How to balance AFROTC, college, and work?

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by flyblu, Nov 30, 2018.

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  1. flyblu

    flyblu Sleepy, currently.

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    Hello,

    I most likely will be applying for my AFROTC scholarship as soon as I do my SAT exam in a couple of days and then send in my scores in the following weeks. My question is how do I balance AFROTC with college and work? I am still learning how to manage time well and if I do not get a scholarship but get in the AFROTC I will paying for my expenses.

    I just want to know how other former students or current students balance this workload.

    Thanks.
     
  2. Tbpxece

    Tbpxece Member

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    Categorize and prioritize everything. Stick to knocking out tasks based on priority and due date.

    Use the calendar on your phone/laptop correctly.

    Use Cortana/Siri/Google [whatever the name is this month] to add reminders and sync with your calendar.

    Be organized and methodical.

    Don't spend too much time on things that don't merit it. Always remember that college GPA only matters for grad school, initial job interviews, and bragging rights. Everyone who passes gets the same degree and commission. "C" means "continue" :).

    Your career as an AF officer will be about the same. Go ahead and get good at it now.
     
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  3. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator 5-Year Member

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    Almost right. If you don't have a scholarship then GPA comes into play to earn one while in college, and in any case you must meet minimums, which is not a 'C'. I'm pretty sure it also comes into play for OML ranking, but I don't know that.
     
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  4. Tbpxece

    Tbpxece Member

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    Minimum GPA to stay in the program is 2.0, stay on scholarship is 2.5, the last time I checked. Might have changed.

    Good point re: not having a scholarship at the outset. GPA would be a factor there

    Either way, the tendency is to either try to overachieve or underachieve. My experience with AF officers is more the former than the latter. Great way to burn out and fail.

    The point I'm making is to know when to cut something loose. I got a couple of Cs and Bs while in school, under the circumstances mentioned above. Still worked hard. Still graduated with honors. But there were many times I had to call it on something and turn it in 80% of where I wanted it to be.

    Time and expectation management are the key.
     
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  5. flyblu

    flyblu Sleepy, currently.

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    Hello all,

    Thanks for your responses. I have a pretty good GPA -- 3.9. -- and I work hard in my studies, physical health, and other aspects of my life. I hope that my SAT scores hit the minimum for the requirements of scholarship. If not, I will just join the AFROTC and pay my way for college.
     
  6. Tbpxece

    Tbpxece Member

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    You'll probably be fine. My HS GPA was barely 3.5, I was a knucklehead, and did only ok in my interview. Still got a scholarship. This was pre 9/11 too, when the need wasn't as high.

    Pull up the USAF PFT charts, make sure you get scores on your PFA that are above a 90 on the PFT. Prepare for your interview well (there are a number of guides on the internet) and you will be in good shape.

    Good job on that GPA! 3.9 is tough unweighted.
     
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  7. Humey

    Humey Member

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    My son went through AFROTC. While he really didnt work (he did a little) he was able to easily balance his time between school and Rotc. Most of the educational parts of Rotc are at school and are just part of the school day. PT is held early in the morning so again that shouldnt interfere with your day. I am sure he spend other time with Rotc but it really didnt take time away from school. Your bigger issue is balancing school and work. What did take a lot of my son's time was when he joined Arnold Air which is a professional organization connected to AFROTC. In reality at least at his school, it is more a less a fraternity and he spend many hours his first semester at school trying to pass and get membership into Arnold Air.
     
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  8. unkown1961

    unkown1961 Member

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    I could be wrong, but from what I understand GPA does matter when being considered for the career the cadet wants when they list their ranked 5 specialties. It would seem that the cadet with the low GPA who put Intel first might end up with a less desirable career field while the cadet with the higher GPA who also has Intel as #1 might get Intel.
     
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  9. JOHNKIM1883

    JOHNKIM1883 Member

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    Based on my interview with the PMS for AROTC, I was told that GPA is the single greatest indicator of priority for branching.

