Am I Making a Mistake

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by theamericanexperiment, Apr 12, 2019.

  1. theamericanexperiment

    theamericanexperiment New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2019
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    4
    Hey, I’m a student that was accepted to two SMC’s but didn’t achieve the scholarship because of lower PT scores. Since denial, I’ve worked on and continue to make progress on improving in this category. As of right now, I’ve been accepted into my state scholar’s college with more than a full ride scholarship, which I also plan to participate in their ROTC program. My goal here is to transfer to a SMC after freshman year, after vastly improving my PT score and other ways of improving my portfolio. Here’s my conundrum: An enlisted buddy of mine told me I should cut my losses and take a loan to go straight to the SMC, because if I transfer and do my Rook/Knob/Rat year, I’ll never reach the potential I would if I went straight away. My problem is the loans, I understand the “you can pay them off when you’re active duty” but I’d prefer not to have that burden.Is anyone, or does anyone know any SMC transfers who know any advice or forewarning before I get myself into anything I don’t need to? If I can get any other opinions that would be great. Thank you.
     
  2. Tbpxece

    Tbpxece Member

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2018
    Messages:
    563
    Likes Received:
    351
    I think you are overcomplicating this. A commission is a commission. Get your degree done in the shortest amount of time, knock out ROTC, and push forward with your career.

    SMC/SA matriculation is not as important as the commission itself.
     
  3. emptynest2021

    emptynest2021 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2019
    Messages:
    33
    Likes Received:
    46
    What is the driving force behind you wanting to attend a SMC instead of participating in a ROTC program? Is your end goal to commission and make a career of it? If your SMC are OOS, that is quite expensive. You have a full ride already, why not just kick a$$ in your ROTC program?

    Pardon me for not giving very well thought out words of wisdom or advice. I'm just a mom whose DS will be leaving in the Fall and this is all new to me too.

    I would not take out those loans if you don't have to.

    Good luck with whatever decision you choose.
     
    Gingermom99, Marathon86 and bopper like this.
  4. emptynest2021

    emptynest2021 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2019
    Messages:
    33
    Likes Received:
    46
    It took me 10 minutes to figure out what I wanted to type, and I click post and Bam. I read yours. I like the way you put it. Short and Sweet!
     
    Tbpxece likes this.
  5. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Super Moderator 5-Year Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2011
    Messages:
    5,514
    Likes Received:
    5,707
    Out of state for an SMC is not cheap. Ensure you take a look at financial impact. A commission is a commission. Focus one should be what school makes the sense for you and your family (I mention family because college finances often involve parents).
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2019
    Dckc88 and bookreader like this.
  6. theamericanexperiment

    theamericanexperiment New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2019
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    4
    My main thing about SMC’s over regular college ROTC is the connections that you can make early on. I’m shooting for Military Intelligence, which I’m told by prior service MI officers that these connections could be beneficial for my career. I’m also attracted to the idea of fuller immersion into the military lifestyle. I do admit that most of my bias towards these schools is the hype that’s been coming my way for the past two years, and that definitely could have blinded me to economically better choices. Thank you.
     
    emptynest2021 likes this.
  7. bookreader

    bookreader Member

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2015
    Messages:
    707
    Likes Received:
    460
    You can make connections at any college via ROTC. Loans are a painful way to start out your adulthood. You will have plenty of new expenses as a newly minted officer, so not having school loans will help you immensely when you graduate.
     
    Gingermom99, MinnMom and MMShape like this.
  8. thibaud

    thibaud Member

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2017
    Messages:
    118
    Likes Received:
    103
    You're in a great situation. No need to ditch it.

    Frankly, you're getting some bad advice. Not sure where this is coming from but this notion - that only in an SMC can one make needed connections, or even that attending an SMC is a golden ticket of some sort - is without any basis in reality.

    Focus on learning as much as you can in your current college, avoid taking on debt, and build relationships as they come along.
     
