ROTC? What are my chances?

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by coldharbour, Sep 5, 2010.

  1. coldharbour

    coldharbour Member

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    Hi all, I am new to the forums but just wanted to post my concerns and get some feedback. I am currently a junior at an all girls Catholic high school in california. I have been interested in doing an ROTC program for quite some time, however I have not spoken to a recruitment officer yet as the school year has jut begun. My situation is a little mixed however I feel like I have some outstanding credentials that would make me stand out in a scholarship selection process. First of all, I already work for DOD at a postgraduate school for the NAVY doing research with computers and information sciences. I started building computers when I was 14 yrs old and just picked up with them.
    I am good with math and science in school, but my real forte is really english and history , and i feel like my true calling would either be a law degree, or working in national security and intelligence. So far though I am convinced that only technical majors are provided with scholarships? All the technical majors i can seem to find at major universities are engineering? Is there anyway around this?

    I am in marching and symphonic band at my high school (section leader) I am also a President of a liturgical committee at my high school where we plan student body and public events for the school, and I am also the President of our Amnesty International Club. I do tons of community out reach as well, I work with the homeless-migrant farm workers- early youth gang prevention----- I played volleyball freshman year an didn't continue because I decided to pursue my RARE government job that I felt was more important the time. I feel like I am strong leader, and an exceptional follower.

    I am just curious what you all think about my situation here? I want to do ROTC in college, so far I have really been interested in AFROTC however I would be open to NAVY. My biggest deal is that I feel like i am going to be most successful if I pursue a law career or an intelligence career and I am not sure whether the Air Force or the Navy is better for either of those. I am also a little confused on if I even qualify for any kind of scholarships if my major "isn't" an engineering major.

    I maintain a 3.7GPA cumulative so far. At the moment I have only actively researched the University of Portland, however I am open to attending any university as long as it "fits the bill". English and History are my strengths, I am hoping that my background and experience at a young age working in a Military work scene will help me gain some substance in the pursuit of a scholarship. Please let me know your thoughts.

    -Kate
     
  2. clarksonarmy

    clarksonarmy Recruiting Operations Officer at Clarkson Army

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    If you want to study history and get a full ride ROTC scholarship look into Army ROTC. We are the biggest force, If you like computers we have a signal corp. If you want intelligence we are looking for military intelligence officers. If you want to be part of the history you study as a history major serving as an officer in any field will be right up your alley. Sounds like you have a broad range of interests, and I would tell you that your probably going to change your mind about your future at least once or twice in the next couple years. Keep an open mind and talk to as many people as possible about all the opportunities.

    I just had a cadet transfer out of our program to U of P. I just got an email from him and he seems to be enjoying it.

    Good luck
     
  3. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    For the AFROTC, majoring in History or English may hurt your chances for a Type 1. Is you gpa W or UW? What did you get on your SAT or ACT? If that is a uwgpa, you stand better than if it is a wgpa. If you score in the 1400 out of 1600 SAT, you also stand better.

    For the AF, the majority of the Type 1 go to engineering. However, our DS is a govt and military history major that is on scholarship, so it does happen.

    Additionally while you research your colleges, contact them to see if they allow ROTC OOS cadets to pay IS rates. Some universities do allow this. What it means to you is that you can use Type 2 and not have to pay OOS tuition, which is typically much higher and cause a financial impact regarding your decision.

    Here is the AFROTC link with the types and facts regarding scholarships
    http://afrotc.com/scholarships/high-school/scholarship-types/

    Finally, before you make this decision, research your career opportunities within each branch because you will owe them 5 yrs after you graduate. Taking a scholarship is a great way to pay for school in theory, but when reality hits and you are in the military, you might regret taking a scholarship from one branch over the other.

    Good luck.
     
  4. aglages

    aglages Parent

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    Pima: You keep getting this wrong. A student on scholarship owes 4 years active duty after graduation for the Air Force and Army ROTC programs. S/he owes 5 years for the Navy ROTC program (except nurses who owe 4).
    I believe all the service academies require a minimum 5 year AD commitment upon graduation.
     
  5. coldharbour

    coldharbour Member

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    I know someone who applied for an AFROTC scholarship under a technical engineering major, and then once she got it she switched it to english... can you do this? Once you get an AFROTC scholarship for a major or any ROTC scholarship for that matter are you locked into the major? I have heard that for intelligence the Navy is the better route, because the Air Force "stove pipes you in and there isn't much wiggle room to expand in your career. Any ideas on this?
     
