Scholarship Selection: School Strength?

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by edwood777, Aug 22, 2011.

  1. edwood777

    edwood777 New Member

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    I have a question about how heavy the strength of your school is in the selection for any military scholarship. Also, would a school that has a normal 4 yr rate, but a low SAT/ACT average (assuming my scores are much higher than the average) help or harm me?
     
  2. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Nobody here sits on the boards. What we can tell you is that they will look at the school profile(HS) and your course load to see how rigorous it is.

    If you are ranked top quartile and 10% go IVY it will be seen differently if you are ranked top 10% and 25% go IVY.

    If you take 1 AP and the school offers 10, it won't look as positively as if you took 5+.

    There is no blanket answer to give here. It is like the WCS, they look at the WHOLE picture regarding your school.

    Honestly, it is a tool just like colleges use to create an equilibrium for selection from diverse backgrounds so they can compare each applicant to their particular stds.
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2011
  3. patentesq

    patentesq Parent

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    If you scroll through the Jan. 2011 thread, you will see that this is a particularly sore subject with me! The answer to your question depends heavily on whether it is an Army, Navy, or Air Force scholarship you're talking about.

    ARMY: Basically, Cadet Command will communicate with the ROTC folks listed on your application to ensure that you have the credentials to be admitted to that school (they try not to issue scholarships to schools where the candidate has no chance of getting in). I think the fact that you might have higher credentials simply means that you will have the "yes" block checked when the ROO has to report that you have the credentials.

    Here's the rub that my DS experienced with AROTC. Last year, one of the ROOs mentioned that each school receives a certain number of scholarships (at least last year). Thie way we interpreted this was that if you list a highly competitive school, there are highly competitive candidates competing for the few existing slots at that school. I recall thinking about how my DS was swimming upstream competing with those folks. The other thing that happened to my DS last year was that the Army did not award a single scholarship to his No. 1 listed school, but decided to offer one to the No. 2 listed school. I'm not sure what the rationale was, though. Ultimately DS didn't have to go through the transfer process (he opted for SA), but it seems rather straight-forward if you are seeking to transfer within the same ROTC brigade.

    Last year, we learned that the Army was inclined to award scholarships to "brainiac" schools (e.g., ivy leagues, etc.). We also learned that the Army was interested in awarding scholarships to state schools, where the Army gets more bang for the buck in terms of lower tuition. I'm not sure whether that will be the thrust this year, however.

    NAVY: There are "popular" schools that fill up very quickly. Under the NROTC system, you might find yourself with scholarship to "State U", but their slots are full. This will put you in a bind unless you can transfer. Indeed, we even had a few applicants who were awarded scholarships to schools to which they NEVER applied. Transfer in the Navy seems more difficult than in the Army.

    AIR FORCE: The Air Force system is much more flexible, depending on the type of award you receive. Some scholarships are fully transportable to any school you select (provided they have your major and have at least an AFROTC affiliate program). You won't know which options you have until you receive the scholarship offer.

    YOU MUST ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY DO THIS: Apply to EVERY school on your list. You might be surprised, but many applicants put a school on their list but never ended up applying to that school. Needless to say, this became very stressful when the scholarship award listed the school to which the applicant never applied. For Navy ROTC, they frequently award, arbitrarily, to a school like San Diego -- even though you may not have applied there -- as a "placeholder" until you can complete your transfer paperwork.

    AND YOU MUST ALSO ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY DO THIS: Put the scholarship issue aside for a moment. Choose the school where you want to attend. Don't try to game the system by selecting schools that you THINK might best position you for a scholarship (you will likely never win that one, trust me).

    There will be opportunities down the road (likely after the New Year) to confirm your school choices, so don't lose sleep over your selections if you ultimately think one school is the better path for you than the one you originally listed.

    Each of these points will be discussed in much greater detail here on SAF as things start to heat up (check out the Jan. 2011 and Mar. 2011 threads for the "best guess" discussions). For now, get your application in as soon as you can and make it as strong as possible.
     
  4. patentesq

    patentesq Parent

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    Looks like I answered the wrong question. You're talking about strength of high school, not college. I'm an idiot. Sorry.
     
  5. EDelahanty

    EDelahanty Member

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    Good answer, though.:thumb:
     
  6. patentesq

    patentesq Parent

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    Thanks, EDelahanty!
     
  7. dunninla

    dunninla Member

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    SAT scores are not related to the High School you attend. If anything, a higher score from an average high school works to your favor.

