Should I tell AROTC instructors I'm planning on applying?

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by SCcandidate2015, May 18, 2011.

  1. SCcandidate2015

    SCcandidate2015 Member

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    Hello.

    First off, I applied to the Air Force Academy last year. Well, mostly. I never felt that I was nearly as physically conditioned as I should have been, so I let the date slip and never took the CFA. I received a nomination from my district Representative, and I completed all the other aspects of the application. Naturally, I was not selected because the application was not entirely complete.

    So, I had to figure out another way to attend college. I always knew I wanted to go to The Citadel if I didn't make it to USAFA, so I applied there and was accepted. I also applied for an Army ROTC scholarship, and received a four-year to The Citadel. I accepted the offer. After some deep soul-searching, I have come to the conclusion that the Army simply is not for me. I don't like the culture, at all. It is an honorable path to take in life, but it just is not for me. So, I've decided that I am going to re-apply to the Air Force Academy. I am currently quite far along on that path already. My problem is that I know that I need to attend college to bolster my academic and athletic record while I am re-applying to USAFA, but I can't afford it without the Army scholarship. I don't really feel immoral or anything if I take their money for a year just as a means to make it to the Academy. My question is this: should I notify my instructors that I have as my intention to attend the Air Force Academy and not stay at The Citadel? If they are supportive, I can see the prospect of telling them as being very beneficial. Conversely, if they are not supportive, the prospect of telling them, almost without a doubt, will be detrimental to my experience at The Citadel while I am waiting on an appointment.
     
  2. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    You've got a LOT to consider here.

    1. The air force academy has gotten a lot more competitive, because they have chosen to take a lot less people. This year alone is about 200 less cadets. We're talking 15-20%. So, you're going to have to be BETTER than last year.

    2. Will you get a nomination? Maybe!!! Yes; you received one last year. How do you think you're rep/senator are going to feel about having given you a nomination last year, which means someone else didn't get a nomination, and then you don't finish the application and at least TRY to make into the academy. Sorry, but leaving out just one thing; e.g. the CFA; means you didn't complete the application and try to get an appointment.

    3. You also mentioned a couple times that once you didn't receive the appointment, that you had to "Figure out another way to attend college". You need to soul search and determine if that's the main reason you want the academy. As a means of paying for your education? Or do you really want to serve your country. I only ask this, because you said you have since discovered that the army just isn't for you. Well I hate to tell you, but the army and air force are a lot more similar than they are different. What makes you think you're going to like the air force any better?

    I am not bringing any of this up to discourage you from applying. I'm bringing this up so that "YOU, and ONLY YOU" can be honest with yourself, and make sure what you're doing is the right choice. Prior to the cutbacks, the air force academy brought in between 1250-1350 cadets each year. On graduation day, there would be between 950-1050 graduates. That means that anywhere between 200-400 CADETS will either quit or be kicked out of the academy in the 4 years that they are there. We're talking about a 20-25% dropout rate.

    When you said you applied to the academy and didn't finish the application last year; I assume you're talking about the CURRENT cycle. Meaning, had you taken the CFE and received an appointment, you'd be starting Basic next month. Therefor, that also tells me that you just recently receive the army ROTC and acceptance to the Citadel. So my question is: "How do you all of a sudden know that the army "Culture" isn't for you. Unless of course you've already spent a year at the citidel and army ROTC. In which case, that means you'll have 2 years of college out of the way by the time you start the air force academy. Assuming you receive an appointment. Well; the academies don't give you credit for your time in college. Just some classes. Even if you had a Master's degree, you'd have to do all 4 years at the air force academy.

    Not knowing your situation personally, I have to ask all these possibilities and scenarios. If I was you, and you understood all the concerns I mentioned, and you really wanted the air force academy, I'd start the process over in July when the cycle starts again. Then; I'd contact your ALO that you're assigned to, and have a heart to heart with him/her. Remember; a lot of people did a lot for you the first time around. Including your ALO. You need to see if you're even going to get a nomination and have a competitive application.

    FOOD FOR THOUGHT!!!! Even if you had finished the CFA, there is absolutely no guarantee than you would have received an appointment. MORE PEOPLE with nominations DON'T get an appointment, then those who do. I think you and your alo need to talk and see what your chances look like. Best of luck to you. Mike....
     
