At a crossroads

talltrees

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I’m currently a 2025 applicant and a New Cadet at Virginia tech. My original plan was to reapply and hopefully attend West Point after my freshman year; however I’m starting to second guess my plans. I would really appreciate some insight or criticisms in my reasonings to stay or leave VT
reasons to go:
1.Every time I read my Guidon or walk through the AROTC hallways im greeted by quotes of West Point graduates. When I learn about the Deputy commandants or even commandment of cadets here, I know half of them are academy grads. I don’t see many Virginia tech alumni matching the prestige of West Point alumni.
2. I feel like West Point would be a much more legitimate military experience. While there is a Service academy feel to the Corp of cadet. The Corp of cadets has no actual relationship to the DOD or military. Also the training experience I feel like would be much better at West Point.
Reasons to stay:
1. I don’t want to leave my buds.
2. I enjoy the little bits of normal college experience I get to experience when I’m not having to do Corp activity’s.
3. After one week of new cadet week and 4 weeks of Red phase I don’t know how well I can handle plebe summer or plebe year.
 

GoGobalStrike

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Simply, Service before Self. Duty, Honor, Country. You decide (?). VaTech v the rich, but difficult, goal of graduating from Army West Point.
 

Impulsive

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Just a tidbit.....They both get you to the same place, a Commissioned Officer, with the same opportunities. Some like getting the "college" experience and relative freedom of ROTC, others prefer the 24/7/365, and restrictions of an Academy. It is your choice to make, give it thoughts, while you re-apply to USMA...;) If you decide you want to stay at VT, you can always decline the appointment.
 

milmomsomeday

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Although I'm a complete outsider looking in, I will say that's great advice posted just above. It is always better to apply and then decide it's not for you, rather than not apply and never know. It sounds like you could really go either way at this point, and if you apply and don't get accepted, you won't have to make the decision and you won't regret that you didn't try again. You can keep your head high with the "I left it all on the field" mentality that you tried, but it wasn't the right timing or right path.
 

AROTC-dad

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Reasons to stay:
1. I don’t want to leave my buds.
2. I enjoy the little bits of normal college experience I get to experience when I’m not having to do Corp activity’s.
3. After one week of new cadet week and 4 weeks of Red phase I don’t know how well I can handle plebe summer or plebe year.
You should add to this list that starting over at USMA, will add another year to your commissioning process.

My DS chose not to reapply to the SAs for this reason as his primary goal was to commission in the shortest time possible.

As a new LT, he says that no one seems to care where you commissioned from; only that you carry your weight and are competent at leading others.
 

UHBlackhawk

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You should add to this list that starting over at USMA, will add another year to your commissioning process.

My DS chose not to reapply to the SAs for this reason as his primary goal was to commission in the shortest time possible.

As a new LT, he says that no one seems to care where you commissioned from; only that you carry your weight and are competent at leading others.
As to the last sentence. Yes... and no.
1. You have to perform as an officer, but being a West Point graduate does present you with a strong alumni association both inside and outside the military.
2. West Point does present you with opportunities that ROTC just doesn’t get. As I point out to my DD and DS, the Army spent more money on their Plebe year than ROTC spent on my total training. Of course this matters little if you don’t take advantage of the opportunities. My DD is very good about going to lectures given by visiting dignitaries and other opportunists. Other Cadets... not so much. The difference in opportunities is quite clear for the class of 2021. ROTC Cadets did not do their summer camp, a commissioning requirement and a major impact on branch selection. I don’t think big Army has put out a final plan on what will happen with the 2021 Cadets. Do they skip this? 😳 For West Point 2021, not an issue. Over four years they have checked these blocks.
 

UHBlackhawk

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I would also add another major difference between ROTC and a SA. At a SA you are considered active duty for medical reasons. If you can’t commission you will probably get a disability. In ROTC unless you are active duty for training when injured you get nothing.
 

