Received an ROTC Scholarship, now what?

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by patentesq, Jan 17, 2011.

  1. patentesq

    patentesq Parent

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    I expect in the next couple of weeks that many of us will be hearing about ROTC scholarships (hopefully, this thread will evolve over the next two weeks, so we will know exactly what to do when the day scholarship awards are announced). I understand that Step No. 1 will be to accept or decline AND select the school in which the applicant HOPES to gain admission, assuming he or she hasn't already (it has been stated elsewhere that AFROTC doesn't have this problem because that scholarship is portable to any school). Since there is no obligation (and thus ZERO downside), it is likely that everyone will accept the offers that are tendered.

    But what are the follow-on steps? Specifically, what do the applicants do on the following points:

    1. My assumption is that the applicant should break the ice with the ROTC unit that he or she selected on the ROTC Scholarship acceptance form by writing a letter and following up with a telephone call. Then he or she should simply wait until the admission letter comes out for that school. Does everyone agree?

    2. My DS really has no way of distinguishing between the various ROTC units at the various colleges to which he has applied. Should he write a letter to the ROTC Scholarship Officers at each school that does not appear on the "ROTC acceptance form" and introduce himself as well? It will be a bit awkward for him to write a letter like this, knowing that the recipient knows that the college (NOT the ROTC unit) was at least a number-two pick for him. Candidly, outside of the SAs, the basis for my son's ROTC "wish list" was almost entirely based on the reputations of the colleges listed and the other opportunities that the schools offered (science, study abroad, etc.). Any tips on this is appreciated.

    3. If you think a nice introductory letter is appropriate, then what? Should the student hold off visiting the ROTC units until March or April, after all of the college admissions letters are received. I'm assuming here that everyone doesn't have unlimited time and money to visit every college to which they have applied, and it seems prudent to hold off visiting a school until he knows that he's been accepted. Why waste the PMS's time? Do you agree?

    4. Does anyone think it is worthwhile to also send a letter to the college admissions office and announce the ROTC award (the admissions offices routinely say that they want to hear from applicants if they receive additional merit awards, but I do understand that ROTC scholarships are NOT reportable as financial aid until the scholarship is accepted in the fall). My personal belief is that in a sagging economy, colleges would be more likely to admit a "full-price" student with an ROTC scholarship in their back pocket and that this is therefore a very good idea. Does anyone disagree?

    5. I have read all of the posts about transferring ROTC scholarships if you don't get accepted to your listed "dream college". It appears to be a complete NIGHTMARE for AROTC and NROTC (not AFROTC). Is there any advice to the applicant, other than immediately calling the ROTC units to see if there are any vacancies once the student learns that he or she has not been admitted to the "dream college"?

    6. Pima, when my son finished the AFROTC interview a few weeks ago, he was forced to select his top three schools, in order of preference (just like AROTC and NROTC). Are you sure that AFROTC scholarships are still portable this year?

    I appreciate any advice you can give about the landscape we will be facing in the coming months. This is my first time stumbling through this process with my eldest child, and I know that I've made mistakes along the way. And the system has changed since the days when I was going through it. But I'm a "planner" who likes to have a general "heading" before proceeding in a certain direction.

    Many thanks in advance.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2011
  2. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Things change all the time, so it very well could have changed.

    I do recall that our DS had to list his colleges, but from what we were informed it is more to cross reference that the school actually accepts the scholarship, because if it didn't than that scholarship would be for naught. Not every college has a det or even a X town det., rare, but that exists. For example, our DS's det has kids from WV and they are in MD. It has an AFROTC and AROTC, but NROTC must go to Georgetown for their training.

    I also know from yrs ago, that somehow the list of selected candidates make it out there to other dets., because our DS got notified of being accepted to not one, but 2 schools in 2 different states (@700 miles apart) that although he missed their admission date for applications, they had decided to accept him for Fall semester. We later found out it was the det that contacted the admissions board and said they wanted our DS, and probably to qualm their fears they were able to say he was a full ride ROTC recipient.

    Some colleges talk to ROTC, some do not, in this case they def. talked.

