Pilot selection for tech majors

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by cdh50193, Dec 16, 2010.

  1. cdh50193

    cdh50193 5-Year Member

    Jul 20, 2010
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    I am aware that most Engineering majors cannot graduate within 4 years. Usually it may extend to 4.5 or even 5 years, but as tech majors, we may never know that until it's too late. How will this affect applying for a pilot slot? What are the steps involving this issue?
  2. clarksonarmy

    clarksonarmy Recruiting Operations Officer at Clarkson Army 5-Year Member

    Mar 8, 2010
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    What branch? Clarkson engineers graduate in 4 years. In the Army you can be a history major and get a pilot slot if you rank high enough on the OML. If you are looking AF, good luck.
  3. Pima

    Pima 5-Year Member

    Nov 28, 2007
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    For the AF UPT, UNT, CSO slots it all comes down to another board like the scholarship board.

    Here's what goes into the equation:
    1. GPA
    2. Det ranking (think class ranking)
    3. PFT
    4. AFOQT and another test (TCBM, I think are the initials)
    5. Commander rec.

    You than get a point score and go up against everyone nationally. They know the % of UPT slots they can hand out. Score high enough nationally, and you get it, below that line and you don't..

    In the AF when it comes to flying, your major does not matter at all. you do not get points because you are an engineering major over the business major.

    The difference between the AF and other branches is that you meet the board as a jr. in college. The class of 12 will find out in 6-9 weeks from today if they got a UPT slot.

    The AF accepts the fact that engineering takes longer, and they do not hold that against you for taking 4.5 or 5 yrs. Thus, if you are expected to graduate in 13, you will go up with a board of 13 grads. The fact that you entered in 08 on a 5 yr program doesn't matter, your graduation yr has always been 13, and they planned for that.

    What will be a player in the equation is that gpa, because that is 10% of your score. The AFOQT is 15%. The rank and pft = 10% and the big one is the commander's rec of 65%.

    Commander's recs are going to be racked and stacked. Plus, the positions you hold in the det and how active you are will be put into that equation for the commander when he/she racks and stacks.

    Currently about 50% of UPT pilots are AFROTC. AFA grads get UPT is they want it, but that still leaves a large number out there to fill.

    For new candidates thinking about this pipeline for the AF, remember to ask the det the % of cadets that get UPT traditionally. ERAU loves to say they give out the 2nd most UPT slots after the AFA, but statistically, your chances are lower than other colleges because the det is so large and competitive. They may have the physical number, but that doesn't improve your chances. It is a great college, but go there because you want to, not to get a UPT slot.

    CLarkson is correct the AF pipeline is slowing down. The biggest sign is that they are not getting the AFA grads into it up to 9 months after graduation. AFROTC do not go until the AFA has all entered. Our DS is a 12 grad, and the commander had briefed their det a few weeks ago about UPT. He said he expects this will be the last yr the numbers will be high because of the pipeline. He feels that 13 is the bulge yr because they did not cut down the scholarships severe enough and that will cause issues.
  4. cdh50193

    cdh50193 5-Year Member

    Jul 20, 2010
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    Sorry I didn't mention, but yes I was referring to the AF. And that was quite what I was looking for. Let's assume you attend college from 2011 and your 'planned' graduation date is 2015 (not to mention the 5-year program here). So you would apply for a UPT slot in the spring of your junior year (in this case, 2014) but at this point you're not aware that you might have to attend the university for another year or so because you failed some classes. You submit your file and receive a slot. In the following months, your graduation date is delayed, so do you lose your slot or does it transfer automatically to the next year? Or am I not understanding this concept. The thing I'm confused about is that you might not know if your graduation date will be delayed maybe until after junior year.

    And also you mentioned that the AF does not consider your major at all, so it is to your disadvantage if you're stuck with a low grade because of your engineering major. But I heard rumors on the other hand that the Navy does consider your major. Is that true?

    And let's assume you became under contract with the AF with a scholarship and you realize you did not receive a UPT Slot. At that point is a branch transfer, or the BTG program possible? If it is, how will it affect your scholarship, would it simply transfer?

    Thanks in advance.
  5. Pima

    Pima 5-Year Member

    Nov 28, 2007
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    Hate to say, but the minute you fail a class is the minute you are DOA. Your GPA matters, and it is taken into account. They don't care what the major is.

    Additionally, your commander is going to have to write a rec for you. It will be hard for him to explain to the AF why they should take the cadet that has failed some classes over someone else. In essence, you would rack and stack down to the bottom of the pile, unless you had some really good excuse...FOLKS died and you had a melt down for 1 semester is about the level of excuse you need.

    If the commander is willing to allow you to compete for a slot. You must take another test. It is comparable to the AFOQT, but only for rated positions. I forget the initials of the test, but is something like BAT (Basic Apt Test), our DS took it 2 weeks ago.

    From there you submit your letter of intent to go rated. With that letter is your top 3 rated choices...UPT, UNT, CSO, RPA. If you place CSO, than you have another form to sign, kind of like a waiver, saying you are willing to take fighters. The commander than submits your file with your 3 picks. There is no guarantee which one of the 3 you will get. Again highest score nationally wins.

