What to do if all else fails

Discussion in 'Military Academy - USMA' started by dlee96, Sep 6, 2012.

  1. dlee96

    dlee96 Member

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    So my goal is to gain acceptance to any service academy except USMMA. I also plan on applying to all of the ROTC 4-year scholarships available. However, it is prudent that anyone has a contigency plan so mine is to enlist (if all else fails). :thumb:

    But the thing is my parents don't quite agree with me. They see enlisting as a dissapointment and their idealogy clashes with mine. So here it is, has anyone been in a situation where they couldn't afford to go to college (ROTC/SA rejection) and decided to enlist? Thoughts, opinions, facts; are all gladly welcomed.:biggrin:
     
  2. tug_boat

    tug_boat Member

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    Enlisting

    Enlisting into any service is an honorable duty. You learn so many life experiences as well as learning a trade that could be applied to civilian life. What is really the question are your goals in life and working hard for them. Nothing of worth ever comes easy.
     
  3. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    I wouldn't disagree with enlisting at first blush, but if you want to commission there are other routes that provide some financial aid. Marine PLC is one example. There is also ROTC SMP which I don't claim to understand but I see referenced all over the ROTC forums. You should do some searching on the ROTC threads. Also, don't rule out other scholarship opportunities outside of the military which could perhaps fund schooling while you pursue ROTC as a college programmer or even skip ROTC and look into doing OCS.

    I hope Plan A or B work out for you and it doesn't come to plan C or D. And "good on ya'" for being wise enough to consider and pursue backup plans. :thumb:
     
  4. bjkuds

    bjkuds Parent

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    DS is a college programmer at an SMC.. Military environment, college education with great potential to commission. Academic scholarships, loans etc are making it possible. Loans are a big consideration, but after comparing what the education will help you earn over a lifetime vs not going to college it is pretty much a no brainer especially if you are considering a major that has decent earning potential. Even comparing an O1 salary vs an E1 the difference is significant.
    I will however commend you on the enlistment consideration. DH did it and did not go to college. We have not missed any meals in our lives but he WANTED to be a cop so it was a good choice. My best advice would be to decide what it is that you REALLY want to do and explore EVERY avenue available to get there. Kinnem is giving you excellent advice.
    Also what are your parents opposed to.. the militrary? Not going to college?
     
  5. tug_boat

    tug_boat Member

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    Goals

    The armed forces understands an educated soldier makes a better Army. If you enlist there are many opportunities to continue your education either online or classes. Consider a two year associates degree will qualify you as a warrant officer.
    Many high paying trades in the private industry are hungry for people who have trades that only come from the military such as airframe repair or nuclear school.

    It is stunning to find out the caliber of applicants who want to attend a SA and can be intimidating.
    Set your goals and have time limits to them. In other words you don't want to be 30 and still struggling in entry level jobs.

    It's not an easy time for young people to figure out how they will make their mark and find their niche. You're goals will help you push through this time.
     
  6. dlee96

    dlee96 Member

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    Thanks for the input and @bjkuds my parents are opposed to ENLISTING, being an officer is fine, but they just don't like enlistees. And my first desire is to lead/serve but this is my last contigency plan. I can't afford college w/o a 4-year ROTC scholarship and if I take loans, I'll graduate with about $110,000-$160,000 which is ridiculous to start off life with.
     
  7. bjkuds

    bjkuds Parent

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    Unless your parents or you are wealthy, or you have a VERY hefty savings account you won't pay near full price of what most colleges charge. Your parents should fill out a FASFA form or a FASFA forecaster form and see what the projected financial responsibility would be before you rule any school out. Apply to a few that interest you and see what kind of financial aid you can get before you assume that you can't afford it without ROTC money.. If you are going to go for ROTC scholarships you will have to apply anyway to a few. Wait and see what offers you get. You might be surprised.
     
