ROTC Units

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by armyman736, Sep 27, 2011.

  1. armyman736

    armyman736 Member

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    Is there anyway to tell if an ROTC unit that I am looking at is a good program? The reason I ask is that I really like the cOllege that the unit is at, but I do not know if their ROTC program is good or just a joke. I have met the PMS there and he seems like he cares and takes it seriously, but I don't know for sure. Is there some sort of table that the army has created that shows the scores that the cadets received at LDAC for every ROTC unit? Since my ultimate goal is to become an officer in the army I just want to make sure I am getting great training.

    Thanks in advance for any help.
     
  2. Aglahad

    Aglahad Member

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    When I was first looking at colleges back in 2007 I thought I remember seeing a list of the top AROTC batts with LDAC E, AD and first branch choice percentages. I haven't seen anything like it for a while. What you can do is look for this years MacArthur Awards winners. It is an award given to the top school in each of the eight brigades every year.

    Most battalions are at least meeting standard. The standard being they will get you to commission as an officer. The problem with ROTC is turnover, well forced turnover. Cadre are only at a school for 3ish years (w/o an extension) and cadets filter through obviously every 4 years. Program success waxes and wains depending on current resources, cadre and a number of other factors.

    My advice pick a school you like for its academics, athletics, party life or what ever you fancy. Chances are the school's ROTC will more than fit your needs. Trying to gauge an AROTC's prestige is generally difficult except in cases like SMCs, Penn State etc. It is up to individual cadet to push themselves to be better by asking questions of upperclassmen and the cadre.
     
  3. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    I'm sure there are a series of statistical questions you could ask:
    1. What's the battalions average GPA
    2. What's the avg PFT score?
    3. What's the percentage who graduate from OCS (or whatever the equivalent is in your beanch).

    You could probably also sit down with some of the cadets and see how they feel and think. :thumb:
     
  4. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I would follow aglahad's advice.

    The fact is the success of the unit is important, but unless you are going to an SMC you will have more of the typical college student life than you think.

    Many colleges do not have ROTC dorms, so you will be housed with them. Many colleges ROTC is a small percentage of students that are cadets. Your social life would be more of a college student that is in ROTC.

    To be successful in ROTC your OML will be the gauge, and your gpa is a part of that. Hate the school, although it has the best ROTC unit according to reports of awards, will do more damage than attending a school you enjoy that has a good ROTC program.

    ROTC units are like families...they have their own dynamics. Go and visit the schools you are interested in and as kinnem stated meet the cadets there. Have your parents go off on their own while you meet them, because cadets are very respectful, and with your parents in the room their opinions will be tempered compared to when it is just kids hanging out and talking. This will give you a vibe regarding how you feel around them.

    I know one cadet that is at VT, was offered admissions to UVA, with an AFROTC scholarship for either school. Heart was all set on UVA, got there and felt that they didn't jive with the UVA cadets, left and is now at VT loving it.

    DS also was one of those kids too...he selected his college based on talking to cadets personally. He met the commander with his Dad, Dad excused himself after about 15 minutes, they met up an hour later (pre-planned) at the Student Union. When he got there he asked can we go to the Bursars and pay the deposit. It was all about the personality of the school and the cadre. This school in Sept. was number 3 on his list. He made his decision prior to getting answers from numbers 1 and 2. He said it felt like home to him.

    Not following that point. OCS is for people who do not go ROTC, so they would not be in ROTC. AF cancelled non-rated OTS (their OCS) LY because of budget cuts, so the college didn't have an impact in the equation.

    The one question our DS asked was what was the percentage of cadets getting their 1st choice for career assignments. I illustrate this a lot...there are some schools that will boast they have the 2nd most after an SA, but that is a number. What you want is percentage, because in the end it will come down to percentages. You can go to a school that has the 2nd most, but statistically a lower percentage. In the AFROTC program, rated is the fight for field. ERAU has the 2nd most pilot slots after the AFA. That sounds great, BUT, VT has a higher % that gets SFT and UPT than ERAU. ERAU gets the 2nd most due to size, and size alone. If you don't investigate deep enough and understand the system you can be misled to attending a program because you saw it at face value.