    According to the FY 06 ROTC OML Model, one's "Cumulative GPA of all academic subjects (includes ROTC GPA) (Spring Semester, most current)" is worth 40% of one's OMS score.
     
  10. Pima

    Pima 10-Year Member

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    DO NOT think for a second that a 2.5 gpa is going to float to remain in AFROTC as a POC. As a sophomore you will be required to attend and graduate from SFT to become a POC. The avg gpa for non-tech majors selected for SFT is @3.3/3.4. Tech majors gpa avg @3.1.
     
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  11. scutrules

    scutrules 5-Year Member

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    Our mantra was "D for Diploma, C for Commission." However, that was mostly said as a joke. That doesn't really fly anymore, especially if you are not on scholarship. I had under a 3.5 hs GPA, went in to ROTC as a college programmer, and worked my butt off freshman year to get a 3.9 GPA. That's what got me my scholarship. I also know people who had close to 4.0 hs GPAs, thought they could skate through college and wound up getting separated from ROTC for being part of the Square Root Club (a GPA so low that it looks like the square root of what should be your GPA).

    I worked in college, but it was only part time (2-3 times a week for around 4 hours each time). I also loaded my schedule every semester and played intramural sports. I graduated with a 3.5 undergrad GPA (physics tanked me...) and a commission. It is possible but you have to learn how you best manage time. Working your freshman year as a CP may not be a great idea if it costs you some GPA points. But you know yourself best. If it's something you're asking here, it probably means you are worried about the time management. In that case, I would deal with just school and ROTC (already a lot on your plate) and not add anything else to the mix. You also don't know how much time ROTC might end up taking, how difficult classes may be, and who knows what else.
     
  12. Pima

    Pima 10-Year Member

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    flyblu,

    Are you a senior in HS or a jr? If you are a sr., than you need to get on this now! The second HSSP board meets in just over a week. The next one will be in Jan. The problem I am seeing is once you submit your application you still need HQAFROTC to process it before you go onto the next step, which is when they assign you an AFROTC officer(aka PMS or CoC at an AFROTC unit) to interview you. That interview must take place before you can be boarded.
    ~ Here is why this maybe a problem for where you are standing now if you are waiting on the SAT scores before you submit. Personnel at AFROTC units are not allowed to take leave (vacation) while school is in session, thus, most take it during winter break. If that college does not go back until mid-end late January, than you might not meet the Jan. board either, leaving you to be boarded in Mar.

    There is a limited pot of gold for scholarships. With each board that meets and awards scholarships the pot dwindles. FWIW, statistically less than about 20% are on scholarship. They are def. in the minority. Nobody talks about it within the det. The only real way you would know is on the 1st and 15th of the month because that is payday for them (stipend). Contracted (scholarship) cadets are not treated any differently than non-contracted by the cadre. The cadre could not care less one way or another. They only care about making you the best possible officer.

    If you are a senior, is Dec. your 1st SAT? If not, understand that AFROTC does not superscore, it is best sitting. Thus, unless you expect a huge jump, I would submit my application now with the hopes of making the Jan. board.

    As far as balancing everything, school/ROTC/work, it is doable, but you have to want it. You have to want that major. You have to want that commissioning.
    ~ My DS was scholarship. He was non-tech. He too was in Arnie Air, and as Humey stated that was probably his hardest semester as a pledge. He also interned on the Hill for a yr (20 hrs/week). He commissioned with over a 3,4
     
  13. Tbpxece

    Tbpxece Member

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    Excellent point.

    I was referring more to getting a C on a single assignment vs. dropping the ball on something more important within ROTC-- not so much getting a series of C's in succession. The question was regarding balance between ROTC and school load, and I was addressing that in a way that could have been more clear. Sorry for the confusion!
     
  14. Pima

    Pima 10-Year Member

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    In the end there is a formula for SFT.
    GPA is a huge chunk of the formula. Tech/rated vs non-tech/non-rated are factors too.
    ~Only a few yrs back 58% were selected overall for SFT. I can't recall, but I want to say tech/rated with a 3.1 hit close to 90% picked up for SFT. Non-tech/non-rated selection was at 18% with the avg cgpa of 3.4.

