ROTC Experience - Scholarship vs Non-Scholarship

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by rholt, Jun 4, 2018.

  1. rholt

    rholt Member

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2018
    Messages:
    18
    Likes Received:
    5
    My son is applying to Annapolis. He is also looking into NROTC.

    Questions
    a) Are all NROTC participants on scholarship - or are there some that are just participating because they want to be commissioned?
    b) If there are non-scholarship participants - do they have the same NROTC experience as the scholarship people (e.g. summer activities)

    There are two reasons I am asking this.
    1) We are lucky enough to be able to pay for his college without any kind of scholorship
    2) He is convinced the Marines is the best life for him. We (his parents) aren't as sure. The concern is that a scholarship would "lock him in" to that path

    Any input would be appreciated.
     
  2. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator 5-Year Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2010
    Messages:
    10,083
    Likes Received:
    3,623
    Most participate because they want to be commissioned. Some of them earn scholarships while enrolled in the program. My son was one such midshipman who won a scholarship the middle of his sophomore year. Some of his buddies did not win a scholarship but were awarded advanced standing between sophomore and junior year. This entitles them to the stipend, and achieving advanced standing is required to continue in the program past the sophomore year. All NROTC participants have the same experience and participate in the same activities, wearing the same uniforms, during the academic year. Only students on scholarship or with advanced standing can participate in summer training, which is the one thing that sets them apart. Since DS was set on the Marine Corps it didn't matter to him that he couldn't attend CORTRAMID the summer after freshman year. He was able to do a cruise the summer after his sophomore year, and of course OCS the summer after his junior year.

    It's a great program and my son's involvement brought out the best in him. He did far better academically in college than he did in high school. He made the Dean's list at least 6 of 8 semesters while still being heavily involved in NROTC, sometimes holding two simultaneous leadership positions. I completely attribute his success to NROTC because without it I've no doubt he would have slacked off in college.

    There is nothing better than being a Marine Officer. Even if your son won a scholarship straight out of high school, the first year is a freebie. As long as he doesn't report back to NROTC the first class of sophomore year, then he can drop without any obligation to repay the scholarship. There were several kids in DS's class who dropped out the summer between freshman and sophomore year and had no obligation. ZThey dropped because it either wasn't a good fit, or they figured they would not win a scholarship... and they were in it for the scholarship money. Your son would not be locked in until after that first year, if he wins a scholarship, or achieves advanced standing between sophomore and junior year. This is referred to as being "contracted" which is a term you'll see often on the forums.

    Good luck to your son. I hope all his dreams come true.
     
    nykaby71, SGTLee, tlatrice and 2 others like this.
  3. BTCS/USN

    BTCS/USN Member

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2016
    Messages:
    277
    Likes Received:
    449
    rholt, you bring up two points that Kinnem has addressed pretty well. I have just one point that you probably won't agree with or even like for that matter. It's with your number two statement. "He is convinced the Marines is the best life for him. We (his parents) aren't as sure." I get raising kids having managed to have some that reached adulthood and even raised a couple of kids themselves. If you got them to a point where they can make reasonable adult-like decisions then you did great, or at least as well as can be expected. May be time to trust them to make the right one for them. It may or not work out but at some point it's time to become a coach/observer rather than the director. Just an old guy's wisdom (or lack of as the case may be). You did have this discussion with him I am assuming.
     
    tlatrice, migs and AROTC-dad like this.
  4. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator 5-Year Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2010
    Messages:
    10,083
    Likes Received:
    3,623
    Given @BTCS/USN 's comment I thought I would add (hopefully briefly) how my son got into NROTC. Junior year of high school he started talking about enlisting in the Marine Corps with a couple of his neighborhood buddies who were the same age. Mom was absolutely dead set against him joining the military. In private I would remind her that when he graduates from high school he would be 18 and she would no longer have a say in the matter. After weeks of thought she turned around and said it was OK to join the Corps but college must come first and he would have to go in as an officer. That's when we started looking into NROTC and the rest is history. She is so very proud of him today and believes he followed the correct course. BTW, his two buddies who were going to enlist with him? One did enlist in the Corps. The other attended college as an AFROTC cadet, without a scholarship. DS is in Okinawa today. His Air Force buddy is in S. Korea (he asked for that as he is Korean).

    Hope this helps in some way.
     
    tlatrice, BTCS/USN and AROTC-dad like this.
  5. rholt

    rholt Member

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2018
    Messages:
    18
    Likes Received:
    5
    Great input - thanks Gents.
     