  3. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    The first question I would ask, what will you do if you do not receive an appointment to the AFA. Would you continue with the Army ROTC at the Citadel. If you start your sophomore year on scholarship you will have an obligation to the Army.

    The AFA is reducing the number of 1st year cadets next year, this will make it even more competitive to receive an appointment.

    As far as being honest with the Army ROTC Cadre, this will be something you will need to decide. You did however ask for an opinion, so here goes.

    Make sure you read the Ethics page on the Citadel website, one of the lines is "Possesses Uncompromising Integrity" I think that would be your best guide as to whether you tell your Army ROTC Cadre your intentions. They are giving you $22,000.00 tuition plus book money and stipend for one year with the assumption that you will finish the four years and commission as an Officer in the US Army. The question is less about feeling immoral and more about your integrity on this issue.

    No one can tell how the Cadre would react when you tell them, "Thanks for all the money but I have no intention of pursuing a commission in the Army" There have been many cadets that received scholarships, reapplied to the Academy their first year and received appointments all with the blessing of the Cadre, of course these cadets were applying to the same branch of Service Academy as the ROTC they were in. How will the Cadre and other cadets will feel toward you, only time will tell.

    The best path would be to attend the Citadel, participate in the Air Force ROTC program w/o the scholarship. Continue your application to the AFA with the blessing and recommendation they can give you. I wouldn't think you could count on much support from the Army Cadre. If you decide not to tell the Army Cadre don't think they will never find out about you application. When the AFA asks for your college transcripts, the Army will know what your plan is.

    Bottom line, first I would not even consider doing what your doing. As a prior service officer integrity is a big part of my life. If you do decide to use the scholarship with AROTC I would definatly be upfront with the Cadre. Consider that by accepting the scholarship with no intention of following through you have taken the spot from someone who's dream is to be commissioned an Army Officer.

    Mods, I would think that th OP's post would do better if it was moved to the ROTC Thread, the Cadre that sometimes post there may be able to give better advice on this subject.

    SCcandidate2015,
    You might want to ask this question on the ROTC Thread for the above reasons.

    Edit:
    Christcorp makes a good point about the time you may be in college before you can enter the AFA. The big issue is that you are only given the freshmen year on scholarship without an obligation to the Army. If you step one foot into you MS Class on day one of your Sophomore year, the Army Owns you. If you drop the program after that you will be required to either pay back all the money the Army has given you or you will be enlisted in the Regular Army, and the decision is not yours to make.

    You have a lot of thinking to do, and yes, the difference between the Army and Air Force is less then you think. There are other career choice out there.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2011
  4. SCcandidate2015

    SCcandidate2015 Member

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    I did have to find another way to attend college. I want two things in life: to be in the military and to graduate from college. Perhaps the way I phrased it without any context made it sound like I "just want to go to college" and that's it, but that is not the case. I went to Summer Seminar last year, I talked for hours to my ALO, I attended "academy days" that one of my Senators hosted. I love the prospect of being in the Air Force and serving a career in it. The Army and the Air Force are different enough for my tastes. I've lived in very close proximity to both services my whole life, and I have tons of family members in both. I know I am 100% genuine when I say that the Army is not for me. I want to be in the Air Force, and I don't want that desire to be regarded as a sin or something. I'm not attacking your advice. I appreciate it immensely. I just wanted to make that known.

    I know fully well that the Air Force Academy is becoming increasingly more competitive, and I know that I am not the most competitive candidate right now. However, I am only seventeen years old and I am fully committed to re-applying every year until I can't anymore. This is something that I want to do, and it just "feels right" for me. I can't exactly explain this perfectly to someone else, I guess. I understand the numbers. I think I'm probably a lot more honest to myself than a majority of the people I've met who are also competing.

    I am fully aware of the Academy's policy on transfer credit. I have some AP credit that I know won't be going to the Academy. My point here is that I want to attend the Air Force Academy and I'm not really concerned with whether or not I can transfer credit. I know I will have to do all 4 years at the Academy. I'm fine with that. I like that. I want the experience. I'm not going into this thinking that I will get out of half of it because I will already have some college down. I want the same experience that the kid who comes straight from high school gets.