    You lose your slot. If that graduation date is delayed at all, the least of your worries is UPT. Your true worry is that they are going to cut you totally lose and tell you to have a nice life...thanks, but no thanks regarding you serving.

    Honestly, there should be no confusion, if you do not graduate on time your AF life is in jeopardy.

    Currently, they are releasing cadets with gpas in the 3.0-3.2 marker and those are scholarship recipients. Non-scholarship recipients are much easier to cut because there is no fiscal investment on the AF part. By your jr. yr if you have been holding a 3.0+ and now all of the sudden fail a course, in your spring yr., something is not quite right. Yes, courses get harder, but now you have that UPT slot as a motivator, and 2 yrs of 3.0+ educational foundation for the courses. Freshman yr is one thing, but 3 semesters left to go is a whole different story.

    Yes and no. In the AF if you want to go to TPS, you can't do it without an engineering degree. SO yes, it does play a part in the equation.

    Now let's remember a couple of things about the ROTC scholarship system.

    1. 95% of Type 1 and 2 are engineering, thus, the non-engineering pool is very small. That means the major really doesn't play into the equation to a high level when it comes to the gpa.

    2. You are required to maintain a specific gpa or higher. You can't do that if you are required to repeat so many courses that you will delay your graduation date.
    ~~~Mathematically...you take 19 credits (say 18 for college and 1 for ROTC). You have 1 F and you will need an A to offset, but that still leaves you at a C for the two, so even the rest are all B's, you will be under that 3.0.

    3. The board is national. It is not tied to the university. They know how many UPT slots are there from a nationalistic approach. Each cadet gets a score. ABove you get the slot below and you don't. It is point driven.

    The F is going to hurt now in 2 ways:

    1. You are below in the gpa world on the best day
    2. You need to repeat the course, and you have delayed your graduation. Which means all bets are off.

    1. You are under contract with the AF, did they ever promise you a UPT slot?

    They promised to pay your college as long as you give back 4 yrs to them. SERVICE BEFORE SELF. You agreed to serve them in whatever position they decided.

    You are now a jr., and are a POV. You walk away now, and they can force you to pay back that scholarship.

    ~~~ At our DS's det. there was an engineering student who wanted to be a pilot went to LDAC (summer field training)...HATED IT! Came back quit ROTC and handed back his scholarship. The AF is going after that money. Once you graduate from summer training, you belong to them. You go as a rising jr. Thus, in your scenario, you owe it because you are close to a rising sr.

    This kid got slapped with a 24K bill because he was fortunate enough to have the lowest tier scholarship.

    2. Why would the Navy take you?

    No offense, but see it from their POV. You didn't cut it for the AF, so in realistic terms you are not a viable candidate for the Navy either.

    3. The AF has their scholarships and the Navy has theirs, just like the AF has Strike Eagles and the Navy has Hornets. They are not interchangeable. They have their own budget and their own mission.

    CAVEAT: People change branches, and typically it is to the Army as sophomores. It is doable, but very difficult when you are 1 yr out and the reason why is a gpa or pilot situation.

    The one thing you missed which is going to really play into the equation for UPT is LDAC. Your gpa as a sophomore will play into that board too. It is not a given you will get that opportunity. No LDAC and now when the board meets, they get to choose between you with out it or another cadet with it when it comes to the Flight board. The one with it will get points.

    Again, now the gpa has hit you even harder, because of that lower gpa, you didn't get LDAC and so now your low gpa and no LDAC will reduce your score.

    MY pet peeve:

    I have stated over and over again the following things:
    1. Don't major in something because it gives you the best chance of a scholarship

    ~~~If you hate it or have no desire to study it, IT ALSO gives you the highest chance of losing a scholarship.

    2. Don't take a scholarship for a career field. I.E. Pilot.

    ~~~Take it because you want to serve that branch. It is great to have a career goal, but it has to be in that branch.

    ~~~ AF pilots will tell you that their life is nothing like the Navy or Army pilots world, except for the fact they fly. Yet, flying isn't enough. You need to want to wear the blues for the AF, the whites for the Navy or the greens for the Army.

    You need to understand the old joke in the military.

    Do you know what they call an O2 pilot in the AF? LT!

    You are an officer first, your job is second.

    Off my soap box and sorry it was so long in response, but I felt a subject like this really needed to be discussed in detail to understand the depth of the consequences when you sign on that dotted line.

    Best wishes and hopes.

    I know all of this was very hard to accept, but the two points you have discussed in detail needed to be addressed in an intricate manner so you can see the bigger picture.

    Here's a question for you, let's say all goes well and you get that UPT slot out of the AF, you go to UPT, and bust out, what will you do now? Your pilot world is over, but you still owe many yrs, do you have a back up plan?

    Not trying to be mean, just asking. I would ask the same question of someone who said I want to fly fighters...what if you got tankers, would you leave at the 1st opportunity?

    See joke!
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2010
  6. Dad

    Dad 5-Year Member

    Apr 25, 2010
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    Thank you, Pima. Well said. :thumb:

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