ROTC thoughts (long)

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by gojack, Jan 2, 2011.

  1. gojack

    gojack ....

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    Over the holidays, I had a conversation with a relative, a retired Master Sgt, recently with ROTC - he sat through a lot of interviews,
    We were just chatting about the entire application process, over a couple barley pops.

    His pet peeve; He thinks that many of the students he saw have Zero understanding of how to treat an adult as a superior. Thought this was a result of parents and teachers trying to be 'best friends' all the time. Even during the interview many would address the PMS as sir, at first (if at all) and during the interview switch to first name basis without being told to do so. (i.e. you can call me Bob) "Kids need to understand the difference between being friendly and being buddies, and your commander is not your buddy." (followed by long rant on Jon Stewart calling President Obama 'dude')

    Some of his other comments;

    --Interview dress code; Shirt with collar and no graphics, long pants, closed toe shoes, clean and pressed, no visible underwear, no gum, no food, no drinks, no caps, no chains, no visible tattoos or piercings, no music player(s) including earplugs, no video games, no laptops, no cellphones, no texting. He had major problem with inappropriate attire on females (He really did not want to see underwear). He said he has had kids in flip-flops, sleeveless shirts, short pants, sucking on a coke, texting on their iPhone get upset when he told them to shut it off during an interview.

    --Things looked for:
    Poise, self confident, likability, strong handshake, would 'look him in the eye', did not look to parent when unsure of answers. Understood some things about military life. i.e. Asking about married/family life in the military showed actually thinking about real life. Had a well thought through reason to join. Well rounded resume, contained something that is about serving others, 'not all about me'.

    --Major red flags:
    -A parent who attempts to monopolize interview.
    -Kid who asks a series of questions that they really should all ready know. "Do I have to do PT, do I have to get my hair cut, do I have to go to Boot camp" etc.
    -They only want to talk the scholarship money, not about career in military.
    -Kids who think the military is like the movies/video games. "They all play Battlefield and watch the Bourne Identity, but the ones that think that's real are a little scary" "One kid actually said, I want to be just like Jason Bourne, which job is that?"

    --points for pressed cloths, polished shoes and a tie "shows they are taking it seriously"
    --points for well informed, supportive parents
    --points for being a couple minutes early
    --points for calling - if running late "that shows respect for others"
    --points for having a pen and note pad "shows planning ahead"
    --points for immediate - thank you card or email after interview. "shows good upbringing"

    --Address correspondence to Military Personnel as their web page shows.
    If the ROTC web page shows "LTC Smith", use that as you salutation.
    If it shows "Lieutenant Colonel Adam I. Smith", use that on emails.
    "Addressing it to 'Adam' or 'Mr Smith' shows basic misunderstanding of the military".

    --Firefox has built a in spell check - use it. Watch spelling, grammar, punctuation, capitalization. "Sloppy just looks sloppy".

    Biggest gripe with cadets; procrastination and excuses...did not feel well, hung over, out late, broke up with girlfriend, studying late, sore muscles...etc., can I make it up later? "if the stipend is a day late they scream bloody murder, but make endless excuses for being absent or late themselves" "The best cadets are the ones that don't skip classes"

    He said after years of watching, he thought the entire application process was somewhat meaningless... That who did well and who failed was not predictable. He would get all enthused about a kid who seemed to be great, highly motivated, good grades, sports and leadership, just to watch him fail miserably. And another kid, who he thought was marginal at best, would really rise to the challenge and exceed everyone's wildest expectations.
    "In the end it's really all up to them."
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2011
  2. FloridaDad

    FloridaDad Member

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    Most of that is common sense TBH. Not sure why you keep referencing parental involvement in the interview though. My sons were 1-on-1, we were not in the room.
     
  3. gojack

    gojack ....

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    My son was one-on-one also.
    Common sense is apparently not that common.

    If someone finds it helpful, fine.
    If not, no harm done I hope.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2011
  4. aglages

    aglages Parent

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    While it should be common sense, sadly according to the Master Sargent that Gojack spoke with (over a couple barley pops :wink:) MANY ROTC applicants would benefit from his post. I think a lot of us on this site tend to forget that all applicants don't have supportive/informed parents to guide their kids through the process and not all applicants are aware of this site. Additionally I believe that many applicants think that there are ROTC scholarships available just for the asking...that the military needs them more than they need the military. If that was ever true it certainly isn't anymore.

    Finally, if Gojack's advice has no value to the reader then it is worth they paid for it. :cool:
     
  5. FloridaDad

    FloridaDad Member

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    This is true. When my wife went to the Navy interview with my son she said there were kids in the office wearing shorts and t-shirts etc.