    No, my AFROTC child does not attend VT. I have just been around long enough to see that stats and numbers are not equal.
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2011
  5. Marist College ROTC

    Marist College ROTC Member

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    My recommendation is visit the schools that you are interested in. Ask to sit in on a ROTC class or lab. Talk to the Cadets at the program. Find out what they think of the program. That will be the best gauge to measure how that program is doing. If the Cadets are complaining about how boring the training is, chances are you will be bored when you become a cadet at that program.
     
  6. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    NROTC (Marine option at least) still have to get thru OCS. One of the reasons DS picked his school was the battalion had a 100% graduation rate. Not true of all schools. I lknow at least one of the SMCs did not have a 100% graduation rate recently.

    I assumed this was true for some of the other branches as well but what do I know? :biggrin:
     
  7. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    AFROTC does not send ROTC grads through OCS. They are commissioned as AD 2nd Lts. upon graduation. I believe that is true for AROTC and NROTC.

    Are you saying that after 4 yrs of ROTC for Marines, they must go through the same curriculum that they send Marines who did not go through ROTC? That upon graduation, they are not commissioned? Why go ROTC for 4 yrs if you could just do the OCS program?

    Sounds strange, but I never doubt that quirks exist in the military system.
     
  8. aglages

    aglages Parent

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    Evidently the Marines do things differently. They require OCS before commissioning.
    http://www.ocs.usmc.mil/?dest=progs
    "Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC) is a scholarship program that provides money for college in return for a commitment to serve at least four years as an active duty Marine Officer. NROTC students receive various classes on Naval Science during the course of their four year college program and attend OCS the summer prior to their senior year. NROTC Marine Option students must successfully complete a 6-week program at OCS to be commissioned as Marine Officers."
     
  9. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    ^^^ Yeah. What aglages said! :biggrin:
     
  10. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    So in essence it is like AFROTC and SFT, just they do it their rising sr yr, and AFROTC does it their rising jr. yr. Bust it and you won't be commissioned.

    I get that, what I was reading was they attend OCS after graduation and commissioning, which made no sense to me at all.
     
  11. clarksonarmy

    clarksonarmy Recruiting Operations Officer at Clarkson Army

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    First question...why would the Army publish a big table that shows you which school is the best or worst. Could you imagine being the enrollment officer at the the 273rd school on that list? I think if there was a list, surely Clarkson would be at the top (although I'm sure Marist would be right behind us).

    http://goldenknightbattalion.wordpress.com/2010/08/29/choosing-the-right-rotc-program/

    Here's my take...visit, talk to the cadre and cadets, and check out their website. Every ROTC battalion will tell you they are first in something. Clarkson is ranked number two in the nation in % of students that participate in ROTC (for what it's worth). Your training while you are in college will only take you so far, and it's the rest of the package you leave school with that will ensure your success or failure as an Officer. If you aren't a good fit with the school, and don't get good grades, all the great training in the world will just make you a hooah Reserve or Guard Lieutenant (not that the Army doesn't need or value them).
     
  12. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    Clarkson is ranked number two in the nation in % of students that participate in ROTC (for what it's worth).[/QUOTE]

    Is that because there is nothing else to do in Potsdam other than hockey? :biggrin:

    Sorry. Couldn't resist.
    SUNY Potsdam Class of 74
     
  13. aglages

    aglages Parent

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    I wonder whether (unlike AF SFT) everyone who requests Marine OCS actually gets to attend? By that point (following junior year) the NROTC MO units would seem to have quite an investment in those Mids.

    Somehow I suspect that Marine OCS might be easier to "bust" than AF SFT. :eek:
     
  14. clarksonarmy

    clarksonarmy Recruiting Operations Officer at Clarkson Army

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    That's why they flock to the Golden Knight Battalion, Adirondacks, good schools, and hockey!! We've got plenty of Bears, Saints, and Kangaroos in the Battalion these days too.:)
     
  15. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    Everyone gets to attend. However, College Programmers must be Advanced Standing (contracted/get the stipend) by their rising junior year, otherwise they're out. So there is some weed-out beforehand, similar to AFROTC I guess (but perhaps not as draconian?) Not certain what getting advanced standing is based on but obviously GPA, PFT, and getting PMS recommendation.
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2011
  16. pennak

    pennak Member

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    Can you explain further what "advanced standing" is for MO NROTC? Is it something applicable to every MO cadet?
     