    That being stated, to me the big picture is it is Dec. and they have yet to complete the 1st part of their application. There is nothing in their post that states they have even done their CFA, which requires a specific person to administer the exam. We are coming up on winter school break.

    I do not want to discourage flyblu in anyway, I just want them to understand the system that will be a part of their future to commission via AFROTC.

    Flyblu,
    My true concern for you is from re-reading your posts. You stated:
    Debbie Downer here to say, and sorry to say it:
    The fact is the min., is not going to be good enough. The last time I looked up the SAT AFROTC stats, the avg score for type 7 was @1290 out of 1600. Type 2 was hitting 1310, and type 1 was @1330....BEST SITTING, no superscore.
    ~ If I recall correctly the mins are in the low 500s. Or iows about several hundred points above the min., just for a type 7.

    Not everybody is a test taker. I get that, but I also need to say regardless of whatever career field you want in the AF, you will also have to take another test in AFROTC. It is called the AFOQT. In HS terms it is the ACT (4 components). That score, along with your cgpa will be part of your package for SFT.

    I know I sound insanely mean, harsh or whatever you are feeling while reading this post. The point is, you need to understand the path you are about to enter. YOU CAN DO IT, but like I stated earlier YOU HAVE TO WANT IT! The ball is always in your court, only people that don't want it say the ball was not in my court.

    Good luck. May all of your hopes and dreams come true. Thank you for wanting to defend this amazing nation.
     
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  15. mil.intel

    mil.intel Member

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    Current AFROTC senior (AS400/engineer) with a few advice

    1. Time management is KEY
    • Treat ROTC as your second job (primary being a student). You will have less time to pursue other things (social or academic) unlike your peers. Realize this early on and take care of yourself, but also make sure you are utilizing every possible resources you are offered. Calendars, reminders, alarms are few things you need to use effectively and efficiently. Welcome to expectations and responsibilities.
    • My first year joining AFROTC and balancing it with electrical engineering curriculum (graduating in 4 years) was a struggle until I reached the conclusion that I need to use my time effectively. Set goals and expectations of yourself in milestones. You don't have to share this with anyone but keep it true to yourself (i.e. finish class 1 HW by Mon, review class 2 materials by Tues noon, send email to X by Wed evening etc)
    2. Communication is KEY
    • I personally didn't have much problem with this, but I see so many freshmen (and upperclassmen!) being so bad with this. The expectation in the Air Force is when you receive a correspondence (email, text, call etc), you reply within 24 hours, if not earlier depending on the urgency of the situation. As a supervisor, I hate having to send reminders and admonish the cadets I'm in charge of when they forget to either get back to me or miss a suspense. If you foresee a problem meeting a deadline, you need to let your supervisor know. They aren't mind-readers.
    • Set push notifications on your phone or computer. If this bothers you, learn to check your phone very frequently for any urgent messages from ROTC. Our detachment constantly does recall exercises and it's embarrassing when a cadet fails to answer his/her phone and gets back to us 24+ hours later.
    • When I interned for a major defense contractor this past summer, I realized 90% of the "engineering" work wasn't engineering - in fact, you only use ~10% of the "academic" knowledge but the other 90% is communication skills. Be good with it, be prompt, and be efficient.
    3. Work Ethic is KEY
    • Half-assing your job is no longer tolerated. Not only will the cadre and the POC, as well as other members in your GMC class see through this, but you are cheating yourself. If you made the choice to go through training to become an officer in this USAF, you need to step it up and ensure you give your absolute best. Excellence in All We Do
    • You are being evaluated 24/7 as a cadet. You will stand out if you go above and beyond to serve the detachment (think special projects, helping out the POC/cadre etc)
    • The MINIMUM GPA shouldn't be the goal. Your goal should be a PERFECT GPA. Don't set a threshold where you will be complacent - this goes for academic, FA, etc
    • On tangent to the GPA, a lot of PDT (Professional Development Training) opportunities require a minimum GPA much higher than 2.0/2.5. Now that ALL of AFROTC cadets have to participate in AFROTC authorized PDT programs, make sure you are keeping up your GPA. Remember. You are a student first, cadet second (no degree, no commission). Some examples of PDTs that require a min GPA: LEDx (3.0), NRO internship (3.5).
    • Scholarships also require a minimum cGPA & tGPA
    I apologize if I made it a bit intimidating, but we're in the business of securing our nation's defense. This comes at a cost. I laud your decision to join AFROTC - thank you. Please let me know if you have any additional questions.
     
