CAP/Mitchell influence on AFROTC HSSP?

thibaud

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How much of a boost do you think a Mitchell award in CAP will give to a competitive AFROTC scholarship applicant? Put another way, would it be more useful, for the purpose of gaining a Tier I AFROTC scholarship, to:

a) ... double down on CAP leadership-related activities and spend relatively less time on extracurriculars at school, or

b) ... dial back a bit on CAP and add more activities such as Cyber Patriot, maybe Debate team, sports etc?

I'm inclined to believe that the AFROTC board would favor option a), going "deep" in CAP rather than diluting my DS's focus by going "broad" with lots of non-CAP activities.

In any case - this is the most important thing, after all - my son loves CAP and has no interest in resume-stuffing. CAP has been a great blessing to us and to our DS. It is a far better culture, in every way, than the culture of his school or of our community.

But we don't want to be caught up short by putting all the (extra-curricular, non-academic) focus on CAP if it turns out that the AFROTC board prefers a more "diverse" array of extracurriculars than CAP.

Appreciate any/all perspectives on this.
 

a400831

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I was active as a CAP cadet for around 7 years, and was a pretty senior cadet when I applied for an AFROTC Scholarship. In short, getting your Mitchell is a nice bullet point on a resume, but not much more then that. From my experience, an individual who is well rounded with grades/SAT scores/team sports/other extra curriculars' looks better to the board then an individual strong in only one area.

A lot of people in the Air Force have very little idea what CAP is, so I would hesitate putting all your eggs in that basket. CAP is a great program and I learned some great leadership lessons while I was in. These lessons can serve your DS well in a scholarship interview. However, to the Air Force, the Mitchell is simply a small checkbox in a very large scholarship application.
 

kinnem

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It's impossible to say without knowing what the rest of his resume looks like. Should he have some sports? Yes. Should he have an extra-curricular besides CAP? Probably. You leave, at leas,t some points in the whole person score on the table without those. However, if the rest of the application is so overwhelmingly good, then it won't matter. That being said, one has to do things they are passionate about. I wouldn't try to stuff the resume either, but if there is something he is interested in, then it would be worthwhile pursuing. Doing something he doesn't like would not be worthwhile. Just my 2 cents. YMMV.
 

thibaud

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a400831, kinnem: very helpful. Thank you both. DS has a sport, will probably also do Boys State.

He is also trying to put together a significant volunteer research engagement with researchers at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey CA. The above, added to his significant involvement in CAP, should be enough in the way of extracurricular activity.
 

Thunderbolt462

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I was a CAP Spaatz cadet who earned an AFROTC HSSP scholarship, and CAP should form just one part of a broad profile of what you do. Focusing only on CAP can give the impression an applicant is not well rounded, so try your best to have your DS diversify their experiences. When the officer at the detachment conducts the interview, they will ask about your leadership experiences, and the broader a picture you can paint, the better. Someone who can lead not only in CAP, but in any organization they are a part of matters more than someone who was a big shot in the relatively small world of his CAP squadron. For my interview, my Spaatz award and CAP experience mattered, but my time in high school clubs, sports, and Boys State (which matters A LOT) mattered just as much. Your DS doesn't have to be involved in everything, but having leadership experience in a few different organizations goes a long way.
 

Pima

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FYI.

1. AFROTC does not do Tier scholarships, just tech vs non-tech. I am assuming you are meaning tech major.
2. AFROTC does type scholarships. Type 1, 2 and 7.
3. ECs are important, but the fact is PAR is the biggest chunk of the WCS.
~ 60% goes to SAT/ACT (best sitting, not superscore), cgpa (they will look at the school profile and may decide to re-weight the cgpa to their scale), and class rank.
4. If you are talking Type 1, please realize that only 5% of all scholarships are type 1 tech. Or in pure numbers, around 50 nationally
~ The avg best sitting for a type 1 tech major is mid/high 1300 best sitting.

I do agree with others you need to have a mixture. If you look through all of the old threads and you will see the stats of these kids. Many will have CAP/JROTC, sports, hundreds of volunteer hours, NHS, top of their class, etc.

