School Choice Thoughts

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by KarenH, Aug 25, 2012.

  1. KarenH

    KarenH Member

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    DS AROTC application complete. Debating school list. Have visited all.
    1. SMC, public, out of state
    2. SMC, public, out of state
    3. Expensive private, out of state
    4. Very selective public, out of state
    5. Expensive private, out of state

    #2 is only school he can afford with NO asssistance, and will be accepted
    #4 is a reach, acceptance wise, has a good chance of acceptance at others
    #5 gives room and board to scholarship winners
    Really wants SMC experience, only including two because of major.

    Should he only put the top two on list, as they are clear favorites for meeting goal of AD?
    Any other thoughts?
     
  2. blamblin

    blamblin Member

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    I could be wrong but I thought I remembered when my son applied last year that it required an in state school be listed. We were told the more schools you listed, the better the odds of a scholarship. But I wouldn't list any that he really has no intention of going to.
     
  3. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    IMO very few scholarships will go to expensive private schools. Somewhat more will go to out of state public schools. The vast majority of scholarships will go to in-state public schools. The military gets more bang for the buck with this approach when the budget is very tight. If it were me I might leave #2,; on the list and would be looking at adding some in-state public schools. Of course this opinion is worth what you paid for it. Good luck to your DS.
     
  4. clarksonarmy

    clarksonarmy Recruiting Operations Officer at Clarkson Army

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    I'm not a fan of SMCs, so take this with a grain of salt. SMCs are obviously going to have a higher number of applicants for ROTC scholarships, so competition will be greater. I would also argue that SMCs should be the destination to get Active Duty. Being successful at a small civilian program will give you the same opportunities. Just something to think about. You gave us some very vague information about your choices. Choices that are being made in a process that has almost infinite variability. You are going to get a ton of thoughts and advice from this board and elsewhere, and in the end your son's success will be tied to the fit more than any other variable.
     
  5. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I thought also that for AROTC you had to have at least 1 IS school on the list.

    Here is my 0.017945 cents of why I would revisit the selection list.
    What if after his 1st yr there he decides ROTC is not for him? Are you prepared to tell him, that either he sticks with it for yrs and yrs to come, or he has to transfer to a new college because otherwise he can't afford to attend there for the next 3 yrs?

    Either option is not a great option.

    Look at threads here. Right now this is a parent who found out her DS was given the boot before the school yr started. They can't afford him to attend the college. They are now scrambling to figure out what to do. Granted this was an AFROTC parent, but you, me and the man behind the tree can not foresee the future, just like they didn't. What IF?

    Another thread is by Gojira, where 6 weeks prior to commissioning, and 143K spent by NROTC they did not commission him, they demanded the 143K back. Gojira's DS is now on the hook. There was no enlistment option offered.

    I say this with kindness, but until you walk that path, even as a parent knowing the financial burden hung over their head, you can't fathom the weight. Getting a phone call from your kid saying, Mom, I don't know what to do, I am carrying a C in this class right now, it is going to miss up my OML, do I drop it or keep it is when you heart sinks. It happens, and for the next 8 weeks you are worried along with them, but they are even more stressed than you are at that time. Now it is their career dream, and for some if the gpa is already low, it could be loss of the scholarship.

    It isn't just getting the scholarship, it is keeping it too. A child that knows they can stay at that dream college even if ROTC doesn't work out has a lot less weight to carry. Yes, going off to college is a time to grow up, but have a serious conversation with him, and say look, you submit this list, and get 1,3, 4 and 5 for the scholarship, what will you do in the what if situation? How will you be able to stay here for X more yrs?

    Not one ROTC program commissions 100% of any incoming class. Nobody wants to think that they won't commission, but let's be honest, many, many, many don't.

    DS entered with @100 in AFROTC in 08, 10 were scholarship. He commissioned with 26 cadets. Scholarship cadets have 1 yr to call the ball. If he wants to call the ball, but can't financially, he has 3 more yrs of doing something he doesn't want to do, and then 4+ yrs depending how he commissions on top of that. He will be at least 26 before he can say goodbye. 26!

    As far as SMC's one thing candidates do not realize is the amount of time it takes up in their life. SMC's require ROTC cadets to be part of the Corps. It is basically doing 2 ROTCs in the most simplistic terms. Lots of hours away from studying, and the more you progress in these areas the more hours away from academics. We are not talking 5 hrs a week, PT, and LLAB. He needs to be sure he is ready to dedicate a lot more hours even as a freshman.