  16. WIMOM

    WIMOM Member

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    Stay disciplined and become an organized student if you are not already on top of your things. My son is NROTC, engineering, and running cross country and track for a division 1 private university. His job is keeping it all straight. Many college students do multiple things. Seek help on your assignments and don't put things off. He does not have a lot of down time as he misses classes for meets, too. Mom and dad are no longer there to help so it is time to fly, so start now with being that student. You can do it if you want it! Good luck.
     
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  17. WIMOM

    WIMOM Member

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    Don't give up hope on obtaining that rotc scholarship. My son found out the last week of April that he got it. Talk about pins and needles waiting. Try to apply for outside school scholarships too.
     
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  18. lucky8

    lucky8 Member

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    Hey also remember that while you might want to be a hardo and grind as much as possible, you can't. You need time to chill out, whether it's watching Netflix, playing video games, or just chill with friends. Depending on what your job is you might never get the break you need. It's difficult to find that hourly job that you're passionate about, but if you can that will really help. I make money, listen to music, and genuinely enjoy my part time job. Hours are weird but each week I get to pick that shifts I work and since I don't have a set schedule I can choose when to or when not to make money.

    Don't have TOO much fun or you won't have to worry about ROTC anymore but remember that you're a real person not a robot. As my dad's professor told his freshman intro class, sleep more than you study, study more than you party, and party as much as you can. Not sure where work fits in but I'm sure you'll figure it out.
     
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  19. NoS.W.E.A.T.

    NoS.W.E.A.T. New Member

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    Flybyu:

    Others have pointed out some great items for you to consider during your quest to get into the AF/ROTC.

    You posed a good question. My son is a freshman EE student in the AF/ROTC. During the end of his junior HS year, he informed me of his intention to be a USAF pilot. Your GPA is excellent. You need to maximize your SAT. Go through a good SAT training course. My son's first score was 1260; his final score was over 1400. He then qualified for an AF/ROTC scholarship. This scholarship plus a VA stipend will cover all of his college expenses.

    Now is the time to also meet the commanders of the AF/ROTC detachment you wish to join. Take your father with you. Each of you will have different questions to ask.

    In college, an AF/ROTC candidate has a HUGE advantage over the general student population. Everyone, (your commanding officer, his entire command structure and all of the student cadre) will want your to succeed. In the very first interview my son and I had with his current detachment commander, he (the commander) revealed that one of the major weaknesses of many incoming AF/ROTC candidates is that they don't ask for help - until it is too late.

    This semester (fall 2018) my son had tested "out" of first semester calculus. In second semester calculus after about 3 weeks in, he realized he was in over his head. He was considering dropping the class. I spoke with him and reminded him of the discussion his commanding officer had outlined. He then met with the Major who gave him a list of upper classmen (AF/ROTC) cadre who would help tutor him through the rough spots. Everyone, I repeat EVERYONE in the AF/ROTC is measured for the success of what they do. My son has now improved his grade in calculus AND made quite a number of new people as friends AND as an example of what he (my son) will be expected to do when he is in his 300/400 level classes.
     
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  20. flyblu

    flyblu Sleepy, currently.

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    Hello everyone,

    Thanks for the posts.

    I took my SAT last weekend and will get my SAT scores in two weeks. Last time I talked, I have made impressive changes.

    I gained two or three pounds and been working hard. Need at least five more pounds to get in a good range.

    I think I got a good score. Fingers crossed until after Dec. 14.