AP or JROTC

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by msmith, Nov 9, 2017.

  1. msmith

    msmith New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2017
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    1
    I was just wondering if here are any past applicants, or parents out there that might be able to answer my question. I'm currently a sophomore in high school, and I'm very interested in the aspect of attending a SA. So I was wondering what you think would further my chances at admission as I begin to form my schedule for my junior year.
    Would it be wiser to take the Navy JROTC program my school offers, or use the space that would take up to take more AP classes? The JROTC class is a double period, so it would take up 2 out of my 7 class periods, but I feel that it would help to display my leadership qualities and give me more information on military life. On the other hand, I could fill those periods with a mixture of either AP Chem, Bio, or Physics, which I also hear look very good to the SAs. Any opinion is greatly appreciated! Thank you!
     
  2. Soldiergriz

    Soldiergriz Husband, Dad, Soldier

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2017
    Messages:
    286
    Likes Received:
    343
    My son has a fairly strong file for the academies, and has already earned AF and Army ROTC scholarships this year. He chose to fill his junior-year (and senior year) schedule with AP Courses and varsity athletics. He was not involved with his JROTC unit at school.

    One thing I've learned from this forum is there is no "right" way. Select the path that YOU can most effectively navigate, and do well on that path.
     
    AROTC-dad likes this.
  3. AROTC-dad

    AROTC-dad Moderator 5-Year Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2014
    Messages:
    5,032
    Likes Received:
    4,993
    In my opinion, strive for the most challenging academics possible. This would mean AP, especially considering the SA's are so STEM focused.

    While JROTC can be helpful, there are many other similar EC's you can participate in, such as Girl's State, Sea Cadets, Civil Air Patrol, without giving up AP classes.
     
    Dadx4 and Soldiergriz like this.
  4. msmith

    msmith New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2017
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    1
    Thank you so much! I'll be sure to look into those programs. I reason I have such limited space is actually because I'm in the PLTW program, which is a STEM and engineering oriented pathway for high school students. Thank you for your input, it really does help:)
     
  5. msmith

    msmith New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2017
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    1
    Thank you so much for your input! I'm already involved in Varsity athletics at the moment, and it's a comfort to know that you don't need to be JROTC to get accepted. I'll be sure to keep that in mind when I make my schedule and take some more challenging classes. Congratulations to your son! That's incredible!
     
    Soldiergriz likes this.
  6. AROTC-dad

    AROTC-dad Moderator 5-Year Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2014
    Messages:
    5,032
    Likes Received:
    4,993
    MANY successful candidates lack JROTC in their background. The most important thing to do is focus on academics, ACT/SAT, athletics and THEN choose leadership and EC opportunities that you are passionate about. Don't just check the boxes!

    Don't forget to apply for College ROTC scholarships as well. It is important to have Plans A, B, C etc all the way to Plan Z.

    Good luck to you!
     
    Dadx4 and msmith like this.
  7. Hoodlum15

    Hoodlum15 Member

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2016
    Messages:
    278
    Likes Received:
    351
    One thing to consider is the strength of the rest of your application. If you are seriously lacking in leadership and extracurricular activities, I would give more consideration to JROTC than if you're already proving yourself in those areas. Yes, academics are essential, but if that's all you have going for you it probably won't be enough to earn you an appointment.
     
  8. msmith

    msmith New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2017
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    1
    I think I'm alright on extracurriculars but I'm not totally sure, does this sound okay...

    -I've been an Irish step dancer for 10 years
    -I'm on Varsity Cross country
    -Varsity indoor and outdoor track
    -I'm a counselor at a police run leadership trainig camp for youth
    -Member of the Art Honors Society and planning to join NHS next year when I'm old enough

    I do feel like I need to prove myself a bit more in academics. 5 out of my 7 classes are honors courses, and one is and AP, but my GPA is only about a 4.7 unweighted (4.1 weighted). With all that being said, what do you think would be best for me?
     
  9. J1317

    J1317 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2016
    Messages:
    39
    Likes Received:
    8
    I don't really think there's anything that is necessarily "best" for you. More so than focusing on taking one class over another, I would suggest focusing on your ACT and SAT. There's plenty of resources online that can help you get an outstanding score. You can talk about the whole person concept all you want, but there is no denying that a high SAT/ACT score (something most people can get with the right amount of practice and commitment) will be advantageous.

    The fact that you're a sophomore makes me think you might want to consider JROTC; I'm assuming (if you're high school functions like most), you'll have lots of open spaces your junior and senior year to take classes that you may have not had the opportunity to take your freshman and sophomore year. Many of the students around me (I am currently a senior) have incredibly easy schedules, but because I took JROTC, I decided to "catch up" on the more advanced classes everyone else had took previously.

    The key is finding things that allow you to demonstrate the various qualities that the academies are looking for in a candidate. Just being in JROTC probably won't help much; however, if you're confident you would be able to use it as an outlet to display your leadership ability through various positions, then I would consider joining. I personally took the JROTC route, and I can confidently say that it served me well. I must say, though, JROTC will only benefit you if you're willing to put in effort and you take advantage of all the of the opportunities presented. If you do, you'll find yourself in a great place.
     
  10. J1317

    J1317 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2016
    Messages:
    39
    Likes Received:
    8
    If you're going to choose JROTC, I would highly recommend going to the instructors and showing your interest and motivation. Just like the "real world," in JROTC, getting leadership positions isn't all about performance; making connections with the instructors, helping them understand who you are, and showing your motivation will help you get selected. Although JROTC, at least at some schools, is looked at as silly and sometimes is mocked, and at first you may dislike it because of the fact that your peers are leading you, if you do eventually obtain a leadership position, you will learn lots.
     
  11. J1317

    J1317 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2016
    Messages:
    39
    Likes Received:
    8
    Also, one last suggestion. DO take AP Lang, not for the sake of your application, but to improve your writing skills. Essays can make a big difference in any admissions process if they're written well.
     
  12. USMAROTCFamily

    USMAROTCFamily 5-Year Member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2013
    Messages:
    942
    Likes Received:
    443
    The academies aren't so much just looking for involvement in extracurricular activities, but really showing leadership in them. The only leadership item you have listed her is the counselor position. You really need to seek out more of these positions, like becoming the Captain of your cross country and track teams, becoming an office in NHS, etc. So I would focus on what would allow you those types of opportunities, while taking the most challenging course load to be most competitive.
     
  13. Hoodlum15

    Hoodlum15 Member

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2016
    Messages:
    278
    Likes Received:
    351
    I would agree with ROTC family. Your extracurriculars, from what you've listed, are just okay. Showing leadership and initiative is essential and right now it looks like you're primarily just participating. Obviously you need to do what you feel is right, but i wouod tecommemd getting more involved in your current activities or seriously considering JROTC and seeking leadership. Ultimately though, do what you will enjoy, not just what looks good on an application.
     
  14. J1317

    J1317 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2016
    Messages:
    39
    Likes Received:
    8
    Agree Hoodlum 15. Do what you enjoy, but find ways to develop and demonstrate your leadership abilities. JROTC is a great way to do that, but you can also do it with your other extracurricular. However, JROTC definitely is a much more engaging and impactful experience when it comes to leadership opportunities. As the captain of a cross country team, you don’t get to to excercis your ability as much, if you know what I mean.
     
  15. Hoodlum15

    Hoodlum15 Member

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2016
    Messages:
    278
    Likes Received:
    351
    Wow, sorry for the total lack of spelling and grammar in my last post - that's what I get for trying to type fast. I think you might find it helpful to look at the breakdown of how much each piece of your application is weighted. This could help inform your decision. It should be on the academy admissions page.