Potential Switch From Tech to Non-Tech on AFROTC Scholarship


Jul 5, 2017
Hi Y'all,

First off, sorry if this thread is kind of redundant; I know there's a lot of similar ones.

I'm a second-semester Freshman in AFROTC, on scholarship, doing Computer Science (BS) as my major. Although I'm not good at math/science, I listed Comp. Sci. on my major preferences when I applied for HSSP in order to increase my chances for a scholarship (I know, sin#1). Naturally, AFROTC HQ most likely said: "He listed tech...give him tech." And now, being the typical 19-year-old (who makes dumb choices) that I am, I sort of hate my life doing this major. I finished my first semester with a 3.46 GPA, which I think is low for the comparatively easy classes I took (compared to what I'll face the next couple of years).

I knew from the beginning that it wouldn't be easy; my main goal was to get my degree paid for and commission (since there's absolutely no way my parents can afford it), and that's why I put down tech. Now my focus has switched to "What do I need to do to maintain CGPA, keep my scholarship, and commission". Obviously, a non-tech major would make that easier for me. But, if I'm stuck with this major, I am willing to "fight to the death" and give it everything I've got to stay in college/ROTC (although I'm losing my confidence).

What I'm looking into as an alternative is trying to switch majors (sooner rather than later), and although the chances are one in a million, I would like to switch to a non-tech if I could. I talked with my Detachment's EFC (Education Flight Commander) and he said they could submit a request, but he recommended not even trying since it would highlight my name in a negative way at HQ. I understand that being the annoying cadet who always has a request is a bad thing, but does HQ penalize for that?
Can anyone provide an additional perspective on this? Are there any true negative effects of requesting a switch to a non-tech (besides losing a tech EA for FT)? Are there ways to improve the likelihood that they will approve? Is switching from tech to a foreign language possible?

Also, if you think I'm being lazy/uncommitted, feel free to let me know. I'm okay with hearing some honest opinions.

Thanks for putting up with my long-winded post...I appreciate any answers, feedback, etc.

Honestly leave the negative aspect at HQ alone for a second. The fact is your EFC already politely told you the answer to your question, basically NO you are not going to be able to switch from tech to non-tech and keep your scholarship.

You have stated you need this scholarship to attend your college, so the rest of the questions regarding HQ and negative effects are moot. I do not think there are any ways to improve the likelihood. This has been how it has always been. HQ AFROTC frowns upon the switch. They want to keep the ratio of tech to non-tech at 85% for scholarships. You can ask to switch and in all of my years I have seen 0 allowed to keep their scholarship. You can stay in AFROTC still.
~ I also think that HQ AFROTC doesn't do this because of the idea that it would make it harder to determine if the HS candidates are gaming the system.

I would say that maybe you could go tech to foreign language, but foreign language is not going to be as easy as it was in HS. Ask your EFC if the chances go up for that major.

If you don't know how the SFT board works is it is broken into 4 groups. Tech/rated. Tech/non-rated. Non-tech/rated. Non-tech/non-rated. Non-tech non-rated is the lowest selection rate. The avg tech major has a cgpa @3.0/3.1. A 3.46 is a very good gpa for your 1st semester. Many kids do poorly their 1st semester because they are getting accustomed to college, missing home, balancing fun with academic demands. So if you are thinking that your gpa is low to be competitive for SFT I would disagree.

Good luck.
You're succeeding. Best to keep pushing and tough it out.

I would not say this if you had expressed a passion for a particular non-tech subject - for ex., if instead of saying, "I sort of hate my life doing this major" you had instead said, "I discovered a passion for [political science] [history] [other non-tech subject]."

But I don't see this passion FOR something, just a weariness and general distaste - note the modifier, "sort of hate" , not "detest", "loathe", "am looking for a rope & a rafter" - with a subject that you're doing very well in.

So my $0.02 would be to find ways to make your CS courses tolerable by
a) engaging ASAP with the academic counselor in your major to determine how you can amend your last two years to better align with your interests and still satisfy the major requirements;
b) related to a) find interesting electives which can be used against the CS major's requirements; and
c) get outside of the classroom and getting involved in real-world applications, via internships and/or research projects, of the dry/dusty academic concepts taught in your CS classes.

Is your data structures course boring you to tears? Then see if you can get involved in a big data / data science project in which you extract meaning from data in order to solve a real-world problem - e.g. optimizing sleep schedules for the USN so as to reduce the incidence of accidents due to sleep deprivation.

