ROTC Plan

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by aglages, Oct 10, 2009.

  1. aglages

    aglages Parent

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    I need advice on a plan for a four year ROTC Scholarship for my daughter.
    She will be a Nursing (BSN) major and is currently a senior in HS. Her GPA (3.9) & SAT (1320) scores are very good, and her ECs (leadership) above average. She definitely wants to be a nurse and has wanted to be a military nurse (although she isn't particularly committed to one branch) since elementary school.

    I have convinced her that she should apply for the Army, Navy & Air Force ROTC scholarships.

    Now the dilemma : All of her college choices have AROTC, but some don't have Navy. One has an AFROTC program at a cross-town school but that school is over an one hour (highway) drive away (one way) and it does not have Navy. Some (2) have all three ROTC programs but neither of those are her first choice. Each ROTC program has different deadlines in regards to when you must accept and how many schools you have to choose from. Not to mention that the AFROTC introduces the issue of which tier (type) scholarship you might be approved for. And of course many of these choices must be made without knowing for certain which colleges have accepted her and what if any merit / need money is available. She has applied EA at all but one school and that one does not have an EA program and will not notify applicants until after Feb 1, 2010.

    I have told my daughter that she should accept any and all of the ROTC scholarships that she is offered and that we will sort it out after we have all the information in front of us (April). Have I given her bad (or immoral) advice? Is this strategy unfair to other applicants or the various military services? Is their a "better" approach to sorting out these offers? How about the strategy of waiting until mid November to submit the final piece of paperwork (essays are written but not submitted) to the Navy & Army ROTC program so that she makes the December boards for all three branches?

    Any help, suggestions or opinions will be appreciated.

    Thanks
     
  2. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    No, you gave her correct advice. For right now, not only look at the colleges, but spend time investigating the service branch because she will be serving in that branch. If she doesn't like the idea of boats, than the navy might not be a good fit!

    Submit all paperwork as soon as possible. There is a limited amount of money to go around, thus, in the end, she might get very little


    Also, I thought there was a direct scholarship for nursing through the military branches, or is it the same as every other kid?
     
  3. aglages

    aglages Parent

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    Pima: Thanks for the advice (and support). I appreciate it.

    The Air Force has a Nursing Scholarship but it is for 3 years and cannot be applied for until after the freshman year. It is a type 1 (all tuition) and supposedly you can't be turned down if you meet the GPA (and usual) requirements. Other than that specific scholarship, all incoming freshmen (including nursing) compete for the same pool of scholarships. Supposedly (as told to us be two different detachments) the AF rarely (if ever) gives out any scholarships to freshmen nursing students other than Type 7. Both ROTC units could not recall ANY freshman (4 year scholarship applicants) nursing majors that receive any scholarship other than type 7 regardless of her / his qualifications or the cost of the school.

    Strangely (but perhaps not surprisingly) when the school year begins (1st week of Sept) the AF suddenly realizes that they have too few freshmen nursing students in ROTC and then sends it's ROTC recruiters into the nursing colleges to offer type 1 and 2 scholarships to those interested in applying (and who can qualify). This has evidently happened in each of the last 3+ years.

    Call me cynical, but this policy seems to reduce the freshmen applicant pool to those students that:
    1. could afford to go to school without a ROTC scholarship
    2. those that applied to the Army and Navy and were turned downed
    3. those that never considered ROTC in the first place
    4. those that wouldn't consider joining any other branch of service other than the AF
    Those students that financially needed a ROTC scholarship and that were well qualified probably have already committed to the Army or Navy.

    The Navy does have a Nurse option that is separate from the other categories on it's application form. I "assume" this places all nursing applicants in competition with only those interested in pursuing nursing.

    Thanks Pima again for the opinions. Anyone else wish to weigh in on some ideas or insight to this process? Do I have any wrong information or assumptions? Please ANY advice is welcome.
     
  4. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    From what I have read through these boards, Army, Navy and AF are all different in handing out scholarships. AF gives @95% to technical field. Not trying to be a downer, but that maybe why they don't know of anyone else, since the type 7 exists for nursing. The AF knows they have this other plan and they have decided to use their money that way. Also, you hit the nail on the head

    If they know you are AF all the way, than they could put more money into the technical fields.