    GPA is the issue -- 3.5 unweighted at an average public high school (let's say where 35% of the graduates go on to 4 year colleges, 35% go on to 2 yr. community college, and 30% do not go on to college at all) is very different from 3.5 at a test-in private (or some public) highly competitive college prep high schools where 90%+ go on to 4 year college. Same with class rank. Middle of the pack in a highly competitive high school can be equivalent to top 5% or even top 2% at an average high school.

    However, I don't know whether the selection committees place a lot of weight on this. My impression is that Army would't much, and that Navy and AF would.
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2011
  8. Goarmymom

    Goarmymom Member

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    Actually, Patentesq, I thank you for your "mistake." This is something that I needed to hear!
     
  9. patentesq

    patentesq Parent

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    Thanks, Goarmymom! You are quite welcome!
     
  10. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Patent is correct, never try to game the scholarship process because in my 4 yrs here, I have never seen a candidate win.

    That means if you don't want to major in a tech field, don't select a tech major,(AF/NROTC issue) because you will find it hard to keep a high gpa to make you competitive within the unit and your OML. And, if you want to transfer from Tech to Non-tech you risk losing the scholarship.

    It also means don't pick a school because you believe you have the best shot at a scholarship (A/NROTC issue). This will not be HS., you will be living there 24/7 30 weeks a yr. Easiest way to fail out of college? Hate the School or the major.

    A/NROTC are not mind readers, you said you are willing to go to 1 of these 5 schools, so make sure you are willing to go to 1 of the 5.

    Yes, every yr., people request school changes in the spring, and historically many get them. HOWEVER, I cannot stress this enough, the AXE is hanging over the DOD budget and this is not a yr to place faith that what they did historically will be what will occur in the future.

    The other problem is something you have yet to deal with. Colleges do not hold spots for forever. Your school may require an answer of matriculation prior to getting an answer if they will change the scholarship to that unit. Creating an extreme amount of stress on you and your family if you need it for fiscal reasons regarding attending there.

    AFROTC only cares about the tech/non-tech issue, not the school issue.
     
  11. Marist College ROTC

    Marist College ROTC Member

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    Cadet Command has announced that they intend on awarding 80% of all scholarships to state schools. Based on that announcement alone, I believe that the schools you apply for will have more impact on your chances than the high school you attended.
     
  12. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    This will be an interesting year indeed.

    This information will help this years applicants in their school selections.

    I wonder if this will affect the number of applications since so many students seemed to apply to private schools last year. I hope the ROO's at all the schools share this same information or there could be a flood of transfer requests this year.

    When you say State Schools, do you mean In State or just State Schools in general.
     
  13. goaliedad

    goaliedad Parent

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    Did they indicate whether there would be a bias towards in-state public awards or just publics in general?

    Not that we have a candidate this year, but I imagine that candidates will want to know whether it makes any sense to apply out of state.

    I guess more than one of us had the same thought...
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2011
  14. Marist College ROTC

    Marist College ROTC Member

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    The intent is to spread fewer dollars further. Therefore, I believe they will take into consideration whether or not you will be paying in state or out of state tuition. This is of course just my speculation.
     
  15. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    That's really got to hurt the Private schools than, i.e. Notre Dame, Johns Hopkins, etc.
     
  16. dunninla

    dunninla Member

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    Marist --

    Actually 80% seems about like where they were this past year. Actually I did an exercise once where I took the total # of cadets, and the Army published budget for ROTC, did some simple math, and concluded about 75% of scholarships must have been given to in-State tuition cadets. I have no idea if that figure is correct -- do you know?

    What I'm asking is how does 80% for YG 2016 compare to YG 2015 and YG 2014?
     
  17. educateme

    educateme Member

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    I will add my two cents here. You can call all that I advised my son on and what he did last year gaming - with a very pejorative nuance. I call it a smart strategy that can increase your odds. Of course, I do NOT advocate misrepresenting yourself, your goals, etc. Nor do I think you should choose a major you don't like or a school you are not likely to thrive in. However, unless your heart it set on A PARTICULAR school, and there is a range of schools that you are interested in, you can employ a strategy that can maximize your odds.