  6. k2rider

    k2rider Member

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    I agree with clarksonarmy, look to AROTC with your desired majors. Aside form that, your resume looks great. Keep up your GPA and score well on the SAT/ACT.

    Definitely look into as many schools as you can and try to visit them, and the ROTC command if possible (they will go out of their way to accomodate you), to get a feel for what you really like. My daughter is a freshaman cadet at UP and loves the school. After visiting sevearal campuses, she knew the smaller school was what she wanted.
     
  7. aglages

    aglages Parent

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    Obviously if you know someone who did it then it must be possible. My "guess" is that while possible it isn't easily done or approved very often. Otherwise why would the Air Force consider your intended major when deciding whether to award a scholarship and which type to award? I believe it is somewhat easier to change majors within the same types of categories such as switching from Electrical Engineering (Technical Major) to Mechanical Engineering (Technical Major), although even that change would have to be approved and there is no guarantee that will happen. Switching like your friend did from a Technical Major category to a Nontechnical Major (English) is something I don't think would be approved very often...especially with the current RIF.
    Good Luck!
     
  8. coldharbour

    coldharbour Member

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    That's what I was thinking it sounded a little fishy. I am trying to keep my options open as much as possible. I can see myself visiting more than one recruitment branch. I know for awhile now I have been set on the Air Force the QOL has been a big plus, but military intelligence is really the route i want to take and hopefully tie that into a National Security field. QOL of life is nice- but I dont want to join the military only because of QOL I want to make sure that my career is paramount above all so tying that into whatever branch i choose will be my biggest concern.
     
  9. coldharbour

    coldharbour Member

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    That's is really great hear! I visited the campus when my brother was looking at schools and I fell in love with the school and the city.
     
  10. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    AG,

    First off, a couple of things regarding time owed...I always view it as a bait and switch. Here's the list of my reasons why:
    1. ROTC graduates do not arrive to any school/training until after the SA grads. For some highly demanded schools like UPT, that could take up to a yr. Unlike SA grads they are not on casual status. They are placed in a holding pattern regarding their lives, their pay back time does not start until they are actually AD. Thus, if they do not go to school for 9 mos+. it is 5 yrs. before their life is no longer held by the military and that doesn't include their specialized training.

    Then, when they graduate from the training, they may incur another commitment and the clock starts over again. I.E. UPT. Your new commitment does not occur until the day you graduate. So if you go to training that the military says 4 yr payback, the clock does not start until you are certified by them for that field. A 6 mos course, that starts 6 mos after college graduation and makes you accept a 4 yr commitment, means you are at 5 yrs from the date of graduation. BAIT AND SWITCH.

    2. Everytime you move it can add on time, but it does run concurrent with your other commitment. I.E. Training for a particular field can be 4 yrs. You PCS to Europe as a single officer and incur a 2 yr commitment for that PCS. Fine and dandy it runs with your 4 yr, so you can still get out at the original date. Yr 2 marker comes around and they PCS you stateside, but now it is a 3 yr commitment. That now places you at 5 ys.

    3. Everytime you accept rank, you incur a commitment too. Again it runs concurrent. Now, they get you when you accept 1st Lt. So even if the training, PCS doesn't cause you more time, the promotion will.

    ROTC DOR are different than SA. Their DOR (Date of Rank) is split between their commissioning date AND their AD date. Bullet's was Oct.1. He commissioned in May and reported to his 1st assignment in Mar, split the difference it is Oct.

    4. Now because you have accepted new rank and have to stay until 5 yrs, you have decided to use this time wisely and get your Masters on the AF dime. Again this runs concurrent, but now the kink is it is tied to the last time you take TA (tuition assistance). You take the last one at your 3 yr mark, and now you are at 6. Since you took at 3, you now accept Capt at the 4 yr and you are at 7 for accepting rank, at the 5 yr marker they PCS and you accept because what the hell, it is only 1 more yr and I have to stay until 7, so now you are at 8.

    5. Now, you are 30+, married and with kids on the way, the military paycheck looks pretty nice from a financial standpoint.

    Additionally, for some fields this is the time they kick in the hefty bonuses. Last time I looked some of these bonuses are 125K+, and with monthly bonus pay on top of that.

