Question from a Dad

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by NavyA6, Mar 30, 2011.

  1. NavyA6

    NavyA6 New Member

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    My son is in 8th grade and interested in Navy ROTC. I'm a 88 USNA grad who knows little about the ROTC process. My son is a good student and a good athlete but not great. We live in Northern VA and from what I've heard UVA is out of the question and even Va Tech is a stretch with a 3.8. So now I'm thinking about out of state... maybe Penn St or UNC. How competitive are the scholarships? Does he have to be in the top 5% of his class? Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks.
     
  2. bjkuds

    bjkuds Parent

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    Va tech and PSU are both a good reach with 3.8. DS looked at both closely. SATS or ACTS, GPA, leadership responsibility extra curricular activities all play a role in ROTC. DS was qualified and only played 2 years of Baseball. Church Leadership, class officer, clubs, volunteering in community even part time jobs make up for the non jock. He just has to be in shape and be able to run. The scholarships are very competitive. The interview is also a factor. DS did great but I know his SATS were his weakness and they were probably his deciding factor for the TWE. Also they want technical majors. Engineers etc get the highest number of scholarships. Also make sure he gets some AP classes, higher math and science. Physics, Calculus etc.
     
  3. Ohio2015Parent

    Ohio2015Parent Member

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    Varsity sports letters.
     
  4. LTLONGAGO

    LTLONGAGO Member

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    We are from Northern VA too and have a senior who is now trying to decide which college to attend. While he is not going Ivy League, he has some top options.

    It was very stressful until now, because we have listened to how competitive everything is for years. But, because we did good research and visited lots of schools, it has turned out fine - and he is not a recruited athlete, not in the Top 10% of his class, not a musician, not a minority, not a National Merit Scholar, does not have amazing leadership positions - But, he is a great kid, did varsity sports, and he does have a father and mother who were in the Navy.

    The other two posters so far have given good advice about NROTC. My advice is do everything for NROTC or the Naval Academy as early as possible, and guide your child through the process to make sure that everything gets done properly. My son did his NROTC application in early July, and got the scholarship in Oct. (He also did USNA early, and got a few nominations, but has not heard, so it's looking dubious.) NROTC did want 85% of scholarship recipients to be technical majors this year.

    Then, apply Early Action in Oct and Nov to the colleges that offer it, so your son can get feedback in Dec or Jan. VA Tech favors kids with ROTC scholarships in hand, so a 3.8 there was definitely fine this year for those in the Corps of Cadets. UNC was quite competitive for kids from out of state this year, but Penn State, GA Tech, South Carolina, and others seemed to like our kids. UVA and William & Mary do seem to like the Top 10% at our high school, but there have been exceptions. My son wanted to go somewhere warm and different, so he only applied to out-of-state and private colleges.

    Have your son take the SAT several times, and get a tutor if there are sections that challenge him more than others - Those scores do matter. As time gets closer, purchase a few books (like US News & World Report and/or Princeton Review of their Top 371 Colleges) so you can review the admissions statistics and other brief information about lots of colleges at a glance. Those were helpful to us, but then visiting was even better. He was going to apply to several colleges, until we went to the campuses.

    Good luck! Your son still has several years to shine and develop his "resume," so don't come to conclusions about where he will and won't be able to get into college too early!
     
  5. pennak

    pennak Member

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    Scholarships are very competitive. My DS had 1400 sat 4.0 weighted gap eagle scout and marine pft of 241 ( first class) and still failed to get into usna or a mo ROTC scholarship. shoot for the early boards. Get the grades up. Sat very key do lots of ECs that demonstrate leadership eg eagle scout team capt Check out the smcs especially vmi since you are in VA My DS is going to a smc this coming fall. Got in everywhere else so he has a choice. and get into really good shape
     
  6. larry2013

    larry2013 Member

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    another veteran parent --- echo LTLONGAGO - we too are in northern virginia - non minority, but had atheltics, scores (take ACT too), well in top 20% school didnt rank, had heart set on usna, waitlisted, but back up was VMI - we are navy family, multi generational, would not consider any other service.
    Son did NROTC app late summer and usna - got nrotc in november of senior year. He only had VMI has HIS backup - so didnt really matter outcome other 4 schools - when usna didnt work, he took VMI - reapplied, with mech eng, deans list, blah - still only waitlisted the next year (odds are really so small second time - as college freshman - yes good amount comes with some college, but real misleading - 260+ come from naps, then foundation has another 60-80 - so whiddle down best guess is about 45-60 tops come with 1 yr of college - our assessment, but believe its closer than just looking at usna stats)
    Son really had chosen vmi before final word, i think. As he told me, what he was looking for he found, just not where he expected to.
    My son is almost finished with 2nd year - still a mech eng major- was the perfect fit, made rank, really wanted the honor code - so all my rambling - VMI should be considered (current Supt, Gen Peay, is working to obtain gain 75% commission rate from graduation) - the nrotc scholarships have always been weighted toward core majors - engineering, sciences, math, etc. So hopefully your son's interest are in that direction if he continues to be interested in nrotc as path to commissioning.
    Who knows where the focus will be in 4 yrs, or budgets - so it may be a very different picture -
    good luck with the journey - you can NOT start too early, or consider too many possibilities - my son had tunnel vision, so we never traveled around -
    if your son isnt intersted in military enironment, i apologize for rambling reply - if he wants a commission, with current talk of reduction in force, budgets cts, etc I do believe that at least participating in nrotc, even without the scholarship, will be helpful to gain commission.
     