IMPO it is important to remember a couple of things.
1. 95% of ROTC applicants do not apply to an SA as plan B, but conversely when it comes to SA applicants the majority of them will apply for AFROTC scholarship as their plan B.
~ AFROTC boards do not talk to USAFA boards. HQ AFROTC does not know if they applied for both or just ROTC.
2. HQ AFROTC is not like USAFA they do not spread the wealth.
~ If the top recipients only come from 2 or 3 states than so be it.
3. AFROTC is not like A/NROTC they do not tie the candidate to the school and spread the wealth.
~ If 1 detachment has 100% on scholarship and another has 0% than so be it,
4. Type 1 is 5% of all scholarships. Type 2 is 15% and the remainder go Type 7.
~ The avg percentage awarded any type of scholarship varies between 16-18% of all CANDIDATES. Out of that @85% go tech (STEM).
5. AFROTC scholarship on this site is commonly referred to as a 2+2. You are guaranteed the scholarship for the 1st 2 yrs. You must get selected for SFT (summer training) in their sophomore year. If not selected, HQAFROTC has the right to disenroll the cadet from AFROTC.
6. Many kids enter thinking I am strong in Math and Science, thus I will go engineering. They get the scholarship, and within the 1st semester they decide they hate engineering and want to switch to a non-tech. Problem is they will need approval and rarely if ever will they allow a cadet to switch from tech to non-tech, especially as a freshman.

Sorry to divert this thread, but I felt the need that you actually see the whole picture of how the system works, and how it is like connect the dots. One aspect connects the next dot, and the next dot connects the following dot and so on and so forth,
 

thibaud

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Thanks, Pima - all of that was known to me before I started the thread - the AFROTC website does a good job of clearly laying out most (not all) of your facts, and I've been able to find the precise stats easily through web searches.

I do appreciate your willingness to volunteer your deep knowledge for all of us - your posts are on the reasons I frequent serviceacademyforums-dot-com (SAFDC?? can't have too many acronyms!).

Your point re. the "2+2" nature of the 4-year AFROTC HSSP is well taken and is not available on any public site I've come across.

Back on topic: this thread is far from a scientific sample, and there's surely a bit of self-selection, but these and other responses on other serviceacademyforum threads seem to clearly indicate that breadth > depth ie the above strategy "b" > strategy "a."

Thanks to all for the helpful advice.
 

thibaud

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FYI.
1. AFROTC does not do Tier scholarships, just tech vs non-tech. I am assuming you are meaning tech major.
...
4. Type 1 is 5% of all scholarships. Type 2 is 15% and the remainder go Type 7. ~ The avg percentage awarded any type of scholarship varies between 16-18% of all CANDIDATES. Out of that @85% go tech (STEM).
...
Sorry to divert this thread, but I felt the need that you actually see the whole picture of how the system works, and how it is like connect the dots. One aspect connects the next dot, and the next dot connects the following dot and so on and so forth,

No worries. Having done some research into actual data that was supplied to RAND researchers, I do feel the need to correct you on a few important points.

1. The AFROTC HSSP process actually has three, not two, types of scholarships: tech, non-tech, and foreign language. Per RAND's researchers, the required number of foreign language cadets to meet USAF operational needs is "opaque," and so the process will and should aim to avoid undershooting the # of foreign language scholarship recipients. All things being equal, there's a slight bias toward FL majors, in other words.

2. The breakout across Types, and tech vs non-tech vs foreign language, is complicated and has wide variation. Specifically, for some reason the Type 2 scholarships do not show the heavy bias toward tech majors that is shown by the Type 1 and Type 7 rewards.

Non-tech majors represent a far higher % of Type 2 scholarships awarded than they do for Type 1 and Type 3.
Foreign language majors represent a far higher % of Type 3 scholarships awarded than they do for Type 1 and Type 2.

Per the data supplied to RAND (2013 figures):
Type 1: tech majors = 99.9% of scholarships awarded.
Type 2: tech = 66% of scholarships awarded; non-tech = 28% and foreign language = 6%
Type 3: tech = 81% of scholarships awarded; non-tech = 9% and foreign language = 9%
3. The scholarship acceptance rate, or what the colleges label "yield," is significantly lower than 100%, and varies widely across both Types and majors.
29% of the awarded Type 1 scholarships - all of which are to technical majors - go uncollected.
23% of the awarded Type 2 scholarships are not accepted.
48% of the awarded Type 7 scholarships are not accepted.
Putting all the above together, and assuming - a big assumption, but not out of line with data for all applicants to selective colleges and such data as the USAF has provided - that, of the applicants who pass the initial AFROTC HSSP screen for SAT scores, ie ca. 4,500 each year, ca. 68% intend to be tech majors, 30% are non-tech and 7% are foreign language majors, here are ballpark odds of winning the above scholarships if you have an SAT in the middle 50% of those 4,500 who pass the first cut:
Tech majors w SAT > 1290: ca. 37% chance of winning a scholarship (5% chance for Type 1; 12% chance for Type 2; 20% for Type 7)
Non-tech majors w SAT > 1290: ca. 20% chance (0% chance for Type 1; 14% chance for Type 2; 6% for Type 7)
Foreign language majors w SAT > 1290: ca. 37% chance (2% chance for Type 1; 11% chance for Type 2; 22% for Type 7)
Punchline: the Air Force needs to overshoot when giving scholarships to foreign language majors. That's the exception to the tech rule that Tech Rules.
 

