There has been a lot of good information on this board regarding scholarship applications and the long drawn out process we have all gone through. Some of you have recieved the good news while others still wait, I wish you all the best of luck. For those of you who have been awarded a scholarship and are now preparing for next year I would like to share a few of our family's observations. We have two sons, our oldest is just about to complete his sophomore year and is on an AROTC Scholarship. Our younger son is a junior in high school and is preparing to apply for the class of 2011. Over the last two years we have learned a lot about ROTC and how it blends with college life. There are things none of us expected or even thought about when he was first applying. I thought I would list a few of our experiences to try and shed some light on what will become an exciting time for your student. Let me start off by saying that my son absolutly love the AROTC, he has really taken to it. The first observation came when we went to the welcome meeting. The ROO sat next to us and talked about some of the terrific cadets that were joining the program, "Super Stars" as he called them. These were kids with 3.9 GPA's, high SAT's and looked great on paper. A couple of them had decided to turn down Academy appointmens to join ROTC. My son was a good candidate with a 3.6 and a 1150 SAT, Great for that year, on the bubble for this year. By the time the end of the Freshman year rolled around two of the Super Stars had dropped out, One had great grades but did not excel at ROTC. Other more average cadets found that they were able to handle the loads and did very well. Those that dropped the program left openings for the next year that were filled by non scholarship cadets that worked hard, kept their grades respectful, and proved that they could handle everything they could throw at them. Some of these kids were offered 3 year scholarships to fill the spots left by others. So those of you who did not get selected this year, there are opportunities if you work hard. You will want your new student to start a good relationship with their advisor. As soon as they start school they will have to fill out a 104R, this outlines the full 4 years of school. They will need to meet with their advisor and go through and pick classes and fill out the entire 4 years. They do not recieve and stipend money or scholarship money until this is done. If your student is going to a large or overcrowded school it can be tough to get an appointment with the advisor so start early. An important thing to find out is whether the MS classes count toward credits and whether they count toward their Major. Some do and some don't. At my son's school MS classes were not a help in the engineering degrees other then a few electives. My son is majoring in History, he is lucky his MS classes count toward his degree and he will recieve a Minor in Military Science. Every school is different. If they sign up for everything that is available such as Color Guard, and Ranger Challenge type classes it won't be uncommon to have as many as 20 to 22 credits in a semester, Of course that all changes with schools that are on quarters. Take the time to really go over the class schedules and schedule an early appointment with the advisor before each registration deadline. If there is a time to take some extra classes it would be the freshman year. After that it starts getting busier and the classes get harder. ROTC can take up a lot of time depending on how active your new cadet is in the program. There are the basic required classes, MS class, MS Lab, and PT. There other classes they can choose to perticipate in such as Color Guard, Raider Operations and such. These classes will add a few hours to their schedule and in some schools will count as credit, you will need to check with your school for that. They will tell you that the labs are usually every 2 weeks, that they have a Fall and Spring FTX, what they don't tell you is all the extra things that are available. During this year my son has had a lab almost every week, when they don't have a lab they are practicing for a FTX or an upcoming lab. They compete is several local races and some just out of town which take up a Sat. here and there. There are dining out dinners and other functions. If they choose to they can compete in the Ranger Challenge in he Fall which means early training on the days they don't already have PT, then a 3 day weekend to travel and compete. This Spring my son's ROTC is competing for the German Combat Proficiency Badge. That has meant a lot of practice days and another full 2 day weekend to compete. The new student really needs to be organized and get their school work done early so they don't fall behind because of all the days taken away form school. Now don't get me wrong, my son just eats this stuff up, he has a blast and wouldn't have it any other way, you just need to be aware that you will need to have your "you know what together". A bit of information about PT, my son soon found out that there was a big difference between the tests taken for the Scholarship and actual PT. A lot of new cadets had boasted that they could max out the PT test before they got to school. They were a bit shocked to find out that only about 50 of their push ups and 60 of their sit ups actually counted. They are really picky about correct form and won't count then unless they are perfect. Remenber they are a lot harder when you have to do them perfect. At my son's school a cadet has to have a score of at least 80 in each section or they are put on remedial PT, which means they go to PT 5 days a week. If you want to reach 300 or above just going to pT will not get you there. You will need to spend time in the gym and do a bit of road work, in otherwords don't be a couch potato. And believe me PT matters a lot in ROTC. Remember that everthing at ROTC is a competition. The schools have an internal OML list and several thing depend on where you are on that list. If you want to go to Airborne, Air assult, or some other school you will need to be near or at the top of that list. Schools only get a few slots and everyone wants one, many don't get them. Volunteer for leadership positions such as Color Guard Commander, it helps your place on the list. ROTC gives out awards each year and again you position on the list will determine how you do. Sign up for Ranger Challenge, it's like the ROTC Varsity Sport, another reason to be very good at PT. You compete for the team and your PT is a big part of it. Take Land Navigation seriously and learn all you can, it will help you at ROTC and at LDAC. College is a big adjustment, throw in ROTC and it can be a lot to handle. My son thought he was totally ready, as he put it. He found out quick what a big change it was. At the end of his Freshman year he was at the bottom of the list in his ROTC class, most were very close but the bottom all the same. He came back this year with a better understanding of what the schedule was like and what was expected from him. He is finishing this year at No. 1, he is recieving the Superior Cadet Award, is the Color Commander, and will be going to Airborne School as soon as school is out. The Super Stars from last year are in the middle of the pack. So just remember this, it's not what you have done to get there that will make you great, it what you will do once you are there. Good luck to all those that will be starting next year. For those who don't recieve a scholarship this year, go to school, join the ROTC and just show them why they made a mistake. Fight for it and you have your chance.