    Last year, my son listed only private schools since that's his preference. By listing only private schools he was creating a scenario where if Army wants him, they HAVE TO pay top dollars. This was a gamble, I understand, but we (both he and I) felt that he had a lot going for him, and it's worth the gamble by forcing their hand (meaning, no "inexpensive way" to have him). The fact that he was going for the first board also made it worthwhile gamble, meaning if he did not get any offer from the first board, he could change his school preference to include a state school for the later consideration.n

    The strategy worked. He got 4 year offers to three on the list (#2, #3, and #4), but since his preference changed after he submitted the application and the #2 school on the list became his most preferred school, the outcome turned out to be perfect. With this scholarship in hand, he applied ED to his top choice school. Based on several rounds of conversations my son had with the admissions officer assigned to his case, it became very clear that his ROTC scholarship winner status and the synergistic relationship the admissions office had with the ROTC officers really helped him gain ED admission to this school (he was the only 4 year scholarship winner to this battalion from the first board, and the ROTC officers were really advocating for him in the ED process). As it happened, we learned later, there were severals scholarship winners in later boards that were rejected by the university in the RD admission round.

    Another thing he did was, when he put the 7 seven schools (all private), he made a point of listing ONLY the schools that host the AROTC programs, NOT the affiliate schools from the surrounding communities. When he talked to the officers of various battalions on private schools, he got a very clear impression that CC won't discriminate against (due to the $$$ issue) the private hosting school in favor of cadets from surrounding schools even if these schools are in state schools and come with a cheaper price tags. One PMS said something to the effect that CC understands that the school provide a vital support for the battalion, and they want to make sure that there are cadets from that school well represented in the battalion.

    If I were to advise someone this year, I would say, avoid out of school public schools (they can be almost as expensive as a private school), and if you really prefer a private school, you'd better have a differentiating success factor, and furthermore, your odds are better if you list a private school that hosts the battalion, NOT a private school with a cross town arrangement.
     
  18. goaliedad

    goaliedad Parent

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    And congratulations to your son on his opportunity to pursue what he has set out as his priorities. It is great that this strategy worked for him last year.

    And one thing we have learned the past 3 years is that each year is different with regards to the whole scholarship process. Fewer awards, fewer boards, fewer school choices for many, and now a bias towards public schools.

    To get this guidance with regards to the bias towards public schools this early in the process is so much better than how we learned about other changes (fewer scholarships, fewer boards) in previous years - after the applicants put in their applications.

    For many whose family finances makes the decision ultimately on cost of attendance, a 100% ROTC scholarship to a top tier public is much better than a 50% school scholarship to a great private school (when AROTC runs out of scholarships at the private school before their WPS is up at CC).

    I am of the belief that a truly prepared and motivated student can get a great education at many public and private schools. Many students are not well prepared to take advantage of the college opportunity, as they have not had adequate exposure to how higher education works. Some will adapt quickly, others, not so quickly if at all.

    Knowing where your child is at with regards to maturity in independently analyzing an educational situation and making use of it is absolutely critical in selecting appropriate schools to apply to.

    There isn't just the classroom situation to look at but the whole community experience - social climate, extra-curricular opportunities, athletics to match up to the student's social and other requirements.

    My daughter went to boarding school for 4 year before selecting a medium sized public school with a very small ROTC unit over a small private with a large public cross town to pursue her goals of playing varsity hockey and AROTC. It has been a good choice for her, even going from the average class size of 12 in HS to 50 in college as her boarding school experience prepared her to be responsible for handling her own academic dealings. She is very engaged in her ROTC activities and her athletic experience has been rewarding.

    The small private she turned down may have been able to give her a more personalized academic experience, but the commuter experience for ROTC would have been more stressful and the hockey program changed coaches and is in the rebuilding stage once again. It wouldn't have been a bad situation overall, but I can't imagine that it would have been better.

    My point here is that for my daughter, her situation allowed her the choice between a public and a private and her experiences and goals made the public a better choice for her overall goals for her college experience. It also helped from the family perspective that the financial situation for the public was also more favorable, as the boarding school experience did empty our wallet quite well (but worth every penny).

    YMMV.
     
  19. patentesq

    patentesq Parent

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    I think your son did precisely the correct thing because he wanted to attend a private school! By using the word "gaming," I did not mean that an applicant should not put considerable thought into school selection (certainly didn't mean it in the pejorative sense). I apologize for not being more specific.

    It is by no means a dishonorable thing to try to figure out "the system" (DS certainly did, and likely so has everyone else). This is not misrepresentation at all, simply a fruitless exercise akin to picking Powerball numbers. The best way to do it, IMHO, is simply rank your choices from best to worst and live with that choice.

