What are the major cons of not receiving an afrotc scholarship but still joining?

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by brenneng, Jan 24, 2018.

  1. brenneng

    brenneng New Member

    Jan 22, 2018
    Likes Received:
    So as college creeps closer and closer approaching my Senior year I've started to pin down what I want to do in college. Sadly, since I had no idea the importance of school until last year (thanks, rebellious 14 years old me) I am in terrible standing GPA wise (if I finish this year with a 4.0 I will have a 3.07 GPA) so while I am still giving my passions a shot for a career in the military (Applying to USNA Summer Seminar, applying to both NROTC and AFROTC and applying to both respective academies) Obviously it is smart for me to have a plan B since I do not quite meet the expectations of the applicants academics wise.

    Luckily, I actually live within 15 minutes of my state university and they offer an AFROTC program. If I were to join and not receive a scholarship (at least my first year) how exactly would that work and what would be the major disadvantages I'd have to someone with a scholarship(besides the obvious like the cost of school)? I'm assuming the majority of people in ROTC don't have scholarships so I was hoping a few people here have had experience without one.

    A few questions I have about it right off the top are:
    Can I still receive a commission if I don't get a 3/4 year scholarship or will they remove me from the unit?
    Do scholarship recipients get any special benefits that I wouldn't?(again besides cost)

    I've googles both of these and found some similar forums but I didn't quite get a concrete answer as opposed to several conflicting opinions on the topic
  2. Tex232

    Tex232 Member

    Nov 24, 2015
    Likes Received:
    To answer your first two questions directly:

    1. Yes, you can receive a commission even if you never earn a scholarship. In fact, I would venture to guess that the majority of officers currently being commissioned into the AF thru ROTC were never on scholarship.

    2. Other than help with college costs, there are not really any added benefits. Students who enter college with a full AFROTC scholarship are able to contract sooner with the AF, but that's about it.

    When I first joined AFROTC, I was not on scholarship, but eventually earned a 2.5 yr scholarship in my sophomore year. Even if you are on scholarship you will still have to compete for an Enrollment Allocation (essentially a commissioning slot). So if you join your local ROTC unit, you will be no different than anyone else in your year group at the unit. Its just that a few of them might be receiving tuition assistance from an ROTC scholarship where as you would not.
  3. afrotc2022

    afrotc2022 Member

    Jul 5, 2017
    Likes Received:
    Tex232 is correct.
    My older brother is a sophomore on a full-ride AFROTC scholarship, and I am hoping for the same, so I have some "intel" on scholarship stuff.

    Scholarship cadets are "on contract", meaning they are technically enlisted in the AF Reserve (but don't have any commitments to the Reserve). They should however, get an ID card, which allows them such things as base access. I believe they can also get on Space-Available military flights, among other things. However, once they start your 1st sophomore semester, they have an actual commitment to the AF, since you're getting college paid for.

    Once you get an EA (Enrollment Allocation)/pass field training, and enter the Professional Officer Course (Junior & Senior yrs), you will be "contracted" anyway. Really the biggest thing is just college paid for or not. No other advantages.

    Hopefully that makes sense. And anyone else with better "intel" can correct me. I'm not an expert.
    tlatrice and brenneng like this.
  4. brenneng

    brenneng New Member

    Jan 22, 2018
    Likes Received:
    Alright cool, thanks for the info. The enrollment allocation also includes the summer training (that the poster below mentioned) between sophomore and junior year correct? What are a few things I should plan on doing my first two years of college to make myself competitive for both a 3/2 yr scholarship or an EA?
  5. Pima

    Pima 10-Year Member

    Nov 28, 2007
    Likes Received:
    I will tell you that the majority of cadets are not on scholarship. Historically it is @16-18% of all applicants receive a scholarship, it is around 900 cadets. That number follows through with cadets in AFROTC.

    IMPO the only way you know if a cadet is on scholarship is on the 1st and the 15th of the month. Why? Because that is when the cadets are paid their stipend, thus they are now flush with money! Cadets do not really discuss if they are on scholarship.

    HQ AFROTC does not care if the cadet is on scholarship when it comes to the SFT aka LEAD board meets their AS200/250/500 yr. The scholarship portion is what the military calls "masked" or "blind". In other words the board does not know at all, it is all about their record as a cadet. Like the scholarship process there will be certain things that they look at, and those things will be given a %, resulting in a number. From that point HQ AFROTC says we need 2000 cadets to attend SFT. They draw a line at 2000. Above and you go, below and you don't.
    ~ Notice that AFROTC only offers @900 scholarships. So assume even if not one scholarship recipient dropped out their freshmen yr., highly unlikely, it still means more than 50% of the cadets will be not contracted.
    ~~ Note I am saying offered, not activated. Many apply for AFROTC, NROTC and AROTC, along with the SAs. Thus, even though 900 are offered, maybe only 750 get activated in the fall
    ~~ Scholarship cadets have what posters call the freebie yr. Accept the scholarship, but decide that it is not for them their freshmen yr. They are allowed to leave with no payback for that year. Usually that number can be @25% of these cadets. That brings the number below 600 cadets that are on scholarship, or less than 35% that attend SFT that are on scholarship...again they are the minority.

