How to maximize my chances of an ROTC scholarship as a non-traditional applicant?

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by darthbudge, Mar 12, 2014.

  1. darthbudge

    darthbudge New Member

    Mar 12, 2014
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    I have recently decided that I would like to pursue an ROTC scholarship however I don't exactly have a traditional background and since I am out of High School already most of the advice I have found does not apply to me. So I will start out with a little about myself and then move on to my main question.

    About myself: I am a 21 year old male from Texas. I was home schooled my entire life. I did my high school curriculum through a company called Penn Foster and had a 3.9GPA. After high school I decided to to go to Texas State Technical College and so I never took the SAT or ACT because it was not required.

    I earned an AAS degree in Computer Networking and Systems Administration with a 3.8GPA. I participated in some extracurricular activities there including being a member of Phi Theta Kappa and being the fundraiser chairman for my SkillsUSA chapter. During my final year at TSTC I had a change of heart and decided that the computer networking field was not something I wanted a career in but I was determined to finish my degree out anyway. Immediately upon graduating I transferred to a local community college to work on earning my Paramedic certification.

    I spent the next two years at the community college and I earned my Paramedic certification and took most of my Texas core curriculum classes. I was not participating in any extracurricular activities at this time because I was also working full time at local ER and then on the ambulance. During this I obtained a 3.6GPA overall and a 4.0GPA in my actual Paramedicine classes.

    Currently I am working as a full-time Paramedic for my county's 911 system. While I love my job and I love medicine, I have decided to pursue a career as an Officer in the military. It was always my dream as a kid to join the military however I was always the fat kid and it seemed like too much work to ever actually get in shape. Well over the last year I have lost 115lbs and made incredible progress in my physical fitness and I am not going to stop where I am at.

    With all that said, here is my main question. What can I do to increase the chances of receiving an ROTC scholarship as a non-traditional applicant?

    I understand GPA is one part of it and I feel like I am doing very well in that regard. The next is having a high SAT or ACT score. I am going to study for and take one of those (perhaps both) over the next year and I think that I can do above average on it.

    Extracurricular activities and leadership opportunities are what I feel I am going to have trouble with. I never played any High School or College sports, I was never in the boy scouts, and just as a whole never participated in many of these activities. Is there any good options for me to improve in this area? Would my working as Paramedic and also as an adjunct EMS instructor at my community college count for anything?

    Right now I can score a bare minimum passing APFT and I believe that within a year or so (about the time I would be trying to have my scholarship start) I could be close to having a 300 score.

    In terms of branches my choices would be: 1. Army, 2. Navy and 3. Air Force but any of them would be fine. My first school choice would be Baylor University since it is in town for me and I could still work very PRN as a Paramedic for my same company while still in school. Other than that I am also open to applying at:
    Texas A&M
    Sam Houston State University
    University of Texas at Arlington
    Texas Tech
    Texas State
    University of Mary Hardin Baylor
    University of New Mexico

    What do you think I could do to help maximize my chances at a scholarship? Do I even have a shot? I am going to be working at this seriously and I would appreciate any advice possible to help improve my chances.
  2. Future2LtMom

    Future2LtMom Member

    Oct 3, 2012
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    First of all, cudos to you for making such great improvements to your health! It took a great amount of drive and self-discipline to achieve that goal. With regard to your interest in a campus-based AROTC scholarship, I would suggest that you contact the ROO (recruiting officer) at Baylor and discuss your goals with them. I don't know if your current lack of sports/extracurriculars would weigh as heavily in earning a campus-based scholarship vs. trying to earn a national scholarship coming out of high school. It's my understanding that with a campus scholarship they want to see good grades while in college, great APFT scores, and campus involvement. So perhaps you would still be OK. I can't really speak to Navy or Air Force. I know that Navy has a campus-based scholarship, but I'm not sure about Air Force. My gut tells me that with all the cuts the Air Force is going through right now, even if they DID offer a campus scholarship, they are not going to be plentiful. Kinnem can speak to the Navy issue and Pima can speak to the Air Force. Hopefully, they will chime in soon on your post. Best of luck to you!
  3. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator 5-Year Member

    Oct 21, 2010
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    NROTC has a 2 year program where you spend the summer "catching up" to your classmates through a 12? week training program that I think takes place at Newport RI. I suspect this would be more along the lines of what you're looking for given your prior educational experiences. I'm sure a member of the cadre at one of the college's you're interested in could give you more details. I do know that like the NROTC 4 year scholarship it's a national competition for slots. There is also OCS after obtaining your Bachelor's degree.

    If you are interested in the Marine Corps another program would be the Platoon Leaders Course where you would train for 6 week periods over two summers (or 12 weeks over 1 summer) at Quantico VA. Participation in NROTC is not a part of this program.

    Hope this helps.
  4. coastiefam

    coastiefam Member

    May 1, 2013
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    Since you are already in the business of saving lives - have you considered the Coast Guard? While the CG does not have an ROTC program the following might be of interest.

    Program Overview

    The CSPI is a Coast Guard scholarship program for college sophomores (apply as a sophomores, start the program as a junior). The program provides a monthly salary, full tuition, some fees, and the cost of some books during the student's junior and senior year. Members in the program must attend enlisted basic training, and participate in various Coast Guard training events throughout the duration of the program. During their junior year, CSPI students attend the Officer Indoctrination School at the Coast Guard Academy, or receive on-the-job training at various Coast Guard operational units. Upon graduation, members are guaranteed the opportunity to attend Coast Guard OCS. If the applicant graduates from OCS he/she is commissioned as an ensign in the United States Coast Guard, and is obligated to complete at least three years of active duty.

    Eligibility Requirements
    •Score a 1000 on the SAT, 1100 on the SAT I, 23 on the ACT, or ASVAB GT of 109 or higher
    •Be between 19 and 27 (applicants must have reached their 19th birthday, but not their 28th birthday as of 30 September of the fiscal year in which the panel convenes.)
    •Must be a sophomore or junior (with at least 60 college credits completed toward your degree)
    •Enrolled in a four-year degree program at an approved institution with a minimum 25% minority population
    •Must be able to complete bachelors degree within 24 months after entry in the program
    •Must not be a conscientious objector
    •Meet all physical requirements for a Coast Guard Commission
    •Maintain a GPA of 2.5 or better
    •Be a U.S. Citizen

    There are only certain colleges that you can attend under this program so you would need to check on that if you are interested.
  5. ABF

    ABF Member

    Nov 30, 2013
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    Being a heavier soldier myself let me tell you that the Army hates the fat kid. If you are only passing the APFT, or if you are always checking your weight, you will struggle with an Army career. Passing PT tests and just making the weight isn't good enough. The Army loves the thin guy. That thin guy will be your commander (the person that evaluates your job performance) and he'll see you as substandard due to your size. I was a six footer (@ 200 lbs) that ran marathons... but I was still "the fat guy".

    Consider it this way... Being a "Clydesdale" in the Army is like working your entire career as a Postal Carrier, walking your delivery route with a thorn in your foot. You can do it, but it will be a constant pain and distraction.

    If you feel strongly about it, go get a two year scholarship. Just know there are problems being the big man in ACUs.

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