Impulsive

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As to the last sentence. Yes... and no.
1. You have to perform as an officer, but being a West Point graduate does present you with a strong alumni association both inside and outside the military.
2. West Point does present you with opportunities that ROTC just doesn’t get. As I point out to my DD and DS, the Army spent more money on their Plebe year than ROTC spent on my total training. Of course this matters little if you don’t take advantage of the opportunities. My DD is very good about going to lectures given by visiting dignitaries and other opportunists. Other Cadets... not so much. The difference in opportunities is quite clear for the class of 2021. ROTC Cadets did not do their summer camp, a commissioning requirement and a major impact on branch selection. I don’t think big Army has put out a final plan on what will happen with the 2021 Cadets. Do they skip this? 😳 For West Point 2021, not an issue. Over four years they have checked these blocks.
#2 may be changing as we speak. Over the weekend we got word that "Big Army" has decided to combine ALL Branching for ROTC and WP based upon class rank starting this year. He told us the majority of WP Cadets feel they are now at a disadvantage as to their branching. Now because ROTC class rank is based upon academics only,(vs WP where military grading is factored in) and ROTC members usually can get a better GPA because they don't spend nearly as much time doing military training, the WP Cadets feel that their opportunities may be not as good as originally envisioned because the ROTC cadets will end up with a higher overall class rank and take the better choices. Not sure if it has been implemented, but the word is out amongst the WP Cadets. Although now that the different Branches have quite a bit of input on who gets what based on the "new" ranking system, the branches may give WP cadets an advantage. It remains to be seen, but the current Cadets are a little unhappy with the announced changes.
 

UHBlackhawk

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#2 may be changing as we speak. Over the weekend we got word that "Big Army" has decided to combine ALL Branching for ROTC and WP based upon class rank starting this year. He told us the majority of WP Cadets feel they are now at a disadvantage as to their branching. Now because ROTC class rank is based upon academics only,(vs WP where military grading is factored in) and ROTC members usually can get a better GPA because they don't spend nearly as much time doing military training, the WP Cadets feel that their opportunities may be not as good as originally envisioned because the ROTC cadets will end up with a higher overall class rank and take the better choices. Not sure if it has been implemented, but the word is out amongst the WP Cadets. Although now that the different Branches have quite a bit of input on who gets what based on the "new" ranking system, the branches may give WP cadets an advantage. It remains to be seen, but the current Cadets are a little unhappy with the announced changes.
I can see that being done this year, but I would be surprised if that continues into the future. Even if it is the case this year I see issues with that being the sole basis for selecting an officer's branch.
The ROTC Cadets not doing advanced camp this year is a big deal. Many of them will be commissioned never having handled a weapon. Unless they are prior service they will never have thrown a grenade or handled a squad level weapon. Aside from maybe a weekend FTX never went to the field. Outside of maybe some military schools, not lead a company, platoon, or even a squad.
We shall see how this goes.
 
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Impulsive

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Ahh, yes. CNN. Cadet News Network. The most trusted source for real news. :rolleyes:
I can see that being done this year, but I would be surprised if that continues into the future. Even if it is the case this year I see issues with that being the sole basis for selecting an officer's branch.
The ROTC Cadets not doing advanced camp this year is a big deal. Many of them will be commissioned never having handled a weapon. Unless they are prior service they will never have thrown a grenade or handled a squad level weapon. Aside from maybe a weekend FTX never went to the field. Outside of maybe some military schools, not lead a company, platoon, or even a squad.
We shall see how this goes.
I agree with you, since the new branching process gives a LOT of power to the Branch to choose a graduating member, hopefully they will give weight to just what you said. The fact that ALL the academies provide a ton more military training than ROTC, that should have a bearing on who is chosen for which branch. The only Branches I see a problem for academy grads are cyber, intelligence, strategic studies, and maybe medical and aviation. Combat Arms should not be affected.
 

here2learn

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How often does the average WP cadet handle a weapon? Or go into the field? Not sure about a ton more military training. My DS at a SMC has already done Air Assault, German Proficiency and is in a Ranger unit. His athlete friend at WP has done zero outside of his sport in 2+ years and no summer trainings.
 

cb7893

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I don't think these motivations:

1.Every time I read my Guidon or walk through the AROTC hallways im greeted by quotes of West Point graduates. When I learn about the Deputy commandants or even commandment of cadets here, I know half of them are academy grads. I don’t see many Virginia tech alumni matching the prestige of West Point alumni.
2. I feel like West Point would be a much more legitimate military experience. While there is a Service academy feel to the Corp of cadet. The Corp of cadets has no actual relationship to the DOD or military. Also the training experience I feel like would be much better at West Point.
Will help you with these challenges:

3. After one week of new cadet week and 4 weeks of Red phase I don’t know how well I can handle plebe summer or plebe year.
I think you answered the question for yourself.

