Totally new to ROTC; please advise

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by theagentofchaos, Mar 9, 2011.

  1. theagentofchaos

    theagentofchaos Member

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    Good evening! I just stumbled across this forum tonight, and I am so glad that I did...
    There is a wealth of information archived here, and I will be the first to admit that I have hardly scratched the surface. However, if you have a moment, I would very much appreciate some insight on the ROTC scholarship application process (and the program on the whole).
    Until very recently, ROTC was not on my radar. To give you some quick background on my prospects: I am on good terms with the head of our JROTC group on campus, though I myself have never been a member of it. Through him, I have been very much encouraged in the college admissions process. As I am currently in my junior year, I have taken the SAT (800 Critical Reading, 690 Math, 800 Writing) and the PSAT (225), and am set to earn National Merit Scholarship. I have been a lettered varsity athlete since my freshman year, and have ranked in the top 8 of my 5A district for my event in track and field both years. I was one of ten students in America to spend the summer of 2010 on a government-funded foreign exchange, and gained some proficiency in Japanese in that time. I have been the editor-in-chief of a nationally recognized online newspaper for two years, and have gone to state for literary criticism. I have served as class representative and class president. My writing has appeared in our largest metropolitan newspaper (I am one of a group of selected student freelancers; paid for every byline) and has been exhibited in a local museum. When I had laid this out for our JROTC instructor, he exhorted me to apply for a scholarship.
    I first considered ROTC when speaking with the father of a teammate, who had served as a foreign area officer and had his entire education (at Johns Hopkins- one of my target schools) funded by the military. His description of the work FAOs are engaged it was an epiphany to me. I really believe this is what I want to do. Regardless, I am certain that military experience would be indispensable to me were I to follow my initial dreams of a career in the Foreign Service. I hope to continue my study of Japanese and begin Korean in college. My intended major, if possible, would be international studies or (in the case of Georgetown) foreign service.

    With that said, I have a few questions:
    + First: How necessary are these majors? From what I can discern, FAOs are within the Army only, though the Navy and Air Force have equivalent positions on a smaller scale. I would assume that my chances are best through the army, since the subject I intend to study will impact whether or not I am awarded a scholarship. Are North Asian languages in demand?
    + What is the general timeline of application? I have seen that AFROTC begins in May (I do intend to apply in May, as I have heard that earlier is better in almost any case), but at what point are students notified if they have been accepted? Do NROTC and AROTC application cycles also begin on May 1?
    + Do all branches require the student to rank colleges by preference? If so; would it be better to place a less-desired but financially secure option atop one where whatever cost left over might not be covered?
    + In light of Harvard's readmission of NROTC- and the likelihood of other Ivies following suit- would it be foolish to place a Harvard or Stanford at the first slot? I have already submitted my SATs to both, and intend to apply in the regular decision round regardless, but I do not know what strategy to take when ranking the colleges in the scholarship application.
    + How relevant is post-graduate assignment to subject matter studied? I am concerned that, having spent four years laboring in a foreign language, I will be unable to apply my skills for some time (I've read that FAO is a mid-career designation; some eight years of service into an Army career). Will my specific knowledge base relate to the work I do after commission?
    + While my parents are quite confident that I would be accepted at Georgetown or Hopkins, I am very uncertain. In a scenario where I have listed one of the two as my 'first choice' and am not admitted, is the scholarship invalidated? Or does it move to the second slot, pending an empty space in that campus' ROTC unit?
    + Any other advice you could impart would be very much appreciated.
     
  2. Ohio2015Parent

    Ohio2015Parent Member

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    Chaos,

    Your stats, of course, are incredible. I cannot personally answer a lot of your questions. Best suggestion I can give you is to contact the Professor of Military Science at one of the schools you are interested in attending. Sending an introductory email has been perfectly acceptable to the schools my DS has worked with. It would be appropriate to simply ask to meet with them - any school close to home could do this.

    Keep reading, we didn't find this forum until Dec. 2010, 6 months after DS submitted his application. The information here is so valuable to those just starting the process.

    Take care.:smile:
     
  3. theagentofchaos

    theagentofchaos Member

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    You're very kind; thank you :) I will most certainly send out PMS emails over the weekend. Do they often have dialogue with applicants? I just want to make sure I'm not breaching any protocol by emailing them.
    I'm still sifting through all this data. It's really incredible to have so much experience to draw from.
     
  4. Ohio2015Parent

    Ohio2015Parent Member

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    As you continue to read the threads, it will become very apparent that PMS/ROOS are the life line of information for most applicants. DS met with ROOS at all schools he visited, interviewed at #1 choice school and all of the members of these cadres have been amazing and very supportive. IF you don't feel they are interested in supporting your application, find another school. There are too many great ROOs out there, even here on our forum you have MaristCollege and ClarksonArmy who come here out of their concern and support for our prospective cadets, and none are even currently applying to their schools. That is the sign of true leader and they are held in great respect by all of us.:smile:
     
  5. Azmomm

    Azmomm Member

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    You sound incredible :thumb:. Good luck and I hope you decide Army is for you. This forum has really great info and both Marist and Clarkson are so good with providing information.
     