    I can't tell you how many people that I met when they were 2nd lts who said I am out of here at the very 1st chance, only to attend their retirement party 20 yrs later. Our very best friend walked in the AF with that thought, and a couple of times he thought about leaving, (O4 promotion especially), but then he turned and said, I will suck it out for 6-8 more yrs and at least I will get retirement pay.

    It sounds so easy to say, you can dive at XYZ, but in reality, it is not as easy as one would think. Bullet was unable to hit the retirement button at exactly 20. Why? Because at 18 yrs we PCS'd and that meant he couldn't leave until 21. Why did we PCS at 18 yrs, because if he didn't take the PCS he was going to be sent remote for a yr. I didn't want him to miss his son's sr yr in hs. That yr was worth 1 more in the AF.

    Everyone knows this is my pet peeve...don't collect the check if you think it is fast and easy money. Yes, five and dive or 4 and go do happen, but the stars need to be aligned. It is not the norm, it is the rarity to be able to walk out 4 yrs from your commissioning date. You actually need to work hard at it to make it happen. This could mean you turn down a pay raise for making rank, paying out of pocket for your Masters or being forced to move for a non-vol position. It really isn't as clear cut as one might think.

    I know of cadets in our DS's det that switched majors, but they didn't go from engineering to english, they went from engineering to computers, or CE to ME. Your DET will be required to inform Maxwell of your intentions and they have the right to revoke the scholarship. Your college transcript is followed by Maxwell and the DET.

    The AF is over manpowered currently, switching majors risks the ability to keep the scholarship.

    I am not sure what you mean when you refer to stove pipes for intelligence. Are you asking if your career is over for the AF as an intel officer compared to the Navy? NO! Just like it isn't if you went Navy, Army or Marines over the AF. They all have their specific missions and Intel is required in all of these branches.

    Now, I would say, if Intel is your thing, it would be wise to major in Chinese, Russian, Arabic, or Persian languages over English. Additionally, if you want to go Public Affairs, this too would be a wise route. The reason a career stalls is because the military member doesn't take control over their own career. They don't see the big picture for assignments/promotions further down the road, all they see is today.

    Again, that last statement is why I say, investigate every branch, because for you today it is about ROTC, a few yrs from now it will be Active Duty. Additionally, the dets may have an impact on your career goals. Talk to the det commanders. They are all going to have the same profile, but some may have better rates for getting thier cadets into specific career fields...think graduation!

    Finally, I know there are many ROTC candidates who like the idea, but are the first to go from their family into this realm, thus, they are hesitant. Don't be. I can say without a doubt that the military made me a better person AND I was just a spouse and a Mom. I learned more about my inner strengths because of Bullet deploying (I love the man, but I don't count on him if crap hits the fan). I have friends that I would have never had without the military...so much so, we travel 100's of miles now to attend their children's weddings and they have done the same to attend our kids HS graduations. I had the ability to work because I wanted to, and to stay home with our children because I wanted to. Heck, as a spouse, I even got financial assistance (scholarships) to get my MBA. We also have a home that people walk in, and say OOOH that's cool, where did you find it? Answer: England, AK, Turkey, Korea, KS, etc.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2010
  11. aglages

    aglages Parent

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    Excellent points Pima. When I was referring to AD obligations I was referring only to the contracted commitment. Clearly the "reality" is influenced by the decisions each person makes. For instance a decision to become a Pilot or MD after graduating from a ROTC program incurs so much additional AD commitment that it pretty much is the same as deciding that you are going to put in at least 20 years and retire.

    BTW - which military fields are offering $125K + monthly bonus? When is this offered?
     
  12. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    AG,

    That was my point, before you sign on the bottom line read the fine print...understand accepting any training/school could incur additional time, thus even when you accept the ROTC scholarship as a hs sr by electing/selecting a specific field that initial commitment could be null and void if you get it. Get UPT, don't think you can walk at 4. Don't go to school/training for 9 months after graduation(2012), and it lasts 1 yr, don't think you are out in 2016. NOPE, you didn't go to school until 2013, and you graduated in 2014, that means it is 2018 before you can leave, and then you have to time it right with promotions, PCS and Post graduate degrees if you take TA to be able to leave in 18.

    I love the military, but this is Bait and Switch. You go in believing you can leave X yrs to the date, but reality does not meet theory.