I am an outsider watching and listening to my AROTC O-3 and reading other posters more informed than I. I believe a good metaphor for comparing SA vs. xROTC routes is that of adolescent boys. There is a wide disparity of physical maturity among 10 year olds in addition to disparity in ages within the same cohorts--having a Jan vs. Dec birthday. The late bloomer/late birthday may not have gotten the invite to a sports camp or made the travelling team as a 10-12 year old, missing out on experience and instruction. However, the determined late bloomer who doesn't give up in most cases can catch up.

He has never once felt at a disadvantage to his WP colleagues.

Whatever your decision, own it. Best of luck!
 
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UHBlackhawk

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How often does the average WP cadet handle a weapon? Or go into the field? Not sure about a ton more military training. My DS at a SMC has already done Air Assault, German Proficiency and is in a Ranger unit. His athlete friend at WP has done zero outside of his sport in 2+ years and no summer trainings.
I'm not sure how he got out of summer training. My DD is a core athlete and had to do summer training except for this year due to COVID. Last summer she was a Beast squad leader so she spent four weeks training new cadets in the field. Not even an opportunity for that in ROTC. I think between her training, her Beast detail, and core squad she had two weeks off.
Air Assault school is held at WP each summer. Both DD and DS went. There is a much better chance of getting it there than through ROTC. DS actually got it as a shortfall 2 weeks prior. ROTC you normally are lucky to get either Air Assault or Airborne. It's not unusual to see WP Cadets get both.
Same with the German Proficiency. I see it on numerous Cadet uniforms. Dive school. Mountain school. SERE. Chilian mountain school... it seems each year I meet a Cadet who has done some off the wall school I didn't know Cadets could attend.
Weapons are used just about every summer at West Point I believe. Sometimes during the year on weekends. I have a video of DD using a mortar her "pluck" summer. I never touched a mortar as an ROTC Cadet.
Ruck marches are a regular event.
PT daily even during COVID.
No Ranger, but Sandhurst for each company.

My DW and I both did ROTC. My DD did a semester of ROTC. We've been able to see West Point up close. There is no comparison. None. As I also wrote, 2021 ROTC Cadets will not get the advanced camp basics that most years get.
Now what an individual does with those opportunities is another matter altogether.
 

UHBlackhawk

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I agree with you, since the new branching process gives a LOT of power to the Branch to choose a graduating member, hopefully they will give weight to just what you said. The fact that ALL the academies provide a ton more military training than ROTC, that should have a bearing on who is chosen for which branch. The only Branches I see a problem for academy grads are cyber, intelligence, strategic studies, and maybe medical and aviation. Combat Arms should not be affected.
I agree.
I did delete the first sentence of the quote as I felt it was unfair.
 

here2learn

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There really is no comparison to WP's Air Assault (gentlemen's course that almost everyone passes) and going to Fort Campbell. None. The whole 24/7/365 military in the Academies is also a little misleading. It's easier to go to classes and be on campus when everyone else is dressed the same. For the most part the military part is in summer. Don't think every company does Sandhurst anymore and many don't put much effort into it. Like everything it is what you make it. The Academies are the propaganda arm for each branch and certainly are given different opportunities. If the OP is looking for prestige hard to argue with going to an academy but to say ROTC doesn't compare certainly depends on who you are and what program you go to.
 

