Am I on track for AFROTC?

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by Blackbird17972, Jan 3, 2012.

  1. Blackbird17972

    Blackbird17972 5-Year Member

    Jan 3, 2012
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    Hello all,

    I have been lurking on these boards for a while now and I am not sure if this is the best place to post up my information. It seems like this kind of thread would fit this part of the forum, based on what I already see here. If it is incorrectly placed, please move it to its proper location.

    I am pondering the question that comes up often, but all cases are different to some respect. I realize that I do not know enough information on just how I will attain my goal and dream. I kindly appreciate any help I may receive! :)

    What may help you to get to know me:
    • High School Junior
    • 4.05 Weighted GPA
    • SAT Score on first try Sophomore year- 1780 (I really need to work on this)
    • Estimated Rank by counselor- Top 3 out of ~700 students in class (no ranks given to Juniors)
    • IB Diploma Programme- (I take 6 IB classes)
    • Junior Vice President of school's National Honor Society (highest position for a Junior)
    • NHS Tutoring every thursday
    • Robotics Club/Team Manager
    • National Academic League Team Captain

    For about 2 years now, I have known that I aspire to be a pilot in the USAF. I want to serve my country as both of my grandfathers did, I want to defend liberties of Americans and their allies, I want to hold a tradition passed down by those who came before me.

    There are a few things that I am worried about.
    1. I do not play a sport. In the IB program, we have approximately 4 hours of homework a night. Starting after getting home from one of my activities and eating dinner takes me to about 10 PM. If I played a sport, I would expect two hours longer after school each day. Last year, I tried Tennis. I got home at about 6:30 PM. Last year we did not have as much school work, so it was possible. This year it is simply not. I made the choice of 3 extracurriculars a week instead of just Tennis. Especially with my managerial positions, I need to be around longer hours for them. Maybe it is just bad time management on my part, but I am simply unable to do a sport in addition to all of these.
    2. I am very nearsighted. I am on the borderline for pilot training at about 20/80. This leads me into the next point-
    I need options. I want to be happy with my occupation. If I were to be accepted to the USAFA, I am automatically required to serve, and if my eyes are not acceptable, then I will be stuck doing something I may not be happy with. I see it as a high risk, high reward situation with the USAFA. With ROTC, I believe(?) I have one, maybe two years to make sure that I am ready physically, and mentally for the military environment. If I attend a school with flight training, like Auburn or Embry Riddle then it would not be terribly difficult to transfer to a career of civilian pilot.

    I have been researching USAFA, ERAU Daytona Beach, Auburn, Purdue, and Texas A&M. Is there another AFROTC program I should be looking at?

    So now I will FINALLY start the questions! ;)
    1. What do I have to do as a HS Junior to start my process for ROTC at one of the above universities, or the USAFA?
    2. What are the main aspects I should improve upon?
    3. Anything else I should try to do?
    4. Any testimonials from people with similar issues, or resumes?

    I sincerely and graciously appreciate any help I receive. I need help to realize my dream, and I know I can find it here!

    Thank you very much for your time and help
  2. EDelahanty

    EDelahanty 5-Year Member

    May 7, 2010
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    Blackbird, you seem to be a bright and ambitious person, which is a good start. That having been said:

    1) Whatever your time zone, the 4 a.m. time (EST) of your posting makes me wonder if you have a sleep disorder or a time management issue. Success in college, particularly if you are in an ROTC branch, will require discipline in setting priorities and using time effectively (including getting adequate rest). In view of the IB (international baccalaureate?) program, you may have overcommitted yourself in academic ECs.

    2) You indicate you're not involved in a sport. In this case the question of your physical fitness becomes an issue. What are you doing to meet or surpass AFROTC fitness standards (which you have not mentioned)?

    3) Although your SAT score is not outstanding, I would not disparage it because you took the test as a sophomore. Nevertheless, your Academic League activity would seem to involve the same type of fast-twitch brain muscles used in taking standardized tests, in which case I would expect a substantial improvement.
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2012
  3. Stealth_81

    Stealth_81 Super Moderator 10-Year Member Founding Member

    Jul 20, 2006
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    One correction to your post, Blackbird17972. At USAFA you would have two years to decide if the military life is for you. You are not committed until you start classes your 2 Degree (Junior) year. This would also give you time to see if your eyes would be within the AF standards for pilot or if you would be eligible to have the AF do PRK surgery to correct your eyes to their standards. Although if your correction is as minimal as 20/80 you would more than likely be looking at a waiver rather than PRK.

