Multiple questions about possible AFROTC

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by wish_tree, Jul 6, 2018.

  1. wish_tree

    wish_tree Member

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    Hi! I had never previously seriously considered doing service academy or ROTC, but recently I’ve been thinking about doing AFROTC during college. However, I have lots of questions:

    1. I read that the service requirement is 4 years of active duty following graduation. I’ve also heard that there are alternative options (8 years reserve or something), can anyone please explain more about the possibilities if they exist?

    2. I definitely want to get both a bachelors and masters degree, and possibly a PhD degree as well. I’m worried that with the service requirement as well, it will take me a very long time to finish my education. Thoughts?

    3. How much time commitment is ROTC during school? Is it difficult to balance those activities along with rigorous classes?

    I’ll probably have more questions later haha
    Thanks in advance and hope you’re all having a great summer!
     
  2. jimmy3

    jimmy3 Member

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    1. For the air force i believe if you are already contracted to commission you are guaranteed active duty but have the choice of choosing reserves (dont quote me on this)

    2. You can do an Education Delay where, for example, you go to medical school after you get your bachelors. After medical school you can become a doctor for the AF. Basically you postpone your military obligation until after you get your PhD or masters.

    3. I would say time commitment varies between detachments. But you definitely will need to take classes for AFROTC such as labs (1-2 hours maybe more) and other classes as you progress in AFROTC, PT sessions in the morning. As far as the level of difficulty, it vastly depends on the person.


    hope this helps a bit :)
     
  3. wish_tree

    wish_tree Member

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    Thank you! I hope someone else can also add thoughts/confirm some aspects you weren’t entirely sure about.

    For reference, I’m hoping to major in computer science and if reserves are an option, that would be ideal because I could do that while completing grad school at the same time.
     
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  4. BTCS/USN

    BTCS/USN Member

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    Just an observation but I have to ask. Why are you considering AFROTC? The goal of any ROTC program is to develop officers for the military first and foremost. If the obligation is going to be the major consideration on going that route, is that going to be a show stopper? Many active duty officers continue their education while either serving full time or as reserves. Look at the different paths available, weigh the pros and cons of every option, research the differences and then if you still have questions, that would be the time to ask opinions of others. Not all paths are the same but all can work out with the same results depending on what works best for you.
     
  5. wish_tree

    wish_tree Member

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    Thanks for your reply! Certainly, I would love to serve in the Air Force, but it isn’t my end goal in life. I think it would be an excellent experience in several ways specifically for me (I can detail if you’d like, but for brevity I’ll refrain from doing so right now). My concern is that active duty on top of my extensive education hopes will take too many years.

    I wasn’t aware that I could complete my education at the same time as serving active duty, because my impression was that active duty pretty much means a full time job. That’s why I was hoping reserves/National Guard was an option because I could do that while completing higher education.

    I’ve done some research and read through all of afrotc’s web pages, but I guess I still don’t completely understand. I’ve never actually been able to talk to anyone with a similar experience and my family doesn’t come from a military background so I apologize if my questions seem unpolished. Thanks for your input!
     
  6. wish_tree

    wish_tree Member

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    After doing more research, I actually realized that air guard may be more in line with my goals. Hmm...anyway, more research first I suppose, given that I know very little about this.
     
  7. Pima

    Pima 10-Year Member

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    Understand that you actually have to be hired on by the Guard unit for whatever career field you are interested in doing. In other words just because there is a Guard unit by you, it doesn't mean they will have an opening in your career field. Think of a Guard unit like any company in the corporate world, they don't always have a job opening and there may be multiple people applying for that 1 position.

