USAFA or AFROTC Scholarship

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by AF4Life, Mar 12, 2016.

  1. AF4Life

    AF4Life Member

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    I am at a very difficult crossroads in my life at the moment. I have been chosen to receive a Type 2 AFROTC scholarship and received an appointment to the Air Force Academy. The Academy is what I thought I always wanted, but reading over some of the benefits of AFROTC vs the living hell of the academy, I'm thinking about declining USAFA. I just would like some guidance and maybe if you were in the same situation between a service academy and scholarship, what you chose and why. Thank you all.
     
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  2. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    Living hell is a stretch if you ask me. Sure the summer is tough but any military indoc training is. If you got selected for USAFA you can make it through the summer and the academy. 1,000s upon 1,000s have, so can you. If living a regimented lifestyle and a military environment 24/7 seems horrendous, then USAFA isn't the right place. Remember at USAFA you will also be guaranteed active duty unlike ROTC. No one can predict the stats for being selected for SFT several years from now.

    USAFA is different. It's hard. But you have a huge built in support system, training opportunities you won't get in ROTC, small classes with no TAs. Everyone around you has the same goal and mission. ROTC is also a great choice if you embrace more freedom, having a more regular college experience, understand academically what you are getting at that university, what the ROTC det presents in opportunities and that you must be selected for SFT to continue. Everyone gets jitters if a SA is the right place and can they make it. You can.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2016
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  3. chucky2767

    chucky2767 Member

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    @AF4Life Yeah, like NavyHoops said, having a USAFA appointment and attending the Academy will certainly get you guaranteed a job as a Officer in the USAF. ROTC can be a bit of a gamble. You don't know if you'll be selected to become an Officer until your Sophomore Year (something called a "Field Training"/EA Slot). Getting a EA Slot basically means, you have a spot or "Slot" as a Officer when you graduate in 2-3 years. Your USAFA Appointment is basically your "Slot/Spot" in the AF already, if everything goes as planned. As NavyHoops also said, EA Slots totally unpredictable and are dependent on many factors (Budget; How many LTs the AF will need in 2-3 years, etc.) and NOT GUARANTEED. Then if you will be a "Non-Technical" Major, it's even a lot more competitive. Another thing, if you take the Scholarship and go the ROTC route, when it's EA Slots time, the selecting board won't "care" who's on Scholarship. From what others on this forum said, the board is "blind/masked" on seeing who's on Scholarship.

    As a ROTC Cadet, I can say that ROTC is definitely a more "relaxed" avenue of training to become an Officer. Counting all AFROTC activities (LLAB/PT/Aero Classes), we're only in "Military-Mode" for 4-5 hours out of the entire week. You'll only wear your uniform for maybe 2-3 days out the week for a few hours. You will be competing Nationally, Regionally and among your fellow cadets during your Freshman and Sophomore years for EA Slots. You'll be evaluated for potential Officer-ship on a "whole-person concept". On everything from your Grades/GPA, to volunteering, fitness abilities, leadership, military decorum, "Warrior (Air Force) Knowledge" etc. As I said ROTC takes up very little time, so you'll have the opportunity to have the good old college "experience". (Some) ROTC Detachments actually encourage that Cadets still enjoy their college life, and have fun. Of course that doesn't mean get in serious trouble.

    AF4Life, personally if I were you, I would buckle down for the wild Academy ride and take the USAFA appointment. As I said, ROTC can be a gamble, you could be busting your a**, with school and ROTC for 2 years, only to find out that you weren't selected to be a Officer when you graduate. It's a heartbreaking thing to be in that situation and to see others go through that as well. Especially when that's their dream. As NavyHoops and I have said, you basically have your Officer slot in the USAF if everything goes right, through the Academy. It's just up to you on how you want to spend your college life. Since you've heard a little from a ROTC Cadet, maybe reach out to a Academy Cadet and hear their take. It's your life/career, so weigh the Pros and Cons.

    If you have any questions about ROTC life, feel free to ask.
     
  4. Falcon A

    Falcon A Member

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    You have nothing but great opportunity. Well done.

    USAFA is a "full ride" for 4 yrs. AFROTC is 2+2 (as described above) and it is not a sure thing for active duty. AFROTC pays tuition, but you still pay room and board.

    USAFA is hard. It is supposed to be. It probably has the most difficult 4th class system of the " big 3" SAs. Civilian schools (unless it is a Senior Military College such as VMI, Citadel, TAMU, etc,.) will not be as difficult with AFROTC mentally and physically as USAFA. Are you up to the challenge?

    USAFA has soaring, parachuting, etc. The civilian schools will most likely not. Is that important to you?

    You can go to USAFA for the first 2 years and then decide not to continue and owe no commitment.

    What is it you like about the civilian school where you can use your AFROTC scholarship?

    What originally attracted you to USAFA? Were they good reasons?

    Why do you want to be an AF officer?

    The answers and the decision is on you.
     
  5. derek44

    derek44 Member

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    If you are good enough to get a Type-2 scholarship, you're good enough to get an Enrollment Allocation in AFROTC, in my opinion. Also, I'm not sure I understood @NavyHoops saying Active Duty is not guaranteed in AFROTC because AFROTC only commissions Active Duty officers, i.e. no guard/reserve commissions like Army ROTC.