    Flyers, Docs and JAGs get the special pay. They vary for each specialty.

    The 125K is for Pilots, actually it might be 120K. They are allowed to take 50% and then the rest is spread over a course of yrs. This is about the same time they start capping out in the 800+ range per month for flight pay.

    The AF also offers another Pilot bonus after this, if you agree to stay until 22 (?)...not positive because it never was a factor in our life, however, the monthly flight pay starts to decrease.

    There is a WSO bonus also. I think it was 60K, but it is offered later in the career than the pilot bonus.

    Check out this site:
    http://www.dfas.mil/militarypay/newinformation/WebPayTableVersion2006updated.pdf

    I know your DD is going medical nursing, but just look at some of their incentive pays for the docs
    Ortho, Radiology,Anesthesiology...36K a yr on top of their officer pay, add in BAH and them picking up the college tab, life is not as bad as you think. You are actually looking ta making 6 figures at a very early age

    Variable special pay (monthly) actually beats flight pay capping at 1K a month. On top of that they get multi year bonuses something akin to pilot bonus if you add the incentive pay and the multi yr.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2010
  13. coldharbour

    coldharbour Member

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    Well thanks for all the information so far. I am in California right now however for college I don't mind going out of state for school. Is there any difference between the graduates from military academies and rotc graduates? For example would an AFA grad have any kind of advantage over a uc berkley afrotc grad? I am not sure if there are any politics involved. Noone in my family is or has been in the military, does this make a difference when I apply for a scholarship?

    I never really thought about majoring in a foreign language I suppose for intel purposses it would come quite in handy. I plan on pursuing a master degree through the military as I work a postgraduate school with men and woman who are serving. As I start to begin my comprehensive college search what should I look for as far as rotc is concerned? I would say it's a safe bet that I am now undecided on the branch. I will have to do some more research on how I can get a scholarship with out any kind of engineering major. It would make sense to major in something like a foreign language like korean (northern dialect) arabic or chinese for a BA degree and then for a masters degree gather a major in a more specialized field dealing with intel and ns.
     
  14. coldharbour

    coldharbour Member

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    just noticed korean isn't even on the list for f languages. How would I go about getting into the AF JAG if I went the rotf route?
     
  15. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Look at the branches AND the dets for the colleges.

    If sitting on a boat is not your thing, don't go Navy. If all of the branches are equal than look at the dets. because they may be instrumental in getting your school assignment after college.

    You want to get a Masters, and this is great, but again, understand how that can play a factor in the commitment time owed.

    As far as the JAG program, it is VERY VERY COMPETITIVE, puts SA apptmts to shame. You will have to do 2 yrs AD and then you can apply. Don't go ROTC or SA with the thought that Law school is an easy route on the AF dime.
     
  16. coldharbour

    coldharbour Member

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    I guess I should probably hit of the recruiters now. Is there anything I should be prepared for? Is it normal for Juniors in High School to visit recruiting offices? I want to have a jump start on all of this. Also any ideas on how to prepare for the PT test?
     
  17. CadetMom777

    CadetMom777 Member

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    My advise is to talk to a Professor of Military Science at a college near you rather than a recruiter. The recruiter's main task is to enlist people rather than steer them toward officer commissions. I have heard of many kids who went into recruiter's offices looking for info on ROTC and coming out being told they should enlist first.
     
  18. coldharbour

    coldharbour Member

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    Hmm that sounds skewed haha I will do that. I am a little confused then where i should go to talk to someone who can give me information on ROTC in all the branches. Like I said I work at a postgraduate school where I am surrounded by Military officers but the information they can provide me with is more personal experience type of advice. I am looking for someone with instructional advice.
     
  19. CadetMom777

    CadetMom777 Member

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    The Professor of Military Science (Army or Air Force) or Professor of Naval Science (Navy/Marines) is the leader in charge of the ROTC program for his branch at each college. He will be the expert on all aspects of commissioning through the ROTC program. This includes scholarship contracting, SMP, and contracting as non-scholarship. Do you live near any colleges or universities with ROTC programs? If so, simply call up each branch and make an appointment to talk with the PMS/PNS and they would be happy to answer your questions.
     
  20. coldharbour

    coldharbour Member

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    I live near mostly CSU's that I don't wish to attend, but i suppose I could still contact the Branch supervisor, most of the ROTC programs around my area are NAVY because I live near the coast in CA.
     

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