Decision time...

asgusma

Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2020
Messages
25
Hey everyone. I have a tough decision to make very soon about USMA vs. AROTC. There's pros and cons for both, and I honestly don't know which one to pick. I remember first applying to USMA in my junior year and being so excited about the prospect of an appointment and serving my country as a Second Lieutenant upon graduation. Then, I was medically disqualified, and after waiting months and months for a waiver, an appointment seemed distant, so I set my sights on AROTC. I won a 3 year AROTC scholarship at a civilian school, and in addition, I got accepted to an amazing program where I could potentially have a "reserved" spot in a medical school (after my undergrad degree) given I meet the prerequisites for med school, along with great support from the program itself, my peers, and even doctors. This past week, I got a surprise call from a senator congratulating me on a USMA appointment, and needless to say I am so extremely grateful and overjoyed. So now, I'm going to have to make a decision soon, but I just can't seem to choose. The thing I'm most worried about is the academics at West Point. I've always struggled with math, and I know USMA is very math intensive, and I don't want to get into a situation where I won't be able to handle the course load and the math, or encounter the possibility of failing a math class and having to leave USMA, because that would be heartbreaking. Of course, my first inclination is to think that if I want it bad enough, I will work very hard to achieve academic success, specifically in math. On the other hand, I really need to be realistic about if I can handle the course load and the math. Can anyone here offer their experience with the math/calculus courses at west point, and if they were difficult for you, especially if you also struggle with math? Also, does anyone else have any guidance about my overall situation? My decision really depends on my end goals, but my end goals have always been to 1. Serve my country as an Army Officer 2. Serve my community as a doctor and 3. Become the best leader I can be. I don't see why I can't achieve all of those, but I am really not sure which path is going to be the best for that. Thank you all.
 

MichaelT2022

2026 Applicant
Joined
Oct 29, 2020
Messages
181
Hey everyone. I have a tough decision to make very soon about USMA vs. AROTC. There's pros and cons for both, and I honestly don't know which one to pick. I remember first applying to USMA in my junior year and being so excited about the prospect of an appointment and serving my country as a Second Lieutenant upon graduation. Then, I was medically disqualified, and after waiting months and months for a waiver, an appointment seemed distant, so I set my sights on AROTC. I won a 3 year AROTC scholarship at a civilian school, and in addition, I got accepted to an amazing program where I could potentially have a "reserved" spot in a medical school (after my undergrad degree) given I meet the prerequisites for med school, along with great support from the program itself, my peers, and even doctors. This past week, I got a surprise call from a senator congratulating me on a USMA appointment, and needless to say I am so extremely grateful and overjoyed. So now, I'm going to have to make a decision soon, but I just can't seem to choose. The thing I'm most worried about is the academics at West Point. I've always struggled with math, and I know USMA is very math intensive, and I don't want to get into a situation where I won't be able to handle the course load and the math, or encounter the possibility of failing a math class and having to leave USMA, because that would be heartbreaking. Of course, my first inclination is to think that if I want it bad enough, I will work very hard to achieve academic success, specifically in math. On the other hand, I really need to be realistic about if I can handle the course load and the math. Can anyone here offer their experience with the math/calculus courses at west point, and if they were difficult for you, especially if you also struggle with math? Also, does anyone else have any guidance about my overall situation? My decision really depends on my end goals, but my end goals have always been to 1. Serve my country as an Army Officer 2. Serve my community as a doctor and 3. Become the best leader I can be. I don't see why I can't achieve all of those, but I am really not sure which path is going to be the best for that. Thank you all.
Going with what you desire the most, of course, each of them have their pros and cons, but I would assume that USMA is known per se, compared to AROTC.... Now you are at a very important decision in your life, my advice is to look at USMA, and compare the university you would attend on the AROTC Scholarship, and assess, where do you see yourself to be in a better spot, is that USMA, or is it AROTC. I assume, you would be able to handle coursework, such that you were a qualified enough candidate in high school. May I ask, how many AP/IB Courses did you take? If I were in you're shoes, I would personally attend USMA, due to the once in a life-time opportunity, hence if you deny, I doubt you could ever attend/be accepted again.

Feel free to PM me... I am a first-time applicant to WP, for C/O 2026, I may not know much, but I can offer bits and pieces of advice, if you desire.
 

BossIsland0

Member
Joined
Mar 24, 2020
Messages
48
Third option:
Apply to Uniform Services University of the Health Sciences.

If I’m not mistaken, that is something you can do after undergrad regardless of this specific decision (the option would be a conventional med school or USUHS out of USMA/college).

For OP:

Only 2% of each class can go on to medical school from USMA, whereas an educational delay through ROTC would be likely if you maintain a GPA that gets you into medical school.

