ROTC Applicants...Think Hard

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by Jcleppe, Jan 20, 2012.

  1. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2010
    Messages:
    5,541
    Likes Received:
    841
    We are in a time right now when many applicants have heard good news that they have received a scholarship offer, and many others are still waiting for the news. This is a time of great excitement and joy for those that hear the good news, a chance to become an officer in the military and tuition paid for at the same time, who wouldn't be excited.

    After the excitement fades the reality starts to set in, how will this fit in with my classes, how much time does it take up, can I handle the extra load. All of these are questions every applicant should ask themselves.

    ROTC of every branch is getting tighter, the need is not as great and the possibility of being cut is getting higher.

    Applicants and receipients need to be aware that there is no guarantees in ROTC. Cadets are being cut from every branch for many reasons. Mess up in any way, fail a PT Test, miss weight limits, dip below the grade minimum and you can be cut. Some services such as the Navy have taken enlistment off the table as an option to repay the scholarship which means you will be on the hook for every dime. Some cases will seem unfair and will be of no fault of the cadet.

    Cadets that graduated two, three years ago or before had the benefit of a military that was not meeting its goals. These cadets could miss step and still be commissioned, not so anymore. Get a MIP, a DUI, get into a fight at a local bar or club, you will be shown the door quickly and left with the bill.

    My point to all this is the new cadets coming up need to be careful and smart, make good choices and be aware that this great opportunity could come crashing down around them.

    A lot of applicants will select schools that they would not have attended if they had to pay the tuition, they may select private or out of state schools with higher tuition. Selecting these schools are fine as long as everything goes as planned. Be aware of the costs, realize that if something happens you could be stuck paying that tuition. Think of the scholarship as a loan given to you to attend school, the prize is that you do not have to pay the loan back if you commission after graduation, if you don't, the loan comes due. Select schools that you can afford if the scholarship is lost, always keep in mind the money you may need to pay back, save your money. Parents, don't go out and buy that new boat with the kids college money because they now have a scholarship, keep it in the bank just in case then buy the boat when they commission. You don't want to be in the situation where in the last semester you are dropped and have a $150,000. plus bill due.

    The AFROTC has had this issue for a long time due to the fact the cadet needs to be accepted to SFT to continue, they may not have to pay back what has been paid to that point but they will not receive any more money.

    NROTC can remove cadets right up to the point of Commisioning for anything from missing weight, fail PT, and many other reasons,

    AROTC is the same way, fail in any area and your out. If you happen to fall below the required GPA in a semester you'll be on probation and will have to pay that semesters tuition out of your pocket, same with not passing the APFT.

    ROTC is not easy, it takes time and dedication, do not go into it with out really thinking hard.

    Remember every cadet has the first year to test drive ROTC, if they drop that year they have no obligation. If you are struggling at the end of the first year think hard about returning, start your second year and your obligation starts including pay back.

    ROTC is a great program and opportunity, I have two sons' on scholarship and I have had this talk with both of them. The older son is commissioning this spring, I still talk to him about it beacuse one miss step and it all goes away.

    Every applicant has the best on intentions and full of confidence, just be honest with yourself and be aware that getting the scholarship is just the first phase, your journey is just beginning and it can be a bumpy ride.

    Good luck to every cadet whether they are on scholarship or not.
     
  2. Aglahad

    Aglahad Member

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2011
    Messages:
    1,234
    Likes Received:
    5
    Wise words. As many of you on here know I was accepted as a scholarship cadet back in 07/08 when on-campus recruiters were barely meeting quota. In my four year duration I have seen the process become a lot more complicated and observed little leeway given to those who simply do not make the cut. I attend a school which is 42k a year and the thought of paying it back is a huge motivator for me to keep a 3.5+ GPA, 280+ PT score and "E" scores at LDAC.

    Congratulations to all who have been rewarded a scholarship but remember contracting is just the beginning to a 12 year process.

    FYI I have seen MSIVs being shown the door this year already.
     
  3. NorwichDad

    NorwichDad Member

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2010
    Messages:
    1,275
    Likes Received:
    212
    Two Excellent Posts

    This should be required reading for all DS.
     