    Marathon86, MMShape and Dckc88 like this.
  9. Dckc88

    Dckc88 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2015
    Messages:
    910
    Likes Received:
    729
    The loan doesn’t seem like much now, but even 25,000 borrowed and will be 350 a month for 10 years. Also, the majority of that will accrue interest while you are in school which means by the time you graduate the total will be much higher than you borrowed. So even one year out of state could cost double that a month for 10 years. That is a lot of things you won’t be able to do with your hard earned money. A full tuition scholarship is amazing - and transferring is hard. If you get there and it doesn’t work out, transferring back to your state school, typically the transfer scholarships are not as generous as for freshman. Having to transfer can also set you back on your degree. Yes people do it, I have a child doing it (not ROTC), but she will he going at least an extra semester over her 4 years maybe a full year because requirements are different school to school. There is also no guarantee you will get a scholarship at the SMC after the first year, but if you do well at the state school, rank high on the OML and have a great recommendation from your cadre, you will still be a commissioned officer and have a great career and without debt. I totally get wanting something a specific way - but weigh the “opportunity cost” of the money spent on student loans and all the interest you will pay. Wherever you end up going to school, performing in the classroom, in physical fitness, having a positive attitude will get you far.

    Another thing to consider is as a freshman you will only be able to borrow $5,500 from the government on your own. Over that would be a parent plus loan or you will likely need a co signer on a private loan. So make sure your parents support your plan, you might need there help.

    Good luck to you and keep us posted!
     
  10. k2rider

    k2rider 5-Year Member

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2010
    Messages:
    685
    Likes Received:
    456
    Take the full ride scholarship and run with it. The military will always be there waiting for you. It may not be as easy, or maybe it will be, but you can always join the military after you get your degree. My daughter went the ROTC route with the Army but her husband joined the Air Force after graduating.
     
    Marathon86 and Dckc88 like this.
  11. Pima

    Pima 10-Year Member

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2007
    Messages:
    13,817
    Likes Received:
    1,955
    My DS attended a scholars program as an AFROTC cadet at a traditional college. I just can't bite off on that. I believe your connections are what you make of the opportunities available to you as a cadet. My DS joined a military fraternity, he attended GMC nights, and whatever functions that he thought might be fun.

    FFWD to 2 yrs after he commissioned. 3 of those AFROTC friends were in his wedding. These guys flew in from across the country. 3 other friends attended as guests (female---so not in the wedding party). FFWD to now. Many of them are now moving to their next duty station. They will drive out of their way during the PCS if plausible to visit each other. My DS lives 2 1/2 hrs away from Dallas. He, his wife and baby girl are known to get in the car for the 5 hr round trip just to meet for a long lunch.

    Personally I am with others, don't go into debt if you can avoid it. You are 18 now, and the idea that in 6 yrs from now you will be married is probably the farthest thing from your mind. My DS got married 1 day shy of 2yrs commissioned. Ripe old age of 24. He had no college debt. DS knew at commissioning he would marry this girl. During those 2 yrs. he was in TX (pilot training), she was in NC. He paid for her to fly out to visit him @ every 6 weeks for a few days, while at the same time saving to purchase a ring. Having no student loans allowed him this financial freedom.
    ~ She on the other hand had 70K in student debt. They moved 2x within their 1st yr of marriage. This meant it was hard for her to find a job in her career field. Few employers will hire someone if the employee is honest and says, yeah...my husband is ADAF and we know for a fact we are moving in 5 months. However, those student loans will be showing up in your mailbox every month whether or not she is employed. Just like now 2 car pmts., larger car ins. bill, 2 cell phone bills, food for 2, etc.
    ~~ Point being that 35K student loan debt right now might seem nominal, but what about in yrs to come when you fall in love and she has that debt too? Our DS and DIL had a baby 3 yrs after getting married. She is a stay at home wife/Mom. They are able to do this impo bc in part since he had no debt, he could pay off her loan faster.

    Just saying think long term.
     
  12. Falcon A

    Falcon A Member

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2014
    Messages:
    1,317
    Likes Received:
    1,599
    Let me first state I agree with the advice to avoid needlessly acquiring debt . . .

    I do not understand this advice . . . regardless when you transfer, you will go through the 4th class system at the SMC. Our experience is with VMI. It is not uncommon for someone to transfer in after their freshman year somewhere else . . . while they may enter academically as a sophomore (depending on the number of class credits that can transfer), they still go through the full Rat Line experience and stay a member of the class they entered with even if they graduate a year early than their classmates.

    I think this aspect is oversold as a path for promotion or assignment within the military. While not perfect, IMHO the military process for both is as unbiased of a process as one can make it. Career field, assignment and promotion will be much more based on your performance than where you graduated from. I do, however, believe the SA/SMC alumni connection for jobs in the civilian world do have a role, at least for getting the interview and perhaps the job offer . . . but again, performance will drive events after that . . .

