Best Fit in NROTC


10-Year Member
5-Year Member
May 4, 2007
My son is a junior in high school and intends to seek an NROTC scholarship and major in Aerospace Engineering. Thus far, his four favorites are Virginia Tech, Purdue, University of Florida and Georgia Tech. We have visited Purdue and Virginia Tech already and will be visiting Florida and Georgia Tech late next month. I'm trying to assist him in finding the best fit along with his best opportunity for success. All of these schools have outstanding Engineering programs but one of my concerns is the high freshman attrition rate most schools experience in Engineering. I am a Florida grad myself and had several friends much brighter than I who ended up as business majors after starting in Engineering. Therefore, we're hoping he finds an excellent support system wherever he attends. This is one reason I like Va Tech with its Corps of Cadets. They have mandatory study hours each night other than Friday and Saturday and they also have a Saturday class in time management and study skills for incoming freshman. The structure gives me a bit more encouragement that his chance for success would be greater.

Do any of you have any experience with these NROTC programs to give any insight into which might be the best fit and provide a good support system? Don't get me wrong. My son is self-motivated and is an outstanding student but I also know of the distractions a major public university can provide as well as the fact that huge class sizes can make for a significant culture shock to a new freshman.

Thanks for any input.
I can not speak to NROTC, but to VT's corp of cadets. My son has had many friends who are/will be going to Tech. A friend and teamate from lax earned a AFROTC scholarship and went to tech. He left the corp after the fall term but stayed at Tech. He loves Tech but felt that he didn't need a nanny at college. If he wanted regulated life he would have gone to VMI. He really liked ROTC but not the corp. He is now he is taking out student loans to pay for school.

His sophomore year was the shooting and his RA was killed. He lived on the same floor as the first shooting. Gave an interesting interview to HS school newspaper.

My son and 3 HS friends haved earned AFROTC scholarships also. My son is going to be a gator. (this is much harder to do these days you need a 4.0 and high sat/act) Two of them are going out state also East Carolina/West Virginia the last one is going to Tech. He is a co-capt with my son and they are good friends (they both went to AF Summer Seminar together). He has told my son that he really wanted to go to Embry-Riddle in Daytona. His father basically is told him that he IS staying in-state and wants him at Tech because of the strong campus crusade for chirst. Dad is retired AF and they spend every summer in a poverty areas on missions mostly in South America. We will see how that works out.

So my point is that VT can be like being at VMI/USNA if your child wouldn't like that lifestyle, then maybe it is not the place for them.

I can tell you we were at UF preview and sat in an ROTC session, the Navy folks said that the have a high selection rate for aviation and MC for those folks who want it. But it is very competitive.

BTW don't visit Aug. 18th to the 22nd--it is move in days and not a good time in Gainesville. Call and make an appt. talk to their ROTC folks they love to speak to students about their program. It helps in the process.

Go Gators!
Thanks so much for the information. We will be visiting UF on Aug 27th so hopefully, they will be ready for us. I have emailed the NROTC unit there and we will be visiting the unit and speaking to one of the recent grads who happened to graduate with a 3.8 in Engineering. So he should be able to tell us what we need to know as far as how to be successful.

I was aware that Va Tech would be much more structured and regimented. Having been in the military myself, I kind of like that but we'll have to see how he feels about it. I'm going to have him go to one of the "Spend the Night With the Corps" events so he gets a first-hand view of what to expect. If he comes back and says it is not for him, at least we'll know ahead of time so that he can focus his attention elsewhere. It is appealing that they give an "Emerging Leaders" scholarship on top of the NROTC scholarship to those in the Corps. That will make college virtually free, so he wants to give them a close look anyway.

Thanks again and GO GATORS!!!
Justawife makes some very good points - if you pick your childs college the chances of him/her succeeding are greatly reduced.

No matter how much YOU like the school - if he doesn't like it then he will be miserable. College selection is more of a feeling. Schools can look great on paper and once you get there you may find it is not what you expected.

Rather than listening to your son - stand back and watch. When you visit, make the visit about him. Allow him to take the lead, ask questions. Are you going to get all of your questions answered? probably not but you are looking for a connection. Put away any prejudices you have (consious or unconcious!) and let him explore. Listen to him ask questions, watch his expressions and body language. Play the devils advocate in your discussions.
You will soon find out if he likes it or not. When you ask questions to him, ask open ended questions. Don't ask if he liked it - ask what he liked about it. Then follow up with what didn't he like.

I am sending my 3rd one off next month and my youngest is a rising senior and with each of them - they just "knew it" when they found the right school.
With my 3rd - we visted West Point as a side trip when she was 13. Since then it was her school. Through all of high school, the ups and downs, the plan B's etc..... she visited again in April - no appointment, still a candidate. MY goal was to see if she would really want to reapply. She came back from her visit with the cadet absolutely beaming. I could see it in her face and body language. All this and she kept saying she was perfectly happy with her AROTC scholarship at a big university in Philadelphia.