    She really needs to look at life after college, that means the branch and the opportunities they have for her. I am not saying go AF, I am saying look at life as a nurse in all of these branches. Not saying anything negative here, but the AF hospitals are not as close to the front line, since the jets are placed back. There is no 6 mos sea rotation since, we don't go to the sea. This is what I am saying when I say look at what AD life will be like. She might say I think going on a ship and traveling to different ports is cool! She might say if I am going to be a nurse for the military I want to be on the front line. It is what she wantsthe day after graduation that should determine which branch, and not their location while at ROTC

    I am a big proponent of not going cross town, but in your scenario, her path is set, she will be going nursing and not fighting it out for slots like UPT, Ranger, or SEAL. Thus, x-town is more of a hassle than anything else.
     
  5. aglages

    aglages Parent

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    Pima: Thanks again for sharing your opinions, Many of our freinds and acquaintances have also promoted the AF for the after college experience.

    It is difficult for me to understand why the AF would intentionally limit it's 4 year ROTC nursing applicants to only those who would not consider any other branch and that can afford college without ROTC. Both circumstances would logically need to apply. I doubt the AF would find much ROTC recruiting success using this method with any other career. Particularly when the other services are offering full tuition and specifically targeting nursing. I will tell you that the AF currently has zero freshmen nursing students at two of the top colleges that my daughter is applying. The Army and Navy both (supposedly) have more enrolled this year than ever before.

    I understand that you are loyal to the AF, and by most accounts justifiably so. It is just their recruitment in this one specific area that has me confused. Again I'm not trying to be critical, I'm just not sure how this plan attracts the best and brightest from this one particular field.

    Any way, the AF will do what ever the AF thinks is best. Hopefully the information I have from the AF recruiters is incorrect and they will renew my faith in them by sending my daughter a full tuition scholarship offer.:thumb:

    I would still like any input from anyone (including Pima) on what / how I should recommend for my daughter in regards to ROTC.

    Thanks.
     
  6. goaliedad

    goaliedad Parent

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    With regards to the cross-town affiliate situation and nursing - probably a bad idea. IIRC, later in the nursing curriculum there are practicum requirements. Adding that potential commute to a commute for classes and other ROTC activities, it makes for a college experience spent behind the wheel.

    I wouldn't necessarily withdraw the AF application, just understand it is kind of like hitting the lottery. Most will say that the AF military experience (housing, locations, etc.) is probably a better pick than other branches, but I don't know if the location part is as applicable to nurses. (Pima or Bullet probably can shed more light here).

    With her stats, the Army ROTC scholarship looks like a good safety situation and is found in almost all of your locations, so you can accept admissions (early) to a top choice school knowing that you will most likely have at least an AROTC scholarship, if that is where she really wants to go.

    If a Navy or AF scholarship for the same school comes up later and the finances permit, you can turn down Army scholarship at that time.

    Good Luck!
     
  7. aglages

    aglages Parent

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    Thanks goaliedad for weighing in on this discussion! The huge commute (1 hour each way) to the cross-town AF detachment is only at her top choice school. If fairness they only require this once a week and allow their ROTC students to do PT on their own.

    The AROTC (for the same college) is a 15 minute drive (each way in city traffic), and they require their students to attend PT and classes 3X a week. Might be about the same time commitment in the end.

    The practicum requirements for nursing students are called clinical hours. Fortunately at ALL the schools we are applying to, the hospitals are located on campus or within a block or two walk. All (that I have spoken to) the ROTC recruiters say that school and grades are the priority and if you have a conflict with ROTC, then school requirements win out. With the caveat of course that you have spoken to the powers that be at ROTC in advance and really cannot reasonably accomplish both. Again, the recruiters SAY that they understand that the nursing curriculum is not very flexible and they make allowances for that.

    Thanks again for the input, and I welcome any one else to contribute.

    How about the moral implications of accepting all three scholarships? Is this strategy unfair to other applicants or the various military services? Is there a "better" approach to sorting out these offers? How about the strategy of waiting until mid November to submit the final piece of paperwork (essays are written but not submitted) to the Navy & Army ROTC program so that she makes the December boards for all three branches? (
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2009
  8. goaliedad

    goaliedad Parent

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    Glad to hear that you've got all the research in hand with regards to the clinicals (sorry about using the incorrect practicum term, couldn't remember the correct term at the time I was writing).

    With regards to the moral implications, the branches award more scholarships than they need to generate the necessary yield knowing that some will not gain admittance to the schools on their list, others will get into a dream school that doesn't offer ROTC, others yet will gain admittance to a Service Academy, and others will change their minds that they want to participate. All of these scholarships will be "unused". They understand that young people change their minds about their educational priorities.

