#1 Choice for ROTC Scholarships

My daughter is applying for 3 ROTC scholarships. Should she list her top schools as her #1 choices (all private)? She has excellent test scores and GPA. She really wants to serve her country and plans on majoring in engineering.
 

k2rider

5-Year Member
I can't speak for anybody else but both my kids listed their "favorite/most wanted" schools #1 and then went down from there. For instance, neither one of my kids were required to list an in state school like is now required (at least with AROTC) but if they had, that school would have been placed at #7 on their list. My son ended up at school choice #1 and my daughter was given the option of schools #1, 2 & 4 from her list. Keep in mind thought that many of the ROTC programs with top notch engineering schools fill up after the 1st (or sometimes 2nd) board. It's usually the kids with a 4.5 GPA, 34-36 ACT and 1500 SAT score that got in that 1st round. That's a slight exaggeration but you get the idea.
 
I can't speak for anybody else but both my kids listed their "favorite/most wanted" schools #1 and then went down from there. For instance, neither one of my kids were required to list an in state school like is now required (at least with AROTC) but if they had, that school would have been placed at #7 on their list. My son ended up at school choice #1 and my daughter was given the option of schools #1, 2 & 4 from her list. Keep in mind thought that many of the ROTC programs with top notch engineering schools fill up after the 1st (or sometimes 2nd) board. It's usually the kids with a 4.5 GPA, 34-36 ACT and 1500 SAT score that got in that 1st round. That's a slight exaggeration but you get the idea.
Thanks. My daughters test scores are in that range and she is shooting for top engineering schools.
 

brob

Member
I can't speak for anybody else but both my kids listed their "favorite/most wanted" schools #1 and then went down from there. For instance, neither one of my kids were required to list an in state school like is now required (at least with AROTC) but if they had, that school would have been placed at #7 on their list. My son ended up at school choice #1 and my daughter was given the option of schools #1, 2 & 4 from her list. Keep in mind thought that many of the ROTC programs with top notch engineering schools fill up after the 1st (or sometimes 2nd) board. It's usually the kids with a 4.5 GPA, 34-36 ACT and 1500 SAT score that got in that 1st round. That's a slight exaggeration but you get the idea.
I agree with above - be ready to go first round because the more competitive schools' slots may fill up first. And another yes, you are supposed to rank them in order of preference.
 

Dadof2

Member
Also agree with k2rider - put them in the order of preference. If she gets a ROTC scholarship and isn't accepted at one of the schools or changes her mind about her #1 choice she can put in a transfer request to apply the scholarship to a different school. Not sure what the statistics are for transfer request approval, but both my DD and DS successfully transferred theirs recently.
 
From what I've heard, top schools (very competitive schools) do not get filled up. Students later have trouble trying transfering scholarships to state or second choice schools after they get turned down from top schools. There is a strategy with listing ROTC schools:)
 
Be careful that all your schools are "reach" schools and you don't gain acceptance to any. Include at least one safety college.
Good point. She listed 3 state schools plus 4 private schools for AROTC and 1 state and 4 private for NROTC. She should get in at least a few schools for each. We have heard that most of these schools are trying to increase the number of women in STEM and are hopeful that is true.
 

USMAROTCFamily

5-Year Member
We had this same dilemma with both DD and DS. My kids simply ended up listing the schools in order of what they truly wanted. DD ended up listing 5 schools for both Army ROTC and Navy ROTC Scholarship. For NROTC, she was offered the scholarship to her #1 choice (which was the most selective one on the list) in the fall before admissions decisions came out. We were sweating out the admission decision, but were blessed when she was offered early admission to the school in December. When we went to visit the school in January and spoke with the NROTC unit, they had advised us at that point 17 kids had already been awarded scholarships to that school, but only 8 had been admitted at that point. He told us that every year, they do have students who don't get into their school and have to scramble to try to get their scholarships transferred to another college. The problem, though, is that by the time they find out they don't get in, many of their 2nd, 3rd or 4th choice schools have already met their quota for scholarship winners, especially if they are a rolling admission school. So the offer for the scholarship may be pushed down to the last choice school. When we toured another very selective school, that detachment told us that they can never fill their quota of scholarships as they typically have so many scholarship winners who simply don't get admitted into their university. He suggested that even if their school was the applicants #1 school, to move it down to the #2 spot on the list and move up another college into the #1 slot that they believe they would definitely get into (and be happy attending if they aren't admitted to their top college). Then later, if they do get admitted to their true #1 school, ask for the scholarship to be transferred to it. This only works, though, if the #1 school never fills their scholarship quotas.