    This also sometimes can be a major plus for a candidate because they can work together to get that perfect BN/Det of cadets/mids
     
  3. USAF52

    USAF52 Member

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    patentesq, for most of your questions I can't comment, since we're new at all this too. But for #6, I can verify that AFROTC scholarships can be taken to a school of choice AS LONG AS they offer the technical degree (approved by the AF) that your son/daughter chose and that it is a Bach. of Science degree. My son received an AFROTC tier 1 scholarship at the end of Dec. and nowhere in the congrats letter does it mention any of his college choices he listed on his application. On the checklist of things he'll need to do (provided by AFROTC), one is to send a copy of the letter of admission from the university to AFROTC HQ, and the next thing is to contact the AFROTC detachment at the university of choice to verify that his chosen degree is offered and approved by the AF. My son did that before applying, but I'm guessing will just verify again if he decides to accept the scholarship (waiting patiently to hear about possible USAFA appt.). Hopefully that helps with at least part of your questions. I think my son originally listed 3 schools on his application too, but finished his visits after his app was submitted. When discussing the colleges with the ROTC officer during his interview, my son let him know that his list had been whittled down to just his #1 choice, since he had his acceptance from that school before the interview. Oh, by the way, at least for AFROTC, my son has until May 31 to send in his letter of intent (saying whether he'll use the scholarship or not). Not sure if that's because its a tier 1 or if that is true for all different types of AF scholarships. That surprised me because I thought I had read there was a 30 day window to reply. Good luck to your son!
     
  4. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    USAF,

    That is the same as our DS's letter from 3 yrs ago. I thought our DS had 45 days, but pulled it back out and it was May 31st. From what I have read re:AROTC that is why some were asking about if the AFROTC/NROTC held a summer board for SA candidates who were not appointed.

    The AF really is the red headed cousin when it comes to this system. The AFA gives out very few LOAs, and they do not talk to the AFROTC to cross reference candidates on each others list.

    For those who are accepting their scholarship. Every hs that I know of will have a SR awards night. You can contact your ALO or regional and they will come to the school with a pretty binder and award it to them discussing how much in bucks this scholarship is worth, what they get like the monthly stipend and book money, and without fail announce that they are also guaranteed a job when they graduate in 4 yrs.

    I always laugh because you know the reason why they do all of this right? RECRUITMENT! Even a tier 7 that is going in state, can tally up to be 75 K before stipends. Chances are there is a parent with a younger kid who now hears this and thinks that sounds sweet as they think about their older child graduating and walking out with 25K in loans to attend ISS.

    If you have never been through an awards night, just wait, the amount of oohs and ahhs over a tier 7 is quite large, it is only larger when they say Tier 1 to Duke or an SA worth over 375K.

    At our kids hs they post pictures of every kid with a scholarship and the grand total they were awarded...it includes every school's scholarship and the amount. One kid, not ours had 1 million total...AFA, Duke, UNCCH (full merit rides), Stanford, and MIT (250 K between the 2 for merit from the schools) plus their Tier 1 AFROTC scholarship.

    Back on topic.
     
  5. patentesq

    patentesq Parent

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    Thanks, Pima! Other than calling each of the ROTC units at each of the schools where my DS has a pending application, is there any way to figure out which ROTCs have the ear of the various college admissions offices?

    That is WONDERFUL news, USAF52! You've raised another question, though, suppose my DS is one of the fortunate few to receive an AROTC scholarship. In that case, he has to decide within 30 days to accept or decline AROTC AND select the college where he wants that scholarship to apply. If he does that, can he later, on May 30, accept the AFROTC scholarship and and matriculate at the college where he WAS accepted (assuming he is not accepted at the AROTC college that he has previously selected)?

    Good luck to your son re: USAFA!! The patentesq household is facing just the opposite scenario as the USAF52 household. My DS has SA appointment but is waiting to hear from ROTC. I expect both our DSs will have to make a choice, ultimately, between attending a top civilian school and an SA. Either route leads to a commission.:smile:
     
  6. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Not that I know of re: the ear. Typically, I think they hold that very close to the vest and try not to ever discuss it because it can be a case by case scenario...i.e. we have a scholarship for this kid, can you help us out? Compared to the school contacting ROTC and saying we have a spot for him, but they need a scholarship and they applied so can you help us out?

    Congrats to you both, and thank your sons for their willingness to serve our country!

    For patent here's my question:

    Does he want to serve AD in the Army? If so than I would assume WP is the way to go! Caveat: is the SA WP?

