Selecting your school

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by Jcleppe, Nov 16, 2010.

  1. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    Now that the first round of scholarships have been awarded it will soon be time to make your school selection. This process can be stressful as you start to compare schools and ROTC programs. I have one son who is a MS3 and another that just recieved his scholarship. We are now just waiting to see which schools made the list, at this point we only know that he recieved his #1 choice. After going through the selection process with my first son and learning what we have over the last 2 1/2 years I can share some of our observations on the process.

    My older son had to choose between schools that had as many as 39,000 + students and schools with 10,000 students. As you can imagine the larger schools had a much larger ROTC batallion. He ened up choosing the smaller school. There is a plus and minus for each.

    Smaller schools:
    A better chance of having more leadership positions
    More hands on training from the cadre
    less competition for summer schools and internships
    More of a time commitment due to fewer cadets to fill duty spots

    Larger schools:
    A larger number of cadets
    Less time commitments due to a larger cadet class to spread the work around
    More competition for school spots
    More school spots alocated for the school

    The most important thing is to select a school that is right fit for you. If you feel comfortable at the school you will do better. A couple other things to consider.

    Don't pick a school just because you feel they have percieved tradition, remember once you graduate you will have the same gold bar on your shoulder as everyone else. While my son's school is smaller and lesser known then the more High Speed schools they have a very successful ROTC program. This year all the MS4's got either their 1st or 2nd choice branches and all that wanted active duty got it. One of our graduates finished in the to 1%, finished 1st at Infantry school and completed Ranger school No. 1 in the class than included many West Point and Military school grads.

    Another thing to keep in mind is whether the school counts the MS classes as school credits and if you can get a minor in Military Science. Some schools count all the MS classes as graded credit and some do not, something to check out.

    Don't pick a school based on the fact you liked the PMS, they change about every 2 years so the one you spent all the time talking with may not be there next year.

    Best of all do a lot of research on both the school and the ROTC program. And don't be fooled by the recruiting info, ROTC is a time commitment. As you move from MS1 to MS4 you will be required to spend more time with ROTC, time management will become very important. You will definatly earn your scholarship.

    As you all begin to make your school selections post your choice on the board, it will be nice to see where everyone is going.
     
  2. educateme

    educateme Member

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    This is 99% sound advice, and I agree. However, I will provide one caveat. S'2 #2 PMS and his ROO are extremely proactive. The whole battalion seem to be working like a clock work. They were already working with the school admissions office on S'2 behalf even before the board results came out. When S visited the PMS asked him about air borne schools and other selective summer training programs etc, the PMS said he was able to send 13 of his cadets even though the quota for each battalion was only 2. Obviously, this officer knows how to run a tight ship and work the system. The PMS also told us that he will stay another 2 years in this battalion.

    The officers in the #3 battalion are were loosy goosy, if you know what I mean. They never follow up with anything. Call them, and leave a message and they never get back to you. They have a severe attrition problem. Though this battalion is bigger than the #2's battalion, they manage to send only 2 cadets for the prestigious summer training programs: they said, that was their quota. They also have no clue about how to work with the admissions office.

    By the way, both schools are highly competitive schools with similar academic standing.

    Now, granted, you don't pick a school based on its battalion officers because they rotate. But, my son is dead set on getting certain advanced training and summer opportunities (air borne school and what not) right from the beginning, and if the PMS of his first two years is the kind of person who can proactively support his goals, this goes a long way to building his portfolio and getting him well on his way because a lot these things build on top of each other. So by the time he is a junior in college, when the new PMS comes in, he will already have benefited so much from the proactive style of his first PMS. I think this is something.

    Again, I agree with the OP's suggestion 99%. I am just providing a bit of a twist worth 1% of the consideration.
     
  3. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    I have to agree with educateme on the points she made. When my older son was in the school selection process he emailed the 2 schools he had narrowed down to. He asked certain questions of both and asked if they could have a cadet contact him so he could get more information. One ROO answered all the questions, had a cadet call him that night, and followed up every other day or so. The other school just emailed him a couple names and never heard from him again. Needless to say he ended up going to the school with more response.

    He attended a spring land vav exercise at Ft. Lewis, during his senior year in high school, with the school he chose, as it turned out they were doing a joint exercise with the other school. He came home after the weekend and told us he had made the right decision based on observing both schools. He loves where he is at, he attended Airborne last summer and has had numerous leadership oppertunities.

    His thinking was that he was going to the school that showed the most interest in him and the other cadets. The ROO and PMS have since changed but the program is still strong.
     
  4. educateme

    educateme Member

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    can you tell us about this land vav exercise at Fort Lewis? S is dying to get involved in the ROTC activities before before he starts in the fall.
     
  5. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    After my son made his decision to attend the University of Idaho he recieved a call from the Cadre and asked him if he wanted to tag along with them to Fort Lewis. They were going to take the Juniors from Idaho and Washington State University to give them a chance to run through some things before LDAC. We live in Seattle so it was easy to drive him to Tacoma. He spent Fri., Sat., and Sun. with them. It was funny, they gave the juniors a written Land Nav test and asked my son if wanted to take it to see what it would look like, he took the test and actually passed it (Eagle Scout came in handy). He said he really felt bad for some of the guys that didn't pass it....all from WSU by the way, the cadre reall jumped on them with the line " A high school student passed it, there is no excuse" He got to do some of the land nav and help with the STX lanes, he had a blast. He came home confident he picked the right school.

    Not all schools can practice at Fort Lewis because of geographic location, U of I is only a 5 hour drive from Ft. Lewis. My best advice is once your son has selected a school keep in contact with them and see if he can participate in any activities. A lot will depend on how close the school is to you.

    Older son really wants younger son to pick University of Idaho, they would be in school together for 1 year, I think he wants to torment him a bit.
     
  6. educateme

    educateme Member

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    thanks for your input and advice. It is much appreciated.

    the school he is going to pick is only about 4 hour driving. By next spring, I may be persuaded to let him drive on his on to that distance (early this fall, when he was visiting that school, I drove him: no way I will let a freshly minted 17 year old driver with a 1 month driving record drive by himself 4 hours each way at the crack of dawn after 3 hours of sleep).
     
  7. The OC Josh

    The OC Josh Member

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    Land Nav.....:zip:
     

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