NROTC major question

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by momx3, Mar 24, 2017.

  1. momx3

    momx3 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2016
    Messages:
    145
    Likes Received:
    114
    DD was awarded NROTC scholarship and the unit was transferred to a great engineering school, however my concern is that perhaps she should consider changing her major (she has to do so before entering the university and get approval from the school) to a 'lesser' science [my perception of something less taxing] other than Chemical Engineering. My fear is that she will either burn out from the heavy course load, NROTC and sports team commitments while trying to maintain her average. Obviously she will need approval to change from Tier 1 to Tier 2, but I was wondering others' thoughts on this. I have read many reviews of her school by students lamenting how difficult the grading is at their school, while the work is above par to some other universities with a more generous grading curve. She's my first, so I don't know what to expect. Thanks for your input in advance, I have always gotten some great insight here.
     
  2. 5Day

    5Day Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2015
    Messages:
    1,724
    Likes Received:
    964
    'lesser' sciences LOL That has to be the funniest thing I have heard in a long long time. I know what you mean but to the purists engineering is the lesser science.

    Getting approval to change from a tier 1 major to tier 2 is trivial, so don't worry about that.
    Engineering (especially chemical engineering) is academically challenging at any school. Not just in quality of but also in quantity. Engineers need the most credits to graduate than any other major. But, if you want to be an engineer, and you want to graduate in 4 years, you need to start on an engineering track. Transferring into an engineering program just puts you behind on the course requirements and it is very difficult to catch up.

    I have a BS degree in both Chemical Engineering and Chemistry. My ChemE degree has been much more valuable, professionally, than my Chem Degree. Being able to say you are an engineer has opened many more doors. Bottom line is does your DD want to be an engineer? It is much easier to switch from ChemE to Chem, than it is to go the other way.
     
    momx3 likes this.
  3. momx3

    momx3 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2016
    Messages:
    145
    Likes Received:
    114
    Thank you 5Day. I appreciate the insight. Funny thing is, DD's only desire is to be an USN officer- it's hard getting her to think past that as to what avenues she may pursue with her degree. I also get the fact that it is easier to switch, so I suppose there is no harm in starting with ChemE. As a parent my concern is whether it will put undue stress on her, but worse case scenario she will have to drop the swim team. She was given a contact presently at the school who is a ChemE major, so today she will put in a call to get that perspective and she will visit the school again and attend a class with a student before she registers. I'm also curious whether she will be able to take a class this summer which can give her credit to help in the long term, as I know the Naval Science classes she will also have to take each semester will increase her credit load.
     
  4. NavyLion

    NavyLion Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2017
    Messages:
    18
    Likes Received:
    43
    If it makes you feel any better, I have the same worries about my DS. Thing is, you can't really predict how everything will go. These kids are all so bright and so capable. We just have to trust they will continue on their paths and if things change, they will handle it. This next phase in life is so scary but so exciting all at once!
     
    ProudDad17 and momx3 like this.
  5. cb7893

    cb7893 5-Year Member

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2011
    Messages:
    1,710
    Likes Received:
    1,187
    Mom,

    Your questions and concerns are spot on.

    This was my DS's experience. He commissioned into the Army in May 2016 so his situation certainly is not analogous, given the different services and the changing needs of those services. He earned a 4yr scholarship AROTC and attended a Big 10 University with a very strong and well known Chem E department. In High School he was off the charts in Math and Science. He loved Chemistry the most. He also saw the Forbes and WSJ rankings of the highest paid grads. Chem E was right near the top (crude oil was over $100/barrel at the time), so that sealed it for him. He also had the advantage of carrying in three semesters of Calc and scored a 5 on AP Chem, so he arrived with a semester under his belt. No cadet/mid was ever better prepared to handle the rigors, logistically and intellectually, of a Chem E major and ROTC. Well...

    What does an 18-19 year old boy know? Not as much as they think. Everything was great and easy first year. Second year, when he got into the meat of Chem E, he realized that he hated it. I remember, "Dad, it's boring. I have a 2000 cell spreadsheet and I have to make the upper left agree with the lower right. I can write a proof of almost anything. I can problem solve. But, they serve no purpose in these classes I have to take." I'm not excusing him from anything. He could have done the work, but he didn't want to. He also figured out that even with so many credits carried in, he had virtually no free electives. He wanted more CS courses and wanted to study Arabic. The Chem E major had no room for those within a four year time frame and there was no way on God's green earth he was going to stay in school an extra year, even if the Army would pay for it. He was an excellent Violinist and hasn't played since he brought the instrument home first Christmas. He loved tennis, but never really had time to play until his junior year.

    His solution was to change his major to Chemistry. He took courses, inside and outside of Chemistry, that were more interesting to him. He got a job in a lab actually "doing" Chemistry. He had a high GPA and AFT, so there was no pushback from the Brigade about switching his major. The other thing that hit him around Junior year was the realization "Hey, I'm going to be in the Army in two years. If I'm going to be in the Army, I'm going Active Duty and I definitely don't want Chemical Corps." He ended up going AD, branched Signal Corps (nothing to to with Chemistry) and is a happy camper.

    Long story short. If your DD knows what Chem E is, likes it, has the work ethic, and is prepared to make all the sacrifices, then go for it. She wouldn't be the first xROTC mid/cadet to make it work. I know my DS worried more about the perception of failure than whether the Brigade would let him change majors. Only your DD can figure out what is and isn't important to her. And that can't be done ahead of time. She will learn quickly the meaning of the quote, "Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts."

    Best of Luck to your DD!
     
    galileo.galilei and momx3 like this.
  6. momx3

    momx3 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2016
    Messages:
    145
    Likes Received:
    114
    Thanks so much cb7893. I will be showing her this post! As parents, we have a better vantage point observing our children and knowing where they tend to stress out, and when they are cutting their time too close! The benefit of life experience that only they can find their own path. I'm just hoping she will consider the pros/cons of each area of study. Of course it is still hard for her to get excited about a college when she is still CPR with her application. Glad to hear your DS is happy with his choice!