    I am not like clarkson regarding SMCs, but than again I have a soft spot for VT!:wink:

    Take this time and discuss finances with him, discuss the fact that if he hates AROTC, but loves the school, financially a plan needs to put into place now.
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2012
  6. gojack

    gojack ....

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    A couple thoughts,
    Put #2 first, if you only get one, pick one he will be accepted at and can afford.

    We were told that to transfer to another AROTC program, it would have to be listed as a school choice on the AROTC app. - something to keep in mind.

    An instate tuition public would be ideal first choice., remember that some states offer instate tuition to NG SMP students, (Texas for example) which could help.
    Texas Link
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2012
  7. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    In addition to my earlier comments I want to add that I wholeheartedly endorse Pima's comments. Have that talk with him now so he's clear what the plan will be and what the stakes are. That way if the worst does happen you all have a plan in place rather than figuring it out while in an emotional roller coaster.

    My DS does not have an NROTC scholarship but is attending an out-of-state public. The only reason he can attend it is because of an academic scholarship he received from the school, making it roughly equivalent to un-state costs. He has to maintain a 3.0 each semester to keep the scholarship and, of course,VA 3.0 overall. DS is under no doubt as to what happens if he loses this scholarship... He comes home and attends an in-state school. He knows the stakes.
     
  8. armydaughter

    armydaughter Member

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    I was going through the final check-list with my son just yesterday so I thought I would chime in here. This is what it says about the public/private mix (Army):

    It does not specify that any must be IS. FWIW, the Navy application did require at least one in-state public college. DS very briefly considered NROTC. :wink:
     
  9. goaliedad

    goaliedad Parent

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    First thought...
    Scholarship does not equal AD. As stated below, many kids wash out of ROTC for various reasons both within and out of the student's control - academic, health, etc. Likewise, if the PMS does not think the student is developing the leadership qualities necessary for the job, he will not commission. Period.

    That being said, if he wants to optimize his odds for AD, some things he should consider:
    1) Select a school where he will not be stressed to achieve top (top 10% of students) performance. When he is not overwhelmed by the hours necessary to study for an A grade, he will be able to devote the time to ROTC and other activities (they value athletes, school leaders, etc.) that will put him a the top of the OML.
    2) That top 10% of students will also put him first in line for any ROTC scholarships for that campus.
    3) Consider the lesser-known public school. (Disclaimer - my daughter is in one) This should work well with the strategy above. It is also where the scholarships are available. The Army doesn't care where you get your undergraduate degree. The public school 2nd Lt doesn't outrank the SMC or Private school 2nd Lt. While the programs at the SMCs and higher cost privates are impressive, remember that those programs are there to entice the full-pay student. A lucky few get a scholarship, but most pay the bulk if not all of the tuition cost.
    4) My daughter overnighted at a SMC. She also visited a couple dozen other schools during her HS years. And after a while, I think she came to realize that they were more alike than different. Your son's list sounds like he is fiddling with the top 5% of what makes a college experience while not recognizing that the college experience is about the 95% - the major, the ECs, the ROTC unit, getting to and from home as necessary, cost. Get those things settled first.

    Looking at that list, I would say unless your son is a top 5% of his class 1400+ SAT, multi-sport varsity athlete (and team captain), he is setting himself up to walk on at the local public (which in and of itself is not a bad thing because it teaches him he can work himself up the food chain). Hope for the best and prepare him to deal with the setback.
     
  10. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I know we are all sounding very negative about this issue, and we are honestly not meaning to be that way, however, it really is important to understand how competitive top tier colleges can be for ROTC scholarships.

    One other thing to understand about an SMC, or at least if VT is one of them is for admissions VT does give an edge to those joining the Corps, but there is a hook, they mandate that if they fail to stay in for X amount of time freshman fall semester, VT has the right/ability to dis-enroll them from the school. The reason they state this is they don't want kids saying they are going to do it to get admitted and than show up with no intention of doing Corps. Sim to AFROTC Tech scholarships, they don't want kids saying I am going engineering and changing to business as soon as they get to school.

    It is their way to try to stop anyone from gaming the system.

    Additionally, I don't know which OOS public you are looking at, but for some like UVA and UNCCH, the state has in place the % of OOS students by law they can accept. This occurs because their budget in part comes from state residents and a few yrs back, they were taking higher % of OOS which infuriated parents. Traditionally, it is about 25-30% OOS are accepted, this also may include foreign students too. Like the SA's they like to have an equal representation across the country if at all possible, not just from one geographic area.