From a cynical point of view in regards to an educational delay, the Army has a higher demand for doctors than they do normal officers - if you are an ROTC grad who got into med school, they would be more than happy to keep you in with an additional HPSP scholarship ADSO than to just throw you into the infantry or wherever you want to go.

Based on your school’s program (I’ve heard of similar ones) and the quotas defining the number of USMA cadets allowed to go directly to medical school, you objectively have a higher chance of going straight to med school through ROTC.

Based on your two goals (to be an officer and a doctor) ROTC is the better option. If your goals contained “I want the 4 year SA lifestyle and don’t care if I have to wait 5 years afterwards to become a doctor 4 years that (+ residency and fellowship)!” then the answer would obviously be different.

Also, if you do happen to tank on grades, the worst case scenario for ROTC is that you go reserves or natty guard and work towards getting into medical school on your own time, whereas with USMA, you will likely have to at least get through 3ish years of your ADSO time (which is possible; I’ve spoken to someone who has done it) before you even consider applying to med school again (taking the MCAT, filling out applications, interviewing, etc.).

Whatever your choice is, don’t look back. Your life is the only once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that matters; make the most of it.

Those are my two cents; apologies for any grammatical errors.

Get Outlook for iOS lmao
 
Last edited:

prospective2019

USMA 2023
Joined
Nov 25, 2017
Messages
484
I won't comment much on the Med School stuff--but I can easily get you specific answers to questions about the USMA Pre-med program if you'd like.

Don't let math deter you from coming here. There are several levels of the basic math courses and you will be sorted into the one that fits your capabilities the best. You will not take more than three math courses + statistics (which isn't math heavy) unless you're an engineering or math major. There are a lot of cadets that struggle with math but they offer a lot of remedial help for it and your instructors will give you one-on-one attention that you need to succeed.
 

asgusma

Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2020
Messages
25
Going with what you desire the most, of course, each of them have their pros and cons, but I would assume that USMA is known per se, compared to AROTC.... Now you are at a very important decision in your life, my advice is to look at USMA, and compare the university you would attend on the AROTC Scholarship, and assess, where do you see yourself to be in a better spot, is that USMA, or is it AROTC. I assume, you would be able to handle coursework, such that you were a qualified enough candidate in high school. May I ask, how many AP/IB Courses did you take? If I were in you're shoes, I would personally attend USMA, due to the once in a life-time opportunity, hence if you deny, I doubt you could ever attend/be accepted again.

Feel free to PM me... I am a first-time applicant to WP, for C/O 2026, I may not know much, but I can offer bits and pieces of advice, if you desire.
Thank you for your advice! I'm definitely trying to weigh the pros and cons of both places, and the thing that I'm struggling with most is what you mentioned: USMA is practically a once in a lifetime opportunity that I don't know if I could pass up. At the same time, I don't know if I'd be able to have the chance to pursue medicine if I went. Also, I have taken AP Psychology, AP Bio, AP Calc A/B, AP English Lit, AP Lang, and AP Stats. Calculus has been one of the most difficult classes for me this year, hence why I'm a little worried about the calculus at West Point.
 

asgusma

Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2020
Messages
25
If I’m not mistaken, that is something you can do after undergrad regardless of this specific decision (the option would be a conventional med school or USUHS out of USMA/college).

For OP:

Only 2% of each class can go on to medical school from USMA, whereas an educational delay through ROTC would be likely if you maintain a GPA that gets you into medical school.

From a cynical point of view in regards to an educational delay, the Army has a higher demand for doctors than they do normal officers - if you are an ROTC grad who got into med school, they would be more than happy to keep you in with an additional HPSP scholarship ADSO than to just throw you into the infantry or wherever you want to go.

Based on your school’s program (I’ve heard of similar ones) and the quotas defining the number of USMA cadets allowed to go directly to medical school, you objectively have a higher chance of going straight to med school through ROTC.

Based on your two goals (to be an officer and a doctor) ROTC is the better option. If your goals contained “I want the 4 year SA lifestyle and don’t care if I have to wait 5 years afterwards to become a doctor 4 years that (+ residency and fellowship)!” then the answer would obviously be different.

Also, if you do happen to tank on grades, the worst case scenario for ROTC is that you go reserves or natty guard and work towards getting into medical school on your own time, whereas with USMA, you will likely have to at least get through 3ish years of your ADSO time (which is possible; I’ve spoken to someone who has done it) before you even consider applying to med school again (taking the MCAT, filling out applications, interviewing, etc.).

Whatever your choice is, don’t look back. Your life is the only once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that matters; make the most of it.

Those are my two cents; apologies for any grammatical errors.

Get Outlook for iOS lmao
Thank you so much for your response, I have been thinking about these exact things, and medical school does seem more likely for me through the ROTC route. I really need to consider the points you brought up in my decision, thank you.
 

asgusma

Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2020
Messages
25
I won't comment much on the Med School stuff--but I can easily get you specific answers to questions about the USMA Pre-med program if you'd like.

