Need Advice Please


New Member
Apr 20, 2017
I am currently in Marine-Option NROTC without a scholarship. I absolutely want to become a Marine.

I am nearing the end of my freshman year and my mom is pressuring me to get a scholarship. My mom thinks that a big reason that I should join the military is because they pay for school. She keeps saying that I wouldn't be able to use any of the skills I learn from a good major in the military. I suppose that may be true since I want to major in BIT and then go into either aviation or intel and I don't suppose they d0 much stuff related to BIT. She said that I may as well get a stupid major like underwater basket-weaving so that I could get good grades and have a better chance at a scholarship. I understand that she doesn't want to pay for school for me just to waste my degree doing stuff in the military but I really want to serve in the military as an officer. I was considering doing PLC but since they don't give out scholarships my mom thinks that's crazy.

She contacted someone from the AROTC unit at my school and she was told something about me applying for an Army scholarship. However, even if I got the scholarship I don't want to join the Army as much as I would like to join the Marine Corps. I suppose some of my reasoning to try to get into the Marine Corps is that they are the best of the best and I also want to be the best, but I also really like how Marines always have each other's backs. I know that soldiers and sailors and airmen out there also have each other's backs but from what I have seen they are not all as close with each other or as proud to be in their branch as Marines are. Even from what I have seen from the midshipmen in my ROTC they are a lot tighter than the other ROTCs at my school. The Marine Corps is smaller so I suppose that it helps build bonds between Marines. I want that brotherhood and pride that Marines have.

I guess what I'm trying to get at is if I don't get a scholarship, would trying to commission as an officer in the Marine Corps be worth it? It is my parents who are paying for school so I understand how much they want me to get a scholarship (I also really want a scholarship of course) and to just get a good job after the military. I really want to be an officer in the Marine Corps but I also don't want to make my parents stress about finances.

I don't know what exactly I want to hear from people after posting this but I just need to know someone else's perspective. Preferably someone with experience in this kind of thing or just worldy experience or something, I don't know. I wanted to talk to the Marine Officer Instructor at my school but he is getting ready to retire and even without that he is always extremely busy. He has already helped me a lot on other things so I don't want to bother him with this.

Anyway thank you for actually reading this. I really appreciate any thoughts you may have.
Hmmmm..... I'm a bit puzzled by your post, not that I don't understand it. I'd have thought the scholarship process would be clear but perhaps the MOI isn't communicating properly or you're missing it.

DS was in your same shoes. He desperately wanted to be a Marine officer. Had no interest in any other service. He eventually won a side-load scholarship that kicked in the second semester of his sophomore year. Mom and I weren't driving him to get a scholarship, but to get good grades and do well in NROTC so he could get a scholarship. About the same thing. We used to go to a few football games each year and tailgate with the NROTC unit and my dear wife would pull the AMOI or MOI aside herself (while DS wasn't around) and say "We need to get this boy a scholarship!". DS would have been mortified had he known. We were fortunate that we could have covered all 4 years ourselves but it certainly wasn't our first choice.

Your MOI is there to help you. It's my understanding (and things may have changed) that side-load scholarship applications should have been submitted this semester. Have things changed? Has the MOI spoken about side-load scholarships? If not, you need to have a discussion with him about the side-load scholarship process, and not about your personal problems (although you could mention them in a joking way). I know he is retiring, but that doesn't relieve him of his responsibilities as an MOI. The AMOI might be able to help as well... don't know. And you do know about Advanced Standing and how you can commission without a scholarship, right?

My own opinion about majors is that you should major in what interests you. That's what will help you excel. I don't know what the hell BIT is, but it sounds technical. While your Mom is right about not using your major in the military you are learning things through that major that you will use in the military... critical thinking, problem solving, effective technical communications. These are things you will use in any walk of life. Of course, there is also life after the military where you might very well apply the actual technical skills of your major in what you do, even if that is in a management capacity due to your leadership experience in the Corps. You might pass some of these thoughts along to your family.

I agree with you that there is nothing like the brotherhood of the Corps. They steep everyone in the history and culture of the Corps and I think that's why they seem so cohesive.

Keep at it. Work hard to excel academically and within the unit. Volunteer whenever you can. Show good leadership skills in your billets. Be a team player. Marines don't give up. If there is ANY way you think I can help you either reach out to me here or by personal message.
Okay, Kinnem's post is going to be way more helpful on the technical side of how Navy/MO option works, scholarships and such. Definitely listen to him about talking to the MOI, you are his job and he has not retired yet. All these things are time sensitive so definitely have a chat with him and get your questions answered.