  4. jagabiti

    jagabiti Member

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2010
    Messages:
    239
    Likes Received:
    0


    These are thingsvmyDS and us did not know when he excepted his 4yr. Last Jan. still wants to serve his country but first semester in college was an eye opener even though he had straight As all through school. Makes you scared for them.
     
  5. mgguy

    mgguy Member

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2011
    Messages:
    24
    Likes Received:
    0
    excellant posts! I have saved these to show DS them.... if/when he gets a scholarship. it drives home the point that this is truly serious stuff. "It's not T-ball anymore, Dorothy"
     
  6. BlackDogs

    BlackDogs New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2012
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    NorwichDad, could not agree more. I saw this last night shortly after it was posted. Read it twice, printed it and gave it to DS.

    DS and I have been discussing the the many changes taking place as found in the threads on this site, but Jcleppe's post is concise and spot on.

    Congratulations to all those who have been awarded a scholarship. Be prepared.

    DS and I continue to be patient and hope to hear from CC...soon.
     
  7. Gojira

    Gojira Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2011
    Messages:
    73
    Likes Received:
    1
    I am also printing out JCleppe's post. The son of a friend got a 3 year scholarship last year. I already had a conversation with him and his mom during the break about what was happening with our son, but this post is so on the mark that it should be required reading for anyone considering this commitment.
     
  8. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2010
    Messages:
    5,541
    Likes Received:
    841
    Just thought I would bump this up since results from the last AROTC board are being released, maybe some of the new awardees will read it.
     
  9. -Bull-

    -Bull- Member

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2009
    Messages:
    1,378
    Likes Received:
    337
    Great advice, Jcleppe. Hopefully the new scholarship awardees read it and heed it. ROTC is getting serious and competition is going to a new level. From some of the things I've observed recently in AROTC, if the cadre don't believe you are fit to lead men and women, you won't. If they don't believe you actually want to be there and aren't putting forth effort, you will be dismissed. Cadet Command won't ask any questions about it either.

    Good Luck to all the future cadets.
     
  10. bpanter94

    bpanter94 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2011
    Messages:
    33
    Likes Received:
    0
    Great read, I will be sure to heed your advice as I start my journey come August.:biggrin:
     
  11. jagabiti

    jagabiti Member

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2010
    Messages:
    239
    Likes Received:
    0
    Picked DS up from college today for a weekend at home. He said all the cadets were giving the speech about scores, grades and being released for not performing... They have 34 MSIVs and I believe he said that they can only have 23 by junior year. He said a few Re on probation and he started talking about LDAD? I believe it's called and what scores he need and how they calculate it... So glad he is thinking ahead and said he passed his latest PFT which is good news.... Hard road ahead for him with and Eng major.... Tried to talk him into changing it but he is set. I told him its going to be a hard 4 years with that major.... Great to see he "gets it"..... Does everyone else know and understand what our children go through at college and how truly difficult it is? Respect all around for anyone who has chosen this path!
     
  12. hyeonjlee

    hyeonjlee New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2009
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    lately, we shared some dire stories about how hard it is going to be a committed ROTC cadet, what narrow path they must walk on etc.

    It's good to warn the kids so that they are mentally prepared and primed to do their best.

    However, I wonder whether we are overdoing it a little, myself included - guilty as charged. I am saying this because I am afraid the end results may be some students being discourage a bit, and then perhaps aiming lower when it comes to college and major selection (GPA issue).

    I would like to put the whole thing a bit different context for a change. No matter whether you are an ROTC cadet or not, ambitious students with a passion for their future success put an enormous time and energy to make it happen, and they do that while they are handling challenging academic loads. My older son, not an ROTC cadet, puts in over 30 hours a week for professional activities related to his future profession while he is carrying a full load with a GPA over 3.8 in a university singularly reputed for academic rigor and grade deflation. His friends pursuing engineering majors in tough competitive universities are routinely spending 20-30 hours a week doing independent projects that are not giving an iota of an extra GPA because they are aiming for Ph.D. programs at universities at the top of the food chain in their field. Students who do not have adequate financial support from the family are putting themselves through school working over 20 hours a week.

    Yes, the ROTC program can be tough and it demands a lot. However, I don't think its any worse than what motivated students pursuing excellence in other fields put themselves through to emerge at the top of their own ecosystem.

