Looking for insight...

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by eamo20, Jun 8, 2016.

  1. eamo20

    eamo20 New Member

    Jun 8, 2016
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    My DD applied for and was NOT awarded a national ROTC scholarship. We had made the decision and financial commitment to attend UNG regardless of her award status. After visiting UNG, VMI, and TAMU, and several conversations with a recent graduate of The Citadel, she thought UNG was the best fit for her. (She hopes to receive an active duty commission when the time comes. Her current career goal is career service.)

    We have recently been contacted by the PSM of the state university where she completed her ROTC interview, which was the school she had listed as her 3rd choice on her national application. He is interested in offering a 3-year university ROTC scholarship and basically told her she was at the top of his list. He knows her first choice is UNG and has told her that he will wait to award until after her orientation at UNG later this month, and has invited her for a campus tour after we return from orientation.

    Cost of attendance without the scholarship is similar at either university. Although it would the ROTC scholarship would be a blessing, we were already willing to do what was necessary to cover the financial obligation to attend the SMC.

    So here are some facts:
    1. Larger university (20,000+ students)/Small Cadet Corp (<100 students)
    2. Closer to home (3 hr drive)
    3. DD's first choice BEFORE she decided on military service
    4. Large Div I athletic program and campus loyalty (my DD LOVES college sports)
    5. "Normal" ROTC

    1. Smaller university ( 7,000 ? students)/Larger Cadet Corp (700+ student)
    2. Farther from home (16+ hr drive)
    3. DD's first SMC choice AFTER she decided on military service
    4. Military culture evident in school/campus ( my DD was very impressed by this on our visit)
    5. Full-time ROTC

    I guess the real question is this, is the SMC experience at UNG worth more than the monetary value of the scholarship for a cadet who hopes to get an active duty commission? FYI, we are not a military family, so we have very little knowledge to base this on.

    Any insight is helpful. What questions should we ask at each school? What things should weigh heavier in the decision-making process? HELP!
  2. nofodad

    nofodad 5-Year Member

    Dec 21, 2011
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    I'm afraid there is no easy answer. Some things to keep in mind. Many cadets join SMC's with a romantic notion of what military life will be like. Do she want someone yelling at her at 0500? Then the answer is an easy one. Would there be an advantage to a "normal" college experience interrupted by AROTC (early mornings and weekends etc.). That oversimplifies it but you get the idea. Sometimes I think the best thing that happened to my DS was NOT getting into USNA. Some of my DS' best friends from college are those who were not involved in ROTC and the students from other colleges he met while studying abroad. One last thing, if you took a survey, I think the majority of applicants to ROTC/SAs say they're interested in staying for the full 20 year career, yet statistics show that rarely happens. Good luck! Good choices!
    Heath13 and AROTC-dad like this.
  3. AROTC-dad

    AROTC-dad Moderator

    Mar 14, 2014
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    +1 @nofodad

    Also, I would like to point out that it is entirely possible (but likely more competitive) to earn a campus based AROTC scholarship at UNG.

    A year ago, my DS was turned down by USNA and also did not receive the NROTC/MO (Marine option) scholarship to The Citadel, which was his second choice. So his options were to go out of state and take on loans at The Citadel and graduate with debt, or attend a public university out West where we live and join AROTC non-contract.

    For my son, he chose to experience the total college experience instead of military immersion, plus it was closer to home and we could afford the tution. He ended up earning a 3 year campus based Army scholarship 3 months into his freshman year anyways! He is now thriving there and has no regrets about turning down his acceptance to The Citadel. The only "key" benefit I think he would have really enjoyed by attending El Cid was the assurance of Active Duty upon graduation (with PMS approval.) On the other hand, he is doing extremely well at his current college and is confident that he will "earn" the AD spot on his own.

    The college sports have been a blast, he also has access to snowboarding (free lift tix for Army Cadets at some Tahoe resorts), and a true University experience. Perhaps he is missing a lot in terms of the military tradition and discipline at El Cid, but he is very happy where he is.

    In summary, your DD needs to judge if UNG is ultimately the "right" school for her. Both colleges will give her the opportunity to become an Army officer. However, as a Certified Financial Planner I cannot emphasize how wrong it is to overpay or take on major debt for tuition when the results will end up with the same outcome... a 2LT in the U.S. Army.

