SMC vs General ROTC (outrof state tuition question)

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by Flynner77, Apr 9, 2012.

  1. Flynner77

    Flynner77 Member

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    I have been looking at Senior Military Colleges (SMC)s because I want to serve the country and did not make the military academy. My main goal has always been to serve the country- I planned on participating in ROTC regardless. My main concern is tuition. I am from Illinois, and have been accepted to The Citadel, Norwich, and North Georgia. I LOVE what I have seen from the various SMCs opposed to just general rotc at an illinois school. My parents don't understand why I want to pay through the nose for out of state tuition, if the military can not help with the costs. (out of state tuition for these schools are around 40,000 a year) I'd love to attend an SMC but they have a valuable point. Is it worth it to go the general ROTC route and pay 12,000 a year opposed to an SMC and have a lot of student loans for 40,000 a year? I applied for an ROTC 4-year scholarship but they were unable to give me a scholarship. I know that wither I attend regular ROTC, or an SMC you would come out a 2nd lieutenant regardless...so my questions are...

    Is it worth paying through the teeth for an SMC experience?
    Is their any advantage going to an SMC over general ROTC?
    Promotional wise in the Army, does comming from an SMC carry more weight?

    Any advice would be most appreciated.
     
  2. Packer

    Packer Member

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    An SMC will be an experience that is closer to the academy experience. They are all different but you will get more military training at an SMC than traditional ROTC. This additional structure and trainingis what drew my son to the SMC's.

    Benefits:
    Army guarantees AD if you want it and recommended.
    Arguably easier transition to your first assignement due to the additional training and environment you were trained in.

    Worth out-of-state tuition? Up to you to figure out.

    I thought I had heard that North Georgia would give non-residents in state tuition. I know Texas A&M will but they are not on your list.
     
  3. gojack

    gojack ....

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    North Georgia Military College - Cadet Total for the year is $18,061 Link

    "The cost for a Cadet to attend in School Year 2011-2012 (these costs pertain to out-of-state students as well as Georgia state residents):"
    Includes Tuition, fees, room, meals, uniforms, books etc.,
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2012
  4. Packer

    Packer Member

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    Hadn't seen you on here in a while. Thanks for chiming in with accurate and complete information as usual.
     
  5. gojack

    gojack ....

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    Thanks, I drop by here once a week or so... usually nothing to add

    Flynner77-The guaranteed Active Duty at a SMC is very significant in an period of cutbacks
     
  6. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    In my mind its not worth the out of state rates but many SMCs offer in state tuition to members of the corps which will make it far more affordable.
     
  7. goaliedad

    goaliedad Parent

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    Whoa! Which "they" are you talking about? Cadet Command hasn't finished giving out AROTC scholarships (looking at your other post it looks like you are Army). We are currently awaiting (any day) the begin of the 3rd board results. While many SMC slots were awarded early, some scholarships may have been handed in to be reallocated when the student got in to a SA.

    Next question... Have you done an overnight visit to experience a SMC? "I love what I have seen", when applied to videos, doesn't mean a whole lot. I'm not knocking SMCs, but until you have spent some time in the atmosphere to see that isn't all that the videos portray it to be. All colleges do the same with selling what they have.

    I don't know what schools you had on your ROTC application (hopefully not all SMCs - a very bad strategy as they are among the most competitive for scholarships), but your stats would indicate that you may have an offer coming. You may also get a letter saying you have a scholarship, but no campus (this has happened in the past). This says you were well qualified, but none of the schools on your list had scholarships available (they spread them around). At this point, you hopefully have a few schools you were admitted to that weren't on your scholarship list to check their allocation.

    To answer your questions:
    1) $40K means different things to different people. It probably won't be that much for you (in-state discounts given to most or other FA). Ultimately, it isn't what it is worth to YOU, but to YOUR PARENTS as they most likely will be footing the bill (student loans up the wazoo to pay for college is STUPID). I get the feeling that your folks think UIUC (my guess at your most likely in-state top candidate) is a better value. You are at college to get an education. The "corps of cadets" is secondary. The education at UIUC is every bit as good or better than that at any of the SMCs. Of course, the education is a function of what you put into it.

    2) SMCs are being capped for their commissioning, so you might want to get that "guarantee" in writing. Remember, commissioning is dependent upon your Cadre's recommendation regardless of where you go to school. That commissioning thing aside, SMCs do a superior job of training you for a regimented life. ROTC teaches the same military science regardless of where you attend (SMC or State U). They all get you up at crack 'o dawn for PT, although the SMCs do it more days of the week.