    So if your daughter is awarded an Army Scholarship in December, accepts it to one school, is later awarded an AF Scholarship and decides that she'd rather go with AF, but has not heard back from the school (even though in your case it is one and the same), she can freely hold one of the 2 scholarships. I agree it is not nice to hold more than 1 ROTC scholarship at a time. However, if she were applying to a SA, many of them hold a ROTC scholarship in addition in case the bubble wrap doesn't work. I am saying here, as long as you only hold 1 ROTC scholarship at a time, you are OK.

    You could hold off your Army application until your AF/Navy apps have gone to board once or twice so you don't have to give up an easily transferrable AROTC scholarship when you accept an AF offer at a school you haven't been accepted at the AF/Navy school. You do take a small risk that Army will cut back the numbers during the process and could end up with nothing, but that hasn't happened in my knowledge.

    I wasn't able to tell if your February admissions notification school is the school with Army and AF that is your #1. In that case, you probably could delay Army for the January board (you'll have until about your Feb 10 deadline to accept). If you get AF in December and it is your preference, then you can turn down Army later. If you get Army first, you can have the bird in hand if/when AF offers you something later, knowing you have the full-ride in hand.

    If your #1 school is rolling admissions, you shouldn't have a problem.
     
  9. aglages

    aglages Parent

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    Thanks goaliedad! Your post certainly game me a lot to consider.

    Sorry for the somewhat evasive nature of the following answer but I don't want to step on any toes.

    For clarification purposes (you need a score card to keep track of these) My daughter's top 3 list of schools by priority and ROTC availability:

    1. Has AROTC 15 minutes away and AFROTC 1 hour drive. Top 15 nursing program. Well respected and expensive private college. Has EA but will not notify applicants until the middle to end of Dec 2009. Offers room and board ROTC money and scholarship money.

    2. Has AFROTC and AROTC on campus and NROTC practically across the street (1 block walk). Public U with a top 10 rated nursing program. Have applied EA and have been ACCEPTED. No scholarship money (expected) and no allowance for ROTC room and board.

    3. Has AFROTC, AROTC and NROTC all on campus. Very highly regarded out-of-state public U with a top 10 nursing program. No allowance for ROTC room and board. Will not even begin looking at applications until Jan 1, 2010 and will not begin to release decisions until probably Feb 1st. A "reach" school for my daughter.

    I truly believe that ROTC scholarships are a wonderful reward for doing something that many people willingly do for much less. Serve their country. When I enlisted in the Army in Dec 1971 I was making about $180.00 a month as a private. Certainly I know times have changed. But to serve your country and get up to $180,000 worth of tuition and stipends and a college education...well to me that is just amazing. We should be (and will be) grateful for any scholarships that any branch chooses to grant my daughter.

    There is a very large part of me that feels like the kid with his hand stuck in the cookie jar because he has too many cookies and is too greedy to let go of them. The end result is he gets none.

    I don't want all the cookies, but I'm hesitant to let go of them before I know what my daughter will need (and what will be offered). If I delay submitting ROTC applications until when I think all my daughter's college decisions will be final......I (she) risks getting no scholarships. Instead of over "thinking" this, I'm just going to submit the AROTC & NROTC applications on Monday. The AFROTC is submitted and the interview complete. The Army interview is scheduled for next week. She will get in front of as many boards as possible and we'll just hope for the best.

    Anyone else with some opinions or advice?
     
  10. singaporemom

    singaporemom Member

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    Yes! Submit all appications. My son has completed all 3. During his NROTC interview his interviewer recommended going for all 3 and sorting through the choices in the spring. We're visiting a school right now to decide if he should apply early decision. That might help move the choices along...or not. You just never know. Most likely, your daughter, and my son, will get the scholarship, but who knows which school? My son narrowed the choices to 5 for Army, 4 of those plus 1 other for navy, and 3 from the Army list for Air Force. His majors will be Math and Chinese so it was a hunt for the best Chinese department.

    He's now taking the time to research and interview the ROTC units at these schools to make a more informed decision on branch. These kids have a lot of choices..too many...so it's nice to throw the hat out there and then deal with the offers that come in.

    And the good thing about ROTC, your daughter can broaden her horizons if you want and attend ANY school. My son's schools are in Calif, Indiana, Texas, North Carolina, Missouri and Virginia. It's amazing the opportunities that might come his way.

    Good Luck!:thumb:
     
  11. aglages

    aglages Parent

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    Thank you singaporemom! It is good to hear the Navy ROTC rep is giving the same advice that I'm giving my daughter....go for all three and sort them out in the Spring.

    I will submit the AROTC and NROTC on Monday.
     
  12. goaliedad

    goaliedad Parent

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    Sounds like you have a good plan and a clear decision path. :thumb:
     
  13. singaporemom

    singaporemom Member

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    so far, everyone we have spoken to agrees to that. NJROTC, AROTC, AFROTC, NROTC... they agree on that!
     