    My younger son (AROTC MS1) is working very hard to be at the top of his own food chain, just like his older brother is doing in his own chosen field. I don't think S2 is having it any tougher than S1. In fact, I don't think either is suffering. They are doing it because their passion drives them so. They are doing it, and enjoying it every bit of time.

    For this reason, I am entirely "unsympathetic" when my kids talk about how they barely slept the night before, and how they had to wake up at 4:30 AM for whatever. I am gratified that they have the passion and discipline, and I applaud them. But in my book, having a goal in life one is passionate about that requires self discipline and hardwork is a privilege to be envied, not something that should garner sympathy. I am not one of those parents who routine say politically correct things like "oh, dear,as long as it makes you happy". What? If one of my kids' dream is to be happy couch potato, should I wish him good luck being a happy couch potato? Last year, my older one mused about the tantalizing fantasy of getting a non-stressful job upon graduation from college and have a "good quality of life". I told him "Universe had to create many village idiots somewhere to collect enough extra IQ points to create someone like you. You owe it to Universe to make the most of the gift you were given to better not only yourself, but those less fortunate than you are" I don't want my kids to take an easy path. I want them take a harder row to hoe.

    S2 is going to be an officer. that's a privilege. He will lead a lot of soliders who came from less privileged environment and serve this country with less recognition and glamour. The least my son has to do to be worthy of the opportunity to lead them is to give everything he has. If it means he has to wake 4:30 AM while his friends at college are having parties and what not, so be it. He does not have any sympathy from me. He has my respect.

    So, the moral of the story I wanted to share is, no matter what you chose, if you want to excel in your chosen field, you must strive for it. The fact that it's ROTC does not make it any tougher. It's just different.

    If your passion is to become an officer, don't worry about how tough it is going to be, let your passion guide you. Don't aim low in anticipation of a failure, unless you really think it's way more than you can possibly digest. At least this is my advice to my kids.



    I think the recent concerns and worries about cadets being disenrolled and such are all about students who were not really passionate and dedicated to begin with. It might have been a little easier in the past to be a little mediocre. Of course, I am talking generality here. There are exceptional cases where the cadets did everything right, but something else happened on the way. But, in general, if you have the passion for your chosen dream and the displine to make it happen, then it's no tougher than before, I think. At least that has been my life experience.

    Now, if you have any doubt whether this is a right path for you then all the things we have been discussing lately apply without any filter, and you really should be concerned and worried, since there seems to be no room now for "barely good enough"

    Good luck.
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2012
  13. Ohio2015Parent

    Ohio2015Parent Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2010
    Messages:
    1,122
    Likes Received:
    58
    It is difficult to let them drive the decisions - wasn't it just yesterday I tied this kids shoes??? Our kids didn't pick what was easy, many of them including my DS had merit offers with no military obligation, but something must have drawn them to this path. Be their cheerleader, the vent for them to blow off steam or whatever they need - mine sometimes just needs a kick in the butt or to be quietly reminded why he went this route(yes, I've saved his application essay and several other school writing assignments that were based on his desire to serve others:smile:). Support he has unconditionally, but the decisions are his.

    I hope as you and your son travel this path you find more and more to respect him for(even when its the grace he finds when things don't go as planned, it will happen:rolleyes:) I know my DS is already growing from his AROTC experience and I like what I've seen so far:thumb:

    Take care.:smile:

    cross posted with hyeonjlee - excellent points and post. At least the incoming cadets have a little better idea of what is ahead from reading the tales of doom and gloom, but as the saying goes "cream always rises to the top" in all of life's situations!
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2012
  14. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2010
    Messages:
    5,541
    Likes Received:
    841
    Wow
     
  15. educateme

    educateme Member

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2009
    Messages:
    323
    Likes Received:
    0
    I would like to divulge my ID.

    actually hyeonjlee is educateme. In the past, I thought about consolidating my login id in a couple of parenting related sites, so I created hyeonjlee login.

    then, I reverted back to educateme. somehow, while I was making a previous post, when I was logging in to do so, my chrome automatically signed in as hyeonjlee, and I did not realize that.

    I am saying who I am: in case folks disagree with the content of my post and want to raise a point or two for constructive criticism, I don't want to hide behind an alternate ID.
     
