AFROTC vs. USAFA

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by mbroks12, Jan 27, 2018.

  1. mbroks12

    mbroks12 Member

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    Hey everyone, I am currently in my first year of college and I am part of the AFROTC detachment on campus. I love it, and I have exceled greatly at it over the course of the year so far. I will soon have the chance to accept a 3.5 year scholarship through the program as well as be accepted to one of the summer programs. However, I have also applied to USAFA and am waiting to see if I will receive an appointment. If I do, is it worth adding an extra year of college for the experience? Will adding this extra year do anything more for me rather than commissioning through ROTC?
     
  2. Falcon A

    Falcon A Member

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    mbroks -- great to hear you are enjoying and doing well in AFROTC.

    At the end of the day, you graduate from your school and commission as a 2nd LT, whether ROTC or USAFA. Many AFROTC graduates do very well on active duty. Some USAFA graduates squander whatever "advantage" graduating from USAFA may provide.

    Others on the forum can speak to whether there is an advantage getting a pilot slot graduating from USAFA vs AFROTC, but that would only matter if you want to become a pilot.

    At USAFA you will be in a class of about 1200 "high achievers" at a school of about 4000. Time management will be your biggest obstacle. Your day will be "controlled" from Reveille to Taps. You will have opportunities to earn participation in AF relevant activities you most likely won't have at a civilian univ., such as parachuting, soaring, powered flight training, navigator training, etc. In the summer you will have AF relevant summer programs to participate in. Some are fun. Some are difficult.

    The USAFA aero and astro curriculum is very good (probably better at the Undergrad level than most schools), but only relevant to your decision if that is what you plan to major.

    Unless you are a member of the Corps of Cadets at one of the SMCs, the USAFA doolie experience will be very different from your freshman year at your civilian univ in AFROTC. Your time as an Upperclassman at USAFA will also be very different from your sophomore through senior year at a civilian school. The USAFA purpose is to prepare you to be an AF officer, and as part of that provide you with the opportunity to gain a quality undergraduate education. USAFA is supposed to be tough. It is supposed to test you. Not everyone is supposed to make it through.

    I think the "worth" question is up to you. Why did you apply to USAFA? What do you see the USAFA experience doing for you?
     
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  3. CrewDad

    CrewDad Member

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    I think Falcon A summed it up! I would add one more dimension. If you want to be a Pilot and you feel that your body type can fit into most cockpits and can medically qualify in your Firsty year, then USAFA is the better option. Last summer we were told by the Academy, as of today the Academy will offer Pilot slot to ALL Cadets if they can medically qualify, regardless of Majors. USAF will even perform surgery for your eyes to qualify if correctable to 20/20. However, no guarantee on type of plane since you will have to qualify for that individually, including being the right body type to fit into and reach cockpit instruments. We were told that this is not the case with AFROTC Cadets. It is more competitive to be a Pilot from the ROTC Program. You will have to compete nationwide with all AFROTC Cadets to get into the limited Pilot slot. So there is one additional reason to go USAFA if Pilot is your aspiration.
     
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  4. c17hopeful

    c17hopeful Member

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    Most of this is true. It is more competitive from AFROTC than from USAFA. However, not ALL cadets who are medically qualified will receive a pilot slot. It is much more likely that all those medically qualified will receive a RATED career opportunity, but there are four rated fields, of which manned aircraft pilot is only one. If you really want to be a pilot, you should be in the top 700-800 of your class. But yes, if you're willing to be a doolie and supervised by people who are younger than you, this experience is one that most people are extremely grateful to have.
     
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  5. kittkatt

    kittkatt Member

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    While I realize that medical standards for USAFA admission and a rated career differ, does anyone know approximately what percentage of USAFA cadets who want a pilot slot fail to get medically qualified? Are vision issues the usual problem for these cadets? Also, can cadets try to get medically qualified before their Firsty year? I would think that those who only want a rated pilot slot would want to know before their Junior year so they can consider alternative plans prior to triggering a service commitment. But I can also imagine that even if a cadet gets PQd during his Doolie year (if that's possible), the medical qualification would likely have to be re-newed at some point prior to starting UPT -- if this is anything like civilian FAA medicals. Sorry for all the questions.
     