Now here is where I can use my own talents and gifts in this post. I am a Mom, every parent parents differently and we all have different things that motivate us, and clearly your parents want what is best for you. I understand they are paying the bill and that they have a vested insterest in that investment. You should also understand that they don't need to pay for your education, it is not a requirement, so continue to be grateful. However, all that being said, we parents don't know everything. And in fact sometimes we know very little about things like options in the military, or what is even best for our kids as far as what career will make them happy and fulfilled, as well as be sufficient in paying their bills or fulfilling their expectations for income. We like to believe we do, but we do not. We also have our own biases. I encourage you to keep trying to find the answers you need as far as the best way to pursue the career you want, even if it might not be what your Mom would chose for you. I would also be proactive in trying to get a scholarship for yourself but also out of respect for your parents, but don't be desperate just make sure you are doing everything you can do to get the answers and follow up with your Mom. Not knowing how something works is also worse than just knowing the answer. Be kind to her, she loves you, but she is also operating under the assumption that she has all the answers, and she just might not. I also don't know what BIT is, but whatever you pursue after leaving the military, being a successful officer in the military is highly regarded in the civilian world. It could edge you very easily over another candidate. You will be seen as a leader and many companies prefer to hire military. I work in business and see this all the time.

And definitely take Kinnem up in his offer of advice and help. He is a Dad who has gone through it, and he might really be able to help. Good luck and keep us posted.
I'd like to second what @kinnem said about using your major in the military. It sounds like your mom may not really understand what it takes and what is expected of an officer in the U.S. military. To be perfectly blunt, her comment about majoring in underwater basket weaving so you can get good grades makes it sound like she does not have a lot of respect for military officers and the demands they face. I also believe she was out of line to contact the AROTC unit at your school to inquire about scholarships there. This seems to send the message that she does not have faith in you or that she is having trouble letting you grow up and be an adult.

Follow @kinnem's advice; talk to your MOI and get the ball rolling for a side load scholarship and bust your butt to earn it. Once you understand the process for obtaining a side load scholarship, talk to your parents; let them know what you are doing to pursue your goals, why this is important to you and how you plan to get there. Ask for their support (in the background) in achieving YOUR goals, but stress to them that this is something YOU have to do for yourself. I understand the financial pressures of paying for college, but it sounds like right now your mom is putting additional stress on you and undercutting you by contacting an ROTC unit on your behalf. That said, it sounds like you are behind the curve if you have not already explored the process for applying for a side load scholarship and paths to commission at this point.
BIT= Business Information Technology?
That was my guess for BIT too. BTW... if that's right, it's certainly a skill you can use in the military. I know that would be useful for USMC Communications Officers.
I just want to through something out there, we don't know his Mom, and we don't have all the information here. I am not sure that her comments show disrespect for military officers just maybe not understanding. I get that. My daughter has wanted to be an officer since she was twelve, she will be the first in our family since Vietnam to serve and pretty sure those of my uncles who did serve did not do it by choice. I am very proud of her, and in awe of her desire to serve. But I cannot say I understand it all of the ins and outs very well. We are learning as we go and so appreciative of the community on this forum that has helped me to learn and understand. There can be other reasons too for the underwater basket weaving comment. Basically there can be pressure like this from parents for cultural reasons too. My daughter has a friend where her parents will not pay for any degree other than to be a doctor or an engineer, and that has to do with their standing in their community from a cultural perspective. I know someone else who is disappointed his daughter wants to be a teacher because they don't make any money. Again, it doesnt mean a direct disrespect but these kids have a tough time trying to navigate what they want from their future and dealing with their parents wanting something else. I am glad the poster is trying to get some guidance and counsel to help him through this.
I agree. I don't think his parents disrespect the military at all. I think they have great respect for it, since their son is pursuing it. I don't even really think she is asking that OP change his major, although that's how she says it. I think she just wants to see him get good grades so he can get a scholarship. And it may not even be about the dollars, but about the scholarship being something that recognizes OP's achievement. That's certainly what it was for me. I always felt he would commission, one way or another.
I probably am missing something about the scholarship process because I joined late. I'm not sure about other schools but at least at mine, if you don't get at least a 225 on the PFT your first semester of freshman year then you can't be in the Marine option program. I didn't pass the first time but I was able to pass second semester where the standards were higher at a 250. So I've been in the program for about a semester and I feel like I'm playing catch-up.
I emailed the MOI about the sideload scholarship and he told me that the sideload package is based on his recommendation and after I earn that I just have to write a letter stating why I want to be a Marine Corps officer. Then he does the rest. Unfortunately, my GPA this year has not been good at all. I'm trying to get it above a 3.0 so I'm pretty sure that even if I had applied for any scholarships I wouldn't have stood a chance.
You are right that he still has his responsibilities for now so I definitely will contact him again so that I could talk to him in person.
I've also heard about advanced standing but they don't give out scholarships for that so I think that my mom will still not see the point in doing it. I think she's mostly upset that I didn't grab the opportunity of the national scholarship while I had the chance which I definitely understand.

Also, Dckc88, thank you for the perspective of a parent. It's so easy to just get mad and make rash decisions but I should understand how my mom sees it as well. I'll definitely try to talk to her more about these things without getting mad.

Oh and by BIT I did mean Business Information Technology. Thank you, everyone, for all your input.
Sounds like you have a handle on the process. Seems to me the only remaining questions are:
1. When can you next apply, and
2. What can you do to improve your application.
Hope your trying to work your way towards a 300 on the PFT. You'll need to get it in the 285 range to attend OCS (generally speaking).
Good luck!