Questions to ask the Cadre

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by ahuntedyeti, Mar 23, 2013.

  1. ahuntedyeti

    ahuntedyeti Member

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    Unfortunately I did not receive any xROTC scholarships this year. However, I do still plan on enrolling in a program and work towards that ultimate goal of commissioning.

    I enrolled at a University with AROTC and AFROTC so I plan on scheduling a block of time to discuss with the cadres of both branches. Per the advice of this forum, I will be going alone. What are some questions I should ask the cadres when evaluating which unit to enter. I plan on majoring in Biology and to compete for a pilot slot in both branches. Both branches also have science divisions I would likely try to get into if I cannot get the slot so the mission of the branch does not have a whole lot of play in my decision.

    I can only think of asking about asking about side load scholarships, how many cadets get their desired job, and how many commission over all. Are there any questions I am missing that would be important to ask?

    Thanks,
    ahuntedyeti
     
  2. Thompson

    Thompson Member

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    Well, I am sorry to hear that - but glad you see the end goal!

    Well, here's a question for you to answer yourself: What do you want to do after commissioning? Do you want to go AD? or Reserve/Guard? If you want AD, your best shot at it would be via AFROTC. But there's a catch, in order to be eligible for ADAF, you need to be selected to go to SFT. If you are not selected to go to SFT you lose your scholarship -- AND your only shot at commissioning. From what I heard it will be very unlikely to get selected to go to grueling, 12-week OTS when you can't even get through one, two years of ROTC. That's the way it is seen by the OTS selection board. So, that's one thing you must keep in mind. Here's a question for the cadre you can ask about this though; ask if the cadre holds there own sort of "mini-board" for selection. For example, I believe from one of Pima's posts that 90% of cadets that (for a lack of better words) apply for SFT, get selected. However .... that does not mean that the cadre will endorse every single cadet. Which, if you think about it makes sense, how 90% are selected to go to SFT. So that is one question you can ask.

    LDAC on the other hand, all cadets to go. There's no selection board or anything like that.

    On the flipside, if you are not seeking AD, and want Reserve/Guard go Army. The difference between AROTC and AFROTC is that for the Army, you are competing for AD commissioning based on your OML. One question you can ask the Army cadre is the percentage of cadets that get an AD commission. In the AF, once you are selected to go to SFT and successfully pass, you are automatically contracted and locked into 8 years (minimum) of AFAD (10 years for pilots).

    Here is something else to consider (I am here myself). Where exactly do you see yourself after college? Do you see yourself in a particular branch over the other? If a pilot slot does not fan out, (not sure what MOS/SC is for biology) check to see how that MOS/SC differs, it may help you decide. If you are interested in making a career out of your service, it would be advisable to sit down and take a look at the pros/cons of each respective branch and find out what you do/don't like about each.

    Since you said you want to be a pilot - what type of aircraft do you want to fly? Fixed wing = AF; rotary = Army. I will say though, if you want to fly in the AF, selection to UPT is difficult to attain. Direct quote from Pima:
    Not trying to discourage you, just making you aware of the facts.

    On the other hand, if you want rotary something to consider is - whether you want to know what you will be flying from the getgo or not. I believe from a recent post about NG aviation, when you go to flight school for the NG you will know what you will fly once you complete aviation school. On the other hand, ADA you wont know what you will fly until the end of aviation school. If you want to fly with someone like 160th SOAR (SF) you will have to go AD. Jcleppe will have more information about this than I will.

    Also, if you can, try to talk with some Servicemembers from each branch. It will help you get a good perspective of what each branch is like. Ask them what they do/don't like about the respective branch they are in. If you don't know anyone off the top of your head, try your school faculty, there may be one or two there. For example, at my middle school, my former teacher is currently is a 1SG (prior mustang officer w/ cross-service experience) w/ the PNG. We had a nice conversation the other day about this topic (choosing between Army & AF).

    To answer your other question, the questions you listed in your post are wonderful questions to ask.

    Honestly, I can't really think of too much else to ask the cadre. Maybe someone else with a different perspective will give you better insight of questions to ask the cadre - but for me, this is how I see it (...for myself at least). Because if you are looking into career Military - I wouldn't focus too too much on the particular program, but rather the bigger picture, of which branch do you want to Serve with. It really comes down to what YOU want to do, not necessarily what the program has to offer.

    Best wishes!
    Thompson
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2013
  3. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I will defer to AROTC posters for their side, but here are the questions I would ask AFROTC.

    Remember AFROTC cadets will go ADAF, there is no reserve or guard option.

    1. How many 100's commission 4 yrs later? Percentage wise. Percentage is the key, I can say 50, but if 200 start as 100, 50 is only 25%, and not looking as strong as 50, especially if the other branch says 35 and 70 started as freshman.

    2. For SFT do you do a mini-board for the 200 yr?
    ~~~ IOTW, if they feel you will not be selected will they support you no matter what?
    ~~~ If they say 90% and don't ask about mini-boards, that skews the chances, because you are assuming 90% get it, when if they do hold a min-board and only put up 60%, the real % is 55%, not 90.

    3. I don't know if Biology is tech or non-tech. Ask them what is the avg for cgpa and ACT/SAT for whichever category this falls in.
    ~~~ I.E. Tech it is usually @ a 3.0 cgpa., non-tech is @3.3 nationally. This will give you insight for what you need to achieve to be competitive as a 200.

    4. Pilot ---- you need to be very specific here. The system is you apply for a rated board and you can get UPT, UNT, ABM, RPA. If you ask rated, the answer could be very different than pilot.
    ~~~ What is the % that got PILOT, as tech/non-tech?
    ~~~ What was their cgpa?