    From what I understand regarding the AROTC program, yes they get a a commission, but it is not a done deal for AD, because they can go 1 of 3 routes...AD, Reservist, Guard

    I would pm Clarkson for further detail on how those 3 routes work as a ROTC cadet.

    Again, this is AFROTC and we all know we work differently, but when they are still in college they will meet a board, that board will decide your career field, a lot goes into the equation. There is no going Reservist or Guard, so I would want to know if my child went AROTC how they determine the 3 routes.

    Commissioning is one thing, serving in what your dream career field and how you serve regarding time is another.

    I don't know, and I have no bone in the fight for Army, but I think it would serve everyone here to understand the exact process for candidates who are deciding between WP and AROTC regarding this issue.

    For the AFROTC it is pretty clear:
    1. You will serve at least 4 yrs AD side by side with the AFA grads
    2. AFA grads get the highest amount of flying slots
    3. Your career field (AFSC) will be given in your jr yr.
    4. Your major, GPA, AFOQT, PFT, Commander's rec, ECs will all be put through their scoring system to determine if you get AFSC1, AFSC2, AFSC3 from a nationalistic view...in other words graduate number 1 from your det does not mean you are going to be in their top 10% and vise a verse.

    Look at ERAU they have the 2nd highest amount of UPT slots behind the AFA, but because of their size, statistically they are not the 2nd highest % of UPT candidates when the UPT slots get handed out.

    Choosing to go there for a career may actually hinder the cadet if all they want is UPT.

    Again, I do not know about AROTC, Clarkson or Bruno are the go to posters. Ask them if what I described is just an AF thing, or is it also held true for the Army.

    To be successful in the military, you need to think 2 steps ahead. You have the scholarship, okay now which BN is the best for his chances regarding his career? When he goes AD, that is the thing, he may be able to choose between Hawaii or Ft Polk. Ft Polk is not a dream assignment, but if he takes that, it may mean he has a better career path after it than if he took HA.

    That's where you should look now, you have to choose between one of these two, now which one is better long term for him?
     
  7. patentesq

    patentesq Parent

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    Thanks, Pima. Your posts are always extremely helpful. You may not know this, but I am confident that you have positively and permanently affected the lives of many on this Forum in a very good way. Tons of lurkers learn a lot from your informative posts (I was one before I decided one day to self-elevate myself to the position of "active poster").:thumb:

    My DS's ultimate goal is to be a physician. He has an appointment to USMMA and is awaiting the BFE from USMA (he earned the principal nom from his MOC, so we are hopeful). He also has ROTC apps in for schools like Harvard, Stanford, etc. If everything works out for him (I am fully aware of the odds against this), he will have to make a choice between, say, (1) AROTC/AFROTC/NROTC with a Harvard or Stanford diploma, or (2) USMA or USMMA. All of these schools are on the same level in my book, and he totally understands the value of being an officer in the military to boot!! (for his ultimate career goal, I'm not so sure whether there is much difference between being a Navy surgeon, an Air Force surgeon, or an Army surgeon). But we are far, Far, FAR from that point in the process.

    In the coming months, after all the dust settles, I am confident that his path will become crystal clear. There will be "Neon Signs" everywhere saying: "Go here! Go here!" In fact, the "invisible hand of God" has already started! For example, while he is triple-qualified for both USNA and USAFA, he has yet to receive a nomination for those SAs, so his prospects at those two SAs are dimming very rapidly. I know from my own experience that I thought I wanted to be a military physician in high school but ended up at Norwich wanting nothing else than to be an Infantry officer. When I met my then-soon-to-be wife on active duty -- and suddenly the prospect of sleeping in the mud became less and less appealing -- I decided to leave active duty and go to law school. The lesson here is that NOTHING in life is certain. I know PLENTY of trial lawyers who are ex-fighter pilots, ex-Army Infantry officers, or ex-Navy SEALs (being "gung-ho" has served them WELL, I might add, in the rough-and-tumble world of my profession).

    Ultimately, the hope of my DS right now is to earn a commission AND be a physician. There are so many moving parts in this process, and he is learning a lot about life through this experience. As a parent, I'm simply urging him to knock on as many doors as possible before deciding anything (I know you and I have different philosophies on this approach). In my view, if multiple doors open for him, that's terrific. If only one door opens, as it did for me, then that's terrific, too! At this point, I can easily see him going, say, the AFROTC route and, after meeting the PMS and befriending his peers at the AF detachment, coupled with another year of maturity, he could decide he wants nothing more than to be a fighter pilot, much like my own career path where I originally thought I wanted to be a physician. I know that performance in college-level Organic Chemistry is a BIG decider among many a med school hopeful.

