I would place some clarifications here.
1. AFROTC has a make or break year. As a sophomore in college aka AS200/250 they will apply for what is called Summer Field Training. If not selected HQ AFROTC has the right to dis-enroll them out of AFROTC.
~ That means if they decide later on to go OTS, they must admit that they were dis-enrolled from the AFROTC program. Thus, the idea that if it doesn't work out, does not equate to anyone can apply. Chances will be slim that they will be picked up for OTS.
2. The 3.0 gpa is basically in the same ball park as AFROTC grads.
~ Many of those applying and getting a pilot slot will have flight hours, at least a few. Few =20
3. The AF is short on pilots. That is a fact. However, you need to ask why?
~ Simple, airlines due to 9/11 were not hiring for @15 years. They have a mandated age requirement for retirement, I have to ask my airline pilot friends, but I believe it is 62. Now due the math. Many of them retired out of the AF in 01 after 20 yrs, or @ 42. If they went commercial in 00, that makes them 59 right now. That means the airlines are losing at a fast rate right now. AF pilots are leaving and filling those spots.
~~ However there is going to come a point where the airlines slow down their hiring pace, and for the OP, I would assume it will occur before they graduate. I am making the assumption that their child is in HS, probably a junior, making them the class of 2023. The airlines announced back in 2015 that they expected their pilot shortage to last starting in 16 until 2022. (Again it is about them not hiring for 15 yrs.) If this is the case, than those that reject the 6 figure bonus may not be as high in 5 years from now, which will create a glut in the AF. Hence, the AF will not need so many in the Pilot (UPT) pipeline like they need currently due to the current exodus.
4. I have read nothing of the intention to increase UPT class sizes. Currently, the AF can only pump out about 1100 pilots a year, and that is at full throttle. It is not only about UPT, but schoolhouses for the airframe. DS's schoolhouse runs sims 6 1/2 days a week, 24 hrs just to pump them out in time. There are only so many IPs. Only so many jets. Thus, even if they need more, unless they open up more UPT bases, and more airframe training units, than they can't push more pilots through.
~ If you look at USAFA, AFROTC and OTS numbers they add out to be @ the 1100. There are four UPT bases, Vance, Columbus and Laughlin that push out @ 900. ENJJPT pushes out only @180.
Now for my opinion.
1. Do you know what they call a pilot, or a Finance officer, or an Intel officer with less than 2 yrs in the AF? Lieutenant! It is not Pilot Smith.
~ Tell him to choose the WHAT IF I don't get Pilot option. Does he want to serve on a boat or be landlocked. AF typically is not on the beach like the Navy, but both have Finance officers, Intel, Comm., etc.
2. Yes, the AF is short on pilots, but they are not giving them free passes, just to pump up the numbers.
~ It is typical they will wash out @25%+ out of UPT which is a 54 week long course. See above regarding the WHAT IF?
~~ Look up Raimius on this forum, he has a blue link (signature) that starts with life at USAFA, but a few pages in it is about UPT. It is true what he writes.
3. The AF currently requires the cadets to apply for all 4. Pilot, CSO, RPA, and ABM.
~ The caveat is they can rank them, but if they come and say you get CSO (aka Navigator), and you say NO, they will not allow you to reapply ever again for pilot.
4. There is a lot more to this than just the DoDMERB exam for ROTC. For the AF you will need to take an FAA flight physical. DoDMERB is a 45 minute exam. For AFROTC it is a 3 day exam at Wright Pat AFB because it is an FAA FC1 physical.
~ There are kids that are DoDMERB qualified for the military, but not rated qualified. Get in front of this now if you know there are any issues...eyesight is a biggie!
I am a spouse of a now retired F15E WSO (O5) and a Mom of a C130 pilot. I loved every minute of our 21 yrs as a spouse, and now love visiting my DS. The AF is absolutely amazing, but it was/is amazing for our family, because in the end it came back to what I said early on in this novella....you know what they call an officer with less than 2 yrs in, that flies an airplane compared to an officer that flies a desk? LT!
~ DH and DS also always joke that after flying for hours they like their runway to be exactly where they left it at when they took off...something that is not true for the Navy!