unkown1961

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No worries. Having done some research into actual data that was supplied to RAND researchers, I do feel the need to correct you on a few important points.

Great info and thanks for sharing. As for your question on CAP, here is my kids' experience: my son did not participate but my daughter did (though she only did it for a couple of years so didn't go very deep). Both were awarded scholarships. They both did Debate though, and quite extensively. I personally think that helped a lot. It gave them confidence in speaking as well as a good grasp on current events around the world. (On a side note, a researcher at Yale found that debate participation had a 30% higher impact on selective school admissions than any other activity.). Can your daughter do debate and CAP? My daughter was able to balance CAP with debate, along with Senate, cross country, and track (and a really good GPA). I guess I would lean toward not sacrificing at least some other activities just to do only CAP.
One last item, my daughter was initially awarded a Type 2 scholarship for a tech major. But she got in early to a highly selective school and that detachment commander was able to offer her a Type 1 if she chose that school - she was already choosing that school, but that offer sealed the deal over her Navy ROTC scholarship :).
 

Pima

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The problem with going foreign language is you may lock yourself into that career field.
~IE you major in Chinese, but want to be a pilot. Well, the needs of the AF will always come 1st. IOWS they may be critical manning for Chinese, and due to that fact they will not allow you to apply for any rated position. You will go to a foreign language AFSC

This also occurs in the tech majors too. ME and EE majors a few yrs back were critical manning, not sure if they still are, but back in those yrs they took only about 10% of those majors.

Now think about it this way. Many of the candidates in HS applying thought that going tech was the best chance for getting a scholarship and going pilot, but only to find out yrs later that the AF said we need you more as an engineer than a pilot, so you will go engineer.

Just saying that college is 4 yrs, 20 hrs a week for 30 weeks per year with a major you decide at a school you choose. AF is 4 yrs, 40+ hrs a week, 52 weeks per yr., in a job they determine at a base they assign.

You can throw stats, but in the end of the day, once you commission, the AF owns you for 4 yrs...at least. So if it was me, and my kid, I would say to them think twice in every way before hitting that submit button.
1. You are great in Math and Science, but realistically many do not graduate with an engineering degree.
2. You love that college, and need the ROTC scholarship to stay. Want to go from Tech or foreign language to a non-tech major you will need their approval. Highly unlikely
3. You decide ROTC is not for you, how do you pay?
4. AF has great recruiting tools, they show you pics of bases in Hawaii, Florida, Germany, Italy, etc. What they don't show you are the bases like Minot ND, Cannon AFB NM, Laughlin AFB TX, Mt Home AFB ID, etc. The fact is all of those bases have Intel, Maintenance, Comm, A&F officers.

I am not trying to be Debbie Downer.
 

eljay60

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1. You are great in Math and Science, but realistically many do not graduate with an engineering degree.

While I defer to Pima as being the AF go-to, keep in mind that "Tech" doesn't necessarily mean "Engineering". My son is Type 7 with a Computer Science major. Talk to the cadre at your school and find out which of their degrees qualify as "Tech". At my son's school, not every major in computers is considered tech, but his is. The CO of his detachment essentially said the cyber force is hurting as badly as the pilot situation.
 

Pima

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Not disagreeing. I was just using engineering as an example of how you may BE boffed in the long run.

IE you stated your DS is non-tech, but computer science. Just like the engineer majors, or maybe the foreign language majors, as a computer science major they may decide he will go cyber regardless of what he wants for his AFSC.
~ Walk in as a HS sr thinking he can get ED for grad, might not happen if his major is deemed critical. A lot can happen in 4 yrs. when it comes to manpower

The OP is talking about foreign language majors. Computers and Science/Math majors can float between tech and non-tech.Foreign language is foreign language.

