the party line on this forum is, for the 4 year scholarship, it's best to apply as early as possible. However, based on my recent private conversation with one active member on this forum, I am starting to think, perhaps not. I believe this is an important consideration, so I am opening a thread to the general community. My son is already being boarded this week, but this may help applicants for the next year. Here is the scenario. Please add your comments/observation. (1) Scenario One: all the battalions are free to fill their entire slot from the first board on. In this case, indeed, the applicant should apply early as early as possible. If the applicant was not boarded for the first board, there may not be any spot left for the second, third board on in his/her favorite battalion if the battalion is a popular one. Besides, applying early allows the applicant to get a second or third bite out of an apple in case the first board was not successful. (2) Scenario Two: this is the problematic one. Suppose the Cadet Command tells the PMS of a battalion/school that you have 10 allocations, but during the first board, you are allowed to fill only 5. Previously, I thought the PMS will get the list of the applications who will be awarded scholarship from this board and who put his/her school on the school of intent list, and THEN say "yay" or "nay". IN this case, the PMS can choose his "5" as he sees fit, regardless of their rank order on the OML among the applicants as long as they are all scholarship recipients in this board. If this is the case, by all means, it's advisable for the candidate to apply as early as possible. However, I learned in my private communication (PM) that CC will go through the OML list, and start awarding scholarship to schools whose PMS did not say "nay" to a particular applicant. Suppose they are awarding 1000 scholarships in the board, and the applicant's rank order within this OML is 900. If this is the case, by the time the CC reaches this candidate, it could very well be that the the quota for this particular board fro the school X the candidate really wants may be already filled. Hence, the candidate does not get the scholarship to his favorite school or even top three schools, etc. Maybe he will get a scholarship to his #5 and #6 schools. It is even possible that he may not even get any scholarship even though his OML is still within 1000 --- because, the PMSs of his #6 or #7 school school said NO since their schools were too far down the list in terms of school of intent priority, and the first 5 schools that were really popular may not have any spot left by the time the CC reached him as a ranked order 900 candidate. I also learned that the first board applicant pool is the strongest, and the pool is getting less competitive in later rounds. The candidate I describe above whose total person score put him at 900 OML out of 1000 that are getting scholarship from the first board may have been good enough to be at 100 on the OML in the second board. If that is the case, he would have had a great shot at getting a scholarship to this #1 school, provided that the CC did not let all the available quota for the #1 to be filled in the first board (which, I am told is more or less the case). Granted, if you can "trade" national scholarship in May but the odds are not for a very popular school. If my analysis is correct, if your WPS (whole person score) is likely to put you on a lower part of the OML rank order of applicants among the ones who are getting scholarship in the first board, you are ACTUALLY better off not to be awarded a scholarship, and get rolled over to the next board, where you are likely to be among the top list. The whole problem is, once you get awarded scholarships to schools that were not high on your list, there is NO way to revisit this issue and have a shot at your favorite school in later board. The only avenue left for you is trading in may and that's far from the sure deal. What do you think???