    In my view, if someone wants to attend a private school, then he or she should not be listing public schools in an effort to increase the odds of obtaining a scholarship (unless that is definitely a school that he or she would consider). As I recall, if you are selected for a scholarship and are awarded one to a state school, then good luck trying to transfer that to a more expensive school!! Will not happen. Conversely, if the applicant has no interest in a private school and wants to go the local state schools where most of his or her classmates are going or because the state schools, while less expensive, actually carry a higher prestige than the private school, then he or she should not list ANY private schools. My DS tried to figure things out initially but finally took the following approach: "Dear Cadet Command, here's my list. I have rank-ordered them as you requested, but just know the farther you go down the list from my top choice, the less likely I will be to accept your offer and more likely will opt for another alternative."

    There was a period last year when based on advice here on SAF that I thought DS's decision to list only high-price private schools doomed his chances of receiving a scholarship. Turned out not to be the case. Again, IMHO, trying to calculate the gambling odds (perhaps a better phrase than the term "gaming") is not helpful at the end of the day. At least that was my experience.

    For AFROTC, school selection is not as important as major. I recall that one of the AFROTC PMSs urged my DS to select a major that would enhance his chances of obtaining a scholarship. DS ultimately declined to do that and received the AFROTC scholarship offer anyway. If DS had followed the PMS's advice, however, and chose to go AFROTC, then he would be stuck in a major that wasn't his choice and his grades would have likely suffered as a result of lack of interest (which could easily cause him to LOSE the scholarship if grades weren't up to par).

    The only thing that I really think AROTC and NROTC really, Really, REALLY actually do try to do is accommodate and respect the applicant's requested choices, because they know that if they offer a scholarship to the applicant's, say, seventh choice of school, the odds of recruiting the student for AROTC instead of AFROTC (or no ROTC) diminishes accordingly. As you may recall, last year (and I suspect it happens every year), some applicants did not place a lot of thought into their school choices and ended up receiving scholarships to colleges to which they never applied.

    Whether a student receives an ROTC scholarship depends on the OML. Now, if someone can positively tell me that school choice has either an upward or downward effect on the applicant's OML ranking (which I understand that it does NOT), then I may reconsider what I have just posted. My understanding is that the decision to award a scholarship comes first, then CC decides to figure out which school to apply that scholarship (likely going for the cheapest one, although in my DS's experience last year, Cadet Command selected the MOST expensive school on his list, and it wasn't even his No. 1 choice!). For the life of me, I can't figure out why CC would have offered an AROTC scholarship to a school with a higher price tag, when that was not the school that DS had requested. And THAT goes to my point about the fruitlessness of trying to figure this out.

    In short, I suspect that we polled 100 different SAF members on the best strategies for school selection, we would receive 100 different answers. And that's my point.
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2011
  20. educateme

    educateme Member

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    Patentesq,

    Oh, I did not think you expressed any negativity about the strategy. I was not even thinking about your post. My sentiment about some negative connotation about gaming was based on several posts I read over the year that seem to indicate lots of people think gaming is a bad thing - a bit dishonorable.

    Regarding your puzzlement why CC gave scholarship to certain schools, here is some additional stuff I learned. Based on what several PMSs told my son when he visited the battalion, it appears that when CC puts together an initial list, they send a potential scholarship winner list to the battalion PMS. At that point, battalion PMS can say "yay" or "nay" for any candidate on the potential list. I don't know whether this is a veto right or an expression of their preference for a certain candidate (or a lack thereof). My sentiment is, even if it is not an outright veto right on the part of the PMS, it does carry a weight. And, based on what my son heard, a very frequent reason for a "nay" by the PMS is s/he thinks the candidate will not be accepted by the school. I even heard that sometimes, PMS who works closely with the school admissions office will run the list by admission officers and at least get a preliminary input from the admissions officers. The PMSs don't like to have scholarship winners who later fail to get admitted to the school.

    Of course, I am not saying this is what happened to your kid's case. I am just sharing with the folks here on this board who are going through this process this year as additional food for thought.

    In my son's case, apparently he left a very positive impression on the PMS of his first choice school battalion, and the battalion officers really advocated for him with the admissions officers for his admission. His SAT was well within top few percentage (less than 10%) of the school's entering freshmen classes in previous years, but his GPA was a bit in the lower range for that school (long story) - so, a sort of unbalanced candidate who is not a surefire admit - since this is a kind of school that takes high SAT and high GPA kids. The ROTC scholarship and the advocacy from the battalion officers tipped the balance.

    I can hardly over emphasize the importance of visiting the battalion officers at the school s/he is interested in. Especially as the competition gets fierce with many students going after diminished number of slots, one needs to do as much as s/he can to increase the odds, and a visit with battalion officers, in my mind, can turn out to be a critical factor.
     

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