    How do you prepare yourself to be competitive for SFT/LEAD? Everything and every way.
    1. What is your intended major?
    ~ STEM majors get an edge. In AFROTC terms they are called TECH majors. Tech majors traditionally need @ 3.0/3.1 cgpa compared to the non-tech that need @ 3.3/3.4
    2. What is your intended career field?
    ~ In the breakdown of selected it is broken into 4 groups. Tech/rated, Tech/non-rated, Non-tech/rated, non-tech/non-rated. The lowest percentage given a slot is usually going to be the non-tech/non-rated. So, if you are going non-tech/non-rated than that 3.3/3.4 is probably not going to be the cgpa you need to be competitive.
    3. Physically fit
    ~ This is part of your score. It will also be the 1st way to make an impression. Within the 1st week they will do a PFT. You want to max everything. I am a broken record at this point, but it does matter. My DS was a PT instructor. He would be the pacer at the back to make sure everyone got passed the finish line before the clock stopped for the min. He would scream the cadets last name that was in the back of the pack loud enough for everyone to hear as motivation to push it up. You do not want them to hear your name.
    ~~ Look up the forms for sit ups and push ups. Look up the PFA. There are posters here with insane numbers as a scholarship candidate, but the fact is their numbers drop once there because their form was wrong. Not only that, but they are wasting energy that will be needed later on. Do it right.
    ~ These scores are part of your OML score for SFT. The AFOQT is more like the ACT. It is 4 portions, all timed, just called different things. You can purchase study guides for the AFOQT. The things to know are that you can only take it 2x without getting a waiver, and you must have 180 days between the test, plus it is the same as it would be for scholarships...no superscore, best sitting
    5. Medical
    ~ As a contracted cadet they would have already done their DoDMERB exam, non-contracted will not have thatin their file. To attend SFT you need to get the all clear from DoDMERB. If you have any medical issues, get your paperwork ready now. I do not have enough fingers/toes in my family, including my dogs paws when it comes down to kids going OMG I didn't realize that.... would cause a remedial or DQ.
    ~~ IE I played FB during HS and had 3 concussions, will this DQ me? I play soccer, but my doc when I was young prescribed me an inhaler, I never use it, but I have that on my records. I am allergic to macadamia nuts, but nothing else.
    6. Get involved
    ~ DS's det had what was called a GMC night. Every Weds. from 6-9 they would meet in the dets lounge to "hang". This was supported by the unit. They would order in pizza or subs and sodas for the cadets. Of course there would be a member of the cadre there for supervision. Going to these functions will allow you to bond with your peers outside of LLAB and a classroom environment.
    ~~~ DS's det lounge had a foosball table, crud table, xbox, play station. DVD player, etc.
    ~ Most dets will have military fraternities, such as, Arnie Air, Honor Guard, Silver Wings, Angel Flight. This allows you to get to know more POCs outside of the classroom. It can be a way to get mentored by others in a more private situation on how to improve where they as a POC see you are lacking.
    ~ It is uncommon for any freshmen to get a shining star position within the unit. However, if they see you volunteering for everything and keeping up your grades, the CoC will get to know the name with a face. CoC ranking is part of the % for SFT.

    Finally I will say that I think scholarship cadets have a higher % rate for SFT compared to non-scholarship. It has nothing to do with the AFROTC scholarship, but everything to do with that a high percentage also have merit scholarships from their school.
    ~ AFROTC requires only a 2.5 to keep the scholarship, whereas, most merit scholarships will require 3.0/3.2 Thus, their cgpa is higher because if they need the money to attend their college than they need to meet the requirements for their merit too.

    Best of luck
  6. jaglvr

    jaglvr Member

    Dec 23, 2017
    Likes Received:
    ROTC is ROTC... You become commissioned the same way. As visits to the academies make VERY clear....You do not have to attend an Academy to become an officer. Enlisted through OCS, ROTC, and Academies all commission with the same rank. The way the one academy put it...those coming out of ROTC are real world ready and know how to do laundry and be a civilian but may not know the intricacies of military procedure and uniform code. Those coming out of the academy know the proper procedures and uniform protocol, but have no clue what the real world is like... So it's your choice how you want to enter the military! Good luck!
    tlatrice likes this.
  7. rotcmom2015

    rotcmom2015 New Member

    Jan 10, 2015
    Likes Received:
    My son was a shining star Freshman year. He didn't get the national scholarship but when he arrived on campus he volunteered for and joined EVERYTHING. He also had a 4.0 his first semester in engineering, so I'm not sure how much that contributed. The detachment offered him a 3 1/2 year scholarship at the end of his first semester Freshman year. The detachment has its own scholarships it can give out, so if you don't get the national (highly competitive) scholarship, don't despair. There's still a chance you'll get one when they see what you have to offer.
    tlatrice, brob and ORKP2017 like this.
  8. ORKP2017

    ORKP2017 Member

    Dec 2, 2017
    Likes Received:
    Great posting! The items 1-6 that Pima posted is exactly what my DS did for his first semester in college. My DS applied for the AFROTC Scholarship after his first semester and got the good news in April that he received a 3 1/2 year scholarship.
    His major is Mechanical Engineering, GPA first semester was 3.7. He joined Arnie Air which helped him get mentored and got help in the areas he needed help with. Is less than a month for the school year to be over and he is very excited with his 1st year in college and his year experience in AFROTC. He also applied for a 2 weeks summer program and will be going to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware this summer.
    thibaud and tlatrice like this.
  9. brob

    brob Member

    Apr 1, 2017
    Likes Received:
    It looks like you're considering AF and Navy but would you consider Army - score and GPA minimums are a bit lower, so you may stand a better chance?