    As far as Active Duty AF and grad school. You need to realize that educational delay (ED) straight out of college is NOT guaranteed. You will need to compete for that spot and competition is stiff. Additionally you will owe time back, it runs concurrent with your AFROTC commitment...BUT the fact is when you move from that ED school to your 1st base, the AF will require you to stay longer. That means it maybe you owe 5 yrs+ instead of the 4 you originally thought.
    ~ Also they can send you anywhere in the world. IE They decide that you are going to be sent to Korea or Germany for your assignment after you attend your AFSC school---career school can be 6 mos+. Since you owe them several years you can't say no. (Service before self, and needs of the AF you know!) Now that might sound fun and all, but here comes the problem again. If timing sets up right, you can separate from the AF and go onto your civilian career, but it is hard and costly to interview for a position in Cali if you are in Germany because you will need to fly home. Thus, if you can't make that work, and still want to leave ADAF you will have to live off your savings until you get hired.
    ~~ Nobody can predict the economy 10 yrs from now, and I think you are not looking at this as a long term aspect. Nobody in 1998 saw 9/11 coming, nor the housing/car industry/credit companies bottoming out in 2008 and watching unemployment rise. Just like nobody in 2008 could predict that by 2018 Chick-fil-a would decide that their starting salary for employees would be @$15.00, or that WalMart would be following suit, nobody talked about "living wages" in 08, they were just happy to be working 2 jobs part time after losing their full time job a year earlier.

    FWIW to make rank as an officer you will get a Master degree, the majority will do it at night and on weekends. Every base has satellite colleges like Embry Riddle, U of MD, etc.

    These are things to really think about when comparing AFROTC and going Guard. You also have not stated if you need the AFROTC HSSP scholarship to attend college. If so, than you need to do even more research because on this site at least, we call it a 2+2 scholarship. You are guaranteed 2 yrs, but if not selected for summer field training as a sophomore, HQAFROTC can revoke the scholarship for the remaining 2 yrs.
     
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  8. MichaelD28

    MichaelD28 Member

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    What are the best colleges for AFROTC,(Texas a&I'm)?????
     
  9. Pima

    Pima 10-Year Member

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    There is no answer to the question of best colleges for AFROTC because of multiple reasons.
    1. The cadets.
    ~ ROTC units are like families. They have a unique chemistry/bond, thus someone can say TAMU is the best, but impo it is the best for them.
    ~ If you don't feel comfortable within the unit than it really isn't the best in your eyes.
    2. AFROTC units vary in size
    ~ They are ranked out as large, medium and small. HQ AFROTC announces winners every year.
    ~ It is unusual if any unit wins it back to back, thus this year it could be TAMU and not again for several more yrs.
    ~~ DS's unit won best large unit his freshmen yr, but not again until his senior yr.
    3. Criteria for the cadet's AF goal.
    ~ To commission, the cadet must attend SFT. It is not a guarantee to be selected. One must ask what is their percentage that attends and then compare it to the national selection rate. 80% may sound great, but not so much if 90% is the avg.
    ~ Career goal, i.e. rated. ERAU has always touted that they have the most pilot selectees after USAFA. Again sounds great, but when you look at their percentage rate it is equal to the national avg. It is just that their unit is so large they have the physical numbers due to their size, but it is not as if your actual chances increase by attending ERAU.

    Finally, I would never look at the best, because the best impo is the one where the college and the unit make you feel happy to be there. ROTC is not full time, albeit it does take up a lot of your time, part of your life are the academic and social sides. My DS went to UMDCP, he loved the campus, loved the location(close to DC), loved his academic program, loved that it was a big school, along with the fact that he enjoyed how they had military fraternities. My DD went to VT, both have great AFROTC programs. He would have hated VT. If VT shut their doors tomorrow, Blacksburg would become a ghost town imo. He also decided for him that he didn't want that SMC life, where you are required to live in a certain dorm for 4 yrs., and where as a cadet you must be in ROTC and the Corps. My point is both are great, but if you don't fit than you will risk your end goal, which is to commission.
    ~ Look at old threads here. There are many that contain kids or parents every fall and spring with I hate it here, but I have a scholarship can I transfer to another school and keep it? I love my ROTC unit, but academically I chose the wrong major and now I am in jeopardy of being placed on academic probation. So on and so forth.

    You need to find the best for you. That means for every college tour you take contact the det at that school and ask to meet the cadre. Also ask them if you can meet some POCs that are in your intended major program, or the career field that you think you want. They have ROTC lounges where you can talk and hang with them for about an hour. ASK that your parents do not hang with you and the cadet(s) ----otherwise if they do stay it is more like a dog and pony show than a couple of college kids hanging out.
    ~ Tell them you will meet them at X time at a specific location. The positive of this is from the ROTC building to the meeting spot you are walking the campus by yourself and you can imagine how it might feel next yr when you are there. It is where you can think and get a feel for the campus by yourself before being asked a million questions from the folks, such as, what did you think, do you like it more than X, why, etc.