    I know I need to have a very deep talk with my ALO. I plan on doing this quite soon. Tomorrow, maybe. I regret not doing all I could on my first round that I could have. It was stupid of me.

    If I don't receive an appointment to the AFA, I will try again. I know that if I start my first day of college at The Citadel of my sophomore year, the Army will own me. I know that. And I understand your concern with integrity. I would be more than willing to do Air Force ROTC. In fact, that would be my first choice. But, I'm not exactly the most financially blessed person. I do have other scholarships, but even if I did drop the Army and had to pay only for tuition and books then, I still wouldn't be able to afford it. I don't want the Academy just as a means for paying for my education. If that was the case, well, I'd just be content with attending The Citadel on Army scholarship. That's not the thing here. I do want to go to college, but I also want to serve as a military officer afterwards, and, like I mentioned above, in the Air Force. Who knows, maybe I'll fall in love with the Army while I'm at The Citadel. I don't think so, though. But, I have an open mind.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2011
  5. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    I'm not sure I fully understand what your plan is.

    You stated above that you will apply to the AFA every year until you are unable to. I guess I am not sure how you would do that considering if you go to the Citadel on a AROTC Scholarship for more then the first year you will not be allowed to apply to the AFA because you would be under contract to the Army. Believe me, they will not let you go easy.

    Based on your concerns over the cost's and ability to pay without the scholarship, I would ask what will you do if you don't get into the AFA the first year. Will you leave school and then apply again. You won't be able to continue at the Citadel unless you drop the scholarship and pay tuition on your own after your freshmen year, which is something you say you can't do.

    Why don't you enroll in a local Community College where you can live at home and the tuition is much cheaper. You can stay there until you gain an appointment to the AFA.

    Unless you are positive you will get an appointment to the AFA the first try, I would not go the route you are considering. The fact that you will only have one year you would be able to attend the Citadel before you would have to drop the scholarship and start paying your own way, well it just doesn't make sense.

    If you have no interest in the Army, why waste their time and yours, not to mention take the place of someone that truley wants to be there.

    Have you even considered what the admissions board at the AFA will think when they see you have accepted an AROTC Scholarship but are applying the the AFA, I would think it would at the least raise an eyebrow or two.

    If you understand my concern about integrity I would think you would reconsider what you are doing.
     
  6. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    There's actually quite a few people who apply to the academy; don't receive an appointment; go to college; get an AFROTC scholarship; and then reapply the next year. Matter of fact; the ROTC is even a Nomination authority. They can give you a nomination just like your congressman can.

    The difference here is:
    1. He has an Army ROTC scholarship and he's wanting to apply to air force.
    2. He intentionally didn't complete the application this past cycle, yet accepted a MOC nomination.

    Things are looked upon differently when you aren't accepted, compared to not applying. But you totally correct that because of the army ROTC scholarship, the OP only has so much time before he's committed. That's why i suggest a long chat/meeting with his ALO. If the air force academy is totally his passion, he might have to decide to leave the citadel; or at least return the scholarship and pay it himself. Then again; the ALO might be able to look at last year's application and get a "Feel" that he has a great chance of receiving an appointment. "NOTHING IS GUARANTEED". However; if i was your ALO and I looked and say that you had a 3.4gpa, 26-27ACT, etc... i'd encourage you to either keep the army ROTC scholarship, or look at transferring to a college that offers AFROTC and see about trying to get that scholarship. But if you're a 4.0gpa; numerous athletics; 31-32ACT on all areas, and an excellent application, then I'd look at how to "Erase the negative stigma" of not finishing the application last cycle, and see about getting you on track to apply this coming year.

    best of luck to you. Remember; no one here is trying to dog you or be negative. The academies are very difficult places to get accepted to. As is ROTC. It does you absolutely no good if we blow sunshine up your caboose. The selection board isn't personal. They are going to go off of what your application, transcripts, and ALO recommend.
     
  7. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    My recommendaiton is to approach your instructors with a question "I want to apply to AFA for this reason, what do you think?" There are possible negative consequences, but you need to do what you believe in and want to do. I could argue against your decision of picking AFA, but it's your decision. I have seen kids make some interesting decision concerning SAs, but your decision and you have live with the consequences. It takes more courrage to follow your heart/dream than say my instructors are not going to like me so I won't do it.