    In any event, once my DS decides to go through a door, I am confident that he will never look back. Time will tell where his future lies.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2011
  8. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Have the MOCs submitted their list yet? Remember that slates aren't due for a few weeks.

    If they have and he did not got s nom, than yes, prospects are dimming very rapidly.

    I agree 1000%. Right now they are 17/18 few of them know what they want to do at 23.

    Look at kids who go engineering from HS, they thought I liked Physics, so this is a good path, got to college and decided I really don't like Physics at all.

    The Organic Chem comment made me laugh...for hs kids this is not a joke...Org. Chem is the make or break class. It is known to be the the class who makes you live with a Mantra...all I need is to get a D and live through these 15 weeks (semester) and I will survive.
     
  9. patentesq

    patentesq Parent

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    The MOC noms are already submitted. On the bright side, the VP and Sup noms are still in play!! He learned an important life lesson that many things affect our lives that have ZERO bearing on the quality, desire, or skills of an individual. The disappointing thing is, though, that not receiving a nom will likely hang up his NROTC scholarship application for a long time until he gets the TWE from USNA (and NROTC learns about that). Again, another important life lesson for my DS (hmmmm . . . maybe he should WITHDRAW his USNA application now and immediately inform NROTC that he has done that!).

    One other thing. If he is lucky to be admitted to more than one college AND gets an ROTC scholarship, we haven't even BEGUN the process of deciding which school is better (other than going through the seemingly random exercise of generating a "wish list" for the ROTC apps). I don't think it is an easy task to choose between, say, Bucknell and Harvard or UC Berkeley and Northeastern. In my own career, I have gone toe-to-toe in the courtroom with many "Harvard-types" over the years and, drawing from my excellent Norwich education, have mercilessly crushed them. While US News is informative, the analysis has to be MUCH deeper than simply looking at a random journalist's "ranking chart." That said, brand names do matter (my law firm interviewed the top half of the class of Harvard Law School while only interviewing the valedictorian from the local state law school). Geez, this stuff is complicated! Fate has an important role to play.

    I think the 30-day requirements of AROTC and NROTC to select a school if offered a scholarship before knowing whether the student is accepted at that school is TOTALLY . . . er . . . "less than optimal."
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2011
  10. paradoxer

    paradoxer Member

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    Talk about thinking two steps ahead

     
  11. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    It really is important right now to sit him down and say what do you want for the next 4 yrs? Where do you want to be for the next 4 yrs?

    Stress to them that this is their life and no matter where they go or what they do you will be just as proud of them.

    If money is an issue, tell them to remove it and only think about their education. They are not dumb, they understand loans and the financial costs. Full ride sounds pretty to them. They are just too young to understand the actual cost of taking a full ride if they don't want to go there. We as parents are old enough to understand the cost.

    Kids get wrapped up in "allure" and making people proud of them, unfortunately, parents get lumped into that equation. This is not a merit scholarship, it is a long term commitment!

    I can't count how many cadets have left our DS's det over the course of 3 yrs. Add that to how many do not graduate from an SA, and you can quickly come to my opinion that it was not a match for any of them.

    Yes, there is joy getting that BFE or the scholarship, but trust me if their heart is not in serving the military or in that educational field or that school, this will be the easiest decision/path you will face in the next 4 yrs. I wish the best for every 15 candidate for every branch, I just want them to realize college is not a cake walk, be it a no-name ISS or Harvard or an SA.
     
  12. -Bull-

    -Bull- Member

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    It's all about where you fall on the OML in the fall of your Senior year. Highest get AD, or their choice. (With the needs of the Army first, of course.) In my BN, all Seniors got AD and 1 of their top 3 branch choices. From what they say, as long as you are a decent cadet in decent shape with decent grades, you have a good shot for AD. (Decent in that sentence does not mean slacking/sub-par)

    Most of the folks that branch Guard had their school paid for by the Guard, so usually they are "encouraged" to stay in the Guard.

    Clarkson can give you a more exact answer.
     