  8. Non Ducor Duco

    Non Ducor Duco I am not led, I lead

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    You also have a problem getting money from FAFSA if your parents are middle class. If you're on the lower end, you get chicken scratch, if your on the upper end, you get nothing. My parents' combined income makes it so that I couldn't get anything but loans from the government to pay for college. On paper we're well off, but when you account for the debt, life's misfortunes, and the 5 kids that are involved in sports and ECs that cost, there is nothing left over to send us to college with. We're too well off to get money for college, but not well off enough for our parents to pay for more than a few hundred dollars worth of books. The only way I could get anything from FAFSA is if I claimed Independence for tax purposes, however, that would take away from my parent's finances. For me it's merit based scholarships or nothing/loans. I am broke as far as collegic expenses are concerned, had trouble paying for the only thing that wasn't covered by scholarship, an insanely high parking decal, but my family is still middle class. We don't want for anything, but there is no way that my parents could put me and then my 4 siblings through college. No way, and I'm not even going to an expensive college. I wouldn't expect them to either.

    I just wanted to add the other perspective. There are alot of ppl who are in the same situation. Too well off to get financial aid, but not well off enough to afford college without scholarships or jobs or hefty loans. There are of course other opportunities for scholarship out there besides ROTC, but understand that for many kids who's parents aren't super wealthy or have large savings accounts, it is indeed a merit scholarship or bust type deal. Alot of the ppl I know in that situation who didn't receive scholarship or received partial ones either decided against college; went to community colleges and took up several part time jobs to save up for the college they wanted to go to, but were afraid to go that far into debt so soon; or just said F-it and went to the college anyways and will owe well over $100,000 by the end of their 4 years. The poster might be in the this situation or he/she might not, if so, I can understand the mindset.
     
  9. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    Sounds like you have your school sights set way too high. An alternative is a community college the first two years and then transfer into a 4 year in-state school with your favorite ROTC, applying for the scholarship. Even if you don't get the scholarship at that point, if you attend an in-state school you should be able to get through 4 years of college borrowing much less than that (he thought).
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2012
  10. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    Joining the National Guard is an option. I can't speak for other states, but in MD with the cominbation of tuition assistance offered by the NG and some local and prviate colleges offering upto 3 credits total free, so joining the NG will paid siginficant portion of your college cost. Also get paid for NG participation and can do SMP ROTC program.

    A possible path is to attend basic training after high school graudation, start college, after first year, take a semester off to finish your advance individual training.

    Until you finish your advance individual training, you cannot deploy.
     
  11. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I agree with kinnem, many kids are doing 2 yrs at CC than going over to a 4 yr college. In VA they guarantee acceptance to any state college as long as you carry a 3.0 cgpa, yes, even UVA does this. Additionally, at the CC here kids can join ROTC as a xtown cadet. At our DS's det. they have several cadets doing this. This allows them the ability to stay on target for commissioning while paying less for college.

    I know NC also offers the same program. Many kids, even academically strong kids that received merit money for college are opting this path because even with merit they are falling short of covering the costs. A CC college would cost you about 5K a yr., add that along with going in-state, you are looking at maybe 50-60K if you live on campus for all 4 yrs. Much less if you live off campus, as low as 30K in loans.

    If you go onto the ROTC forum, there is a sticky regarding schools that give financial assistance for ROTC cadets/mids. I would check it out.

    The one thing to understand is unfortunately our enlisted members are underpaid. You may want to do a realistic budget check because although you can use TAP and they pay 75% of the cost of the degree, 25% is a lot of money to becoming up with every 3 - 4 months. Let alone the stress of working and studying.
     
  12. dunninla

    dunninla Member

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    Good answer. Sounds like OP's parents are drinking the KoolAid of prestigious U being a golden ticket to life... having attended Stanford and UCLA myself, and working with business owners in CA across the spectrum of industires, I can assure you that success in business, and even moreso life, has more to do with your work ethic, problem solving ability, and attitude than any degree hanging on the wall. Suggest you read the book "Harvard, Schmarvard", or better yet, google Krueger-Dale II and read their conclusions ten years ago, and recently updated, that conclude that business success has no correlation to which college a person attended... and everything to do with how impressive they were at age 17 that made those colleges accept him/her.

