The infamous Question: NROTC vs USNA

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by gonavy488, Mar 21, 2016.

  1. gonavy488

    gonavy488 New Member

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    Hello all,

    I'm coming to the forums after many sleepless nights and brain wracking in order to hopefully get some insight on this.
    Here's my situation:

    I received an appointment to USNA class of 2020 and I've also received the 4 year NROTC scholarship to the university of Rochester.
    Realistically I never thought I would received the appointment to USNA so I had made up my mind on NROTC... But after receiving my appointment I am now torn on which path to take.

    I love how NROTC allows the midshipmen to do the military and civilian life at the same time. Being able to have the best of both worlds to me is really appealing.
    But on the other hand, I feel like not accepting the appointment would be throwing away a once in a lifetime opportunity which not is not available to many people. I love USNA because it's a top tier school which really builds character in its students. Also because it has outstanding academics which I think would set me up for success when looking for a civilian job after the Navy better than NROTC at U of R. It also is a great accomplishment to graduate from a service academy.

    Is there any current mids/parents of kids who have gone through the same fork in the road who could share their thoughts on which route to take? I know at the end of the day NROTC officers and USNA officers come out the same when in the fleet, but I'm truly torn between choosing such a prestigious school (USNA) and going ahead with NROTC.

    Any advice would be GREATLY appreciated! Thank you :)
     
  2. Spud

    Spud BGO

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    If you have to ask, go ROTC. USNA needs more commitment than that.
     
  3. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Spud keeps talking about commitment whenever anyone wants to think about the pros and cons.

    Maybe Navy doesn't value critical thinking?

    USNA was my backup, so take your time and research which option feels right for you.
     
  4. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    Just from your post I have a sense that you would be doing USNA because of the honor and prestige, whereas I get a sense you would be more comfortable and work hard(er) at NROTC. In any case, pick the one you feel most comfortable with and want the most... that will be the ultimate determiner of success.

    RIT is a good school and your opportunities when you leave the Navy will probably be more driven by your experience as an officer, and not so much whether you went to USNA or RIT. No doubt in my mind though that you would have a better "network" as a USNA graduate than an RIT graduate. Ultimately though that only gets you opportunities, you get the job on your own.
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2016
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  5. FacFortiaEtPatere

    FacFortiaEtPatere Member

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    Agreed.
     
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  6. 5Day

    5Day Member

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    Take a look at this thread http://www.serviceacademyforums.com/index.php?threads/usma-vs-mit.47662/ It is USMA vs MIT. USNA is not westpoint and UR is not MIT but it will give you some perspective.

    The best USNA vs NROTC thread I have found is here http://www.serviceacademyforums.com/index.php?threads/usma-vs-mit.47662/ It's from back in 2008, but it is still valid today. Some of the current forum contributors @LineInTheSand @Pima @Capt MJ @time2 are writing the same responses 8 years later.

    My summary (not from my experience, but from what I have read sifting through lots of opinions):
    USNA is a total immersion program. You are going to leave and breath Navy and Military for the next 4 years.
    ROTC is a "part time job" One class a semester, 1-3 days of PT a week (depending on the program)
    USNA - Structure NROTC - civilian college experience
    USNA is a full ride, NROTC does not cover room and board (although some schools will pick up the room and board piece)
    USNA mids are active duty, NROTC mids are reserve (not sure what implication this has)
    NROTC 1 summer cruise a year, USNA 1 cruse and 1 leadership experience during the summer
    USNA - Limited majors NROTC - depends on the school
    Special Warfare - If SEALs is on your radar, USNA has a huge advantage. The USNA success rate through BUDS dwarfs any other source.

    Once in the fleet performance is what matters most.
    USNA grads are better prepared for the discipline and traditions of the Navy. This advantage goes away after the first 6 months to a year
    NROTC better prepared for the real life experience after college (IMHO, I am not sure if I agree with this)
    USNA has a built in social support network. There are 1,000 classmates in the fleet with you vs 25 say from your NROTC unit.
    At the highest levels of the Navy ranks, there are more USNA grads. Is that performance or favoritism, who knows, and after being 25-30 years removed from college I am not sure if the college experience has that much influence. The fact is more USNA grads, you can form your own opinion as to why.

    I would ignore the comments that say "If you have to question, you don't have the commitment to succeed at USNA" You will find that comment on every ROTC vs SA thready. IMHO it is your responsibility to ask and answer the question "What will make me the best Naval Officer?" "What will make me the best person?" It is not a question of if you want to serve, nor your commitment to serve, but rather what path will make you the best.

    Please help me expand the differences tangible differences between the 2 programs. Is there much difference is service selection, bonus during or upon graduation, perks during school, etc.
     
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  7. gonavy488

    gonavy488 New Member

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    Thank you for the insight!
    I definitely agree that it is upon myself as a individual to work hard and get the job at the end of the day.

    When I look at it I believe that NROTC would be a better fit for me as an individual. I feel like the restrictiveness of the academy would hinder my ability to experience as many things as possible on the road to being commissioned. But either route I take I'll always think about how life would've been if I had taken the other!

    Thank you to everyone who has commented their opinions it's been very helpful
     
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  8. usnagrad1988

    usnagrad1988 Member

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    Thanks for the thread. As a USNA '88 grad I started to post my knee-jerk response, but my son is still in the running for USNA '20 and has already received his 4 yr NROTC scholarship to Auburn (waiting on UVA and Vandy - April 1st - next Friday already!), so if he gets into USNA he'll be confronted with this soon.
     