My personal opinion is simple. Major in what you enjoy. Understand you are at the needs of the AF.
 

eljay60

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My son wears glasses (the fault of my DNA, mea culpa), so he was never in the running for a pilot slot. My guess is he will actually use his major in the military, but... needs of the service and all that. He's been warned to not count on it.

I think it is more that I frequently see on the boards the assumption that the only thing that qualifies as 'tech' is engineering, and there are actually other options. Since my son was Type 7, he didn't really need a tech degree, but decided a few days after he was awarded the HSSP that electrical engineering was a bit more calculus than he wanted. So he moved to Computer Science, which left him in the tech category. He will still have 2.5 years of math (2 semesters of calculus, and linear algebra), but he says statistics doesn't count compared to differential equations. He's probably got a point.
 
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thibaud

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The OP is talking about foreign language majors. Computers and Science/Math majors can float between tech and non-tech. Foreign language is foreign language.
Major in what you enjoy. Understand you are at the needs of the AF.

I was actually focused on quantifying the odds of winning a scholarship based on multiple, equally attractive scenarios. My DS has multiple academic interests and could be equally happy majoring in a foreign language while minoring in math, or vice-versa. DS loves CAP, likes what he's seen of the AF, isn't particular about where he wants to live. We just want to understand what options he really has in the way of which AFROTC host colleges we will be able to afford.

All I'm trying to do here is create a sound factual basis for evaluating his HSSP odds. Without a scholarship, at least one safety school, a "match" school and every one of the "reach" schools will need to fall off the list.
 

Pima

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Well the fact still remains that only @16-18% of all candidates will be awarded a scholarship and @80% of those scholarships will be type 7, which means they will only pay the equivalent to your in state tuition. Of course he can convert it to a 3 yr type 2, but that means the 1st yr you pay out of pocket. Additionally, a type 2 caps out at 18K tuition.

Finally, I would say that there are tons of threads here where the kid chased the scholarship regarding their major and a yr later they hate their major and want to switch, but only to be left between a rock and a hard place. Stay in the major to keep the scholarship, or switch majors, but lose the scholarship.
 

thibaud

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... Stay in the major to keep the scholarship, or switch majors, but lose the scholarship.

Thanks, I understand. DS knows that he needs to focus on and receive excellent and thorough math/stats training at a highly selective college in order to be competitive in his preferred professional path - AF or no AF. Whatever he decides to do, regardless of the scenario, he will load up on advanced math, stats and CS.

Well the fact still remains that only @16-18% of all candidates will be awarded a scholarship and @80% of those scholarships will be type 7...

This is not accurate. For starters, the actual data that the USAF provided to the Rand researchers indicated that the odds were about 23% for all applicants. More importantly, we can estimate conditional probabilities given that, as you noted, academic scores determine 60% of the scholarship outcome.

Combine this with the fact that SATs and GPAs typically follow a normal distribution and it becomes clear that, given a score/GPA above 1400/3.8, a top-tier academic applicant's odds of winning an HSSP are almost certainly north of 50%.
 

eljay60

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...given a score/GPA above 1400/3.8, a top-tier academic applicant's odds of winning an HSSP are almost certainly north of 50%.

Yeah, kinda, sorta.

The problem is there are a few things that are pass/fail, like DodMERB, and all the academics in the world isn't going to help with the asthma attack that put you in the Emergency Department at 15.

Some are intangibles and in the eye of the beholder - is Eagle Scout worth more than Boys State ? Is four years of soccer worth more than 4 years of golf? What if the school doesn't offer American football anymore, because of head injuries and lack of participants? Does being co-Captain of the soccer team count more then? If everyone who goes out for wrestling is put on the same 'Varsity' team, should that count the same as a school of 1500 where even the JV team is by tryout? Is Trigonometry in a rural school worth the same, more or less than AP Trig in a suburban school, if that is the highest level of math available to the candidate his junior year? Did that kid come to the interview in a polo shirt and clean jeans because those were the best clothes in his house, or because he didn't really care if he got the scholarship? Did that kid come in a suit with a buzz cut because his dad really wants him in the service, or because he really wants to go?

Not trying to be a Debbie Downer (to quote Pima) but after watching my son go through all the applications, interviews and testing last year, my own experience is the academics prove you are worthy of consideration, but are no guarantee of anything else. The kid with the 1220 and a 3.4 may have come up through the foster care system, or shown exemplary leadership across a half-dozen organizations. The kid with the 1580 SAT may only be able to do 14 push-ups or interview poorly.