  16. patentesq

    patentesq Parent

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2011
    Messages:
    1,587
    Likes Received:
    0
    Educateme, I have learned a lot from your posts, but this one strikes me as a bit too generalized and perhaps worthy of rethinking (although you do note that this was a generalized statement). While I agree that folks should have passion for what they do, there can be a whole host of reasons for disenrollment that have absolutely nothing to do with passion or dedication. In fact, some of the most passionate folks can be disenrolled because disenrollment can occur with a whole host of arbitrary reasons, ranging from signing up for the wrong classes at the outset of freshman year, to changing majors belatedly (and therefore unable to catch up with the rest), to having inconsistent graders on an APFT test, to showing up with a cold on the APFT test, to misreading the question prompt on a final examination. Others might have a short-term personal family issue that affects performance. Still others might have an unexpected health issue that flags a DODMERB issue.
     
  17. educateme

    educateme Member

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2009
    Messages:
    323
    Likes Received:
    0
    patentesq,

    I do agree with you. there are cases where things happened that were not due to the obvious faults of the cadets. I did mention that I am generalizing a bit and there are exceptional cases. Perhaps I should have made it clearer.

    As I said, you are right, but I am also making some general cases here,and if I were a betting man (woman, that is), my guess is there are more who had to leave the program because they did not give it their best, NOT because of some unforeseen and unavoidable things that were thrown at them.

    My son (MS I) shared his observation that if another freshman 4 year scholarship in his battalion is disenrolled, he would absolutely have no sympathy for him,and in fact, would love to see the slot (and perhaps $$$ too) going to other cadets in the battalion who he holds in high esteem who are not contracted because they are not scholarship winners. He thought that it is really a shame that someone managed to look good on paper and got the scholarship a much more dedicated and devoted student could have had. He also shared that this is a widely accepted view not only among other cadets including contracted upper classmen(women), but also cadre, regarding this particular 4 year scholarship MS 1 cadet, who regularly misses PT, and shows up late in classes, unkempt look, etc. He feels that cadets like that just hanging around holding expensive scholarship have a demoralizing effect on others.

    This too may be an atypical case. I believe truth is somewhere in the middle, but more on the side of cadets themselves not really doing their best, rather than cadets who are victims of circumstance.

    peace.

    PS. Other than his own desire to get the branch he wants, his second most significant motivation for working really hard to be the best he can be is to make sure nobody speaks behind his back pejoratively "why did such a bozo get a 4 year scholarship? he does not deserve it". He said, if he, as a scholarship winner, slacks off, it's a slap in the face and an insult to other deserving, dedicated cadets, who somehow did not get the scholarship. He feels that he owes it to them to be the model cadet.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2012
  18. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2010
    Messages:
    5,541
    Likes Received:
    841
    This reminds me of those immortal words spoken by Ricky Bobby..."If your not first, your last".

    I do have one comment though.

    In regard to having passion and students, not in ROTC, putting in 20 plus hours of extra work toward their major, and students in ROTC not being any different. Why would you think that just because a student is in ROTC they would not also be involved in extra work to further their major. ROTC is something that is added onto a students schedule, it does not take the place of anything. A student in ROTC not only is involved in the academics of school but in most extra opportunities that are included on campus, these students then add ROTC on top of all that.

    An MS1 has very little responsibility their first year other then show up when they are told. It may look and sound like they are busy but they haven't even begun. Come back and say ROTC is no different then other students who are passionate when your cadet is a MS3, when the first words out of the PMS at the beginning of the year is "You will be earning that stipend this year"

    Sorry about the Quote above....Will Ferrell just cracks me up.

    There is a 20 to 25% attrition rate in ROTC, not all the kids that leave the program are cadets with no passion. I must be in the minority, I am not unsympathetic to what these kids go through, it's hard and it takes a lot of will and character. I am always happy to be the sounding board when needed, that need seems to fade as they move through school.

    Don't be too quick to discard cadets that may take some time to get their feet wet. Thank goodness my son's are in a battalion where teamwork is stressed above all else, if one falls behind everyone is responsible to make every effort to bring them back to the front. If cadets were only judged by the first semester we would lose some good cadets.