Recently, for Army ROTC Scholarships, all of the 1st board scholarship winners were awarded scholarships to their top 3 choices to decide which college they wanted to attend. On the downside, they had to make their final college decision, before the selective schools had made their admissions decisions. The year my DD got her 4-year scholarship, she did not get it until the 3rd board. By that time, her #2 school had already reached their scholarship quota (she called the ROO at the school to confirm), so she was awarded the 4-year option to her #1, #3 and #4 choices on her list. By the time she was awarded the scholarship, she had already been admitted to all 5 schools that she had listed on her application, so she didn’t have that to worry about.

I would talk with the unit/detachment of your child's #1 school and get advice from them. Find out if they meet their scholarship quota each year and if so, how quickly they do so. Find out how many scholarship winners typically accept the scholarship, initially, but then later decline them if they get into a Service Academy or choose another branch's scholarship. In that case, if you remain on their "waitlist" then you might be able to transfer the scholarship when that happens. I would also say, that if your DD is not selected in the first round of scholarships, keep checking in with your her top schools, to see if they have given out there allotments already. If that is the case, she may wish to select new schools for the list or reorder the priority list of schools.

Many people on this site will tell you to have your DD choose a college that you could afford for her to attend, even without the ROTC scholarship. There can be many reasons why a cadet/midshipman does not make it through to commissioning (over 50% attrition in some programs), to include not passing PT test, being overweight, not passing classes, alcohol/drug related issues, medical issue that comes up, sports injuries, car accident, deciding it just not for them, etc. If she loses the ROTC scholarship, can she afford to stay at that school? We took a different stance on this. There are some great private schools out there that are not affordable to most families (mine included) without these scholarships. But we saw this as an opportunity for her go to her dream school. I do think, you must go into this process with your eyes wide open. Yes, there are horror stories about students being kicked out, or quitting ROTC and owing $180,000 payback. This has happened. What if she develops an illness or a permanent injury that disqualifies her from continuing in the program? She won’t have to pay back the ROTC scholarship in that instance, but can she afford to stay at the college? Ensure you all know what the scholarship contracts says before she signs it and what the ramifications are if she don't make it through. If that were to occur, what would she do? Would she transfer to another, more affordable college? Even if the fall-back college had initially offered your DD a scholarship with original their admission decision, will they still offer scholarships if she were coming in as a transfer student?

Good luck to you and your DD through this whole process.
 

brob

Member
she was offered the scholarship to her #1 choice (which was the most selective one on the list) in the fall before admissions decisions came out. We were sweating out the admission decision, but were blessed when she was offered early admission to the school in December. When we went to visit the school in January and spoke with the NROTC unit, they had advised us at that point 17 kids had already been awarded scholarships to that school, but only 8 had been admitted at that point. He told us that every year, they do have students who don't get into their school and have to scramble to try to get their scholarships transferred to another college.
For this reason, I always advocate students applying Early Action to all schools that offer it! My DD was going for nursing, which is competitive and spaces are limited, so she applied to 14 schools, put 7 on her AROTC list, and had admissions to most of them in Nov/Dec. She wasn't ready to submit for 1st board, but by the time 2nd board came out, she had a nice assortment of schools (and excellent merit aid from most of them) that she would have been pleased to attend, with or w/o ROTC scholarship. My DD and her friends though I was a little crazy having her apply to so many schools, but I'm all about maximizing choices! Most of her friends applied Early Decision to very tough schools, were denied or waitlisted, and spent Christmas break scrambling to get more applications done - my DD was sitting pretty at that point!
 

kinnem

Moderator
5-Year Member
We had this same dilemma with both DD and DS. My kids simply ended up listing the schools in order of what they truly wanted. DD ended up listing 5 schools for both Army ROTC and Navy ROTC Scholarship
This. Exactly this.

For this reason, I always advocate students applying Early Action to all schools that offer it!
Not a bad idea. Remember Early Action is NOT Early Decision. You don't want to be committed to a school in this process.
 
We had this same dilemma with both DD and DS. My kids simply ended up listing the schools in order of what they truly wanted. DD ended up listing 5 schools for both Army ROTC and Navy ROTC Scholarship. For NROTC, she was offered the scholarship to her #1 choice (which was the most selective one on the list) in the fall before admissions decisions came out. We were sweating out the admission decision, but were blessed when she was offered early admission to the school in December. When we went to visit the school in January and spoke with the NROTC unit, they had advised us at that point 17 kids had already been awarded scholarships to that school, but only 8 had been admitted at that point. He told us that every year, they do have students who don't get into their school and have to scramble to try to get their scholarships transferred to another college. The problem, though, is that by the time they find out they don't get in, many of their 2nd, 3rd or 4th choice schools have already met their quota for scholarship winners, especially if they are a rolling admission school. So the offer for the scholarship may be pushed down to the last choice school. When we toured another very selective school, that detachment told us that they can never fill their quota of scholarships as they typically have so many scholarship winners who simply don't get admitted into their university. He suggested that even if their school was the applicants #1 school, to move it down to the #2 spot on the list and move up another college into the #1 slot that they believe they would definitely get into (and be happy attending if they aren't admitted to their top college). Then later, if they do get admitted to their true #1 school, ask for the scholarship to be transferred to it. This only works, though, if the #1 school never fills their scholarship quotas.


