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Checking out ROTC units when visiting colleges

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by DanGir, Jul 29, 2013.

  1. DanGir

    DanGir 5-Year Member

    Mar 2, 2012
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    My wife and I plan on taking our DS to visit a couple of colleges this week. He is interested in ROTC. Should we visit with the on campus ROTC units? More importantly, what should we be looking for? What questions might we ask? We are new to this. Thanks for any help.
  2. Strength and Honor

    Strength and Honor Member

    Jun 7, 2013
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    I visited two colleges last week, stopped by their ROTC offices, and I'm super glad that I did! When I went, they sat me down and told me about their program, the extracurriculars they had available, and the scholarship process. I also ended up getting a load of free apparel (ROTC shirts, bags, water bottles, etc)!
  3. Pima

    Pima 5-Year Member

    Nov 28, 2007
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    What branch?

    AFROTC is different than A/NROTC.

    1. Scholarship is not tied to the college
    2. AFROTC scholarship is truly only a 2 yr scholarship because of SFT.

    The questions to ask will vary due to the branch.

    JMPO, but visit every det when you visit the college. Dets are like colleges they have a personality.

    I would also call before hand and set up an appointment. Ask to meet with any cadets available, especially if you know the exact major, or the intended career field. Excuse yourself and let them talk alone. Cadets respect adults, and they will act differently. Leaving the room, they will just be a bunch of 18-21 yrs old. Peers! Your child will get a better feel for the unit, and not a dog and pony show because you were there in the room.
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2013
  4. EDelahanty

    EDelahanty 5-Year Member

    May 7, 2010
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    A few questions and suggestions:

    College visits are often brief, so it's a matter of how much time you have. Also, you may want to call the unit to verify that someone will be available to meet with you and show you around. If it's mutually convenient, set up an appointment for a specific time. (Less prepared, we called the units when we hit campus to see if we could drop in). Units are on summer schedules, which means some cadre members will be away at summer assignments or on vacation. As Strength & Honor mentioned above, some units are skillful at recruiting, though any unit will want to make a favorable impression.

    Does he have a goal of becoming an officer? Does he have an interest in a particular branch AROTC, NROTC, AFROTC? Will he be applying for a scholarship? There's no incorrect answer to the above questions, by the way, including I Don't Know.

    All the services offer substantial information on their ROTC programs. Here's a link to an Army ROTC website.


    Also, check out the unit's website/FaceBook page. There is a wide range of levels of communication.

    (Pima posted while I was composing my message, so excuse any redundancy(
  5. Oldsalt

    Oldsalt Member

    Sep 26, 2012
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    All of the units my son visited provided a mid/cadet for a campus tour.
    +1 to Pima. Let your DS/DD go with them alone. My DS ended up spending half a day on one tour. Be flexible.
    I would also recommend you meet with the PMS/PNS if available.
    Make sure they are prepared for an interview. One PNS had some in depth questions that would have been tough had he not prepared.
  6. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe 5-Year Member

    Feb 10, 2010
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    I agree to be flexible.

    Every ROTC Battalion will operate differntly.

    Having 2 sons go through this process there have been quite a few visits and interviews. For almost all the schools we visited my sons would contact the Battalion ahead of time and set up a meeting. When we would arrive the person, ROO/PMS would almost always ask that we sit in with our son during the conversation, they gave us a tour and explained the program and the school. There were times when our sons would go off alone and meet other cadets or participate in morning PT (If the visit was during the school year)

    The best thing you can do is follow the lead and requests of the person your son is meeting with. Some may want a one on one with your son and some may want you to be included, just be ready for anything. Everyone we met with was very friendly and helpful, made my son's decision difficult when making the final school selections.

    For AROTC, a few good questions would be:

    How large is the Battalion
    What EC's are available
    What percentage of cadets receive Active Duty that request AD
    What percentage receive one of their top 3 branch choices
    How are the credits for the MS classes handled by the university.
    How many credits are given for MS classes
    Are summer training programs available
    Do MS1's participate in all FTX's and training
    Is there special housing for ROTC cadets
    What are the Battalion requirements for the APFT, what is the cut off for remedial PT, what is the average scores.