    I disagree with all others in this thread when they say a commission is guaranteed through USAFA. First of all, nothing is ever guaranteed. Second, many USAFA cadets washout of the Academy, for reasons in or out of their control. These are cadets that otherwise would have earned an Enrollment Allocation at civilian universities and commissioned. If you washout of AFROTC you can still finish your degree there and pursue OTS. Washout of the Academy, not so much. You're sent home. Washout your third or fourth year and you might be forced to enlist. However, if you want to be a pilot, your chances are better as an Academy grad.

    USAFA is entirely a military environment; AFROTC through civilian exposure fulfills the Air Force's need of citizen-officers. DS is in AFROTC and he loves it. If you have to ask if you would enjoy USAFA or AFROTC more, you'll probably be happier in AFROTC.
     
  6. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    Correct USAF only commissions Active Duty, but it's not like a Navy or Marine ROTC scholarship. He still has a major hurdle to get thru, SFT selection. And sure Type 2 is great, but more then enough Cadets year in and year out struggle once they step on campus. H co and even then what other they want to pursue plays a huge role in things. Also besides just thinking what type of environment is best OP really needs to think about what his active duty aspirations are. Rated or non-rated and what their major was awarded as tech vs non-tech. Let's face it, odds of being non-tech Non-rated are much better on USAFA side. Again, the OP should pick where he feels he would succeed the most as that is the right school. No program is a guarantee and requires a lot of hard work.
     
  7. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I am with derek about SFT. Although scholarships are masked for selection, chances are that if they stay on course academically like they were in HS than they have a very high chance. The fact is only 15% of all AFROTC scholarships are 4 yr Type 2 or about 135 nationally. When you add in the fact that the rate to receive any scholarship is @16-18%, than you realize that the OP is standing strong.
    ~ To get a non-tech 4 yr type 2, the odds are even lower of receiving one, because only @15% of that 15% or @20 nationally.
    ~~ Look at the AFROTC stats for scholarships. Unlike USAFA, the SAT/ACT is best sitting, not superscore and they are on par with USAFA appointments that are superscored.

    Just saying that the idea that maybe they won't make it through from an academic perspective is a straw man because just like AFROTC there are cadets at USAFA that don't make it through academically either.

    Derek is also correct AFROTC cadets do go ADAF. There are some that do go Reserve or Guard, but it is not an easy path to get to because HQ must release them. AROTC offers this option, but it is uncommon for AFROTC to offer it unless AF needs to cut their personnel numbers the likelihood of it being an option is not high.
    ~ The difference really is that when they do go ADAF, if the AF has a RIF before @7 years, the AF will cut them 1st before the USAFA grad from the same year group.

    Next as far as the free ride aspect. Yes, AFROTC will only pay for tuition, but an applicant that has earned an AFROTC scholarship usually will get a nice merit package from the college too, thus the room and board aspect is moot, and for the OP there is a very high chance that it is a free ride for them too. Back in 08 my DS's merit ranged from 32K to 100K for the 4 yrs. All merit scholarship, no work study, no loans.

    Now for my opinion, I think it is common for kids to have 2nd thoughts right about now because reality of next year is starting to occur. I think it is important to understand neither is a better path per se, because it really comes down to the person. Ask yourself what it truly is that is making you have 2nd thoughts.

    My DS opted the AFROTC route (type 2 scholarship) over USAFA, and as a parent (Dad was ADAF F15E O5 WSO at that time) we were thrilled that he did. He was just not a match for USAFA. His reasons were not the right ones in our eyes to go to USAFA over AFROTC.
    ~ Free education and best chance to get a pilot slot for USAFA. AFROTC were the right ones. Remember he was a military brat. He wanted to know what life was like being in the real world while keeping 1 foot in for AF. He was admitted into the scholars program, which would include an internship in his major (Govt & Politics --- nontech) on Capitol Hill or at the UN.
    ~~ He is now an O2 and a pilot, commissioned via AFROTC.

    The real truth is there are some huge downfalls for AFROTC. Here are my reasons why I would say for some USAFA is a better option.
    1. Unless you are going to an SMC, you might find that you are not getting that full experience. At an SMC you will be in the Corps and live in a ROTC dorm. Same kind of deal...room inspections, restrictions, etc. Otherwise you will probably live in dorms with traditional college students, and for the 1st year ROTC is part time.
    2. Some feel that they don't have that connection like USAFA.
    ~ AFROTC you get what you put into it. If you spend more times with friends that are not in ROTC, than you won't have that same connection.
    3. Let's be real, USAFA is known as the little engineering school in the rockies. Unless, the college is more competitive from an employment opportunity, i.e. let's say MIT, than USAFA is better especially if you are going to go non-rated where you can leave after 5 years.
    4. Educational Delay (ED) for grad school.
    ~ Much higher chances to get an ED slot as a USAFA grad than an AFROTC cadet.
    5. If you need the scholarship understand it is capped at 18K.
    ~ Colleges typically will increase every year 5-10%, and the AF will not. 15K tuition now is fine, but come your junior year it could be 20K, and now you will be in the hole for 2K+ for the next 2 years, and that does not include how R& B will probably increase too, so now depending on your merit package in the end it can cost you to attend.

    Just my opinion, and now with $2.07 you can get a small coffee.
     
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