  14. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    aglages:

    Army and Navy do run separate scholarship programs for Nurses. As a nursing student in Army or Navy ROTC you take ROTC but your summer experiences revolve around nursing. Perhaps AF is able to direct commission enough nurses they don't need a separate scholarship program, I can't answer that but I can tell you that Army and Navy are both actively recruitung for Nurses.

    I think your daughter needs to think about what she wants career-wise in nursing and then talk to folks from the three different branches.

    In the Army she will be a Nurse and a soldier. She will have opportunites to develop soldiering skills as well as nursing skills and if she has any desire for combat nursing or trauma nursing the opportunites are there.
    There are also opportunities for grad school if she is interested in Nurse Anesthetist or Nurse practitioner programs. The Army has one of the top ranked Nurse Anesthetist programs in the country.

    In the Navy - I am under the impression that most nurses are in fact on shore duty and the ships have very few Navy Nurses on board, save for the hospital ships the Comfort and the Mercy. Most Navy nurses are on duty in the Navy hospitals.

    Your daughter certainly may apply for ROTC scholarships to all the branches and then pick one in the spring when she makes her school decision.
    She should also use this time to make inquiries about the career opportunities available in the Army, Navy and Air Force.
    Good Luck to her.
     
  15. aglages

    aglages Parent

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    Thanks singaporemom for the info.!

    If I understand your post correctly, you are saying that everyone that you have spoken to agrees that "the AF military experience (housing, locations, etc.) is probably a better pick than other branches"?

    What is the significance of the ROTC programs following your statement? Is it a list of programs that representatives suggested AFROTC was a better pick than themselves?

    Thanks again.
     
  16. kp2001

    kp2001 USMMA Alumnus

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    I'm going to stay away from the application part, but will put in my 2 cents on the 'life after' part since I work with Navy nurses on a regular basis and have rotated at army and air force hospitals and have seen what life is like at deployed locations:

    In no particular order:
    1)Navy - initial tours after nursing school will likely be in a major hospital (San Diego, Bethesda, Portsmouth Virginia) working on the wards. Subsequent tours will depend on what she wants to do and 'the needs of the Navy'. ICU education is available as well as OR nursing and alot tend to go that way. There are very few nurses on ships: there are maybe one or two on carriers and there will be some who augment the hospital ships which currently are only going out for humanitarian missions. For the most part nurses will progress from the wards to either a specialty area (OR/ICU/Peds/OB) or will eventually move on to work in a clinic. It is rare to see someone higher than an O3 working on the ward.

    The biggest plus for the Navy is the location of the bases. The major hospitals are in DC, San Diego, and Virginia. The smaller hospitals and clinics are located near water and are in some great places as well (eg Charleston SC). You won't spend much time on the water. You may get sent to augment something like GITMO or a fleet hospital in a warzone.

    2)Air Force - same progression. Definitely no ships, but you can still end up in warzones. Also the AF has been the worst at downsizing their medical side and seems to have the most disgruntled physicians. AF bases aren't located in the most wonderful places. (South Dakota anyone?) They do have a pretty awesome Critical Care Air Transport Team (CCATT) which takes critically injured patients and transports them in basically an ICU in the air. Awesome group who do awesome things.

    3)Army - same progression. Not sure on 'combat nursing' as was mentioned above. People who are assigned to operating units are usually either MD/DO's or PA's. Haven't heard of any nurses attached to units. You can however be assigned to (Combat Support Hospitals) CSH's in warzones. Army hospitals also tend to be in not as great places. Ft Belvoir in northern virginia, Ft Lewis in Tacoma, and the move to Bethesda are probably the best I can think of location wise.

    Overall I would highly recommend getting in contact with a junior nurse in each of the three branches. Try to find one outside the recruiter to get the real scoop. You could probably call any military hospital and ask their public affairs person to get you in contact with one.

    The Navy and Air Force (not sure on the Army) are currently big on letting people other than just physicians take command of hospitals and clinics. There would be plenty of command potential if she was interested in that.
     
  17. aglages

    aglages Parent

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    Thanks Just_A_Mom for the input and suggestions.

    While it is certainly possible that the Air Force is able to recruit BSN grad and RN licensed nurses, evidently they are not able to recruit enough. It is still very curious that after the school year begins the AF recruiters are forced to go into the nursing schools looking for nursing students to join ROTC and accept Type 1 & 2 scholarships. The same "Type" scholarships that just a few months before were not being offered to any nursing students (regardless of qualifications). I would think there might be some advantage to developing some of your nurses through an ROTC program, but perhaps not.