    3) Absolutely no difference in promotion SA vs SMC vs ROTC. You will find that in the military, EVERYHING is based upon what you have done, not where you did it.
     
  8. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    I was wondering the same thing about your statement that you did not receive a scholarship. As Goliedad said, the results from the last board have not even been released yet.

    Make sure you select a SMC for the right reasons, those being that you want a 24/7 SA style educational and military environment. Don't do it just because you think that it will somehow give you an edge, an edge is something you give yourself.

    I can only give you the example of my own son, he did not attend a SA or SMC, he went to a small (Not top tier) public university, he loved it by the way. Now that he is about to commission and graduate his focus is far past college and ROTC. When he begins flight training in June he will have new 2nd Lt's from WP, OCS, and Various ROTC programs in his class, they will all be starting again from scratch.

    SMC's offer things a traditional university don't and vise versa, each have their good and bad.

    Goliedad is right when talking about the Guarantees of AD at SMC's, things can change. Last year 3120 cadets from ROTC were commissioned to Active Duty, about 180 came from SMC's. Unless you plan on being towards the lower half of the ROTC class I wouldn't worry too much about the AD guarantee.

    SMC's are great schools, just be well informed and do your research. Attend a SMC for the right reason and again don't think that you will gain the upper hand at training like LDAC just because your from a SMC. The school with one of the highest percentage of E's at LDAC this year was the University of North Dakota. That just goes to show you that no matter where you go, in the end, it's what you do with the opportunities your given.

    Just to be clear, my son did not attend UND so that was not a shameless plug on my part.

    Don't give up hope just yet on that scholarship, Good Luck

    Edit: Now if you were talking about the USCGA, well that's an entirely different subject.

    Semper Paratus
     
  9. Moosestache

    Moosestache Member

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    My brother in law went to the Citadel, and speaks very highly of it. When my son decided he wanted to go ROTC we talked with him about that and other SMC's.

    One thing he brought up was the fact that if he went to a school like that he would be competing for slots against other cadets that ate, drank, and breathed the military. He felt DS would perhaps have an easier route into the USAF through ROTC at a traditional college. The goal, after all, was to get into the military. That coupled with the extremely low number of females at most of the schools led him down another path.
     
  10. NorwichDad

    NorwichDad Member

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    My son is in a SMC. Jcleppe is absolutely correct when he says.

    "Don't do it just because you think that it will somehow give you an edge, an edge is something you give yourself."

    Whether its SMC, College ROTC, OCS and WP. It's really about what you do and not what they can do for you.
     
  11. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I agree with everything Jcleppe stated, but especially this:
    The ring knocker on your hand or lack of one will not matter to the instructors when they grade you, all they care about is how well you get the job done compared to everyone else they are grading.


    Flynner,

    You stated "I" regarding paying out the nose for an SMC compared to your IS college. My question is how will you pay for it? Are you going to take 10's of thousands of dollars in loans? If so, your parents may be on to something with their advice.

    The pay is decent in the military, but you will not be making tons of money right out of college. College loan notes will start to be re-paid about 180 days after graduation, and if you are going to have 50K in loans, over the next 10 yrs of your life that is going to be incredibly painful as an O1. It will be the equivalent of a car payment, and remember you will need a car once you go AD, thus before you even move 1 step you have big chunks coming out of your checking account for yrs.

    Our DS is going to be commissioned this May (AFROTC) and fortunately he was scholarship, both from AFROTC and his college, so this is not an issue for him, plus he is going UPT so he will get a tiny incentive pay on top of everything, but it was a wake up call to him to realize how much would be left after things like:
    Car payment
    Insurance
    Cell phone

    Than he also realized how much he spends right now as a college kid to socialize and eat. Folks supplement his food bill so we reminded him to up that number by another few hundred. Things became even clearer regarding why the adage you'll never make a million in the military.

    Now add on 3-400 a month if you have to take loans and your belt got tighter. OBTW remember this will be the 1st time you live a way from home, and every parent will tell you to barely set up a house it will cost a couple grand...we are not talking the 60" plasma or even a nice sofa like you have at the folks. We are talking just a couple of pots and pans, dishes, towels, bedding and the essential furniture like a bed, dresser, sofa and the cheapest dinette set you can find. Realistically if you were to buy everything new, including that 60" tv, and surround sound, you would be looking at about 5K to furnish your bachelor pad on a very good day. If you put it on your Visa, you just added a couple hundred more a month to your debt on top of the car, insurance, cell, food and college loan. Don't forget you will now have about 20% of your gross deducted for the usuals, but also Life Insurance, Tri-care and dental. The reason officers love O2 is because they get a very nice pay bump to O2, but it coincides with longevity pay, and the 1st time they can start to breathe.

