NROTC vs USNA

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by navykid123, Dec 18, 2017.

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NROTC or USNA

  1. NROTC

  2. USNA

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  1. navykid123

    navykid123 New Member

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    Hello all, this is my first post but I've been reading on here for a while. I am currently in a very tough spot and haven't found any threads which I feel address this issue to the extent which I am looking for. I have secured an ROTC Scholarship and an Appointment to the Naval academy (still waiting on AF). Now, I am in the driver's seat you could say and must choose whether to go to an academy or go to a regular college with ROTC(hopefully UVA). I am interested in flying jets and securing a commission -- that is my ultimate goal. However, I know that much of life is about the journey and not the destination. With that being said, what do all of you think about ROTC vs USNA? What should I do?

    A few things I am wondering about/think are important to note:

    I am interested in having somewhat of a college experience - nothing crazy, just looking for a group of friends to learn adult independence alongside. Friendships and relationships are very important to me, how does the academy foster (or harm) relationships with your peers?

    Seeking Aeronautical Engineering degree.

    Not overly concerned with the financial aspect of ROTC scholarship vs SA.

    Does one prepare you better for the fleet?

    How fun are academies? Are they a place where kids can be kids and have a reasonable amount of fun or are they absolute pressure cookers of academic and military rigor?

    How much does attending an Academy affect high school friendships?

    Does ROTC offer the same type of summer opportunities such as Powered Flight training or cruises?

    Does an academy deprive you of the soft skills which college teaches (living independently)?

    Sorry for the long post, but I have been wondering about these questions for about six months now and am seeking some wiser advice than my own thoughts. THANK YOU SO MUCH!
     
  2. GoldWinger

    GoldWinger Member

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    Congrats on both! Fantastic news. Based on your questions and possible concerns, ROTC UVA is an amazing choice that offers everything you need to have a college experience and prepare you for the fleet without the time consuming "rigor" of the USNA schedule. An advantage of USNA is you start your career knowing 1,000+ officers and have a great network. Bloom where you are planted and most of your concerns will evaporate.
     
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  3. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ 10-Year Member

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    If you haven’t been on a CVW at USNA, ask for one. Best way for you to observe mids doing everyday things and hear from them directly.
     
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  4. Old Navy BGO

    Old Navy BGO 5-Year Member

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    Two different worlds...think of USNA as an immersion course in the Navy and a leadership laboratory. You will eat, sleep and live Navy for 4 years, see good leaders and bad, and hopefully develop your own leadership style based upon what you see.

    Is the USNA graduate better prepared for the fleet ? My experience was based in the aviation community ,P-3's. IMO, the USNA was better prepared when we first hit the squadron, but the good NROTC grads quickly caught up and by the time the first tour was up, the commissioning source among top officers in the squadron was not relevant. I suspect it may have made more of a difference with the SWO's than other communities. First impressions count, so I would give some advantage to USNA --but over the long term, we are all the same. (BTW -this is a generalization, I am sure we all can relate stories of the dirtbag USNA grad or absolutely stellar NROTC grad).

    As for fun -- there is a lot of pressure, a fair amount of BS (what I call the harassment package) and face it, USNA can be harder than a real college. That being said, we had our fair share of fun --sometimes the fun may be different than what you experience at real college , and even a little off the wall or demented.

    I've never been to a real college - but there is one area where I suspect that USNA (or other service academies ) stand out . I think any college would be hard pressed to match the bond and comradery of a USNA Class. I don't get together with Classmates often, but when we do we are a band of brothers (and sisters) again. You will not be able to recreate the bond f0rged during Plebe Summer, Midshipman cruises, and other experiences that may not be so hot at the moment, but 30 years later have become life defining moments.
     
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  5. helmsdown

    helmsdown Member

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    My niece took the NROTC route at UVA and is currently in flight school in Corpus. Based on her communications from UVA and DD's from the USNA they are quite different in regimentation. DD is Navy 7x24 and my niece was Navy during ROTC. Both seem to have made long lasting friends in college and at the Academy. I don't think my niece had as much stress and rigor in the beginning as my daughter. As Old Navy BGO stated, the bonds are definitely there from the Academy. I sat with about a dozen from the class of 58 and they were very tight. When I have seen DD and her company mates, I know she is building those bonds now.

    My niece did the many of the same things Mids do in the summer. She went to San Diego, a cruise on a destroyer and a summer in and around F-18s.
     
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  6. Hurricane12

    Hurricane12 USNA 2012 5-Year Member

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    Answers in bold, hope it helps.

     
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  7. WPHope2021

    WPHope2021 Member

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    Just for consideration, ROTC officers are not guaranteed active duty upon commissioning, where academy graduates are.
     