    This brings us to why it is also very important visit every college and to do ROTC visits when you do the school visit, even if that is not the college where you do your ROTC interview. Some ROTC units sit on the admissions board, your DS maybe on the cusp of the admissions board, but if they visit the school and the det, the ROTC advisor can personally speak on their behalf of why they should give them this chance. They are not just a name on a piece of paper now, they can connect them to a face.

    IMPO, although goaliedad's DD did not find a big difference between each unit and college, you should not assume that will be true for your child. As an example, I can tell you that I know several kids that opted VT over UVA because of the campus personality, and several that opted UVA over VT for the exact same reason.

    I used these 2 as an example only because you have both a selective OOS and OOS SMC, in VA traditionally IS kids that are going to have a reach it is UVA and their match is VT. Not assuming those are the schools, but just using it as an example.

    Finally, one thing that nobody thinks about when they start this process is the cost it will be in 4 yrs. ROTC will pay for tuition, so leave that part alone, but R & B will increase every yr too. You can't assume that it will not increase yrly., if you do next yr you will be shocked, because right now you are basing it off 2012-2013 costs. Plan for 10/15 or even 20% increase every yr. until 2017.

    Many, many ROTC scholarship cadets get merit scholarships from the schools too, it is important to see if they guarantee on campus housing for all 4 yrs., obviously SMCs do, but not all public colleges will guarantee housing after their freshman yr. That merit is usually not in a form of a check to spend on off campus apts when they can't get housing. For a ROTC scholarship cadet it could mean if they can't get housing it is never used. Check the details regarding the merit scholarship on how they disperse the funds.

    These are just little things I learned the hard way with my eldest who attended an OOS public university. The yr he applied for college in 07 it was 24K. 08 it was at 28K, in 12 when he graduated it was 38K. At the same time FAFSA has not increased, it was 5500 in 07, and it is 5500 for a freshman in 12. That means people have to take larger personal loans or pony up more money out of pocket. Multiply that over 4 yrs and add in at least 10% per yr for an increase to make sure come 4 yrs from now you know you are okay. It sounds trivial, but if you are like my family, for 6 yrs I will have two kids in college at any given time, thus, it may have not been a biggie when it was just one and their college went up 15-20%, it is a biggie when it is two and both go up 15-20% every yr.
     
  11. KarenH

    KarenH Member

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    Thank you to all who took such time and effort in your replies. The purpose of the original post was to give us fresh outlook to kick around; mission accomplished. DS has axed the very selective private where he is a reach. Leaves two public, two private, chances of acceptance at all four above average. He feels good about it; "At some point you have to roll with it, Mom." :eek: I would prefer he add an in state public, but neither possibilities there are a good match. So, here is me learning to let go:zip:
     
  12. armydaughter

    armydaughter Member

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    My DS is in the same boat. The only school in-state that has a good program for what he wants to study AND ROTC isn't a good fit in other ways. So he put together the best slate of schools he could and we will hope for the best.
     
  13. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    KarenH and armydaughter,

    That's the best either of your son's can do, there is nothing worse then going to a college that is not a good fit. The best advice a ROTC PMS gave both my son's was to select schools that you want to attend and you have a good chance of gaining addmission, this way if a scholarship is awarded to only one school, it is one you would like to attend.

    Best of luck to both your son's.
     
  14. dunninla

    dunninla Member

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    the only input I would add to those who posted that the in-state public isn't a good match --

    All of life is about a tradeoff. Lots of kids with limited financial help from parents to to Junior College for two years, then transfer to their in-State University. Was it a good match? Financially, yes, otherwise not as much. But you've got to be able to pay for it, and a ton of debt is the WORST option. Hopefully these past four years of Recession have allowed most people to re-evaluate the meaning of debt and avoid it whenever possible.

    Now to your kids -- if it is the case that the out of state Public, or Private, means a lot more debt vs. the in-state Public, assuming no ROTC assistance, then what would you do? There is a balance between fit/match and cost, and if that cost differential means debt, then I'd would advise a re-thinking about how important that fit/match really is. It's one thing that a Major the student wants is available out of State but not in-State. I can't imagine admissions difficulty would be an issue since most states have several options with differing admissions difficulty. It is another to say -- I prefer rural to urban, or 10,000 students vs. 40,000, etc. When I was 19 and getting my first car, my "match" would have been a Datsun 240Z. What I bought was a one year old Datsun B-210, the least expensive car around at the time.
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2012
  15. Lawman32RPD

    Lawman32RPD Member

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    As a general rule, out of state students at Texas A&M University who are in the Corps of Cadets pay in-state tutition and fees. This is regardless of whether or not the cadet is a 'contracted' ROTC student. I have also heard that the same is true at North Georgia. Good luck.
     

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