    5. Do you have a mentor program?
    ~~~ DS's AFROTC det. would pair up a 100 with a 300. The cadet could turn to them for guidance in private. The 300 would be there for them 1 on 1 for 2 yrs until you become a 300 and get your own 100.

    Finally, my biggest piece of advice is to make the apptmt and ask to meet a 300 or 400 cadet when you make the appointment. We did that for our DS. He met 300/400 cadets, they hung out in the lounge just like college kids, and talked about AFROTC as they played Xbox. It was very informal. Just peers hanging out.

    There I would ask different questions.

    ~~~~ Are many of the cadets in military fraternities....Arnie Air, Silver Wings, Angel Flight, Honor Guard?
    ~ If so, and they are in one of them, how did they maintain their grades, ROTC and pledging. If not, why not? I.E. Nobody does it because of XYZ reasons(school, det activity), or nobody wants to do it!

    ~~~ Do you guys have a GMC night?
    ~ At DS's school they met once a week at night in the ROTC lounge, ordered pizza, played foosball, crud, Xbox, watched a movie.

    ~~~ Do cadets hang here during class breaks or is it quiet?

    Just like colleges, branches and dets are unique, they have their own personality. This is 4 yrs of your life in college. If the fit feels off, than you need to ask yourself do you want to be in that det for 4 yrs?

    I hope that helps for AFROTC.
     
  4. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    for OBTW,

    Bullet jumped with the 82nd AB for 2 yrs. He went to CGSC as an AF O4. I love the Army, but if it asked I have to say their on base housing STINKS compared to AF.

    That is the only negative I have for the Army as a spouse. Than again, the Army is much bigger than the AF.

    Bullet, I am sure will say the negative for the Army is PT in the AF is Golf, and that TDY means sharing a hotel room with another person! Plus they really live bankers hours....if they aren't flying it is 8-4!
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2013
  5. ahuntedyeti

    ahuntedyeti Member

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    Thank you, very helpful.

    Thompson- I do plan on making my service a career. My preference of which platform to fly however is negligible. I would be over the moon in either. From what Ive gathered on this forum is the SFT is a major hurdle for cadets and I would be curious to how they are selected as well (definitely will be asking). Do a lot of cadets end up dropping after their first or during their second year? I called the cadre a few months ago and expressed interest in the program so hopefully (If he remembers it at all) it will show some dedication prior to enrolling. I honestly would rather go active duty so I will have to evaluate the chances of SFT vs going AD in army. If Army's chances of getting a pilot slot are drastically better though the trade off may make sense to take.

    Pima- I did not think to ask any of the cadets, good idea. I do think Biology is considered non-tech but I will ask to verify. I also believe the Army has a larger research department but again another question to ask. Do you have any idea of how many non-contracted ROTC cadets go OCS?
     
  6. Thompson

    Thompson Member

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    Hmmm ... I think you might be mistaken - in AROTC you do not need to go to OCS. AROTC cadets go to LDAC, Leadership Development & Assessment Course in between Jr & Sr year --> ALL cadets go, whether you are contracted or not (which is the nice part of AROTC in comparison to SFT).

    I believe in most cases, cadets drop out during the first year --> which is part of the reason why CC does 3-year scholarships; think about how much money is wasted on a cadet w/ a 4 year scholarship - just to find out that the cadet wants to drop the program completely for one reason or another. Hence forth, a 3-year scholarship -- this ensures CC that the cadets who stay on will get that 3 year scholarship, thus have not wasted money on the freshman drop outs.
     
  7. goaliedad

    goaliedad Parent

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    As much as you are looking for questions to ask the cadre at your school, I think the questions you need to have clearly answered before asking are:

    How important is "flying" vs being involved in flying vs serving your country in some other capacity? Additionally, how long do you want to fly vs certainty of flying?

    Let's look at certainty of "flying"... Not all AF cadets who complete the ROTC program fly. Certainly a higher percentage fly than from Army. Being at the top of your class certainly increases those odds with both, but looking at the stats of the incoming "scholarship" class, you will likely see higher test scores for the AF cadets than those of the Army. Not knocking Army, but the competition for fewer scholarships allows AF to make a higher cutoff for funding. You will be competing against this group. Generally, the top 10% in the AROTC class (nationally) will get Aviation if they chose it. Some lucky folks in the 51st percentile will get it as well.

    Looking at the certainty of being involved in flying... There are plenty of top rate AF cadets who don't end up flying for a whole variety of reasons. There are officers in the AF who don't fly, but support flying. Not sure if that does anything for you as a consolation prize, but it is a possibility. Of course there are those AF cadets who end up in Minot hoping not to have to see a missile fly. In the Army, once you get away from aviation, there isn't much involvement in flying to speak of.

    Looking at the certainty of serving... Army ROTC units these days always need to commission more than their incoming scholarship class. I haven't heard too many stories of AROTC units needing to turn away a qualified rising MSIII. The on-campus scholarhship (green light to commissioning) opportunities are generally more available.

    Finally, there is the issue of "how long you fly". I've seen it mentioned here that commissioned Army officers don't fly that many years, as you get promoted out of flying positions over the years. If you fly in the AF, you will get more years of flying.

    I think once you get a grasp of how these issues weigh out in your mind, the questions you need to ask the cadre will be clearer. There are plenty of more qualified folks here who can give you more specific details about many of the issues I brought up here (there are both adults and cadets here who have been through both services' flight options).

    I would suggest you start working on getting an answer sooner rather than later. You will need to have permission to enroll in ROTC classes from cadre so your decision should be made before your freshman orientation (where they typically do your class selection).

    Best of luck.
     
  8. -Bull-

    -Bull- Member

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    This is incorrect. In AROTC, you must be contracted to continue on into MSIII year and LDAC. However, all contracted cadets will go to LDAC after their MSIII year.
     

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