Don't see any connection between your linear algebra course and the real world? Maybe you should learn how it's used in behaviorally-targeted advertising to make billions of dollars for ecommerce companies like eBay and Amazon.

If you're at all interested in politics, then maybe you can learn how big data and predictive algorithms will be the most important investment, by far, that any candidate will make in 2020.

CS is nothing more than a set of tools that help us solve problems involving optimizations of digital resources. It is 100% practical. Focus on what you can DO WITH your CS knowledge.

A never-ending list of interesting, useful projects in the form of open competitions can be found on Kaggle (now owned by Google):

Stick with it.
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You can ask to switch and in all of my years, I have seen 0 allowed to keep their scholarship.

So if I ask cadre to submit a CPAR and HQ doesn't like the proposed major, I WILL lose my scholarship? Because he made it sound like that only happens with unapproved switches. He said I could at least ask, and they might say yes or no and leave it at that. He just doesn't think it would be the best thing for HQ to see on my record.

Also, how do you think they would feel about a switch from a Comp. Science BS to a Comp. Science BA? Technically I guess that's non-tech, but would they be more amenable since it's the same major? (minus 2 semesters of chem and 2 of physics which I wouldn't mind eliminating, since several AS300s in my major are struggling with it).
No, you only will lose it if they say no, but you switch majors anyway. This maybe why the EFC is saying you will get on HQs radar. Not the request per se, but if it is denied you opted to switch anyway.
~ Caveat, I am not sure this is true because I do know posters here that did switch from tech to non-tech and still got SFT. However, this was also during the years that they had 90+% selection rate. Also many of them were still wanting to go rated. A non-tech/rated has a much higher chance of being selected than non-tech/non-rated.
~~ Nobody knows what the selection rate will be next yr. There have been yrs with overall selection rate of 55%. I can't recall the overall percentage for tech/rated that yr., I think it was in the 75+%, tech/non-rated and non-tech/rated were in the 50% range. Non-tech/non-rated selection rate was in the teens.

I do not know your intended AFSC, but you should realize a non-tech/non-rated will be a much lower selection rate by far compared to other groups. Again, this is important to remember because if not selected than HQ has the right to disenroll you from AFROTC. In essence, you will not only lose the scholarship, but can't commission into the AF. As I stated above nobody knows what the selection rate will be next yr. It went one yr from 93% to the following yr to 55% and the yr after that it was back in the 90%+ .

IMPO I don't think they would be more amenable if you stuck with computers, but as BA. It still would be considered a non-tech. Let's say you are going non-rated, many Comp Science BS majors will go that way too. FFWD commissioning. There are limited comp. AFSCs. HQ ADAF knows this, and they need to add into that number with USAFA and OCS grads too, but they have a tech degree. Not to be harsh, but the question remains, why take the one with a BA over the one with a BS degree?
~ HQ ADAF always has a 5 yr personnel plan on the books. If they already have enough comp sci majors (BS) to fill those AFSCs than there is no need to pay for your college education, plus books, plus stipend as a comp sci (BA). We are not talking 5K, but 20k+ a yr in AFROTC, + also sending you to SFT and upon commissioning to an ADAF training school prior to your 1st op assignment. They are on the hook for 6 figures before they get their return on investment for the 4 yrs you owe them.

Finally, you don't know why those others as AS300s are struggling. Some examples to think over are:
1. How many credits are they taking? Are they trying to do a dual major with a minor and core concentration. IE 21 credits
2. Did they get that hard arse prof that everyone hates, but they had to take them bc of that prof was the only one to fit in their academic schedule?
3. Time management
~ Do they have a job in the det. that requires more ROTC time. IE they are a flight CC. That means they are attending more ROTC meetings and having to write reports/reviews for the cadets in their flight. Time taken away from studying.
~ Are they in a military frat like Arnie Air or Silver Wings? Time taken away from studying
~ Are they in a romantic relationship? Time taken away from studying
~ Do they live on campus, or are they commuting?
4. Have they asked for tutors, are they in a study group?

I will say again, if it is your gpa fears, remember tech majors get an edge, and as a tech major you are doing very well academically. If it is the fear of chem and physics because others (cadets) are struggling than turn to them when you are in the classes for insight if you feel yourself having problems.

The thing you will learn in your military career is this is also your family, they want you to succeed, all you have to do is embrace them look any other family member. You might not always like each other or get along all of the time, BUT when the chips are down for one of them, you will come running and pull them up no questions asked, no judgement made.

Sorry for the novella, hope it helps from an aspect you may not have thought about yet.
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