ROTC crossroads...

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by TuckerDane, Dec 14, 2010.

  1. TuckerDane

    TuckerDane New Member

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    Hey there!

    I am a Senior undergraduate student and am planning to do ROTC while I pursue a masters degree. Upon graduation from my masters program, I plan to go Active Duty and ask to go to Ranger school. In order to be let in and so I am well-equipped and prepared for Ranger school, I know that I have to do my very best.

    At this point, I am at a crossroads. I have two very different universities that I am looking at. Each of the two have pros/cons that I think might help or hinder me in pursuing my goals. Here is how I see it:

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    Gonzaga University

    Pros
    -Better Quality of Training
    -Overall higher scoring of cadets
    -more competitive in the Ranger Challenge (not associated w/ ranger school)
    -close to where I currently live
    -Ability to obtain masters degree in Organizational Leadership

    Cons
    -more difficult to distinguish one's self against peers; may make it difficult to attend schools such as Air-Assault School

    Portland State University

    Pros
    -I would be able to join the biathlon skiing/shooting team
    -less competition to to attend schools such as Air Assault
    -close to my hometown
    -ability to obtain a Masters Degree in Biology (I'm a biology major)

    Cons
    -lower overall scores for cadets
    -less competitive in the Ranger Challenge

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    These pros/cons are my impressions. I may not have it all straight. With that said, my biggest concern is the following tradeoff: is it better to be a little fish in a big pond (Gonzaga) or a big fish in a little pond (PSU). Will going to PSU increase the likelihood that I could attend Air Assault School? Will being a part of the Biathalon team better my chances at getting into schools like Mountain Warfare or Northern Warfare? And if so, will these courses make me a better candidate for the Rangers?

    One reason that the "Biathlon" area carries particular weight for me is because I am an avid skier. It has always been one of my dreams to compete in biathlons; however if going to PSU gets in the way of other dreams, I will have to make a choice.

    With regard to Biology at PSU: this provides me with skills that I can use in a civilian career outside of the military; however Organizational Leadership may help me if I want to be a career soldier. In my view, organizational leadership does not help me as much in a civilian career, but biology does not help me as much in the military. The pro/con status of these masters programs, then, depends on whether or not I decide to be a "career soldier".

    Thanks for taking the time to read and respond to my questions. I will consider each response and take into account what you say.

    -TuckerDane
     
  2. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    TD:
    I'm a little confused on this post because the materrs degrees that you are mentioning are so diametrically opposed. I think that you are really examining the wrong elements here:
    What do you want to major in for your Masters degree? Figure out the best school to support you in that and push to go there and not worry about the Army and relative differences in the ROTC programs. Any ROTC program will give you the opportunity to get the branch and the schools that you want- outside of the internet- very few people in the Army will care about the "reputation" of the ROTC program because the truth is that they all have a basic core curriculum directed from Cadet Command and unless there is a very large contingent of graduates on active duty (one of the benefits of the military colleges- tey have a relatively large contingent of alumni in uniform which means you have pretty good chance of running into folks with whom you share the old school tie) they all are perceived as being more or less the same in that regard- you will be an ROTC graduate. With very few exceptions- your degrees WILL NOT MATTER in the Army (unless you are perhaps a linguist) so don't pick a Masters Degree program using that calculation.
    However, both in and out of the army- people will all care about the reputation of the college you went to - at least when they are doing the initial hiring interview.. You are going to get the Masters to prepare you for a lifetime and career options- pick the one that has a better program and reputation and prepares you for a career. You seem to be vacillating between two degrees that have few or no common points of intersection. What is it that you want to do with your degree? I think that it is fair to say that Gonzaga is a better known school around the country than Portland State, but not knowing what your undergrad degree will be in , I am having a hard time looking at these choices and seeing the pattern. What do you wish to do with a masters in "Organizational Leadership"? Why a Masters in Biology ? (My observation is that if you are getting a postgrad degree in the sciences- get a PHD as anything less qualifies you for little other than teaching and even then you will still need to get a teachers certificate).


    All of the above is just my humble opinion- and nobody has the gospel answer for you- but it's based on a pretty long career in the Army, married to someone with a longer career in the Army and a family of career Army officers so I have had a bit of opportunity to observe the Army, Army officers and Army careers over the years and in my current civilian career I hire and manage a fair number of folks as well in a very large multinational company.