I may have misread your intent with your post, but to me all the military scholarships and awards are 'whole person' decisions. Breadth is more important than depth. Excellent academics are important, but the pool is from the upper end of the bell curve in the first place. I think I read on here that the average SAT for an NROTC scholarship last year was 1420. Having a 1400 puts the candidate - a little below average.
 

Pima

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Okay let's leave alone your RAND study, instead go back for a second and look at the picture for your family.
All I'm trying to do here is create a sound factual basis for evaluating his HSSP odds. Without a scholarship, at least one safety school, a "match" school and every one of the "reach" schools will need to fall off the list.
I do not know where these schools are, or if they are private, but jmpo that is where I would be concerned.
As I stated earlier, 80% of all scholarships go Type 7. If any of those schools charge you OOS, than you cannot use that Type 7, it will have to be converted to a 3 yr Type 2. Thus, the question is how will you pay for that 1st yr.
Secondly, even if he gets a Type 2, they cap the tuition out at 18K. That means the school might still not be a financial ability.
Most colleges will increase their costs by 5-10% annually, so even if it is 17K this yr for tuition, next year it will probably be at 18+, and by the end you will be scrambling for several thousand.

Our DS did go AFROTC scholarship, but I would say that every college he was admitted to gave him nice merit. A couple gave him a full ride without using the ROTC scholarship, the rest of the colleges gave enough merit that when combined with ROTC made it a full ride also...or so we thought.
~ See above % increases annually.
It is not uncommon for ROTC scholarship recipients to get merit so if he is competitive for his colleges than chances are the financial aspect will not be a player.

Finally, regarding the RAND study. Here is the problem I see with it, granted I don't know when the study was done, but it still stays the same.
RAND can take the numbers for over a several year period, but what needs to be understood is that three things are unknown variables every yr which will impact the % that are awarded a scholarship. Nobody here can predict anything because of those variables. They are:
1. The pot of money HQ AFROTC is limited. They may decide to increase, decrease or remain the same this yr against last yr. FY Budgets are released Oct 1st.
2. The number of candidates that apply for the scholarship. LY maybe 6000 applied and the pot of money may have been higher, whereas this yr 6500 may apply and the money was reduced, thus the % will change.
3. The quality of the candidate pool. LY a type 1 (top 5%) may have avg 1380 best sitting, but this year they may avg 1420, thus LY's type 1 recipient may be in this years pool be a type 2 candidate, and the type 2 moves down to a type 7, and some type 7s may be out of luck (see #1 and 2).

There is one more variable. Intended major. Yrs and yrs ago the AF needed nurses, but within 2 yrs, they didn't. There was a poster here that his DD was AFROTC nursing (scholarship), by the time she went to SFT and showed up ADAF for her 1st day of training they informed them that the AF would be cutting a majority of nursing assignments because the AF was going to go the contracting route for them in the future. I put that out there because they can do the same for many fields, ie you stated foreign language.
~ Trust me, walk around the Pentagon and you will see just as many in suits as Contractors/GSs as you do in uniform.

The reasons are simple for both of these scenarios...money and continuity. PCSing someone every 3 yrs costs a lot of money, contractors can make it a career at 1 base if they want. From a continuity aspect if you have people that are there for a career than they can be there to train or fill in for the officer when PCSing does occur.

Again, I am not trying to debate you at all. I am just saying that after so many years here, plus being a retired ADAF spouse, and Mom of an ADAF officer, a total of almost 30 yrs of watching how the AF has changed yr by yr. The RAND study is not something I would place any weight into when it comes from a stat perspective. 4 yrs ago SFT selection was 55% with nontech/nonrated selection being under 20%, now it is 93% overall. Next yr it could be 75% because the AF has announced that they are increasing the percentage for OCS. Has the RAND study taken into account how that increase might impact AFROTC?

In the end all you can do is apply to the schools he desires with the hope that between merit and AFROTC he will be covered financially. Good luck.

PS I do know how emotional/stressful this yr will be. It will be a lot of waiting. However, in 4 yrs from now, you will look back and say that was the easiest yr. The SFT yr (sophomore) will be more stressful waiting to see if he gets picked up, because if not he will most likely be disenrolled. His jr yr if he wants rated will make waiting for SFT results like a cake walk, same thing for his senior yr if he goes non-rated. After that it is all about waiting for their 1st base assignment and reporting date, which can be the fun or not so fun stress...Shaw AFB and the family lives in NC, cool! Canon not so much.
 
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