  13. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Curiosity, so for most AROTC they do go AD, thus, they are basically like the AF, except they have more options on the payback, which would be a plus for many compared to the AFROTC because the only option currently that I know of is AD.
     
  14. patentesq

    patentesq Parent

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    Well, in less than a week, many of the folks on SAF will receive wonderful news about an ROTC scholarship. AFROTC seems to be much better organized about this process, or at least has a much simpler solution to attracting quality kids to lead airmen in that service.

    I'm a bit surprised that more SAF moderators, some of whom do this for a living, haven't posted on this thread to provide more clarity in the process. It is either because they are bound-and-gagged by Cadet Command, or the system is a bit disorganized (I'm not quite ready to use the word "FUBAR" yet, though).

    I suppose life would have been much simpler if I had advised my DS to apply to the local college where he is sure to be admitted and start talking to the PMS at that ROTC unit. But I have told him to "swing for the fence" because he probably won't have this opportunity again in his entire life (except, of course, when he applies to grad school). In an odd way, though, the "system" seems to be skewed against kids who are applying to the most competitive schools in the country. I would think that AROTC and NROTC would want kids from those schools -- perhaps I am wrong.

    In the hope of re-energizing this thread, I am reposting my original questions (thanks to all who have posted already):

    "1. My assumption is that the applicant should break the ice with the ROTC unit that he or she selected on the ROTC Scholarship acceptance form by writing a letter and following up with a telephone call. Then he or she should simply wait until the admission letter comes out for that school. Does everyone agree?

    2. My DS really has no way of distinguishing between the various ROTC units at the various colleges to which he has applied. Should he write a letter to the ROTC Scholarship Officers at each school that does not appear on the "ROTC acceptance form" and introduce himself as well? It will be a bit awkward for him to write a letter like this, knowing that the recipient knows that the college (NOT the ROTC unit) was at least a number-two pick for him. Candidly, outside of the SAs, the basis for my son's ROTC "wish list" was almost entirely based on the reputations of the colleges listed and the other opportunities that the schools offered (science, study abroad, etc.). Any tips on this is appreciated.

    3. If you think a nice introductory letter is appropriate, then what? Should the student hold off visiting the ROTC units until March or April, after all of the college admissions letters are received. I'm assuming here that everyone doesn't have unlimited time and money to visit every college to which they have applied, and it seems prudent to hold off visiting a school until he knows that he's been accepted. Why waste the PMS's time? Do you agree?

    4. Does anyone think it is worthwhile to also send a letter to the college admissions office and announce the ROTC award (the admissions offices routinely say that they want to hear from applicants if they receive additional merit awards, but I do understand that ROTC scholarships are NOT reportable as financial aid until the scholarship is accepted in the fall). My personal belief is that in a sagging economy, colleges would be more likely to admit a "full-price" student with an ROTC scholarship in their back pocket and that this is therefore a very good idea. Does anyone disagree?

    5. I have read all of the posts about transferring ROTC scholarships if you don't get accepted to your listed "dream college". It appears to be a complete NIGHTMARE for AROTC and NROTC (not AFROTC). Is there any advice to the applicant, other than immediately calling the ROTC units to see if there are any vacancies once the student learns that he or she has not been admitted to the "dream college"?"

    As has been previously stated, I think the answer to Question No. 4 is "there is no answer." But what about the rest? (I deleted Question No. 6, because Pima answered it).
     
  15. Ohio2015Parent

    Ohio2015Parent Member

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    This topic is also being touched on in the 1/4/11 Board thread, but to keep everything together for future reference.

    My DS has personally visited each AROTC unit and has physically spent time at each campus he included on his scholarship application. He gave extra consideration to schools with rolling admission policies to avoid not knowing if he'd be accepted prior to being offered a scholarship from CC. Most of these visits occured last year, and were encouraged by all ROOs he contacted. Now, all schools are within a 5 hour drive of home, so this was not a huge outlay of money or time, but every dime and minute was worth the investment to us. DS has a strong desire for his 1st choice, they did his interview and have been in contact with DS for months. He has been invited to 2 overnight stays in the dorm w/ the BN (the second is actually this weekend). This is simply a different path than you and DS explored. I wish in some ways I would have encourage DS to look at more top tier schools, but he did not seem interested in pursing them.

    I hope this thread does revive - the information on how different families/candidate approached the selection of schools/units is very important and would I'm sure be valuable to future "readers" of this forum.
     

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