    Here, I think, is the better argument. An SMC will in most (if not all) cases provide more opportunity to prepare yourself for a military career simply because the SA/SMC prioritizes the ROTC/military training in the way a civilian school can't . . . I know the SAs are that way, and from our experience, I know VMI is that way . . . others with more knowledge than I would need to comment about the other SMCs. You will have to make the choice if this aspect is worth the extra expense for you. It may be.

    All that being said, I would restate here what @Capt MJ has said in the past . . . "Bloom where you are planted!"
     
    Devil Doc, Sargon, Dckc88 and 2 others like this.
  13. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator 5-Year Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2010
    Messages:
    11,529
    Likes Received:
    5,117
    Taking on the debt is foolish. Connections aren't all they're cracked up to be especially given that you will make a zillion contacts in the military, and ultimately you make it on your own skills and reputation. My JO son, who did not go to an SMC, has Lt Cols calling him for minor favors and advice. He's racking up connections.
     
  14. SunnyCal

    SunnyCal Member

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2017
    Messages:
    29
    Likes Received:
    9
    If your main motivation is making important career connections, you can make a ton of these in Army ROTC. In fact, the Army ROTC Program is the single largest producer of Army officers. The U.S. Army is responsible for providing 70% of new lieutenants to the Regular Army, Army National Guard and Army Reserve -- about 5,300 new officers each year.
     
    Dckc88 likes this.
  15. Sargon

    Sargon Member

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2017
    Messages:
    38
    Likes Received:
    40
    I'd consider taking the scholarship for this year and then apply to a SMC or WP next year and only transfer if you get a ROTC scholarship. I concur that the connections can be made in a lot of different ways. If you want the SMC or SA experience apply during your freshman year, it will give you a higher WCS (assuming you do well) and the credits will give you an easier path at USMA, VMI or El Cid, wherever you end up. It wouldn't be a bad thing to experience both types of colleges, but I echo that avoidable debt is a tough pill to swallow.
     
    Falcon A likes this.
  16. theamericanexperiment

    theamericanexperiment New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2019
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    4
    This is what I meant by the thread, loans aren’t an option for me, I just wanted to know that if the scholarship comes along, whether it’s better for me to take the 3 years at a SMC or all 4 years at Louisiana college. Thank you all.
     
    Dckc88, Sargon and Falcon A like this.
  17. Sargon

    Sargon Member

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2017
    Messages:
    38
    Likes Received:
    40
    I would see how my year at LA goes. If you transfer to USMA, VMI, or the Citadel and you don't want that experience, you'll be miserable and completion will be difficult. Don't go to an SA or SMC simply because you think you'll get a leg up, you have to have a strong desire to go to those places and thrive. I have several friends who went to Slippery Rock who are retired Lt. Cols. and Cols. Not exactly the West Point or Annapolis of PA but a lot of successful officers attended Slimy Pebble! :)
     
    Dckc88, Devil Doc and AROTC-dad like this.
  18. Tigerrunnermom

    Tigerrunnermom Member

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2019
    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    22
    Slimy Pebble made me laugh! I went to Edinboro and played VB and that’s what we called them too...ha ha!
     
    Sargon likes this.
  19. Dckc88

    Dckc88 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2015
    Messages:
    910
    Likes Received:
    729
    @theamericanexperiment you got this! My advice to you is stay open to your college experience. The freshman year is a huge transition, so do what you need to do to keep your scholarship options open, but try not to dwell in the grass is greener trap and work on thriving at your school. The truth is, in gardening, and in life, the grass is actually greener where you water it! So by focusing on excelling at your current school, then the result will be success right there.

    And as far as fitness, don’t wait, keep working now (sounds like you are). Whether it is for a possible ROTC scholarship or just to set you up to be as successful as possible on the OML no matter where you are, get a regular fitness routine and stay consistent so you can show up on campus this summer and max the fitness test. Good luck to you and please check back in the Fall and let us know how things are going!
     
    Sargon likes this.
  20. BlueBulldog

    BlueBulldog Member

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2019
    Messages:
    84
    Likes Received:
    82
    Far be it for me to spend your money but if you want the full Corps of Cadets experience that's exactly what I'd do, take a loan for the first year. This is exactly what I was willing to do for my son.

    Guys that transfer in end up in this wierd place where they're out of alignment with their class.

    Good luck