  7. NavyA6

    NavyA6 New Member

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    You all have provided great information. Thank you for taking the time to respond to my question. It truly is unbelievable how much information is on this forum and how freely it is exchanged.
    It sounds like the process for NROTC is just as involved and confusing as my experience with Navy over 20 years ago. Still a big mystery in some ways. My son actually is not interested in Navy or VMI. I'm glad that he has been honest with me and hasn't tried to do something just to make me happy. Although he is motivated to serve, I think a more traditional college experience would be a better fit. Does a lack of a USNA application have a negative influence on a scholarship? Do they look at it as a lack of motivation?
    Thanks for the replies from those of you from N. VA. The great kids that I meet with what seems like a "complete package" who still don't get into UVA or VT is disappointing. Obviously all of us "ex-military" make the Academies even more competitive. Reading the posts I can see how parents view this time as extremely stressful.
    Good luck to all the young men and women out there who are pursuing this career path. By the sounds of it, I'm sure you will make your Country proud!
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2011
  8. patentesq

    patentesq Parent

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    The one bit of advice I would give is that your DS should apply to everything, including USNA and VMI. You will be amazed how many arbitrary things surface in the application process nowadays, and DS/DDs will change their priorities several times during their senior year. In fact, the average student will change their major at least once as a college student.

    If you apply for everything, you can always close doors later. The problem is that you won't know which doors will open until after the deadlines have passed for applying to other opportunities.

    You will find that several students are on SAF wthout a Plan B, Plan C, etc. And when Plan A doesn't work out, then they have a problem.

    Short answer is no. USNA and NROTC do not compare notes, although USNA admissions is aware of the NROTC application if that is the procedure used to originate a USNA application. I had an admissions staff member at USNA actually say to me "we can tell your DS isn't really interested in USNA because his USNA application was initiated by checking the box on his NROTC application" (this was a staff person, and I don't think the people who matter in USNA admissions share this view).

    In short, you should file with USNA first, then NROTC. The NROTC folks understandably think it is a sign of "sound judgment" that the student is focused primarily on NROTC. And the USNA folks understandably think it is a sign of "sound judgment" that the student is focused primarily on USNA!

    Again, my advice is to apply to both. This year, NROTC appeared to be MUCH tougher to secure than an appointment to USNA.
     
  9. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Okay, 1st off, your child is not even in hs yet.

    Currently, look at UVA and see what they want from a student both academically and EC's. Take that path.

    Next time to step back from the what to do for ROTC or getting into a college. Here's why:

    ~~~ IS schools have had bumper cropper yrs for the past 3 yrs. The reason why is due to the economy. Parents who had before had mutuals or home equity loans to pay for the darlings college disappeared, while the costs continued to rise. Our DD is at VT (class of 14). VT's admission letter last yr stated they had over 33K applicants for their 4K spots. Our DS is at UMDCP (class of 12), when he applied they had 27K for their 4K spots, last yr they had 32K. JMU had 31K applicants. All of them stated in their letters, this was the largest yr ever, and since 08, that line has been used, because they keep getting more. If you noticed class size has not increased, just applicant pool. It is the economy! That also means they can be more selective, which starts a upward spin re: image of what is needed to get in. That state college looks more appealing from a selective position.

    Nobody know that in 3 yrs from now for the class of 19 where economically we will be standing. We could be back at 2004, hot housing market and stock market.

    When that occurs many kids opt to go OOS or private, thus, the competition reduces.

    ~~~Nobody, and I mean nobody in 2007 (4 yrs ago, same time line for you for your ds in the future) could have predicted that the AF would go through such a harsh force shape restructuring. As a 88 grad, I am sure you can remember the RIF of the 90's. Right now, that restructuring will span approx 7 yr groups. 2009 took the 1st hit, and the AFA has announced that 15 and 16 will be much smaller in size @ 20%. They canceled OCS, IS ROTC scholarships and gave fewer AFROTC scholarships for 13, 14 and now 15.

    The AF was the 1st to re-shape in 91, followed by the Navy and than the Army. Trying to plot out 4 yrs from now is very difficult.