  9. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    Bottom line is pick the school and lifestyle that best suits you. Don't let the shiny objects (prestige, honor, etc) factor into this decision. Do you want to live a 24/7 military lifestyle? What style would suit you best? Are you waivering between USMC and USN career choices? If so, then go USNA, you can go either direction, where ROTC is much more locked down and hard to move between the two. Are you really undecided on career fields in the Navy? USNA tends to have more exposure to training options. Between the amount of officers on the yard in difference warfare communities, ships/subs that come to visit, more summer training exposure, more training opportunities all could help shape your decision. Finances? You need to really look at this and discuss with Mom and Dad. Did you get merit to cover Room & Board? Does RIT cover this for NROTC? If not, you could have loans of $40-50k for room and board alone. How big is RITs ROTC unit? Essentially USNA is a 4000 person unit that is Midshipmen run. Would you thrive in a larger or smaller environment? If you are from the Northeast then RIT probably has a strong Alumni Connection, where USNA is more national. Bottom line, where would you succeed the most?
     
  10. terp1984

    terp1984 Member

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    DS had an LOA and appointment by December. He held on to it until May and turned it down . He did the CVV in February and most of the mids were complaining about everything and I think DS listened to it. Anyway he enrolled in a top public without a scholarship, earned a 2year sideload and commissioned and received most outstanding mid award from the university. He never regrets his decision at all. As far as service selection-exact same percentage assignments except for seals(many more from USNA). IMHO I think the biggest factors are finances(must pay R&B at NROTC) and what college experience do you want.. He is almost 2 years out of college and at this stage, basically no one cares where you went to school.
     
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  11. 5Day

    5Day Member

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    Another difference:
    USNA provides your medical and dental insurance, NROTC - you are on your own
     
  12. gonavy488

    gonavy488 New Member

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    The links you posted are extremely informative as well as what you have said, thank you!

    l
     
  13. 5Day

    5Day Member

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    It is my pleasure. I am going through the same analysis for my DS. The difference is he has an NROTC scholarship and a USNA TWE, so he would have to reapply to USNA and be on the 5 year plan.
     
  14. BlindROTC

    BlindROTC Member

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    Just a side point; UR and RIT are different schools. Agreed that RIT is a good school, but UR is ranked #33 among national universities in the latest US News & World Report rankings. For whatever that's worth.
     
  15. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    My younger son was faced with the same question only it was between USMA and AROTC, he had many of the same questions you are asking. Son decided on AROTC.

    When my son started college and AROTC he jumped in with both feet and never looked back, I asked him once if he ever regretted not going to West Point, he said he actually had not thought about it much, he was to busy. I'm sure he would have thought the same way if had had chosen WP. Point is, once you start school you will be to busy to dwell on the what ifs.

    Not sure if NROTC is the same but in AROTC it was more then simply Part Time. Freshman year was one class and one lab per week along with 3 days of PT and other training thrown in and some weekends. Starting sophomore year it was class twice a week and one lab and even more responsibility and training. There is also summer training.

    My son was interested in the many experiences that come with college as well. He was a member of a Fraternity, I know that conjures up some negative thoughts, but it was a great experience for both my sons, he was very involved in the house leadership and activities. During his time in college he was elected a school Senator, he also was elected the President of the Intrafraternal Council and served one year, basically the head of the school Fraternity Greek System. Both of these were great leadership learning opportunities which carry over even to the military.

    I mentioned some of what my son did as an example of how you can be involved, if you do choose the NROTC route make sure you take advantage of the opportunities available.

    My son was pretty busy with school, ROTC, student government, and the fraternity. Time management is important, with ROTC you are much more on your own to get where you need to be and be on time, nobody tells you what time to go to bed, when lights are out, and there is no one to make sure you get up on time, it's all on you to manage your time wisely. Through all this my son still did well in school and ROTC, he commissioned last May and branched Aviation.

    I agree with the comments above, choose the path that you are most comfortable, this is your best route to success.
     
  16. gonavy488

    gonavy488 New Member

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    Thank you for plethora of info! Thankfully money isn't an issue for me so how my parents and I are looking at it, NROTC would be the smart decision seeing as if I realize that the Navy isn't for me I can drop out after my freshman year but still be in the same college.
    While dropping out of USNA would be a messier situation seeing as I would need to find another school and credit transfers etc.
    I'm unsure if I would prefer a 24/7 life style or only part time since I haven't experienced the military yet. But I did attend a CVW in September 2015 which opened me up to the experience a bit. It's very regimented. I personally believe I would thrive better in a more free atmosphere. Leading me to lean towards NROTC.
    I've been assigned to the unit at University of Rochester, not RIT but I believe they have anywhere between 20-40 mids? Not too sure on specifics.
    I am undecided between career choices in the USN so going to USNA would be beneficial as you have stated. Also because I am unsure if I would want to switch between navy and marines.
     
  17. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    Hoops is right that you'll have more exposure to the different naval communities at USNA, and I therefore don't want to take anything away from her comment, but you will be exposed to them in NROTC too, just not as much and not on a daily basis. You also won't have someone to ask questions of about it every day. Some of the lab sessions will be info on the communities and the first summer training is CORTRAMID where you spend a week each with SWO, aviation, submarine and Marine communities. Although you'll get more exposure at USNA, I don't think I ever heard an NROTC midshipman complain that they didn't have enough exposure to the communities.
     

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