  6. 5Day

    5Day Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2015
    Messages:
    1,720
    Likes Received:
    963
    An additional point. A NROTC scholarship does not "lock" you in until your first day of you sophomore year. If you decide, duri g your freshman year, that the Marines are not for you, you can drop out of the program, and you do not need to pay the scholarship back..

    You can also join a unit without a scholarship, called a college programmer, and participate just as the midshipmen on scholarship. You can be a college programmer for 2 years. After that you will need to be awarded a scholarship or advanced standing to continue and ultimately commission as a Marine.
     
  7. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Super Moderator 5-Year Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2011
    Messages:
    4,773
    Likes Received:
    4,668
    The gents above addressed this well. A few items... if he gets into USNA, he is not committed until the first day of his junior year. The other part of USNA he does do service selection until senior year. He will have lots of exposure to Navy and Marine branches while at USNA. Unlike NROTC-MO, he doesn’t need to make this choice until early his senior year. Just a few differences between the two that could help with your concerns.
     
  8. Milly

    Milly Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2016
    Messages:
    92
    Likes Received:
    71
    Interested in the distinction between participating in ROTC in college either on scholarship or not on scholarship, and how this may affect the commitment after graduation. I see the post about by 5Day, for example. Can someone please direct me to online literature that describes these details?
     
  9. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator 5-Year Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2010
    Messages:
    10,083
    Likes Received:
    3,623
    Which ROTC program? NROTC or what? Each program works differently. In any case, if you haven't won a scholarship you are not locked in until first day of junior year at which point, by definition, you must be on advanced standing and will be contracted to serve after commissioning.

    This page gives some detail on NROTC college programmers (those without a scholarship)... http://www.nrotc.navy.mil/scholarships.html

    You can find some info on AROTC here: https://www.goarmy.com/rotc/college-students/faq.html
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2018
  10. Milly

    Milly Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2016
    Messages:
    92
    Likes Received:
    71
    Here is a sort of open-ended question: How would you compare the "quality" or "desirability" of the pathway to a career in the military between two options: attending a service academy, or attending a regular university and participating in ROTC? My best guess is that the service academy route is ideal but what do I know. Perhaps the better way to word the question is: does the ROTC route result in the need to catch up a little after graduation, in some way, with the service academy grads? How tough wold it be to end up on an equal footing with a service academy grad?
     
  11. Milly

    Milly Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2016
    Messages:
    92
    Likes Received:
    71
    Just wanted to expand on my open-ended question - I don't mean to imply any attitude towards one versus the other. I really don't have any info to even make that sort of judgement. I just get the sense (from the air, I guess) that the ideal route would be via a service academy, but perhaps that is not correct. And of course, each student is an individual and will have his own set of options and his own best choice.
     
  12. AROTC-dad

    AROTC-dad Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2014
    Messages:
    3,794
    Likes Received:
    3,432
    There is no "ideal" route to becoming an officer. SA, ROTC, OCS are all different paths and have pros and cons.

    Yes, my DS originally wanted to apply to an SA, but has absolutely loved his ROTC experience. What matters is the best fit for the cadet/mid.
     
    kinnem likes this.
  13. Falcon A

    Falcon A Member

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2014
    Messages:
    1,050
    Likes Received:
    1,192
    Milly -- your question is a good one, but there are a lot of factors . . . depends a lot on the situation . . . there is no doubt that going to an SA is like winning the lottery. . . there will be opportunities at an SA that a civilian university can't provide, plus it is a full-ride "schoarship" (actually its not a scholarship since you owe time in service in return). . . but the ROTC route can be great as well, and there isn't just one ROTC route . . . there are the Senior Military Colleges (Citadel, Norwich, Texas A&M, Va Tech, VMI, UNG) that provide an "SA-like" educatino and experience . . . there are civilian universities that have very invloved ROTC detachments and others that are less so . . .

    Recommend you plug "Service Academy vs ROTC" in the search tool in the upper right hand corner of the page. You will get a plethora of input . . .
     
  14. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator 5-Year Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2010
    Messages:
    10,083
    Likes Received:
    3,623
    @Falcon A It's not often you see the word plethora in a post! Congratulations!

    I you attend an SA or SMC there MAY be a little catch-up the the ROTC officer needs to do. Certainly the SA attending has been living the military life 24x7. A ROTC officer has not and might have a little adjusting to do. OTOH, some folks think that ROTC officers have has more exposure to different types of people as opposed to "everyone I'm leading here is attending an SA" so they MAY have faced some additional leadership challenges. There are a slew of other things saying it "might be like this" or it "might be like that". In the end, it comes down to what AROTC-dad pointed out... it depdns on what is the best path for you. My DS didn't even complete an Academy application because he knew it wasn't the right path for him. He loved doing NROTC and now he's working at the best job he ever had!
     
