Trouble picking a major (AFROTC)

usafa2022

Member
For various reasons, I have decided against studying engineering in college, which was my original plan. It came down to grades, the likelihood of finishing in 4 years, and some other factors. So now I need to figure out what I'm going to do instead.

The only non-engineering tech major I have any interest in is chemistry. As far as non-techs go, I've primarily been looking at geography (with a GIS emphasis; very high demand for this right now). Others I've considered are economics, political science, and possibly something within the business realm. But I have little background in any of these so am still very unsure.

So, what should go into my decision? Do I need to consider how--or if-- my degree will impact what AFSC I get? And should I make sure I study something that's in demand and employable, or will it not really matter since I would be entering the workforce after spending at least 4 years in the military? I want to get a feel for how much this will make a difference in the operational Air Force and, later, in the civilian world.
 

AROTC-dad

Moderator
5-Year Member
Major in what interests you. You will be focusing heavily on the subject and if it bores you, it will only make studying more painful.

You will likely get better grades and be better at managing time if you like your major.
 

AlphaAlphaSigma

5-Year Member
Six years ago as a freshman I chose Mechanical Engineering as I thought that's what the Air Force wanted and back then it was one of the few majors they would offer a scholarship. I struggled through the major barely making a 2.5 GPA. No scholarship was offered and I worried every final whether I will have the grades to continue with the program. I was more devoted to becoming a commissioned officer than becoming an engineering so I changed my major to econ. I did a 180 on my grades and made deans list every semester since I changed to econ. If I stayed in engineering there is no doubt in my mind I wouldn't have been selected as a pilot. As AROTC-dad said major in what interests you.
 

usafa2022

Member
@AlphaAlphaSigma Thanks for the story; that's probably what would happen to me if I chose engineering. The problem is, I've been set on it for so long that it's all I really have a strong background in. I've taken engineering classes and studied it on my own time since at least middle school. So while I totally agree that you should pursue what you're interested in, I guess I'm just not sure what that would be if not engineering.
 

AROTC-dad

Moderator
5-Year Member
The only non-engineering tech major I have any interest in is chemistry. As far as non-techs go, I've primarily been looking at geography (with a GIS emphasis; very high demand for this right now). Others I've considered are economics, political science, and possibly something within the business realm. But I have little background in any of these so am still very unsure.
I hope you are aware that chemistry IS considered a technical major by the Air Force. You could major in chem and minor in geography or econ.

See the attached list:
https://www.afrotc.com/scholarships/schools
 

usafa2022

Member
@AROTC-dad I'm aware of that. But I wouldn't necessarily go with chem over something else just because it's a tech major. According to members of the cadre at a couple detachments I've met with, nontechs are getting scholarships almost as much as techs now, because of the need for officers.
 

AlphaAlphaSigma

5-Year Member
@AlphaAlphaSigma Thanks for the story; that's probably what would happen to me if I chose engineering. The problem is, I've been set on it for so long that it's all I really have a strong background in. I've taken engineering classes and studied it on my own time since at least middle school. So while I totally agree that you should pursue what you're interested in, I guess I'm just not sure what that would be if not engineering.
I would suggest freshman year to take a couple classes in different majors. Take introduction to business or introduction to geography because most people in those classes are new and willing to talk to strangers. Also to join a couple clubs/academic frats that are not engineering. For any interest in business you need to be a social savvy person or at least interested in talking to people. What got me into economics was my first econ teacher was awesome in telling stories relating to economics and my second teacher was great in making economics applicable to my everyday life.

Now you say that you fear engineering due to grades and graduating in 4 years. I feared both going into engineering. Grades got the better of me because deep down I was in it only because people have told me this is what I needed to do. If you have the background and desire to pursue engineering I would suggest giving your freshman year a shot in engineering(Unless your school has a separate admissions for business where transferring to it as a college student is harder than a high school student choose business while taking engineering classes). As I said before have a good couple of introduction classes for majors you think you may be interested. Find a class with a popular teacher too as they will make or break your decisions.
 

Pima

10-Year Member
Our DS is an ADAF pilot. He was AFROTC scholarship in a non-tech degree. Graduated with dual major, Govt and Politics, and International Relations with a core in Military History. His cgpa was over 3.4 during college.
~ The boy had the smarts academically (720 M SAT best sitting, and 34 ACT best sitting). More importantly he was smart enough to know that although academically he could handle it, he hated his Math and Science classes, but loved his History classes. We supported him 100% in his decision to go non-tech because we knew his personality and going tech would have most likely equal failing out.

The thing you need to realize is a scholarship is a 2+2. If not selected for Summer Field Training (LEAD) as a sophomore in college, than they will have the right to dis-enroll you from AFROTC. Thus, it is a 2 + 2. 1st 2 yrs guaranteed, the last 2 only if you go to SFT.

The thing here is you did not mention your career field that you want. You can't predict 5 yrs out how many officers they will need. Yes, they maybe short on officers currently, but while you are a freshmen and sophomore the AF could pump up the officer side via OCS. OCS boards meet 2x a yr. Thus, if your moniker 2022 means the yr you will graduate than you are a rising senior and SFT selection will be 3 yrs away.
~ The past few years the SFT selection rate has been in the 90%. However, only a few years back it was 58%, and a non-tech/non-rated percentage was under 20%. Non-tech/non-rated is always the lowest selection rate.
~ Like Alpha and my DS were non-tech, but they requested rated. That meant their selection rate was higher than the non-tech/non-rated. If you go the rated route as a non-tech I would highly suggest you start getting some flying hours if you want pilot for various reasons. Just realize that if you pilot you will not be able to leave at 4 yrs., you will be closer to 33 yrs old before you can bolt.

Best wishes and hopes. Thank you for your desire to serve this great nation.
 
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