Don't let math deter you from coming here. There are several levels of the basic math courses and you will be sorted into the one that fits your capabilities the best. You will not take more than three math courses + statistics (which isn't math heavy) unless you're an engineering or math major. There are a lot of cadets that struggle with math but they offer a lot of remedial help for it and your instructors will give you one-on-one attention that you need to succeed.
Thank you, you have alleviated my worries a bit. Having the resources to get academic help if I need it is definitely important. I will PM you if I have any questions about the pre-med route.
 

MichaelT2022

2026 Applicant
Joined
Oct 29, 2020
Messages
181
Thank you for your advice! I'm definitely trying to weigh the pros and cons of both places, and the thing that I'm struggling with most is what you mentioned: USMA is practically a once in a lifetime opportunity that I don't know if I could pass up. At the same time, I don't know if I'd be able to have the chance to pursue medicine if I went. Also, I have taken AP Psychology, AP Bio, AP Calc A/B, AP English Lit, AP Lang, and AP Stats. Calculus has been one of the most difficult classes for me this year, hence why I'm a little worried about the calculus at West Point.
I see your AP Courses, and personally I feel like you would be fine. I mean you reaching those courses in AP Level is an accomplishment in itself, and I advise you to take the appointment at WP.. I understand you feel like you might not be able to handle the course-load, etc, but you can always receive help there. I'm not sure what college you would go to otherwise, what is the Student to Faculty Ratio, you don't want to go to a civilian college, with a massive amount of students, and barely receive any help. I know, that USMA has a Ratio of like 7 Students, Per 1 Teacher, which hell in my opinion, is great, and I would honestly prefer that compared to a regular civilian college.

Don't take my specific advice for it, but it's just a thought, whatever decision you do make, let us know, and just go for what you feel is right for you, and NEVER LOOK BACK. I've heard the statement: You don't want to regret, and you don't want to confuse yourself on if you made the right decision, etc.

Just make the decision, and never look back.

Good Luck
 

BossIsland0

Member
Joined
Mar 24, 2020
Messages
48
Also, I have taken AP Psychology, AP Bio, AP Calc A/B, AP English Lit, AP Lang, and AP Stats. Calculus has been one of the most difficult classes for me this year, hence why I'm a little worried about the calculus at West Point.
I would check your university’s AP credit policy. Even if you don’t get credit hours for certain courses, you may still be able to count them towards pre-requisites, which means you can bypass quite a few courses early on and spend that time later doing research to close out your undergrad.

Best of luck!
 

DrMom

5-Year Member
Joined
Aug 25, 2011
Messages
1,506
You know, you can apply to the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences from ROTC or from USMA but also from a regular undergraduate experience without the Army. Just saying...
 

Jamesfromthecountry

New Member
Joined
Apr 12, 2021
Messages
9
The program that you got into with a "reserved" spot in med school... is it a BS/MD program? If so, you should check with your school/program to see if ROTC is even possible through that program. From what I know, these programs condense 4 years of premed studies into 3, and "fast-track" you into medical school by making you take the MCAT sophomore year (at the latest). MCAT sophomore year will take up A LOT of time...

If not, I know that you can apply for the hpsp scholarship once you enter the MD part of your program. Your "guaranteed" a med school seat, so hpsp should take that positively when reviewing your application.
*I declined a BS/MD spot because it was too time-consuming, and I wasn't 100% sure if premed was for me. BS/MD really restricts your academic freedom.
 

asgusma

Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2020
Messages
25
The program that you got into with a "reserved" spot in med school... is it a BS/MD program? If so, you should check with your school/program to see if ROTC is even possible through that program. From what I know, these programs condense 4 years of premed studies into 3, and "fast-track" you into medical school by making you take the MCAT sophomore year (at the latest). MCAT sophomore year will take up A LOT of time...

If not, I know that you can apply for the hpsp scholarship once you enter the MD part of your program. Your "guaranteed" a med school seat, so hpsp should take that positively when reviewing your application.
*I declined a BS/MD spot because it was too time-consuming, and I wasn't 100% sure if premed was for me. BS/MD really restricts your academic freedom.
It is similar to a BS/MD program, but it is not one. It is more so a supportive program, where you can receive academic support and peer support from the other people in the program, as well as interact with current physicians. I take the MCAT at the usual time other applicants for medical school do, and I have to achieve a certain score to retain my seat at the medical school. Also, I checked with the program and with ROTC, and I am able to do both, which I'm really grateful for. I have looked into HPSP, and I actually just talked to someone affiliated with AROTC at the civilian university about it, so I have a better understanding of it now :)
 
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