NROTC at RPI vs CU Boulder

NROTC at RPI Aerospace Eng or CU Boulder Exploratory Study


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aa-ttention

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Jan 23, 2019
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DS decided to take NROTC and is facing decision between RPI and CU Boulder for Aerospace Engineering. CU Boulder admitted him to the Exploratory Studies Program, while RPI admitted him to the college of engineering directly. Any comment/opinion on these two school and NROTC units, esp experience with the CU Boulder Exploratory Studies to AE transfer. Thank you.
 

momx3

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Dec 25, 2016
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While I have no knowledge of CU boulder, I can say that RPI has an excellent program both for engineering and for the nrotc unit. RPI will challenge the heck out of you but completely prepare you to succeed, in my humble opinion. I know it’s getting down to the wire, but can you visit both before May 1? Also, not sure if it makes a difference, but rpi will give ds merit $ to cover room and board if he is there with nrotc
 

aa-ttention

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Jan 23, 2019
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@momx3, thanks for the reply. Yes, RPI is better choice finically: other than the NROTC type-1, school will pick up room and board, plus a $18K/year scholarship. CU Boulder offered no financial aid/scholarship.

Stubborn DS decided not to visit the school :(. I think both schools are solid with engineering and ROTC program, but concern over RPI is 1) administration vs student/faculty/alumni tension; 2) overall school scene seems to be very intense. Concern over CU Boulder is 1) the transfer pressure and 2) odds of not getting into engineering.
 

unkown1961

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Oct 20, 2016
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I just visited CU Boulder with my youngest son, and have also visited RPI with my daughter (who chose to attend college in Boston). Some impressions are that as a college town and campus, Boulder has a strong edge over RPI (especially Boulder as a town vs. Troy). Same goes for the weather and outdoor activities (if your son desires those). Academically, CU's aerospace program is a Top 10 program per US News (they've had almost 20 alums become astronauts). The program will test your son.
As respects your concerns about transferring and the odds, can you talk to the department at CU? Or even chat with the NROTC unit? However, was the NROTC app based on Aerospace as a major? Would NROTC allow him to use the scholarship money for Exploratory Studies?
Good luck!
 

oreomom

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My son was deciding between 2 schools (one better financially and direct into Engineering but not in a 'cool' place) and CU Boulder- where also, he was accepted into Exploratory Studies- Pre-Engineering. He is turning his Type 7 AFROTC into a Type 2/3yr. He wants to do Aerospace as well.
He did visit the school when they were skiing in CO for spring break and he liked it.
If you check out CU Boulder Exploratory Studies or Pre-Engineering pages, as long as the student gets certain grades in their tech classes (like Calc and Physics) then they can get into Engineering. And, as far as I could tell, once you're in Engineering you can choose your major (unlike some other schools where you can be in Engineering but mihgt have to meet another GPA to get into the major you want).
 

Wishful

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As you know many go into college thinking a specific program is for them & once there, things change so which school would he like to be at if his Plan A doesn't work out...no ROTC...no Aero? That's the one to go to.
 

BigBillNY

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Jun 27, 2014
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2) overall school scene seems to be very intense.
RPI is super-intensive. I distinctly remember at the Orientation (they had a session for parents only) on having your child be prepared for not being the top in their class. We were in a crowded auditorium and the professor posed the question- "How many of your kids were in the top 10% of their class in HS?" The whole room pretty much raised their hands. He responded by saying that only about half of the first row represented 10% of the crowd present and how will you deal with your kid's frustration at not being a 10%er?
 

thibaud

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Sep 28, 2017
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Engineering is intense anywhere. If your son has to compete to get into CU Engineering, then the academic pressure on him at CU will likely not be less intense than it would be at RPI.

If your son has no strong preference for one or the other, then he's best off going where he can minimize his downside risk. Better to grab the sure thing at RPI.

Maybe he can offset the RPI pressure by using some of his scholarship $$ from RPI to let off steam and make an occasional skiing trip to Colorado....
 

aa-ttention

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Jan 23, 2019
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@thibaud : that's what I am thinking too, i.e. push him far away from home (west coast) and get together during breaks at fun places. The risk is that he decided not to visit the schools which makes me worry of many what-ifs.
 

aa-ttention

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Thank you all for the responses. Very helpful to get different perspectives. The risk is that he decided not to visit the schools which makes me worry of many what-ifs. He is very much nerdy, hands-on, outdoorsy, snowboarder, golfer and flight enthusiast (reason to join ROTC), leaning to CU Boulder but not sure about the risk of transferring from Exploratory to Aero. In terms the student body and campus culture, whichever he can quickly mingle in to a close circle of friends would work. BTW, east asian origin/ancestry.
 

ProudDad17

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Nov 3, 2016
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Visited CU Boulder with DS a couple years ago. It's a beautiful campus and a really cool college/tourist town. The entire area is very "green" and environmentally friendly. They were very proud that their football stadium is "zero waste". CU Boulder will be a much larger campus, with all the extracurricular trimmings of a Division 1 school. The Flatiron mountains are right off campus and offer some great hiking and other outdoor activities. RPI has a great reputation for it's engineering program, but I couldn't tell you much else about it. Which environment would your DS better thrive in? As far as finding that circle of friends, he will likely find that wherever he chooses. NROTC units provide that immediate group to belong with and he will quickly expand that circle with other classmates.
 

Marathon86

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Dec 4, 2018
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I got assigned CU boulder for my nrotc mo school and have visited and talked to the unit twice. Never been to RPI but from my experience talking with the rotc staff and students is that CU Boulder is a great place to be. Boulder is a college town and has about every outdoor activity available. The whole unit is always working out and enjoying the outdoors. If this sounds like something you’d be interested in, then CU is probably the way to go. Also their engineering school is top notch and from my understanding, all of modt freshman start as pre engineering or some sort then pick a speciality sophomore year.
 

FastFood44

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Mar 15, 2017
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I’m at the RPI unit now; your description of your son sounds exactly like the kind of person that would fit perfectly in our unit. Private message me for any questions you have about the unit!
 

LemonJelly

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Apr 1, 2019
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DS has decided on RPI with NROTC. RPI accepts you into the university and indicates the major that you selected on your application; students can change majors unlike engineering programs at other schools. RPI is very supportive of the NROTC program and covers all room and board for NROTC scholarship students. We are coming from CA and there is a growing contingent from CA in this year's accepted class of 2023. Congrats on your decision.
 

momx3

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Dec 25, 2016
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DS has decided on RPI with NROTC. RPI accepts you into the university and indicates the major that you selected on your application; students can change majors unlike engineering programs at other schools. RPI is very supportive of the NROTC program and covers all room and board for NROTC scholarship students. We are coming from CA and there is a growing contingent from CA in this year's accepted class of 2023. Congrats on your decision.

My DD is a student at RPI, and i know one of the guys in her unit is from California- but not sure what part. Best of luck to your son!
 
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