    ~~~ State colleges are usually dictated by the state % of IS compared to OOS, because they receive state tax payer dollars. It varies between 25-30% OOS. The little unkown secret is that where you live comes into play. Every college wants diversity, and that includes geographical location.

    Use PSU and UMDCP as an example. Although UMDCP is only 30 minutes down the road from NoVA, they actually have a better chance of getting in as an OOS applicant than NY/NJ. Why? Because NJ/NY kids apply by boatloads to UMDCP, and UMDCP doesn't want to be known as the OOS NJ college. The same is true for PSU. They apply by the boatloads, and that means it hurts them in their chances.

    ~~~ I am assuming that this is your 1st child, so as a Mom, here's my opinion, so please toss it in the circular filing cabinet when you are done reading it.

    Kids change their minds. Our DS from 4th grade until 10th was Duke, Duke, Duke.

    Spring soph it was Duke who? Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Notre Dame.

    Spring jr. it was Notre Dame, but what the heck I'll throw my name in for AFA. (1st time he ever said that, but all his life it was AF career as a goal...JAG).

    Fall Sr. it was AFA, AFA, AFA, Notre Dame maybe.

    Feb rolls around it was UMDCP, UMDCP, UMDCP. He had yet to receive notification from the AFA or ND. OBTW, he refused to apply to Duke.

    He also changed at that time from JAG to pilot.

    My point is life gets in the way. The only thing we as parents were able to do was to keep our eye on the ball to make sure academically. Make sure they take the most rigorous course load, and that they are well rounded. That is what admissions look for. They have learned that the perfect SAT student who had no life outside of the books has a difficult time adjusting to college. They want the kid who always pushed themselves academically, but also had a life outside of the classroom.

    NOVA is very competitive for UVA and VT. We live in NoVA. However, Fairfax county is one of the best school districts in the state and nation. I would bet if your child is strong academically he would be a candidate for UNCCH.

    Finally, our DS actually opted the traditional college route, and it was because of his life as a military child. For many it is hard to understand if they never lived the military life. He always knew he wanted to serve, but after 18 yrs of being a military dependent, he wanted to just be him, a kid and enjoy 4 yrs of the real world. We use to joke that this was his way of sowing his oats. If you look at your child, it maybe the same. By the time DS could leave (now a UPT selected ROTC cadet), he will be 31 on a good day. We got the fact he wanted 1 foot in, but 1 foot out.
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2011
  10. skipper

    skipper Member

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    You are very wise to begin thinking about this process early. Many kids are not very focused their freshman year of high school and then it is difficult to raise the GPA when they set their sights on a competitive college. Even though your son does not think he wants USNA right now he could change his mind. When the time comes I would encourage him to apply to NASS (be sure to apply the first day) so that he can get a small taste of life there. My D received an NROTC scholarship and we are still waiting to hear about the Academy. She changed her mind about the 1st choice of NROTC school very late in the going. So even during his senior year your son could have a change of heart. As people have mentioned, choice of major seems to be a big factor with NROTC. My D is a tier 2 but engineering seems to be the preferred major. I think it is important for your son to play some type of varsity sport if possible. Also, showing leadership through sports, SGA, club involvement, etc is very important. Knowing my D's stats compared to stats of kids who have not received a scholarship(and most of their stats are very impressive) I personally think your GPA and class rank are very important factors. You need to shine in comparison to your peers. Best of luck to you and your son!
     
  11. skipper

    skipper Member

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    You are very wise to begin thinking about this process early. Many kids are not very focused their freshman year of high school and then it is difficult to raise the GPA when they set their sights on a competitive college. Even though your son does not think he wants USNA right now he could change his mind. When the time comes I would encourage him to apply to NASS (be sure to apply the first day) so that he can get a small taste of life there. My D received an NROTC scholarship and we are still waiting to hear about the Academy. She changed her mind about the 1st choice of NROTC school very late in the going. So even during his senior year your son could have a change of heart. As people have mentioned, choice of major seems to be a big factor with NROTC. My D is a tier 2 but engineering seems to be the preferred major. I think it is important for your son to play some type of varsity sport if possible. Also, showing leadership through sports, SGA, club involvement, etc is very important. Knowing my D's stats compared to stats of kids who have not received a scholarship(and most of their stats are very impressive) I personally think your GPA and class rank are very important factors. You need to shine in comparison to your peers. Best of luck to you and your son!
     
  12. LTLONGAGO

    LTLONGAGO Member

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    Funny - My son was not at all interested in the Naval Academy in 8th grade either, but something happened last summer where he changed and it became a passion for him. Both of his parents did NROTC and thought it was a great deal, so we had not talked about USNA.