  17. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    From: http://www.nrotc.navy.mil/scholarships.aspx

    Total military service obligation is eight years, at least four of which must be active duty. Also, if you're not successful in getting a commision you can be required to enlist for a period not to exceed two years.

    I found the details about Advanced Standing being required for College Programmers here: http://www.sandiego.edu/nrotc/faq.php#q3

    I suppose it's possible the above about disenrollment only applies to San Diego battalion but I doubt it. However I haven't found it anywhere else either.

    Hope this is helpful.
     
  18. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    If they can only have 2 yrs in college since they would be rising jrs., am I reading this correctly...they will have to serve 6 yrs after college, assuming that they can do 4 AD and 2 Reserve?

    If that is correct, I would assume there is even more motivation to get a scholarship since you would only have to serve 4 yrs after college.

    I believe you are correct about disenrollment for all NROTC units. Which is sim. to AFROTC. AFROTC if you are not scholarship, but go to SFT, and complete it, you become contracted. The difference is for AFROTC even if you are scholarship, and do not get selected for SFT they have the option to disenroll you or allow you to re-submit the next yr. Fact is with the budget cuts not everyone gets that option anymore, so the pressure for SFT is pretty high for scholarship and non-scholarship.
     
  19. -Bull-

    -Bull- Member

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    Right track, but not quite. All military contracts are 8 years. ROTC Scholarships just stipulate that you must serve at least 4 on Active Duty(Unless you branch Guard/Reserve). The other 4 can be served in the Guard, Reserve, or IRR. Hope this helps.
     
  20. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Interesting because AFROTC scholarships stipulate 4 yrs, obviously AD because they all go AD. There is no 4 yrs Reserves.

    Of course, the fine print that people rarely understand is 4 yrs does not start the day of commissioning, it starts the day you report for duty, which can be 6-9 months later. Thus, it can be more than 4 yrs from graduation.

    They also rarely understand that if you take a school that requires a longer payback, i.e. UPT/UNT/ABM, the payback does run concurrent with the original, but it actually does not start until you finish that school. For ex: UPT is 10 yrs commitment. If you go 9 months after graduation; for 2012 that would be 2013, and graduate a yr later in 14. You will be committed until 2014, hence really 12 yrs. not 10.

    Of course during that time they will offer you a bonus to stay to 14, and promote you to O4 which incurs more time, so many end up being able to bounce for the 1st time at 15. Of course by that point they say what the heck, if I stay 5 more yrs I get retirement pay for the rest of my life. Hard to pass up when you are married, have kids, mtgs and a steady paycheck.

    Devil is in the details.

    There are many who can and do leave at the 4 and door, but many more stay because timing isn't right. My point is if you enter thinking well I just owe 4 and can start my life, realize life gets in the way.

    We are not even discussing getting your Masters or in the case of the g forbid, STOP/LOSS. The military has a very intricate system and when you go down this path of going in with serving 4 yrs an leaving, you maybe very disappointed.

    The biggest roadblock IMPO to doing the 4 and 4 only is you may not be assigned to a place you want to live after you leave. It is hard to interview for a job in CA if you are stationed in Korea or even NY. That means you will need to decide do you walk away with no job offer in hand or do you stay. Also another reason we are seeing retention rates so high right now, because even if they wanted to walk, it is not a hiring market. 4 yrs AD is great, esp. if you have an MBA, plus a TS clearance, but you will be competing against someone else that has the exact same thing.

    Which now brings us back to why selecting the college and the unit are equally important. If you intend to leave after 4 yrs AD, that undergrad degree is going to carry weight still compared to someone who leaves at 20. However, the ROTC program matters because you need to get that AD job to make you also competitive after 4 yrs. as employment experience. You need to balance/juggle academics and ROTC plus your personal goals. When you have figured out all 3, you won't need our advice because the amount to select from for you personally will be very few.

    OBTW, go to www.collegeconfidential.com it is a great resource for colleges. The posters there will give you the real info about chances of acceptance, academics, student life, etc from a parent/student/alumni perspective just like this site. For big name ROTC schools... Notre Dame, PSU, VT, NCST, etc. there will always be a student/parent/alumni there that has personal/anecdotal experience with the unit or are willing to connect you with someone that does have a connection.
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2011

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