    Back to your issue of "how to commission":

    1) Academy
    2) Rotc with scholarship
    3a) if you have $$, ROTC without Scholarship
    3b) if no $$, then Junior College, then in-state U, joining ROTC no scholarship
    3c) if no $$, enlist in Army National Guard, or Army Reserves, take the $5k up to $10k per year in incentives, and participate in ROTC in the SMP program at a 4yr in-state U.
    4a) begin college, and re-apply to the all four Academies as a college Freshman. Take Calculus, Chemistry and any other course that Academy freshmen typically take, do well in them, and hopefully get accepted to the Academy a year later than you would have out of High School. Participate in ROTC. Get a Nom from the ROTC PMS/PNS
    4b) for Naval Academy ONLY, begin college per 4a), but do NOT participate in NROTC. Reapply to the Naval Academy with the rest of the HS seniors.
    5) upon graduating college without participating in ROTC, apply for Officer Candidate School
    6) enlist now, work hard, get promoted, and apply to ROTC out of the enlisted ranks
    7) enlist now, work hard, get promoted, and apply to the Academy out of the enlisted ranks. If I recall correctly, there are about 150 slots at the Academy reserved for Enlisted, and those slots are never fully taken.
    8) Stay enlisted, work your way up, and become a non-commissioned officer that way

    there are many ways to skin a cat. Explore all options.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2012
  13. dlee96

    dlee96 Member

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    Thanks for the input, but my parents don't really know too much about college (1st-gen immigrants) so everything that happens in the future belongs to me.

    So i would be able to apply to the academies after enlisting right away? Or do I have to reach a specific pay-grade/rank in order to apply? THanks in advance
     
  14. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    Yes, a soldier can apply just like anyone

    No, if you want to apply as a "soldier applicant", you will need to complete your basic training at minimum and get your commander's endorsement (which equals nomination). For commander's endorsement, his or her discreation is absolute (i.e. your commander doesn't think you are not mature enough or not "West Point" worthy and says no, there is no recourse.)
     
  15. dunninla

    dunninla Member

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    Dlee96 -- you've written that you are open to any Academy except USMMA. I just noticed there are quite a few threads on applying to the USNA as an enlisted sailor in the USNA section. Several have commented that it is harder to get appointed that way than by reapplying while a freshman in college, taking and doing very well in the same courses that the Plebes take -- Calculus, Chemistry, English, History, and maybe Physics as a substitute for Chemistry.

    I haven't checked the threads on applying to USMA as a soldier. Perhaps it is the same, perhaps harder or easier... I'd check out those threads if I were you.
     
  16. jrangitsch

    jrangitsch J Rangitsch, USMA'83

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    DLee96,

    There is no dishonor in enlisting. Personally, I had the same "issue" when I graduated high school - I knew that my parents could not afford to pay for my college education, was in that middle class where your family is both too rich and too poor...

    I enlisted, spent 4 years in the 82nd Airborne Division as enlisted / NCO( Infantry) along the way, an option to go to West Point was presented to me ( actually at re-enlistment time) ..I originally enlisted to get the old GI Bill....do my duty and then go to college somewhere...As it happened, I was introduced to USMA, graduated and retired after 25 years in

    So there is nothing wrong with your aspirations - just keep your goals in front of you and work to accomplish them. There are several good pieces of advice in this thread - you need to research all your options and pick what is best for you. At the end of the day - it is your life that you need to make decisions on - not your parents...
     
  17. Minsauce

    Minsauce Member

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    Enlisting in the Army and serving some time has been one of my BACKUP plans. I also think it would be a great experience. You get to get more comfortable and close with the person that would recommend you to a service academy before you turn 23.
     

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