    Again, I am not trying to be critical of the Air Force. It is just this one particular recruiting technique that completely mystifies me.

    I have discussed with my daughter (and she has researched on line) the pros & cons of each branch's nursing programs.

    It is difficult to disregard so many people's positive opinion of AF Nursing, but it is also impossible to ignore the words of the recruiters and the evident lack of interest by the AF in recruiting nurses entering college. Hopefully the information that I've been given is incorrect and the AF will throw money at my daughter. :thumb:

    I don't think my daughter has very much interest in developing her "soldiering" skills or combat nursing. She certainly hasn't seemed excited about the possibility. As her father I would definitely prefer that she be as far from danger as possible and the shorter her deployment the better. Although on paper it would seem the Army has the most to offer (most scholarships, bonuses, faster promotions, and educational opportunities) I think the Army is #3 on her list of preferences.

    The Navy is a very realistic possibility if she chooses to attend a college where they have a ROTC unit and of course if they offer her a scholarship. Mostly shore based duty by the ocean and only full tuition scholarships....hard combination to beat.

    Thanks again for your opinions, I appreciate the suggestions.
     
  18. aglages

    aglages Parent

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    Wow! Thanks kp2001 for sharing all your personal insights into the various military branches.

    My wife is a Nursing Educator at a local hospital and her experiences with former military (non-retired) nurses validates many of the same opinions that have been expressed in this thread.

    Her perspective (on a relatively small sampling):

    Former Army Nurses: Most disenchanted with their military experience, but often times the proudest of their accomplishments. Usually very experienced and well trained.

    Former Navy Nurse: Enjoyed the experience, spent all her AD time on shore and often wonders why she ever left.

    Former AF Nurse: Thinks the AF lifestyle and bases are the most modern / comfortable. Didn't particularly think the AF was overly interested in her professional development. Doesn't seem to be particularly happy about working in a civilian hospital either. :rolleyes:

    Please keep in mind that the above opinions are from a very few ex-military nurses and may not (probably are not) representative of the majority of nurses in a particular branch.

    kp2001: Sure you don't want to venture an opinion on the "application part"? God knows that I don't have all the answers and my daughter is counting on me to advise her correctly.
     
  19. felixbed

    felixbed Member

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    I'll share a bit of my experience with the application process. My son started in the summer junior year getting recs for the Naval Academy in order as well as the NROTC scholarship. By August had DODMERB done, interview with NROTC recruiter done and then the waiting game. Several of his college choices used a rolling admission process so that by November he had three acceptances under his belt. At that point he reevaluated his NROTC college order and changed it to cover the colleges he was in already as his top choice units, two were cross town units. Then it was a regular call to Pensacola to see what was going on and it anything else was needed and calls to the units to see how they were filling up.
    One college would need a campus change in order to go NROTC and the advisor there was very happy to make a call to get his campus changed if needed. A final call to the advisor at his unit of choice actually called Pennsacola, said his app had been reviewed and needed a few grade/course improvements which he had already done, at which point his advise was to get those grades to Pennsacola asap and a contact person there as well.
    A follow up call to the Pennsacola the next day confirmed receipt, advised that nothing more was needed he would be up for the next review again and two weeks later got the congratulation letter from the Navy.
    Make nice with the units, use them to make the connections you need to help the application along. It's never to late to add something to your app to make it stand out and obvious to us they came right out and said what was needed. I wasn't an obnoxious caller, only called for pertinent info or questions, they were always helpful and ready to answer any questions or offer advise and I truly believe their suggestions helped get the process accomplished.
     
  20. aglages

    aglages Parent

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    Thanks felixbed for sharing your experience with NROTC.
    The Navy is the only branch that seems to have assigned us our very own representative. He is from the local area and calls or emails at least once a week to see how things are going with the application. He also lets us know which documents he has received (since the previous contact) and what is still outstanding. Sure makes my daughter feel wanted!

    Today, as we were finishing up the final part of the NROTC application (the confirmation pages before submitting) we received a page asking us if we wanted to have our application reviewed by our local recruiter before submitting. The fact that the question was asked made us think that perhaps it was a good idea and maybe a subtle suggestion. I sent an email to our unit "hand holder" to see if that is something he or the unit wanted to do. Did your son's unit rep review his application before you submitted it or was that not an option at the time?

    The more I read about the possible "road bumps" in the application process, the more I am certain that sooner is better than later when submitting her ROTC application.

    Thanks again for the help.
     

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