMA. I want to do this because I want to be part of something bigger than myself. I see my other high school counterparts and their aspirations for after high school and how selfish they generally are. I don't want that for myself, I want to lead while serving others, all while realizing I'm only a small part of a big picture. Please anyone who has been in a similar situation, please help out with any guidance on my path I would really appreciate it!

    God Bless America and Go Army!
     
  2. frenzymando

    frenzymando Banned

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    West Point will look at your class rank and the difficulty of the courses you have taken. I'm also a junior and I also struggled my freshman year.

    It might be a stretch, but I would try to get your SAT scores into at least the mid 600s. You don't have to be "smart" to do well on the SAT, you simply have to study. I spent probably around 100 hours over the course of 3 months studying for the PSAT in hopes of achieving a score high enough to qualify for national merit; when I started studying I was consistently getting mid 170s, well below the 210 usually needed in my state to qualify for national merit. When I finally took the PSAT I got a 211. My score jumped 40 points and all I did was take practice tests(half the test is about pacing yourself, and the more practice you do the better you will be at pacing yourself), go over the answers(if you miss a question, or even if you got one right but you weren't positive when you answered it that you got it right, look at the answer explanation and figure out what error you made), LEARN THE MATH FORMULAS(I literally got to a point where I was shocked whenever I missed a math question), and learn vocab words(this was a weakness for me, if you have a weakness you can't simply accept it, you have to try and improve). ANYONE can do this, even you, it just takes a little bit of work. Try the ACT too, in my opinion it is considerably easier, but to each his own.

    Boys State is a good EC and it only takes a week. National Honor Society is also good.

    Good Luck!
     
  3. lieutenantdan

    lieutenantdan Member

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    Bud you have a lot of work to do.
    I'm top 10% of my class with a 730 CR, 720 Math, and 660 writing. I'm a national merit scholar and have received the AP Scholar with Honors award from college board. I have 3 varsity letters and a decent amount of extracurriculars. All of this and I'm wait listed for USMA right now and probably won't get in.

    The acadamies and ROTC are competitive. Extremely competitive. I'm not saying all this to scare you, but you need to get going man. Your SAT needs to be stellar to make up for your freshman GPA. At least match mine, or get a tutor and do better.
     
  4. USMA2019

    USMA2019 Member

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    Hey, maybe you should consider taking the ACT, I took both tests and found that the ACT was way easier. For the SAT, I'm pretty sure if you become proficient with using your calculator, you could program it to take a majority of the test for you. For the critical reading you just need to practice reading analysis. Personally, I just think that you just have to get familiar with the test format because if you compare previous tests, the questions are fairly similar. You do need to bring up your scores in order to be deemed qualified, so maybe try signing up for the upcoming tests. For me I did extremely well on my standardized testing (except for PSAT); however, am currently struggling in my calculus class and will most likely earn another C in the class, but somehow I received an appointment on February 13 despite having turned in my completed application maybe less than a week beforehand and was found qualified 3 days before receiving my acceptance, so don't get discouraged anything can happen. In terms of extracurricular, shoot for getting leadership positions maybe in your speech and debate team. Also really work towards getting your letter in track.
    I also went through the ROTC scholarship process for both the Army and Marine and received both from the first board. I think the interviews for both were very important and they really emphasized different leadership positions, athletic achievements, being in NHS/ taking challenging courses,etc.
    Good Luck!
     
  5. mom3boys

    mom3boys Parent

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    Here are some of my thoughts:
    • You have a potentially great essay topic explaining how you made choices that turned your academic achievement around.
    • Your SAT is too low. You need to break 600 in math and CR. You might consider SAT prep classes. Also, as suggested, try ACT. Practice, practice, practice and study, study, study.
    • If you apply for the ROTC scholarship, you could be awarded a 4 year. Do not let this ship sail without you!
    • If you are not accepted, re-apply. My DS is in ROTC at a senior military college. He reapplied and was accepted for 2019. To do this, you must talk with the RC for your area, get his/her suggestions, and follow them to the letter.
    Good luck,
    Mom
     
  6. 845something

    845something Member

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    What in MI do you want to do? How much do you want to fly? I ask because the Army is unique from the other services/popular perception and becoming a commisioned officer may not be the right route for you.

    MI: Very few officers will ever do James Bond-like stuff and it usually comes in the mid to senior portion of their career. Most will never do collection, that is for the enlisted and warrant officers. As a MI officer, you can expect to be an analyst and lead the intelligence staff section (S-2). You may get the opportunity to be a platoon leader/company commander in a MI company at some point in your initial 5 years of required active service.

    AV: Most pilots are warrant officers. Some come straight from high school. Almost all fly helicopters. As an officer pilot you most likely will get the opportunity to fly, but you will have plenty of staff jobs as well where your time in the cockpit is limited. If you go warrant, you pretty much only fly.

    Aviation and MI are two of the most difficult branches to get out of West Point, usually you need to be in the top half to top quarter of there class to make the list. Further, aviation has increased medical requirements that are above entrance to West Point.

    In short, getting into the academy might not be the path you are really looking for. If your goal is to collect (MI) or fly, I highly recommend going to talk to the recruiter. You might like those options better. Plus, it gives you another route to apply to West Point if you decide later that you really want to become an officer.
     
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  7. MindofIM1722

    MindofIM1722 New Member

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    Civic845 thanks for this insight! I totally understand Intelligence is nothing like James Bond, I like MI because of my general investigative nature and analytical skills. Out of the two career choices I'm most fond of is definitely aviation. It's interesting you brought up warrant officers, my father was almost one several years ago for aviation! Being a warrant officer certainly sounds intriguing. Now, two things. Are warrant officers considered "officers" so to speak? I know they're not commissioned officers or second leuitenents, but are they still recognized as an Army officer? In addition to that, I really want to get a college degree. My parents would really like me to get one as well. It will do nothing but benefit me in the long run. I figure if I'm going to college, why not become an Army officer in the process or try for West Point. Can I still become a warrant officer with a degree? Can I become an aviator on a consistent base as a college graduate or West Point graduate? If not what path do you suggest I take?

    Thanks so much!
     
  8. civic29

    civic29 Member

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    845something is the one who made the comment


    2019 WestPoint class appointee

    Recipient of 4 year army rotc scholarship.
     
  9. -Bull-

    -Bull- Member

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    Just because you have a degree does it mean that you have to be an officer. There are enlisted soldiers with GEDs and many with some college, a bachelors, masters, or PhD. Don't discount the education level of the enlisted or warrant ranks, you will be in awe of some of their backgrounds. It sounds like you really are just focused on the title of officer. Focus on what you actually want to do, not the rank that comes with the job. Nobody is going to think less of you as a person for being enlisted or a warrant officer, and you shouldn't discount the opportunities on those sides of the house simply for the officer title.

    Do some actual research on the differences between the 3 paths and determine the best COA for you, and you alone. You'll find your answers about warrant officers, their commissions, and what they are recognized as.
     
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  10. payitforward

    payitforward Member

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    You can work to earn a commission without going to USMA and without receiving an ROTC scholarship.
     
  11. civic29

    civic29 Member

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    Most people change their minds and many times between now and college, heck you may find out that you really like tanks, infantry, etc. and want to branch something other than MI or aviation. I suggest compiling a list of pros and cons of each path and decide what's the best for you. You may even decide to do a civilian job.


    2019 WestPoint class appointee

    Recipient of 4 year army rotc scholarship.
     

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