    So if that is your path regarding how to pay to attend an SMC, than take some time and think about if from a fiscal perspective and not an emotional one.

    Now that being stated, as a Mom of 2 in college and a 3rd going in the fall, the one thing that I have learned regarding chances of being successful academically in college is you have to want to be there and love that major. If you don't your chances of graduating greatly diminish because you didn't want to be there in the 1st place. Self-fulfilling prophecy.

    If you just can't stand the idea of being at your IS, than maybe it is better to be in debt and go to an SMC.

    The last thing I have to say on this subject is kids tend to place illusions on what this life will be like, and many times it will never meet the reality.

    SMCs are the closest thing to an SA that you can get to, the idea of wearing the uniform and bonding with other cadets is something that attracts them. However, they forgot to put in the countless hours behind getting that uniform up to standards, the fact that as an ROTC cadet they must be in the Corps, which means more hours away from the books, and that their 1st yr living in a dorm will be sim. to an SA regarding even the simple things like bed linens and straightening the dorm or no tvs, etc.

    The reality check hits some cadets hard, and I know at least for VT there is a rule for ROTC cadets, if you drop ROTC as a freshman before a certain date (I believe it is mid-terms) VT has the right to dis-enroll you as a student. Reason why is from an admission perspective you received extra points, and they don't want kids saying I will do ROTC just to gain admittance.

    Traditional ROTC's don't have that factor, so if in 3 weeks you decide it isn't for you, you can still walk away from ROTC, but stay at the college.

    ROTC does not commission 4 yrs later 100% of the class that entered as freshman. They never expect to hit that number. Before you say "well trust me Pima, I will be commissioned it has been my dream since I was six", I will remind you that the majority of the people who said that were in the % that did not commission. Key word in that statement was "dream", and as I stated earlier, rarely does an illusion (dream) meet reality.

    Reality is not everyone does get commissioned, Reality is ROTC itself takes many hours a week away from classes, not including PT/LLAB. Reality is that at some point you must decide where the cost becomes an issue for you.

    I am not trying to be Debbie Downer. I am trying to say, you are 18, you have visions of your future, and you should, BUT, you are 18 and now it is time to think about the bad with the good as an adult. You shouldn't let the dream override the reality of the facts that exist.

    If you come to your folks and say to them why an SMC is better from a realistic fact based approach, I bet they will say "We get it, you are right, go there", if you just say "I like the campus or it is an SMC, than that will be when they say WHY?

    If you want the SMC, you have been given the facts.
    1. NGMC costs 18K, probably the same as IS
    2. SMCs have a higher % chance of going AD, and with the DOD budget crunch I have a higher chance of getting AD.
    3. SMC's require ROTC cadets to be in their Corps which gives me what I wanted from an SA regarding student life, whereas the traditional college it is I am a student in a ROTC uniform 2x a week, most likely not living with them in dorms.

    Those are facts, not emotions. Your folks can't fight that. Loving the campus, and believing you will be happier there is just an emotion. Granted we want our kids to be happy, but as I said, sooner or later, unless you are a millionaire, cost overrides emotions in the decision process.

    Good luck, sorry so long of a post.
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2012
  12. Flynner77

    Flynner77 Member

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    Thank you all for the helpful information. My parents and I have been in the dark as we are new to this, a few questions...
    1. If I have applied for a 4- year scholarship, but the competition is too fierce, can they re-assign a 2-few year or 3-year?

    2. A few of you have mentioned NGCSU... do they really extend in state tuition to out of state folks? If so, this may be crucial to my decision
     
  13. Goarmymom

    Goarmymom Member

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    Yes, absolutely - if you're in the Corps of Cadets :smile:
     
  14. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Contact the bursar ASAP.

    I say that because what they do now for this yr group may not be what they do next yr...highly doubtful it will change, but JIC.

    Get their name, ext. number, write down the time, etc.
    Tell your parents this is what they told me.
    Your folks will be proud, and now left with uh, huh, ah!

    Be prepared for well we can't afford to be flying you home for a 3 day weekend as their last line of defense.

    If you look at the top of the ROTC forum there is a sticky regarding Room and Board, singapore started a post #15 on the perks of every college they knew( alphabetical listing) regarding financial aid for ROTC cadets.

    Hope that helps.
     
  15. gojack

    gojack ....

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