Recently, for Army ROTC Scholarships, all of the 1st board scholarship winners were awarded scholarships to their top 3 choices to decide which college they wanted to attend. On the downside, they had to make their final college decision, before the selective schools had made their admissions decisions. The year my DD got her 4-year scholarship, she did not get it until the 3rd board. By that time, her #2 school had already reached their scholarship quota (she called the ROO at the school to confirm), so she was awarded the 4-year option to her #1, #3 and #4 choices on her list. By the time she was awarded the scholarship, she had already been admitted to all 5 schools that she had listed on her application, so she didn’t have that to worry about.

I would talk with the unit/detachment of your child's #1 school and get advice from them. Find out if they meet their scholarship quota each year and if so, how quickly they do so. Find out how many scholarship winners typically accept the scholarship, initially, but then later decline them if they get into a Service Academy or choose another branch's scholarship. In that case, if you remain on their "waitlist" then you might be able to transfer the scholarship when that happens. I would also say, that if your DD is not selected in the first round of scholarships, keep checking in with your her top schools, to see if they have given out there allotments already. If that is the case, she may wish to select new schools for the list or reorder the priority list of schools.

Many people on this site will tell you to have your DD choose a college that you could afford for her to attend, even without the ROTC scholarship. There can be many reasons why a cadet/midshipman does not make it through to commissioning (over 50% attrition in some programs), to include not passing PT test, being overweight, not passing classes, alcohol/drug related issues, medical issue that comes up, sports injuries, car accident, deciding it just not for them, etc. If she loses the ROTC scholarship, can she afford to stay at that school? We took a different stance on this. There are some great private schools out there that are not affordable to most families (mine included) without these scholarships. But we saw this as an opportunity for her go to her dream school. I do think, you must go into this process with your eyes wide open. Yes, there are horror stories about students being kicked out, or quitting ROTC and owing $180,000 payback. This has happened. What if she develops an illness or a permanent injury that disqualifies her from continuing in the program? She won’t have to pay back the ROTC scholarship in that instance, but can she afford to stay at the college? Ensure you all know what the scholarship contracts says before she signs it and what the ramifications are if she don't make it through. If that were to occur, what would she do? Would she transfer to another, more affordable college? Even if the fall-back college had initially offered your DD a scholarship with original their admission decision, will they still offer scholarships if she were coming in as a transfer student?

Good luck to you and your DD through this whole process.
Wow! All of your points are great, and you mention items we had not thought of. She is applying early action to one school that is not binding as well as applying early to some state schools that are not binding. I think she is applying to 6 schools before Nov. 1 and 6 regular decision. As far as money, those are good points not to over extend our finances with the chance she could be injured and unable to continue or not like it (though her whole life has centered around getting in the military recently).
 

MilFam

Member
Your child does need to think through the school list. My son got an Army ROTC scholarship on what was probably the first board--it was before he had even applied to any colleges--and he was given a choice of his top 3 schools. When he sent the scholarship form back he had to pick a school so he picked a competitive school (but not the most selective on his list) where ROTC is very popular and he knew their slots usually fill up. Then when April came around and he got into his top choice school, it was very easy to transfer the scholarship. His NROTC (MO) school list was mostly a different group of schools and he got into his #1 choice EA --but got the NROTC (MO) scholarship on the last board. But because that school was also very competitive admissions-wise the unit still had slots left by April when the board results came out.
 

Ex.BT.USN

5-Year Member
I'm a/ Kinney. Inquiring minds do want to know. I will drop in my DD's list.
1. George Washington University
2. College of the Holy Cross
3. U of North Carolina (CH)
4. Villanova
5. U of Maryland (CP)

Kinney, DS is excited and ready for his final year. I'm hoping to fly down and catch a game. DD completed her NROTC and Naval Academy apps, medically Q'ed, her stuff will be there for the first board for each app.
 

MilFam

Member
Marine Option. That was always his goal. But the Marines don't give an inch when it comes to the PFT! Despite being accepted to every college he applied (including the SAs and multiple Ivies), he initially did not get a MO scholarship because his PFT score was too low. A lot of his reps did not count because he wasn't using the right form. So he had to watch videos, practice (!), and retake the PFT. He got the scholarship on the last board.
 

kinnem

Moderator
5-Year Member
Marine Option. That was always his goal. But the Marines don't give an inch when it comes to the PFT! Despite being accepted to every college he applied (including the SAs and multiple Ivies), he initially did not get a MO scholarship because his PFT score was too low. A lot of his reps did not count because he wasn't using the right form. So he had to watch videos, practice (!), and retake the PFT. He got the scholarship on the last board.
Way to persevere. He'll make a fine Marine Officer.
 
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