SMP Options

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by ricardocolon, Jul 30, 2016.

  1. ricardocolon

    ricardocolon New Member

    Jul 30, 2016
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    Assuming a cadet is in the basic course of ROTC and wants to join the SMP program, is it more wise to join the National Guard first and then contract with ROTC or contract with ROTC and then request permission to enter the SMP? Do contracted cadets who join the SMP go to only basic training or can they go to basic and advanced training? It is to my knowledge that once a cadet contracts, they need to graduate at a specific time, however basic and advanced training may delay their graduation date, will ROTC allot the cadet more time to graduate or do they still have to graduate during the alloted time?
  2. scook

    scook New Member

    Sep 18, 2013
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    I have never heard of someone contracting then going SMP, I don't think it can be done.

    First, here is my story...
    Enlisted in the COARNG during the fall of my MS-I year. Went to BCT during the summer going into my MS-II year. I had a split option contract, meaning that I went to BCT one summer then AIT the next. Usually when you enlist you go to AIT right after BCT. After BCT, I drilled throughout my MS-II year as an enlisted soldier waiting to go to AIT next summer. My recruiter told me in the early spring of my MS-II year that my state, Colorado, was only giving SMP slots to those Cadets that wanted to go into the Guard when they commissioned (I wanted to go active, so I was up creek without a paddle). I ended up fighting the bureaucracy, leaving the Guard and getting a normal AROTC scholarship, because I wanted AD not NG. I am a special case and this does not normally happen.

    Things to take from my poorly and confusing story...
    1. You have to enlist in the guard before you contract. Once you contract SMP the Guard will not send you to more training (i.e. AIT).
    - When you go to BCT/AIT you are enlisted, not a Cadet.
    - You must attend BCT, though if you contract as a cadet before you go to AIT then they will not send you, because you are going to get sent to BOLC as an officer and have no need for AIT.
    - Most SMP take a semester off and knock out BCT/AIT all at once.
    2. If you go to BCT and AIT right after the other you will miss a semester of class and most likely will be delayed a semester in commissioning because of it.
    3. If you are SMP you cannot take a Federal AROTC scholarship.
    4. If you want to do SMP and go AD upon commissioning then you cannot take scholarships from the NG, because those scholarships force you to go into the NG upon commissioning.
    - My state had tuition assistance, which was available to all members of NG and did not alter your contact in any way
    5. When you enlist, that contract comes first. If the NG wants to make you stay enlisted, they can do so.
    6. Each unit has a certain number of SMP slots. You ARE NOT guaranteed an SMP slot in your enlisted contract.

    My 2 cents: BCT is the most fun and rewarding experience you will NEVER want to have again. NG is a great way to get some experience before commissioning. If you want to go NG or Reserve, do SMP. If you want to go active, contract and get a normal Army ROTC scholarship (you can go active and do SMP, just remember there are NO guarantees).
    Be sure you talk to both a recruiter AND your program's scholarship officer before making your decision. I didn't... I should have.

    Let me know if you have any more questions, and I apologize for the poorly written response.

    - Spens
  3. clarksonarmy

    clarksonarmy Recruiting Operations Officer at Clarkson Army 5-Year Member

    Mar 8, 2010
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    535 can contract and then go talk to the recruiter about joining and SMPing. That is the way I recommend you do it if you think you are sure you want to be an officer. If you join the guard/reserves first and then find out college/ROTC is not a good fit you are still obligated to the guard/reserves. If you make sure it's a good fit first and then talk to the recruiter no worries. Since even if you are enlisted you can't contract until sophomore year you may want to wait.

    The draw back is if you do ROTC first you probably won't go to Basic, won't be eligible for GI bill and might not be eligible for Tuition Assistance from the guard or reserves. But you will be an Officer when you graduate if all goes well.

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