    From northern VA, the Naval Academy is more competitive than NROTC, just because of the heavy navy population in our area and state (Pentagon, Norfolk Naval Base, etc, etc), and the proximity of USNA to where we live. Again, my son got NROTC because he applied early - But he has not received an appointment to USNA even though he did get two nominations. I recall that the statistics for the Richmond NROTC recruiting district last year were that about 50% of kids who applied from our area and had the requisite minimum SATs, weight, etc, received NROTC scholarships (That info was straight from the NROTC coordinator in Richmond - I have the real numbers somewhere.) Not sure what the NROTC stats are for this year yet in our area.

    As you know, USNA has to take from all parts of the country - Plus, as stated in another post, they take about 1/3 of their small class from NAPS and prior enlisted. They also seem to focus a lot on recruiting for their many sports teams, and they pursue minorities, as diversity is stated in writing as a top goal.

    Final point - Please don't dismiss UVA this early - You never know how your son is going to shape up in high school. My "sage" advice is to minimize video games, TV time, and other addicting time consumers - My son's worst year for grades in high school was when he discovered Call of Duty with his friends on XBox Live. He would actually be in the Top 10% of his class but for his grades that one year. He has admitted regret about that this year. Our high school doesn't officially rank, but the colleges can figure out generally where kids stand in their class based on percentages that the school provides in a brochure.
     
  13. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I agree with LTLONGAGO

    The one thing I would say to you and every parent there is a difference from GUIDING and DIRECTING!

    GUIDING: Means you bend to their desires

    DIRECTING: Means you make them bend to your perception of what they want.

    I am sure that you changed your goals from 30 to 35 or 35 to 40. I bet as a 45 yo what you had as a goal as a 40 yo is not what your goal is now.

    AND WE ARE GROWN UPS! We have decades more of experience.

    Your job right now IMPO is to make sure you guarantee no doors close. You need to be the umbrella.

    Make sure academically he takes the most rigorous course load. Buy a SAT prep book, so when he takes the PSAT, he understands how to take the test and can qual for the NMF.

    Make sure he is well rounded, if that means trying out for soccer, FB, track, TKD or enrolling him into life guard courses, do it. You do life guard to ensure his job on his resume is not stocker at Target, but shows athleticism as a life guard do it if he doesn't play sports.

    Remove your emotions, and look at him from a whole applicant perspective. Fill those holes.

    College admissions are very competitive, and I will say that colleges are taking the SA approach...WHOLE profile.
     
  14. patentesq

    patentesq Parent

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    LTLONGAGO's point about competitiveness of USNA v. NROTC is actually more accurate than my prior post. Totally agree that competitiveness of USNA depends on the congressional district (we are in a less-competitive "USNA district", so my view was skewed). I expect N. Va., San Diego and Norfolk are crazy competitive from a USNA standpoint.

    Pima raises a good point about Guiding/Directing. In the patentesq household, I've never questioned myself about whether it was okay to "direct" my DS to put down the Wii remote and do his homework. I know this sounds like I'm "Mr. Experience" -- truth is, this is my first child to go to college, and I'm making it up as I go along! :smile:
     
  15. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    That's the thing.

    Nobody gets a class on raising a teenager or college admissions. We literally fly by the seat of our pants with our 1st.

    Here's my opinion:

    1st child: We listen to others with blanket statements You rely on their judgment. Th walked the path obviously they know what is best. One size fits all attitude.
    2nd child: We realize that children are unique, and the advice from others doesn't fit your child. You rely on your judgment, but not their opinion, because you walked this path before, and they are young.
    3rd child: You realize that they just need love and support. For most of them they know what is expected by them from you since older siblings have started the path. They know what they want. You rely on both your and their judgment regarding colleges and majors. You realize that they have a voice and those advisors were never worth listening too!


    Just My Opinion.
     
  16. Ohio2015Parent

    Ohio2015Parent Member

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    ABSOLUTELY AGREE. DS is our second - no military service in our family(recent) so we have been inbetween worlds - get the college admissions, Army ROTC not so much....

    My best advice to poster about 8th grader....listen to him. I was in denial about my DS's desire to serve for years(until his sophomore year when I finally gave up trying to talk him out of it.) Look at the stats it takes to earn a ROTC slot for any branch -- we are only Army -- but the competition is stiff and brutal. Have Plans A-F minimum. Keep balances in his involvement. My DS is over on academics(3.8 uwgpa w/honors 8AP, 32 ACT 1400 SATCR/M)over leadership(Eagle, Student Gov President w/other offices prior, National Youth Leadership staff 3 years...+ more) but he played NO VARSITY SPORTS. We knew SA's were out of the question, ROTC was a good shot via Army. But here we sit, he's accepted to all schools(3) has full academic ride to 1, partial to another. But no AROTC(March board, campus based and SMP are still in play). Balance and have mulitple plans. Its a ride -- have plenty of adult beverage available, Tums and motrin as chasers:biggrin:
     

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