    These are just a few questions to get started, there will be more once they start to talk about their programs.

    If there are no cadets on campus since scholl is out right now, see if the battalion can have a couple cadets contact your son when they return to school, It's always nice to have direct contact.

    After your visits your son will start to get an idea of what battalions are really interested in him. My sons had a few battalions that kept in close contact with them, always checking in to see if they needed any more information. Both sons also visited battalions that never got back to them and hardly ever responded to any requests. This made a big difference in how he arranged his school list.
  7. Future2LtMom

    Future2LtMom Member

    Oct 3, 2012
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    Normally, I would suggest that you try and make an appointment in advance to meet with the ROO/PMS. However, since your college visits are this week, you may have a hard time setting up an appointment. It's worth a shot, though. If you are able to set up an appointment, I agree with previous posters that you want him to take a list of questions and to try and interact with other cadets. We made two campus visits with our DS and had appts. with the ROO's set up in advance. I can't tell you how different the cultures were between the two units! They were so different that my son's original first choice school became his second choice school as a result of the meetings. With one unit, DS had a hard time getting a return phone call, email, etc. Then, when he showed up for his appointment, he was passed off to an underling for the meeting. The format of the meeting was more question and answer. They didn't seem to understand why our DS wanted the "meet & greet" so early (it was December of his junior year of high school). They kinda looked at him like he had two heads. Also, any cadets that were in the offices at the time of the meeting didn't give DS the time of day. The second unit, however, was completely opposite in their approach to the meeting. Emails were promptly answered, the ROO was impressed with the fact that our DS already knew what he wanted to do at such a young age, cadets came up to DS to introduce themselves and engaged DS in conversation. Even though the ROO took the time to answer our son's questions, the format of the meeting was more conversational. The icing on the cake was when our DS met us back in the food court of the college covered in free goodies (Army logo'd (sp?) tshirts, water bottles, backpacks, cell phone holders, etc.). DS thought he'd hit the lottery! Even though he liked the campus & location of the first school better, he was infinitely more impressed with the ROTC program at the second school. One last thing, we chose to NOT go to the meetings with our son. It was our opinion that this was his "gig", not ours. We figured if the ROO needed to talk to us, they could call us on our cell phone and we could walk back over to the office.

    Best of luck to you! This is such an exciting time in our kids' lives!
  8. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe 5-Year Member

    Feb 10, 2010
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    Your son's experience sounds a lot like my older son's, one battalion was very helpful, answered all my son's emails and requests, the other (his original 1st choice) never really replied to anything. The #2 school quickly became the #1 choice and he selected that school as well did my second son.

    As far as us sitting in on the first meeting, the PMS had made a request that we come in, I was suprised at how many questions he asked us. When the PMS took our son to meet other cadets we went our separate ways.
  9. mingram

    mingram 5-Year Member

    Mar 16, 2011
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    Cross Town

    The only thing I would add ^^ is if you are considering a crosstown school drive the commute with your DS/DD at the busiest time to get a baseline (time management was the toughest thing for my DD). Ask crosstown questions like; how are weather emergencies handled how are classes scheduled and credited between the schools, what’s the public transportation like at x-am for PT?
  10. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator 5-Year Member

    Oct 21, 2010
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    I would add that if you're unable to reach the unit to set up an appointment beforehand, stop by anyway. You may scare someone up while there. If so, I've no doubt they will be happy to talk with you. I doubt you'll be meeting any cadets or midshipmen this week though since school is not in session. Even if you can't scare someone up you might be able to get into the ROTC building and have a look around. Even that might give you some sense of the unit.

    Also, while a good idea, visits are not mandatory so if you are unable to meet with anyone I wouldn't worry too much about it. The choice of the school is much more important.

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