    Questions I would ask:
    1. Have you really done the math and compared the dollars difference between the two colleges?
    2. Which school best fits her major field of study?
    3. Will she have life long regret about not attending an SMC?
    4. How important is guaranteed Army Active Duty?
    5. Will your DD take on debt to attend UNG?
    6. Will you as parents take on debt or worse yet, borrow retirement assets to fund her?
    7. Have you calculated the expenses of the travel to both schools?
    8. If she has visited both colleges, which one "feels right?"
    9. Is the journey or the destination most important?
    10. Will she miss a "regular " college life after dealing with being a "Frog."
    Good luck!
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2016
  4. Dckc88

    Dckc88 Member

    Dec 10, 2015
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    This is a small thing, but might be important to your daughter. Ask the state school what their 2020 active duty mission is? And then how many national scholarship recipients they have for 2020. For example, the school my daughter is going to has a mission of 20( 3 of those are nurses) and they have 9 national scholarship recipients, 3 of those nurses coming in this fall. While there is no guarantee those 9 will be the active duty, the school treats it that way and is transparent to others coming in that there are still 11 active duty spots they need to fill in 2020 to meet their mission. Good luck to your daughter. I know my daughter had a tough decision choosing her school, however, after she made the decision she is moving forward without worrying about what she did not choose.
    AROTC-dad likes this.
  5. AROTC Parent

    AROTC Parent 5-Year Member

    Nov 3, 2009
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    From a regional or national perspective which school has the better academic program in her major of choice?
    Which school is a better fit socially and academically? ROTC is only 4 years and she might change her mind about a 'career'.

    Good luck.
    nofodad and AROTC-dad like this.
  6. k2rider

    k2rider 5-Year Member

    Jan 31, 2010
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    You've received some great advice so far and at this point, she just really needs to decide if she wants the "normal college experience" or the "full fledged military immersion" experience. I can tell you that both my kids went the normal college route...one to a small private school with about 50 cadets and one to a large public school with about 125. Both of them have no regrets but my DD did miss out on the big time football experience. Luckily her school has a nationally ranked women's soccer team and the games are pretty over the top.

    Another factor is that large cadet corps. It's alot harder to stand up among 700 cadets that at a school with 100. At the state school, she has a cadre that is reaching out to her and saying "we want YOU". That means something to me.
  7. EDelahanty

    EDelahanty 5-Year Member

    May 7, 2010
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    One thing about ROTC is that a lot of people try it out for a year and decide it's not for them. That's why you are allowed to cancel your contract, if you've signed one, until the beginning of the second year at school. Probably also why Cadet Command has increasingly offered 3 year scholarships.

    The link below is from a thread of a couple of weeks ago. The statistics are from 2012 but are probably not so far off from today. UNG, referred to in the relevant tables as North Georgia College and State University, had a cadet corps in 2012 of 750, of whom 300 were freshmen. There were 100 seniors. If I read this correctly, the previous spring 80 seniors commissioned, all in the Army. I don't know the breakdown between active duty and non-active but that can't be too hard to find. Remember, provided the Professor of Military Science recommends them for active duty, the law requires that they can go active. The UNG website indicates 15% of the corps of cadets are female. I wonder how that ratio breaks down among the various classes.

    If your daughter has a high GPA and performs well on the fitness tests, that will give her a strong leg up towards getting active duty through Good Ole State U.

    My only other comment is regarding the emphasis on intercollegiate sports. Rah rah sis boom bah is a lot of fun but it's one more demand on your time. My son played played three varsity sports in high school. I don't think he ever attended a single intercollegiate event during his four years, though this was likely due to lack of interest more than anything else. If the SMCs are like academies, attending home football games is mandatory.

    Last edited: Jun 8, 2016
    AROTC-dad likes this.
  8. AROTC-dad

    AROTC-dad Moderator

    Mar 14, 2014
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    At my son's school, AROTC emphasizes earning points for volunteer work. Working the "cannon" at the football games qualifies as this. Great fun and spirit while getting EC points!

    Longdrive likes this.
  9. cb7893

    cb7893 5-Year Member

    Dec 6, 2011
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    Megan'sMom-Okla likes this.

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