    I took my son to his Army interview and he went to the bathroom to check his shirt etc. He even wore his suspender things that hook the shirt to his socks. I saw a few kids when we were waiting and they looked fairly smart, slacks and shirts etc. On the way out my son said none of them had their shirts tucked in correctly, which is apparently obvious to military folk.

    I didn't even know there was a correct way to tuck your shirt in. :frown: :shake:

    When is school had the JROCT inspection he made cadets remove their clothes and press them if they were wrinkled. He also cut the hair of any kids that had it touching their ears. His Colonel was laughing but thanked him because they got a 98.% and retained their honors status.
     
  6. FloridaDad

    FloridaDad Member

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    Benjamin Franklin: "He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else."

    The more I think about that quote the more truth there is in it.
     
  7. P-Flying17

    P-Flying17 Member

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    That was very good advice.

    Also a good note, have the applicant call to check on status, updates, corrections, etc. Though parents are helped, when the actual applicant calls, those assisting are more likely to go out of their way to help them.

    Why you ask?

    Because it shows they want the scholarship, not their parents. Because in the end mommy and daddy will not participating in ROTC nor taking their tests. And it is not mommy and daddy that is going to shape the future of the military, it is the student.
     
  8. mtnman17

    mtnman17 USMA Appointee 2015

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    I had to post it:biggrin:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jvph0r09nDU
     
  9. dunninla

    dunninla Member

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    thanks.

    just one comment I'll make about parents and interviewing -- Navy ROTC prefers the student take the initiative in just about everything in the process, and walk into the interview offices unaccompanied by a parent.
     
  10. FloridaDad

    FloridaDad Member

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    If the kid is 16 they are not allowed to talk to them without a parents consent.
     
  11. CandidateElias15

    CandidateElias15 USNA '15 Appointee

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    I was 16 when I had my official NROTC Interview, and my BGO interview for USNA.
    NROTC was 1 on 1, and I even signed a couple forms regarding FAFSA without my parents present.
    Now that I think of it, my parents didnt sign anything regarding my NROTC Scholarship, yet I was awarded one.. And I was 16 throughout the acceptance.

    EDIT: But as for the OP, I think that the majority of that is common sense and ridiculous. Politics aside, calling the President "dude" is ridiculous.
     
  12. FloridaDad

    FloridaDad Member

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    Did your parents take to to the interview and wait outside? The Army called to speak to my son one day and the minute they realized he was 16 they terminated the phone call because we were out and couldn't give them permission to talk to him.
     
  13. GoNavyBeatArmy2015

    GoNavyBeatArmy2015 Determined

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    Parents in the car!

    Mine were in the car for nomination interviews. For ROTC they walked in the Recruiting office briefly, then out and waited some distance away. Could it be that the ones who don't take the time to dress to impress, are really not serious about their interviews in the first place? If they become military, I would hate to see their brass. You can tell who is serious in JROTC or at an academy....look at their uniform brass and shoes.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2011
  14. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I wouldn't think 16 matters, because 16/17 they are both minors.

    The one thing I will agree with is that when parents start asking too many questions in the interview, warning signs start going off.

    I would suggest that if as a parent you have questions and sit in on the interview, keep your mouth shut, take a pen and paper with you. Jot down notes if you have a question about the program. When they are done talking, they are going to ask do you have any questions? If your son says no, but you do, that is when you take the opportunity for "parental" clarification.

    I.E.

    I understand that for NROTC he gets to put 5 on his list...what do you find to be the best way to approach this system...Should we look at schools, programs, a mixture of both, etc.

    This type of question doesn't take anything away from the interest level of the candidate, or make you a helo parent, yet at the same time it gives them the insight that you are 100% supportive of your child's decision and looking at the finesse details.

    Or you can ask something like:

    Statistically from our HS system what is the % of candidates that get awarded...don't go into defending your child's credentials,(heloing parent), because once you open the door with that question, if they know how well he racks and stacks their answer will give you the insight.

    ~~~Well, this school district over the yrs I have been here has a 50-50 chance, but with your child's rec I would think it is no problem.

    That is different than

    ~~~Well, last yr we had 7 kids apply, and I have to say some of them that didn't get it shocked us all.

    One is going to allow you to leave comfortable, the other one is going to make you sharpen up that resume out of fear.
     
  15. clarksonarmy

    clarksonarmy Recruiting Operations Officer at Clarkson Army

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    I think the point here is that every interview is probably not going to be the same. At Clarkson it is usually applicant alone for the formal interview, followed by the parent/s invited in to answer their question. In the meantime the ROO (that's me) talk to the family before and after. Concur that overbearing parents can raise a red flag, but you want to see parents that are interested/supportive/well informed. This is a great discussion thread, and points out the "common sense" that can set the applicant apart.