    One other thing about your comment that you just don't have time for a sport. Remember that your competition for USAFA or an AFROTC scholarship will be a bunch of kids who have the same or higher academic and EC stats that you have , but were also able to find time to do a sport (or two, or three).

  4. Pima

    Pima 5-Year Member

    Nov 28, 2007
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    Stealth is correct the competition will be stiff and many other candidates did find time to do sports while either in their HS IB program or AICE or AP. That is one reason they look for illustrate time management and the ability to maintain high grades while committing to outside things, i.e. sports, volunteerism and employment.

    The other issues are of course athleticism, leadership and dedication.

    It appears you do have EC's and none of them are athletics, so I am not sure how much I would bite off on time issues and 4 hours of homework.

    What did you get on your PSAT? As a jr by now you should have taken it and received the results, a good predictor of what your SAT will be near now is just add a 0 behind the score...i.e. 195 = 1950.

    As far as transferring into a career of a civilian pilot if the AF won't take you it will be incredibly hard for several reasons.

    1. They too have medical requirements and vision is the biggie.
    2. Most commercial pilots come from military backgrounds and have hundreds if not thousands of hours in an airframe.
    3. Do you have unlimited funds to get your ratings? Flying is not cheap, it will cost thousands upon thousands of dollars just to get your private pilot's license (PPL). After that you have to get your ratings, which costs more thousands of thousands of dollars in flight time and ground school.

    Yes, you have 2 yrs to figure out if this is a fit, but realistically you will know when you go through the DoDMERB process as an AFROTC scholarship or AFA candidate if you are a candidate for PRK or require a waiver.

    Big difference between the AFA and AFROTC for PRK candidates is the AFA will pick up the tab for the surgery, AFROTC will not, you must pay for it, and most insurance policies consider that elective, so it will most likely be out f pocket. The surgery can cost about 5K, and for some families when they are paying for a college education of @30K+ a yr (non-scholarship) or even 10-15K for scholarship cadets, that 5K is hard to find. I would suggest you talk to your folks about if that is an option.

    Do not mess with your eyes will most likely cause an automatic DQ which will require a waiver. Wait, because every reputable doc will tell you if you are a PRK candidate they want to wait until you @20 since your eyes are still changing up to that point. AFA will not do it until the cadet is a rising C2C (jr).

    Also, you may still be able to fly, but not be a pilot even with vision issues, so don't leap to the premise that you can't fly. Many CSO/NAVs have vision issues and that is why they were tracked that way. At our DS's AFROTC unit only 1 cadet that asked for rated did not get pilot, he got CSO and the reason was he had PRK, but it didn't correct enough to make him pilot qual.

    Finally, regarding which program/school, that is really a personal issue. ROTC is part college and part ROTC, your selections are really covering the gamut.

    ERAU is nice warm weather and Purdue is the complete opposite. Hate the cold, you will hate the school. Plus, Purdue has national FB and BB teams, ERAU does not.

    TAMU is a Corps school. If you are in ROTC you must also be in Corps, for some this is too much military life compared to the others on your list.

    Than you also have to look at your intended major, with robotics as an EC, I would assume you will be looking at a tech major, such as engineering or computers. If that is the case than look at their course curriculum.

    Finally, you are selecting colleges that appear to be around the country from a distance perspective. One thing I can say for the 2 I have in college, they couldn't wait in HS to fly away and be free, but inevitably their first semester they at one time got homesick and wanted to come home, it usually happened for Columbus Day weekend when everyone was clearing out of the dorms. Can your family afford to fly you home for a weekend if you choose to attend a college that is a 2 day drive? You need to place that into the equation too.

    Good luck, and for now, keep up the gpa, work on the SAT,, and get some sports under your belt this spring, because for AFROTC they do not count fall sr. sports, AFA will. So whatever you end up with this spring is what you end up with. Also the difference in selection for AFA and AFROTC is AFROTC does not superscore your SAT/ACT, they take the best sitting. This is important and why it can be to your advantage to take as many as you can.

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