    Hope that helps.
     
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  10. Humey

    Humey Member

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    The goal is to find the best college for you (one that has a AFRotc unit) and assuming their unit isnt a disaster for some reason, you should be able to accomplish your goals there. Until recently everyone who comissioned from AF Rotc went active duty. I hear that isnt true anymore. One of the guys at my son's AFROTC unit commissioned as a reserve officer. Ironically enough, he will be in the same Flight class with him and are sharing an apartment when he arrives next month. As others have said, being able to delay Rotc after graduation may be tough, so if you intend to continue with your education, rotc may not be the answer.
     
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  11. Phyzix

    Phyzix Member

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    I agree with Humey. Pick a college that you are in love with that has an ROTC unit. & if you don't like the unit or the way it is structured, do something about it. Like they say, if you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change the way you think about it. Good luck!
     
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  12. Pima

    Pima 10-Year Member

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    I think there is a need for clarification here.

    AFROTC is not like AROTC. There is a difference between Reserves and Guard.

    ALL AFROTC grads will commission with a RESERVE commission, unlike USAFA grads. It is a minutia, only way impo that somebody knows if you are a USAFA grad compared to ROTC is what people jokingly call the ring knocker (USAFA). Nobody cares which way you commissioned, they only care that you do your job and have their 6 (back). It is similar to nobody caring in AFROTC whether you are on scholarship or not.
    AFROTC grads will go Active Duty upon commissioning be it with a Guard unit or an AF base.
    ~ IOWS there is no weekend warrior like AROTC where you can go on with your career and just do 1 weekend a month and 2 weeks a year in the AF. That is the true RESERVES.

    Do not assume you can go Guard. HQ AF must agree to release you to Air National Guard (ANG) and the ANG must hire you on for that position. HQ AFROTC is not going to release you without knowing that an ANG unit has offered you a position. ANG is not going to offer you a position unless they believe HQ AFROTC is going to release you.
    On top of that, they will owe the Guard whatever their terms are for hiring that ROTC cadet. Let's use Humey's post as an example.
    ~ That cadet will walk in knowing whatever airframe the unit flies will be the airframe they will get if they wing. IE, the Guard unit flies B52s. They could be the best student, but there will be no F35 for them. The Guard unit is paying out of their budget to go to UPT, not HQAF, thus they are not going to say we want you to do the T38 track over the T1 track.
    ~~ That cadet can spend years before they can walk away and be a weekend warrior. Every UPT class has Guard students. They will be there for a year(UPT), go onto SERE and water survival, than the air frame schoolhouse. Upon that they will go back to their Guard unit where they fulfill their Guard commitment full time. IE they say you owe 2 yrs full time, the clock for them does not start until they finish all of those requisites.

    Guard units can be very competitive. It is like applying for any corporation. They only have X amount of positions open for certain ranks. Who you know and how you interview can play into whether you are hired or not. IE you want to go Intel, they only need 1 entry level (O1), but have 25 applicants.

    Flip it from HQ AF side. They have decided that Intel is now career manning issue, they can flat out say, NOPE we don't have enough in your career field so we will not release you to the Guard.

    Now finishing this novella, I would say this thread has put the cart before the horse and people have forgotten the most important thing that must happen as an AFROTC cadet. SFT selection!
    There is no commissioning without SFT. As you can all see by moniker I have been here for yrs. I can tell you that I have seen 55% overall rate for SFT, and the next year 90%. Nobody saw that jump coming. Nobody will also be able to see if a drop is coming.

    FYI they have allowed AFROTC cadets for decades to apply for ANG, DH commissioned in 87 and 1 cadet went to ANG (rated). 25 yrs later one of our DS's friends went ANG (pilot). It happens. It is nothing new, it just happens to be as far as I see it that most cadets in AFROTC never look at that option, especially for rated.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2018
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