    I would also add the caveat that "old Master Sergeants" though wise, are a little set in their ways. Remember that some of these applicants come from families that have never served. They come from single parent families. They are the basic ingredients of an officer, not even the processed raw materials. Don't want to overlook the "diamond in the rough" just because you don't like his diamond earring.
     
  16. 1993A10

    1993A10 Member

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    Son made all the arrangements with the commandant for the interview who invited parents to attend. Spent the first 15-20 minutes discussing scholarships, class loads, PT, etc. Next hour was 1 on 1, he with son, doing the real interview while I cooled my heels elsewhere.
     
  17. paradoxer

    paradoxer Member

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    Two cents

    Cultural differences throughout the US are huge too. Living in the North I could go years and even decades without hearing anyone say, "sir." So even if you know to say this to remember to say it is almost impossible under pressure. Shorts and flip flops in July would often not even be the dress of choice. On the other hand in the South cotillion classes were the norm and four year olds said, "yes, sir." One lawyer/judge friend was known for wearing no socks year round. Common sense may not be quite so common depending on what the surrounding norms may be.

    Once again that is why these forums are invaluable to those of us who have never been a part of the military culture that is so normal to many.
     
  18. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    So true.

    My Mom was here over the holidays and overheard our DS's gf from NC say to her father yes, sir. She was taken aback by this comment, and thought her father might be the Great Santini. I told her, NO, in NC, that is how every child speaks to their parent. My Mom went onto say your kids never did that and you lived in NC! I explained to her that if you listen to them closely when I ask them to do something or they fail to do something, they will say "yes, M'am".

    That is not how it works in NJ/NY.

    In NC the boys wear polos with white undershirts, khakis and rainbow flip flops (boat decks from Nov-Feb). They wear that for church, and for school.

    You never see them in graphic tees, jeans and sneakers.

    In VA, you see them in graphic tees, jeans and sneakers. Dressing up to them is what the NC guys wear daily.

    When our DS went to UMDCP, as a freshman his male friends thought he came from another planet. They never even heard of Rainbows. They never saw someone wear a white undershirt worn under a shirt except their father. When he would say to his father, "yes, sir" they thought Bullet was an ogre.

    Kids from the south don't even say to teachers "Yes, Ms. Smith", they say "Yes, M'am". Our youngest who is in No VA, always says this and the teacher actually emailed me saying "I think your son is afraid of me because he always answers Yes/No M'am". I had to explain to her that it was a sign of respect as a teacher and there was no fear of her. Off topic, but the fact is now she corrects any student that calls her by Ms. Smith and forces them to call her M'am.

    This forum is great, but because it is a web forum, it is important to realize that blanket statements may be common sense to some and not to others.

    Every yr the dress code comes up. The most important thing to remember when it is a dress code is to say this is the first interview of your lifetime.

    No need to buy a suit for 1 day. Instead, just remember 1st impressions matter. A graphic tee shirt is not a good impression. An ironed polo, with a pair of khakis and boat decks will make a better impression.

    Recruiters, good recruiters understand that some are coming to them for a financial reason and they will not begrudge you for not showing up in a shirt and tie. They will begrudge you for showing up looking like you rolled out of bed and threw the first thing on you could find.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2011
  19. dunninla

    dunninla Member

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    Re Navy Interview vs. Army Interview:

    Reading this forum for about a year now, it is clear that NROTC and AROTC view the interview differently. Army seems to welcome parent involvement in the inteview process, whereas while Navy wants to know there is parerntal support, they do NOT want to engage the parents in the waiting room or in the inteview room... Having watched my now firstie nephew go through the process for Academy nomination four years ago, it was the same with Annapolis.
     
  20. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    AF is the same as N when it comes to ROTC. They really want it to be about the candidate.

    For parents of a candidate for A/N/AF/ROTC time warp yourself a yr from now. Your child will be 18. The ROTC HQs will not discuss anything with you because they are a legal adult.

    This is the time that you "shadow" your child and assist them, come next yr ROTC will not answer any question you have because they are 18.

    Book reimbursement doesn't come in, and you bought the books on your Debit card, too bad, too sad. S/He needs to work it out.

    Monthly stipend has yet to show up.. You can shout from the roof tops, but the fact is they are 18 and you have no voice.

    NROTC and AFROTC scholarship selection is very competitive. It is a "Take it or leave it" attitude.

    Army is more giving because they are the largest branch of the military, thus, they have more leeway when it comes to this issue.
     

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