  6. gojack

    gojack ....

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    Last edited: Mar 10, 2011
  7. Ohio2015Parent

    Ohio2015Parent Member

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  8. gojack

    gojack ....

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    what can I say:rolleyes:

    He's a very bright kid, he should know what opportunities are out there...
    But in the end, I don't think any education commands the respect that
    West Point, USNA, AFA, receive - particularly in military/government circles.
    Save the masters/PhD for Harvard, Princeton etc down the road.
    Anyone as smart as he is should be planning a route to more than a bachelors degree --- IMHO

    Chaos,
    go to http://www.mychances.net/ to see what your chances are at various schools.
    With your stats, you could get accepted anywhere, but at the most elite schools -
    admission is closer to a lottery than anything else.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2011
  9. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    theagentofchaos:
    I don't do 'chances'. However, based on your post I will offer my opinion.

    I think you are in at Georgetown and JHU.
    Georgetown's Walsh School of Foreign Service would be an incredible opportunity and the Hoya Army ROTC Battalion is top notch as is JHU's Blue Jay Army ROTC Battalion.

    Harvard is a crap shoot as would Princeton be. Harvard does not have Army ROTC so you would have go to MIT for that.
    Are you interested in Princeton? The Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs is a fantastic opportunity as well and Princeton host it's own Army ROTC Battalion.

    Given your career goals and foreign language aptitude - have you considered West Point? They have a terrific FL and International Studies Department. Study Aboad opportunities are plentiful. Unfortunately, while they offer Chinese they do not offer Japanese or Korean.

    I suggest you leave all your options open, cast a wide net and you will, in the end, have some very fine offers and opportunities available to you.
     
  10. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    Excellent point!
     
  11. tonk002

    tonk002 Member

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    Georgetown SFS is an amazing school with plenty of possibilities for foreign service. If you want an Ivy, go for an Ivy. They are rivaled by few schools, in my opinion, and are an amazing educational opportunity.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2011
  12. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    I will agree with you that the reputation in respect to education is very high at the USNA, USMA, AFA, and USCGA. That being said the discussion of schools have always been a hot button with me.

    I have always been a firm believer that it isn't always where you received your education, but what you did with it after you graduate. In my career field I have seen a number of graduates from all types of colleges, Ivy's, Tier 1, small state schools, and even CC transfers to 4 yr schools. Over the years I would say that it is about even in regard to success. I have seen Ivy grads both fail miserably and exceed expectations. The same can be said for grads from all the other schools. Ivy's and Top Tier 1 schools can definitely open doors, but it's what you do once you cross the threshold that matters.

    Hot button 2, regarding the SA's. There has been and always will be an debate over which path creates the better officer, which receives the most respect. A lot depends on who you ask the question, many enlisted think that only an officer that has been prior enlisted can relate to them. SA grads will always feel they are superior and ROTC grads think they have a more rounded experience to draw from. All cadets from either ROTC, SA's, or OCS will go to BOLC together, the trainers don't much care what kind of ring you wear. The same is true for those that go to further training like Ranger School. What happens during these schools can set the tone for an officers career. In recent years ROTC has commissioned almost twice the number of Active Duty officers then West Point, since Congress changed the rules ROTC officers are no longer designated Reserve Officers, they are all Regular Officers.

    It comes down to what is the best situation for the student, where will they thrive and succeed. It all comes down to what that new 2ndLt does one his bars are pinned on. Respect from the soldiers you lead or your peers will not come from what school you went to, it will come from how you adapt and lead.

    My older son had to weigh these choices and decided that ROTC was the right decision for him. He does not attend an Ivy or even a Tier 1 school and does not regret his choice. A recent grad from his school attended Ranger School last year, 40% of the officers in his class were West Point grads, he graduated #1, the school he attended made no difference. The current Commandant of the Marine Corps is a graduate of the ROTC program at his school.

    I guess my point is that even in military circles, what you do once you commission means more then where your received your commission.

    While I agree that the SA's are a wonderful opportunity and a terrific education, it would be remiss to say that no other education commands the respect that the SA's can offer.

    The OP sounds like a terrific young person who has opportunities many do not have. My only advice would be to do your research, make a decision that best fits for you and don't be blinded by the flashy neon lights.
     
  13. paradoxer

    paradoxer Member

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    Agreed

    Culturally we often put too much emphasis on cognitive intelligence when there are multiple types of intelligences that will be key to one's success. Totally agree that adaptability is needed today and will remain so as we move forward in a society that is morphing at light speed. MP3 players and video stores are here and now gone in a generation; those who can't adapt will be frustrated and left behind.
     
  14. dunninla

    dunninla Member

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    OP: you have lots of time to read older threads on this board which, though it might take 20-30 hours over a couple of months, give you a very good idea about your opportunities.

    - Army, Navy, Air Force ROTC, with or without scholarships
    - Academies for Army, Navy, Air Force
    - enlist in Army Reserves and have the Gov't pay for most of your college

    Your best source of information is indeed the Army PMS, or Navy PNS, and whatever AF calls their ROTC Professors, at schools of interest to you. You might start the conversation with the person listed on that Battalion website as the Enrollment Officer, or Recruiting Officer, who reports to the Professor.