    Falcon A likes this.
  15. Falcon A

    Falcon A Member

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2014
    Messages:
    1,050
    Likes Received:
    1,192
    I thought about using "panoply" but wasn't sure how to spell it . . . ;-)
     
    AROTC-dad and kinnem like this.
  16. DesertCaliMom

    DesertCaliMom Member

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2017
    Messages:
    518
    Likes Received:
    517
    My son is non-contract NROTC at Norwich. He starts Rook Week on 8/18. The more he learns and participates at Norwich the more he sees it as an even better fit than USNA ever could be for him. What's surprising him, too, is that there are civilian and DOD options for his career path that are even more lucrative than ROTC contracts that he's been asked to apply for, things he never would have even knew about had he attended USNA. So he's remaining as a college programmer this year, applying for the three other programs (in addition to his 3.5 year NROTC app), and then will choose his best option.

    Preparing for a contract prepared my kid for many more opportunities, and I am proud he's weighing all Of his options - because options st this age are rare! I hope your son sees non-contract the same way!
     
  17. NavRattler

    NavRattler New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2018
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    1
    I am a Third Class Midshipmen (sophomore) in the NROTC program.

    For NROTC, all midshipmen must attain either a scholarship offer or advanced standing in order to commission through the program. Scholarship/non-scholarship life is the same for midshipmen during the fall/spring semesters, except for who is paying the bills. During the summer, scholarship midshipmen will attend summer training. Other than tuition and summer training, life is virtually the same.

    As for being "locked in", that occurs after the start of the sophomore year. For him, that would be 1 September 2019. If your son were to be disenrolled from the NROTC program while on scholarship after that date, the Navy/Marine Corps will need to be repaid for all funds they dispersed to the academic institution as part of the scholarship.

    NROTC is a rewarding experience. The challenge is there but there are mechanisms in place to motivate the midshipmen and help them form the habits necessary to earn a commission. Hope this helps!
     
    Kensington likes this.
  18. Humey

    Humey Member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2016
    Messages:
    799
    Likes Received:
    540
    My son recently commissioned through AF Rotc. As for scholarship vs non scholarship, as far as I know, there is absolutely no difference between them. At least at his detachment, they all received uniforms at the same time and had the exact same experience. I doubt anyone knew who was there are on scholarship and who wasnt, unless of course they tell each other. Mechanically, those on scholarship contract sophomore year while those who dont have scholarship , contract Junior year. As all of the become Active Duty when they commision (now its almost all), it makes no difference who paid for college. As for post commissioning, again money doesnt come into play. My son applied and got an pilot spot. As for those who go through academy vs those who dont, I have to imagine that their is the "old boys club" when it comes down to the academy. Like any other group, people tend to help people from their own group. Then again, my son will be in pilot training for with the same people for over a year and I am sure they will create connections that will continue for many years to come. Having said that, once you are a pilot for example, no one cares where you went to college and I sam sure that holds true for every other position.. As for the best path to take, Academy vs Rotc, to me it is like saying which is better Harvard or USC. You have to be the right type of person to go to Harvard even if you have the grades and scores to go there. Same holds true for the academy. It isnt for everyone
     
  19. 5centsmom

    5centsmom Member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2018
    Messages:
    37
    Likes Received:
    39
    OP, we were in your shoes 18 months ago, where the Navy wasn’t where we thought we’d be headed. One thing that helped the parents & the kid was reading about it. I got some books on CD for the car & our daily commute became Navy 101. Not just glorious battles but books about management: “Turn This Ship Around” and “Its Your Ship” were 2 titles. I am sure there are Marine equivalents out there (is Leaders Eat Last appropriate?). In other words, we sought info while imagining what his life would be like. Best to figure out the dreary side because every job has one. Putting in the hours for fitness tests outside of team practices was a bit of reality, too. Also gave us parents openings to explore The Why. In the end, he convinced us. And now we’re 3 weeks from his first training (NROTC)... and the realization of his dream.
     
    Kensington and kinnem like this.
  20. sheriff3

    sheriff3 5-Year Member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2013
    Messages:
    1,178
    Likes Received:
    547
    In most units non and scholarship cadets are treated as equals. All get the same uniforms and opportunities. After obtaining their commission all are on equal footing... SA, ROTC, OCS, makes no difference still a know nothing butter bar. My DS who commissioned out of ROTC is an FSO in an FA unit and he has fellow officers that graduated WP and OCS. He even went to BOLC with a kid who graduated from the Merchant Marine Academy and opted to commission in the Army. Lastly, keep in mind ROTC accounts for the majority of officers in the armed services.