Army Competitiveness Questions

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by GoArmy2021, Sep 7, 2015.

  1. GoArmy2021

    GoArmy2021 New Member

    Sep 7, 2015
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    Hello everybody. A little about me, I am going into my junior year of high school, my goal is to attend USMA or win an AROTC Scholarship, and I want to commission as an Officer into the United States Army. I could go into all of my "stats" and stuff like that but I'll save that for another thread or if anyone wants to see them or has any questions I'll post whatever. I'll dive right into my questions, if anyone goes to a SMC or does AROTC and knows the answers or advice I'd love to hear anything!

    1. How competitive is it to get Airborne or Air Assault school during your summers within the program? SMC vs. Civilian?
    2. How hard is it to get a MOS like Infantry?
    3. Does doing Ranger Challenge help with getting the MOS you want? How much would doing Ranger Challenge and/or a SMC prepare you for Ranger School after commissioning?
    4. Can anyone do Ranger Challenge or is it tryouts? If so how competitive to make?
    5. If I am 100% certain I want to commission should I contract freshman year? Does that give any advantages or perks?
    6. Does doing an ADSO guarantee you a spot for whatever MOS you want as long as you are qualified for it?
    Sorry for the long list. Had a lot of stuff on my mind. Thank you all for your time and responses. If you have any follow up advi
  2. BlackKnight89

    BlackKnight89 Member

    Sep 6, 2015
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    I graduated from West Point a while ago and also taught ROTC as an APMS at Drexel University from 1994-1997. Thus my data may be a little old, but it tracks with what I saw from lieutenants being assigned to me in recent years, so here goes:

    1. I completed both Airborne and Air Assault while a cadet at West Point which is rare, but getting one or the other at USMA is pretty common. They have other choices too such as mountain warfare school and northern warfare school. We used to have jungle warfare school too, but that went away. It might be coming back. In ROTC, these schools are much more competitive because they get fewer slots. SMCs may do better than regular colleges, but I have no recent data on that. You will need to do well on your military science courses, maintain a strong GPA and perform VERY well on your APFT. Many cadets will put up 300 point APFTs, but I would say you need to be at least at 270. Air Assault may require you do some pull-ups and complete a pre-obstacle course as well. Also for Air Assault, you need to be able to ruck march 12 miles in 3 hours with a full combat load.

    2. Depends on the needs of the Army when you graduate. That said, the higher you stand on the national order of merit list, the more choices you get. Again, you need a strong GPA, great APFT, a good PMS recommendation and you need to do well at LDAC after junior year. You also have to pass a commissioning physical. People get infantry every year, but it is popular. I'm an infantry officer and I can tell you we try and take the best into combat arms like infantry, armor, artillery, aviation, engineers, air defense etc.

    3. Ranger Challenge probably helps you get a better PMS recommendation and it will build your competence and confidence with squad level work. That will, in turn, help your score better at LDAC. Thus, I would say it benefits you but indirectly. Ranger Challenge is not Ranger School or Pre-Ranger, but it is useful and will make you a more proficient cadet.

    4. Yes and it is more competitive at some schools than others. It will be more competitive at large programs. We used to let large schools field multiple teams if they could fill them, but I am not sure we do that anymore. Also check out Sandhurst Competition at West Point. It's similar to Ranger Challenge.

    5. If you are a 4 year scholarship winner, you will contract freshman year. Otherwise you will be a non-contracted cadet in the basic course. The advantage of contracting is you get paid at least a stipend. However, if you are non-scholarship, then you cannot contract until junior year at the earliest. Many will get on-campus 3 or 2 year scholarships…you contract at that time.

    6. No. ADSO is just your active duty service obligation. If you stand low in the order of merit, you could conceivably get a branch (officers have a branch not an MOS) that you don't want, but you still have a service obligation…needs of the Army and all.

    Hope that helps!

    Go Army!
  3. k2rider

    k2rider 5-Year Member

    Jan 31, 2010
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    1) Very competitive to get those slots, at least from the public schools. They also send cadets to schools over Winter break. I've seen some schools give first choice to the cadet with the highest APFT score and at other schools it's more political, like everything in the Army. Need to be all inclusive ya' know.
    2) Surprisingly (at least to me) Infantry is usually the most requested branch and not necessarily easy to get into but the needs of the Army vary every year so you never know.
    3) Probably not. In the end, it all comes down to your a combination of your OML score, GPA, PMS recommendation, test scores at CLC (the old LDAC).
    4) Yes, anybody can tryout but depending on the school, it could be rather difficult to get on a team. Needless to say, it's probably easier for a male at Texas A&M to get a slot than it is for a female at Portland State. There is also politics involved in the selection of the RC team so go in with a great mental attitude and in the best possible shape you can be in. Every team has to have at least one freshman so that's a good time to compete.
    5 & 6) See answer above
  4. Thompson

    Thompson Member

    Dec 11, 2012
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    Want to add a small tid bit regarding #3.

    I think it can honestly come down to the school you go to, and how hard the drive their RC team. Granted though, I can only account for PSU as that's the only data I have to work off of. But, coming straight from the guys who did RC at PSU and then went on to Ranger School, they said that what we do at PSU for RC, was much more physically tougher/demanding than Ranger School.

    .... take that with a grain of salt though. I'd imagine that RC at PSU is much different from a lot of other schools, in that there are tryouts to get onto the team. We have a 1 week selection process in the fall which pools candidates for selection onto the team. From there, those selected with train 5 days a week (scheduled training), I think it's 2 hrs each morning, plus their own lab every week --> all the way up to the Sandhurst competition in the spring up at USMA.

    Are there other schools that train this hard, probably. Do all schools train this hard, probably not.

    Your mileage may vary.

    Best of luck.
  5. clarksonarmy

    clarksonarmy Recruiting Operations Officer at Clarkson Army 5-Year Member

    Mar 8, 2010
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    Ranger Challenge is highly overrated. If you want to be at the top of the OML and have some say in your fate then I would steer clear of Ranger Challenge and spend that energy getting good grades in the classroom. I would also tell you that Airborne school and Air Assault school are cool and you get a shiny badge, but going on a CULP trip or competing for and earning an Army Internship get you the same amount of OML points.
    I think in our graduating class last year only one of the top 4 was Ranger Challenge, and he took his sophomore year off to solidify his already solid GPA.
    Keep in mind this advice is coming from a school that finished right behind the vaunted PSU two of the last three years. Our Cadet's training is certainly not as hard as the real Ranger school, and I seriously doubt PSU's is either.
    Jcleppe and SCUBAMike like this.

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