    I agree that ROTC at Hopkins, Georgetown SFS, Princeton, Stanford (cross-town), Harvard (cross-river) are attractive options, and even GW or American also in DC, for a college undergraduate interested in a career in Military->Foreign Service/CIA, or a career in the Military with a focus on geopolitics. I also agree with the poster above that an Academy is not better or worse an option than ROTC or even OCS from a highly rated college. I might venture to say that West Point has more students enrolled in non-technical degree programs than Annapolis has, if that makes a difference in which Academy you might prefer.
     
  15. stang68cs

    stang68cs HRA

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    The Army ROTC offers several options for your foreign language skills. The Army has identified 15 critical languages under their Cultural Understanding and Language Proficiency Program. One of the programs is CLIP-B, where you get paid a stipend of no more than $3,000 extra per school year for enrolling in approved foreign language classes. Here is the latest list, which might change from year to year, Albanian,
    Arabic, Azerbaijani, Balinese, Bambara, Bantu, Bengali, Bosnian, Bulgarian, Burmese, Cambodian (Khmer), Chechen, Chinese-Mandarin, Chinese-Cantonese, Chinese-Gan,
    Chinese-Wu, Croatian, Czech, Estonian, Georgian, Haitian-Creole, Hausa, Hebrew (Modern), Hindi, Hungarian, Igbo, Ilkano/Ilocano, Indonesian, Isizulu, Japanese,
    Javanese, Kanarese, Kazakh, Korean, Kurdish, Kyrgyz, Latvian, Lithuanian, Macedonian,
    Malay, Malaysian, Mongolian, Pashto, Persian-Dari, Persian-Farsi, Persian-Afghan (Other),
    Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Serbo-Croatian, Slovak, Slovene,
    Somali, Swahili, Tagalog, Tajik, Tamil, Telegu, Thai, Tibetan, Turkish, Turkmen, Ukrainian, Urdu, Uighur, Uzbek, Vietnamese, Wolof, and Yoruba. There are also study abroad options thru your program (highly encouraged between MS1 and MS2 years), and then CULP overseas programs, which send your to a country for approximately 4-5 weeks over the summer with cadets from other universities. Currently working a cadet going to Japan, Togo, Brazil, and Tanzania.
     
  16. smac

    smac Proud Parent

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    JHU Blue Jay Battalion

    My son attends JHU, is a cadet in the Battalion and has had a good experience. He is pretty involved, part of the Ranger Challenge team, and has made some good friends through the program. Here is a quick link to the program website: http://www.jhu.edu/rotc/

    Good luck in your decision process!
     
  17. theagentofchaos

    theagentofchaos Member

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    Thank you for all the replies! This has been very helpful to my parents and I both; we appreciate everything that has been said.

    I'll be contacting the PMS at several different schools over the weekend as I work to complete my AROTC scholarship application (before the AFROTC and NROTC cycles begin). If anyone wishes to offer additional perspective on the schools mentioned, the ordering of colleges on the application, or on the application of foreign language/IR majors in any of the three branches, I would be very eager to hear about it.

    That said, thank you again to everyone who has posted. I'll be referring back to this thread for quite a while ^w^
     
  18. theagentofchaos

    theagentofchaos Member

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    smac: I'm glad to hear that he's having a positive experience. Is he biomed? A friend of mine is starting at JHU in the fall, and intends to major in East Asian studies, but I know it best for the biomedical engineering program. What a place to be; fantastic opportunities, I'd imagine.
    Was Hopkins his first choice on the scholarship app? I've heard the school did away with room/board stipends some time ago. Is financial aid workable?
     
  19. theagentofchaos

    theagentofchaos Member

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    Actually, CULP is one of the main reasons that I'm so set on Army at the moment. From my understanding, cultural familiarity is a primary feature of the FAO training process. I can imagine no better way to put language study into practice than to get some field experience. It's very good to know that ROTC offers a foreign study option.
     
  20. theagentofchaos

    theagentofchaos Member

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    tonk/Just_A_Mom:
    I will admit that (particularly when it comes to academic opportunity) the SFS at Georgetown and IR departments at JHU and Princeton leave me speechless. I would give my right arm to attend any of the three. However, when I submit my application this month, would I be incorrect in making one of the three my first pick? I've heard that placing the likes of Princeton or Harvard at number one can kill one's chances at a spot in other competitive
    programs. Were I to be rejected (I wholeheartedly agree with Just_A_Mom on the 'luck-of-the-draw' nature of Ivy admissions), I wouldn't want to lose a spot at an equally exceptional university.
    I did look into West Point; we attended an informational session this past fall and got to hear a bit on the admissions process and the SA experience. I would never discount the value of attending such a prestigious school. In fact, I believe that, all things considered, I would probably be better prepared for my intended career path by West Point. However, I am still a bit romanced by the 'liberal arts college experience', and the East Asian languages offered at Gtown and JHU are just one more excuse to chase that dream. That mindset may very well change in a month's time; it seems that indecisiveness characteristic of junior year :redface:.
     

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