ROTC Experience - Scholarship vs Non-Scholarship

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

  1. rholt

    rholt Member

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    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

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    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.
     
  3. BTCS/USN

    BTCS/USN Member

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    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.
     
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  4. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator 5-Year Member

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    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.
     
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  5. rholt

    rholt Member

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    Great input - thanks Gents.
     
  6. 5Day

    5Day Member

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    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

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    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.