  6. USAFA10s

    USAFA10s USAFA Class of 2012 WPAFB 10-Year Member

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    I'm sure a current cadet will chime in, but we all did the physicals needed for flight status/the different rated positions well in advance of putting in for assignments. I believe it was right at the start of Junior year (right after commitment), so everyone knew what they were medically qualified for prior to submitting their "dream sheets"
     
  7. c17hopeful

    c17hopeful Member

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    You do your graduation eye exam before commitment because this is the biggest source of disqualification. Your grad physical is during junior year where they make the final decision if you are PQ
     
  8. raimius

    raimius 10-Year Member

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    As far as PQ, it also depends on if you need a waiver. I knew I was up for a waiver for a while, which put my AFSC select and notification before my actual waiver approval, iirc.
     
  9. Hodge

    Hodge Member

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    Right now the process is to get your eyes checked for PQ 3 dig year then the rest of the FC1 (flight class 1) physical your 2 dig year. This is the determination physical for pilot among with the various other jobs. In ROTC you only go get an FC1 after selected for a pilot slot your junior year. If you don't qualify then it's usaully needs of the Air Force for you on the ROTC side. I like the USAFA process a lot more since you know at least according to eyesight if you'll be able to fly before commitment. The problem with the Air Force medical is you don't know for certain until you take one. I know people with FAA medicals that didn't pass the Air Force one and now are in a panic to figure out what AFSC they want.
     
  10. Humey

    Humey Member

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    While it is true that if you are in USAFA it is easier to get a pilot spot then if you were in AF Rotc, it is also true that that is way harder to get into USAFA then it is to get into Rotc. So if you can get into either and you want to be a pilot, the USAFA is the more sure way to go.
     
  11. Falcon A

    Falcon A Member

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    Actually, that isn't completely accurate.

    In the recent past, there were fewer AFROTC national scholarship appointments (300 per year) than USAFA appointments (1200 per year). Not sure what the numbers are now. For Navy it is my understanding there are about the same number of 4 yr ROTC slot as USNA appointments (1200 each). AROTC tends to award around 2500 scholarships per year with about 600 being 4 yr and 1900 being 3 yr vs the 1200 USMA appointments.

    Now a days, it takes a "SA quality record" in most cases to earn a 4-yr ROTC scholarship. ROTC in fact is a bit more "merit-based" than SA appointments. The ROTCs rank order the applicants and draw the cut line.

    For the SAs, the geographic diversity factor has a major impact. The #1 principle nom from a less competitive congressional district will get an appointment, while the #10 ranked candidate from a very competitive congressional district will not get an appointment even though their record is much better than the candidate that is the principle nom. This is why every year there are candidates that receive SA appointments, but don't receive a ROTC national scholarship offer. They did not rank high enough in the National order of merit. It is also why there are candidates each year with great records don't receive an SA appointment but do receive a 4 (or 3) yr ROTC scholarship.

    If you are lucky enough to receive a SA appointment, be greatful, and humble. You got a lotto ticket. Make the most of it.
     
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  12. Humey

    Humey Member

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    I am not including scholarships into the equation. My son got a pilot spot with no scholarship. His degree (Professional Pilot) doesnt qualify for one. If money is an issue and when isnt it, then USAFA may be the way to go. Again, however, it probably easier to get a scholarhsip than get into USAFA although based on what you said, that may not be true
     
  13. kittkatt

    kittkatt Member

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    I guess my question to Hodge is what is your sense as to approximately how many of your classmates are "panicked" having failed to get PQ -- even a guesstimate would shed some light. I'm hoping it's the exception and I take it that these particular folks made it through the eye test but got tripped up with the medical.