    My advice- pick the school with the best academic program and reputation you can get into and afford. The Army will still be there when you graduate and ROTC at either will prepare you for the Army.
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2010
  3. mtnman17

    mtnman17 USMA Appointee 2015

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    Bruno, can you participate in ROTC as a graduate student?
     
  4. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I was wondering the same thing. I have never heard of anyone doing it from a grad school standpoint.
     
  5. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    Yes- a graduate student can participate in ROTC although I don't think that you can qualify for a scholarship - (I could be wrong about that- I believe that I have read that but don't know that for certain.)
    http://www.goarmy.com/rotc/ways-to-attend.html
     
  6. clarksonarmy

    clarksonarmy Recruiting Operations Officer at Clarkson Army

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    Grad students go to LTC (4 week summer camp) and they do compete for scholarships. There was also a contracting bonus available the last couple years. Someone with two years of school left and no ROTC experience are the candidates for this option.

    Here is my two cents...sounds like you are a badge hunter...The summer between your first and second year will be taken up with LDAC. You need to be focused on one thing...doing well at LDAC. Getting to all those high speed schools will come in time, but you need to show up ready to earn that Gold bar, not a pair of jump wings or a tab. If you do well at camp, get good grades, and stay physically fit, you may get a branch that will lend itself to getting to attend all those great schools (Infantry, Field Artillery, Transportation Corp). I don't mean to crush your dreams...landing a AASLT school slot would be sweet, but getting a CTLT slot after camp will make you a better 2LT, or getting a CULP slot will prepare you better for whats ahead.

    good luck
     
  7. mariner116

    mariner116 Member

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    CULP

    Clarksonarmy. You mentioned CULP in the previous reply. My daughter is an MSI and has applied for a CULP slot. Do you have any idea how these are allocated? The application form seemed very generic with little information gathered to compare applications (at least for a 1st term freshman).
     
  8. TuckerDane

    TuckerDane New Member

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    Thanks for your responses.

    I'll keep in mind what you said about my masters program options. I will be honest, I'm not really concerned about what major I am getting. I really just want to take advantage of the Army as best as I can, and it makes sense to get more school paid for if I can. If I am not accepted to either masters program, I will probably go the OCS rout.

    With that said, I am currently trying to weigh the options I have if I am accepted and decide to go the ROTC rout. I want to know how these might affect my ability to go to Ranger school or SF in the future. I want to keep these options open, and for that, it means I have to remain competitive.

    These are the things that, from what I gather, make one competitive for those schools:

    Ranger School
    - Infantry
    - Airborne Training
    - (Active Duty if you want to be in the 75th Ranger Regiment)

    SF
    - Infantry
    - Airborne Training
    - Ranger Tab
    - Language Proficiencies
    - achieve rank of Captain
    - previous tours of duty a major plus

    I just found out that, in order to be part of the Biathalon team in Oregon, I must be a National Guardsman. I also found out from a trusted source that I can easily get a spot to AAS because Oregon teaches Air Assault.

    If I do become a National Guardsman in Oregon, how will this affect my ability to become competent in the skills/schools that makes one competitive for Ranger school and/or SF? Would it be better/worse to go Active Duty in light of this?

    If I go National Guard, is there a possibility that I could be switched to AD later? I hear this is possible but a big hassle a lot of the time. Additionally, members of NG units oftentimes have to give up bonuses to switch to AD. I am not concerned about losing a bonus, but I am concerned about setting myself up for the schools I am looking to attend.

    I really want to be a part of the Biathalon team, but if it means that I must go into the National Guard then I need to weight how this will affect my options in the future. Some sources tell me that it may actually increase the likelihood of attending Ranger School or getting a slot to SFAS, depending on the composition of my state's NG. Is this correct? If so, does the composition of Oregon's NG allow for this?

    Also, if I find that NG is not an option, would it be better to go to Gonzaga or PSU knowing that I have a low chance of AAS at Gonzaga and a high chance at PSU. I understand that doing well at LDAC is a must, and I am confident that I will, and that CTLT will help me with this. Are AAS and CTLT mutually exclusive alternatives; can I do both?

    I know some of the questions I ask are specific to Oregon. If you don't know enough about Oregon's NG, thats OK. I can do more research on that. Thanks.

    -TuckerDane
     

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