    I did a year of Army ROTC then went to West Point. My instructors were very supportive (two ROTC and one West Poing grad). I even got an ROTC nomination. I doubt I would have gotten one if my PMS (ROTC) didn't support it.

    Lastly, your legal obligation is what the law requires. Your moral oblgiation is what you are comfortable with looking at yourself in a mirror. So if you accept AROTC scholarship and attend Citadel, what are your obligations? If I remember correctly, the two years of ROTC scholarship is no obligation, you only incurr finanical or service obligation starting your junior year (I could be wrong). Does it feel wrong to you, if so you have your answer.
     
  8. SCcandidate2015

    SCcandidate2015 Member

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    Yes, I never mentioned what I would do if I was not appointed after one year at The Citadel. I've thought about enlisting and going that route then re-applying, and I've also thought about the community college route then re-applying. I understand that all ways to the Academy are arduous. I accept that. I don't know with absolute surety that I will be appointed. No one does. I do know that I am willing to do whatever it takes to make it happen, though, and that even with that commitment, I'm not guaranteed anything. I'm a very real person.
     
  9. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    You are right about getting a ROTC nomination, the problem with the OP is that he will be in AROTC and applying to the AFA. The AROTC does not give nominations to other branch SA's, so he will be on his own in that regard. I doubt they would be very supportive once they find out he just used the Army scholarship to pay for school while applying for a SA in a different branch. Whether he tells them upfront or not, the Army Cadre will find out as soon as the AFA asks for transcripts.

    You are half correct about the service obligation regarding the AROTC. The first two years have no obligation if you are not on a scholarship. If you are on scholarship like the OP you have only one year before you are under an obligation.

    If you are on a AROTC Scholarship and you drop from the program after your freshmen year you owe the Army. I believe this is how the obligation goes:

    Drop Sophomore Year: Pay back all money or 2 years Active enlisted
    Drop Junior Year: Pay back all money or 3 years Active enlisted
    Drop Senior Year: Pay back all money or 4 years Active enlisted

    The big catch is that it is not your decision on which you do, The Army decides for you.

    If you are required to pay back the money you would owe the entire amount including your first year, all the book money and all the stipend money.
     
  10. SCcandidate2015

    SCcandidate2015 Member

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    Does anyone know the numbers/percentages/statistics for prior-enlisted appointments/Preppies? I read the whole prior-enlisted thread and saw no such information. By the way, thank you all for the advice/recommendations so far.
     
  11. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    I can't give you a firm number; but I can tell you that there are 85 slots per year for prior enlisted, and they almost NEVER fill all those. They normally get about 50 qualified who actually go to the academy directly or prep school first. So; assuming you are 18 when you start the citadel, and we assume you don't get an appointment next year, you'll be 19. Then you'll get out of the citadel and enlist in the air force. Now; you're assuming that the air force is undermanned in the enlisted corp. That's not true. So, it could actually take you up to 6 months and a year to enlist. Many enlisted individuals did so during high school, so their waiting period was either delayed enlistment or just wait time that was taken up during their senior year of high school. "It's not like you enlist today, and automatically go in tomorrow". While you're waiting, you probably reapply to the academy just in case.

    Anyway; you're now enlisted. Probably close to being 20 years old. You go through Basic Training and your technical school. Any where from a total of 3 months to 9 months. Depending on the job you get. You finally get to your first base. NOW YOU CAN START LOOKING INTO THE ACADEMY! And remember; you can't be older than 27 years old when you graduate from the academy. Which means in the ballpark range, that you can't be older than 23 years old when you enter the academy.

    Just throwing out scenarios. I think the enlisted option is definitely a viable option to the academy. On the other hand, the academy should not be your actual "Goal". Being commissioned and serving in the air force, preferably in a career you have a passion for, is what your goal should be. The academy is only 4 years of your life. A very short period compared to the next 60+ years of your life and what you want to do with it. I bring this up, because there is also ROTC and if you finish your degree, OTS. There's a lot of options. You just have to figure out what your REAL GOAL is. Beyond the academy. The academy is not really a goal. It's a means of helping you reach your goal. Good luck.
     
  12. Packer

    Packer Member

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    SCcandidate2015: If they are going to find out, it is best they hear it from you. They will find out.
     

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