UHBlackhawk

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There really is no comparison to WP's Air Assault (gentlemen's course that almost everyone passes) and going to Fort Campbell. None. The whole 24/7/365 military in the Academies is also a little misleading. It's easier to go to classes and be on campus when everyone else is dressed the same. For the most part the military part is in summer. Don't think every company does Sandhurst anymore and many don't put much effort into it. Like everything it is what you make it. The Academies are the propaganda arm for each branch and certainly are given different opportunities. If the OP is looking for prestige hard to argue with going to an academy but to say ROTC doesn't compare certainly depends on who you are and what program you go to.
🙄Funny. The West Point Air Assault School is run by the Ft. Campbell Air Assault school. The wash out rate is probably higher at the West Point school. The fact that you brought this up this nonsense discredits everything else you write. Historically the Hawaii Air Assault school has probably been known as the toughest one and I did not attend the one there. I know it’s hard to let go of the FEBA attitude at Ft. Campbell but give it a try.
Yes, I believe about every company has a Sandhurst team. Does everyone give 100%? Of course not. But that’s the same with ROTC Ranger.
The fact that you live military 24/7 at is part of the point. If you are a squad leader or company commander you do it 24/7. Yes, you primarily do military stuff in the summer. But it’s every summer, not just one summer. My DD’s summer detail was cancelled this year, but she probably already spent a total of 8 weeks in the field while at West Point plus garrison summer training.
Again, I didn’t go to West Point. I’ve seen it first hand, however. No comparison with ROTC.
It doesn’t lessen your achievements. So just let it go. There is no need to be bitter. Be proud of your accomplishments without belittling the accomplishments of others.
 

Impulsive

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There really is no comparison to WP's Air Assault (gentlemen's course that almost everyone passes) and going to Fort Campbell. None. The whole 24/7/365 military in the Academies is also a little misleading. It's easier to go to classes and be on campus when everyone else is dressed the same. For the most part the military part is in summer. Don't think every company does Sandhurst anymore and many don't put much effort into it. Like everything it is what you make it. The Academies are the propaganda arm for each branch and certainly are given different opportunities. If the OP is looking for prestige hard to argue with going to an academy but to say ROTC doesn't compare certainly depends on who you are and what program you go to.
Just FYI, West Point had a 40% failure rate at Air Assault School this summer. And I agree with @UHBlackhawk, that you shouldn't draw conclusions without having experienced the particular program. Also, @UHBlackhawk is again spot on that an Academy's military training is entirely different than ROTC programs. Not to disparage ROTC programs, they produce active duty commissioned officers who do the same jobs as the academy grads, at the same level, sometimes better. It is just a different atmosphere, and less restrictions on personal desires than an academy. The services need both as the academies do not have the capacity to generate the number of entry level commissioned officers that are needed.
 

here2learn

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Impulsive your response is more on point. Posters like UH are the reason I don't put much on here.
 

UHBlackhawk

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Impulsive your response is more on point. Posters like UH are the reason I don't put much on here.
I think you need to read what people write, not what you think they write.
As I wrote earlier, I and my DW are products of ROTC. I had a successful military and post-military career. My DW has had a very, very successful career.
I'm not ashamed of my ROTC experience and I wouldn't have done things differently.
I saw great officers who were products of ROTC and poor officers who were products of West Point.
But I do recognize that the West Point Cadets had, and still have more opportunities than I had in ROTC. Yes, I went to Airborne School. Yes, I had 8 weeks at Advanced Camp. I had much more free time. But as I tell West Point Cadets they probably have more money spent on them in one summer than I had in my entire time at ROTC. Now what they do with that is up to the individual. Heck, my DW went to a "lower tier" little known university, but she has achieved more than most service academy graduates or graduates of prestigious universities.
The tone you use such as stating, " The Academies are the propaganda arm for each branch..." or degrading those who didn't go to the "real Air Assult School" indicates resentment that you really shouldn't have. All the commissioning sources serve a purpose and it isn't propaganda. Be proud of your source and your accomplishments without trying to belittle the accomplishments of others.
 

here2learn

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You need to read what people write. Never said the "real AAS". If you think it's the same experience, bless your heart. If nothing else, staying on campus with your classmates as opposed to being in a hotel with a 28yr old guy you've never met or an obstacle course you've never done... Propaganda might have been a little strong but they do try to make them the "face" of each branch (nothing wrong with that btw). I was trying to respond to the OP's question on the "legitimacy" of the military training at WP vs ROTC. There is no doubt WP cadets get way more spent on them but didn't think that was the question. I also said if it was prestige the OP was looking for WP would be hard to beat (Ivy schools look good on a resume). If ROTC doesn't compare how is there no difference in performance by Jr officers based on source? True I don't know much about VT ROTC opportunities but a quick search https://liberalarts.vt.edu/rotc/army/activities.html shows many opportunities to work on various military trainings. A sincere thank you for yours and DW service but no reason to attack other posters.
 
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