  8. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Super Moderator 5-Year Member

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    Navy and Marine Corps Officers will go active duty upon graduation unless something drastically changes in the next 4 years. Navy and Marine Corps Officers vis ROTC and USNA can only go active duty. The Army is the one with that difference.
     
  9. nuensis

    nuensis USNA 2016 5-Year Member

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    You'll make plenty of lasting friendships, but friends will come and go. I haven't seen a single one of my companymates in over a year now. Scattered far and wide, as they say.

    Look at the academic catalog. Compare both programs. Consider that, at USNA, you will lose a year of major courses and electives due to the nature of Plebe year. USNA curriculum generally does not have the opportunity to get as in depth as other programs.

    From what I've seen, no. Some of my peers now are woefully incompetent, and some of them I know I can rely on to get things done. All of them come from various commissioning sources. It's really up to the individual. As for the classes, do I think about the leadership cycle and OODA loops or any of the stuff I learned in Leadership or Ethics class? No. Probably would have been more useful to have a course on 3M instead.

    You can have fun. Go out on the weekends. How many "normal college" students party until daylight on a Tuesday night anyway. I had a semester at a civilian college, and while it was nice to leave campus during the weekdays, I did so to do my studying at a coffee shop instead of the library. You probably won't be having much fun during the week as an engineering major regardless of where you go. Especially not when class scheduling at a civilian university is a free-for-all scrapfest and ROTC requires you to graduate in only four years.

    Unless you go to college in your hometown, you'll get distanced from your high school friends either way.

    No. I did some cool things over my summer training blocks that I knew were Academy exclusive programs.

    College doesn't necessarily teach living independently either. And it's not too hard to figure out after graduation anyway. There's no USNA grads starving on the streets because they don't know how to rent an apartment, buy a car, buy groceries, or cook for themselves.

    I think it comes down to this: USNA allowed me to do some really cool things, and I got to experience things I would not have been able to do in ROTC. I don't think ROTC would have made me a less capable officer or USNA made me a more capable officer. I still would have forgotten most of the Rules of the Road and other SWO things over the course of my totally unrelated training pipeline and now play catch-up with the SWOs graduating from BDOC, and I would still be able to stand in front of Sailors every morning all the same.
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2017
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  10. NavyLady64

    NavyLady64 Member

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    Another quick note and for clarification- civilian college ROTC programs are substantially different from Senior Military College ROTC programs since SMC programs are also 24/7 military within their Corps, more similar to an academy. These Midshipmen also build extremely tight bonds with their buds in the Corps. So, really there are three options: NROTC (civilian college) vs. NROTC (SMC) vs. USNA. I would encourage doing a CVW at USNA, an overnight visit with an SMC and a visit to a civilian college NROTC. My DD is in NROTC at Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets (one of the 6 SMC's)- she did all three to help make her choice.

    Hope that helps in your deliberations and good luck to you!
     
  11. gill0610

    gill0610 Member

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    Maybe Navy ROTC is different , but Army ROTC allows engineering students to take up to 5 years to graduate and will extend their scholarships accordingly.
     
  12. USMAROTCFamily

    USMAROTCFamily 5-Year Member

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    This may even be detachment specific, but in our DD's case, the NROTC program does not allow for engineering major to have a 5th year. They are expected to complete it in 4 years. There are some 5th year students, where the detachment allowed them to take extra time, but the Midshipman is having to pay tuition out of pocket and the scholarship is not covering the extended time.
     
  13. frontseat

    frontseat Member

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    My NROTC unit only gives out 5th year benefits to engineering students because they know how rigorous the course load is along with losing a couple units to taking Naval Science classes each semester.

    To the questions.. These are all my opinions to help you gain a better understanding before you make a very important decision, some people may disagree with what I'm saying but thats okay.

    Does one prepare you better for the fleet?
    In my opinion, not really. The only real difference is that at the academy you are constantly surrounded by military personnel. However, over my summer cruises, I've noticed that the academy midshipman aren't as personable or social as NROTC midshipman which could potentially affect the way they lead their sailors in the future.

    How fun are academies? Are they a place where kids can be kids and have a reasonable amount of fun or are they absolute pressure cookers of academic and military rigor?
    I have a lot of friends who are at the academies and a lot of them tell me how much they wished they chose NROTC instead. From what I've heard, if you enjoy not much freedom and free time and want to live a military lifestyle, then the academy is for you. If you want to live a normal college life then NROTC is the way to go. I didn't receive an appointment to the academy, but I'm kind of glad I didn't. I was dead set on going to the academy and was crushed when I didn't get in, but now I really enjoy NROTC.

    How much does attending an Academy affect high school friendships?
    I'd say not much more than going to any other college would.

    Does ROTC offer the same type of summer opportunities such as Powered Flight training or cruises?
    For your 1/C cruise you can choose to go on an aviation cruise but no there are not.

    Does an academy deprive you of the soft skills which college teaches (living independently)?
    Nope