    I'll be honest, my son started out his freshman year with a 3.0, the lowest in the MS1 Class, when they gave out the awards that year he was the only cadet that did not receive one. He did not participate in Ranger Challenge his freshman year. He did have a very good APFT though. By the accounts of some he would have been labeled a slacker not worthy of the scholarship. Those in the battalion, upperclass and underclass all supported him and had faith in him. The cadet that won the superior cadet award for the MS1's had a 4.0 GPA, Ranger Challenge, and Color Guard.

    My son is now a MS4, he is commissioning at the top of his class, Top 10% AD, DMG, Top 6% on the National OML and branching Active Duty Aviation. The 4.0 Superior cadet from the MS1 days, he's commissioning in the bottom half of the class, things change as the years progress. Thank goodness nobody gave up on him.

    My intention was not to boast, these are his accomplishments, not mine. My point is that not everyone shines from day one and don't be too quick to scrape them off for a perceived lack of passion.

    For those parents who have gone through ROTC/Academies themselves, they understand, there is a lot more to ROTC then you think when your kid is a MS1, just wait, it hasen't even begun to get interesting yet.

    Sorry about the Quote above....Will Ferrell just cracks me up.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2012
    wisbang35 likes this.
  19. -Bull-

    -Bull- Member

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2009
    Messages:
    1,378
    Likes Received:
    337
    Educateme, correct me if I am wrong, because I read through this thread pretty hastily, but I really disagree with a few of your points.

    Unless I read wrong, you stated your son puts in over X amount of hours per week furthering his studies in his career path (which is awesome) and his friends spend X amount of hours doing their "engineering" thing. Unless I interpreted wrong (which is very likely), I understood it to that you believe besides an ROTC cadets major, they spend fairly little time dedicated to studies and ROTC. I can confirm this is 200% false. I am a double major who spends many hours per week not only in class, but also studying. All of this without loading on the requirements of ROTC, which easily adds 25-30 hours a week to my schedule.

    Once again, maybe I interpreted this wrong, but alas, what about my fellow cadets that aren't on scholarship? Guess what, these cadets work! In addition to ALL duties they may have through AROTC. I guess I may seem as coming off a little harsh, but I really take offense to people who guess and ponder what they think every AROTC cadet is doing and their situation. I GUARENTEE you don't know and neither do I what some cadets are dealing with and nobody should make assumptions of such. If you feel very "unsympathetic" that's up to you, but I feel bad for you. Some cadets are handling more now, than 95% of adults will ever handle.

    BTW, not all enlisted are "less privileged". My brother is USMC enlisted and I find it somewhat disrepectful to assume they all are "less fortunate."
     
  20. jagabiti

    jagabiti Member

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2010
    Messages:
    239
    Likes Received:
    0
    Wow...I don't agree at all... What I was saying is that students who take a more rigorous major then other ROTC cadets have a harder road ahead. You're cant say that a cadet majoring in Aerospace and Mechanical Enginerring has the same academic stress as one majoring in English or business... They are equally passionate as the next, as motivate as the next but have more involved in their major. My DS had an eye opener. He has the choice to ask for a motor change to one that he knows he can pull higher grades in thus raising the "ranking" he was telling me about. His point was he doesn't quite anything and changing his major feels like he is giving up so he is retaking a class to raise his GPA and taking summer and winter classes to lower how many classes he has to take per semester. No I do not think you realize how different ever major is and how much time an Enginerring major takes up. His college has a 1 in 2 chance of dropping out of it. what is the goal... To have a higher gpa in an easy major and be a top cadet?

    DS came out his first semester of college with a 2.3 . Never in his life has he ever even had a B! Passed his PFT and contract on the last day in December that he could and keep his scholarship. Not a good feeling... Saying he should be dropped because he seems less motivated or doesn't have the B average is wrong. He is motivate or they would have contracted him so late. He says he volunteers for every thing. He even went to his ROTC and told them he failed a class when he didn't have to. There response was...what was you going to do about that... He said retake the class. They said great! He came back from break and took another PFT and passed agin with a higher score then the one in Dec. DS says his goal is to get ranked E at LDAC (think that's what it is) and raise his GPA up to at least a 3.0, continue to increase his PFT scores and stick with the hardest major and do his best. To me that shows character and motivation but what do I know...
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2012

Share This Page