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ROTC and College


Replies to: ROTC and College

  • bovertinebovertine Registered User Posts: 3,303 Senior Member
    I know pretty much nothing about the military, and less about ROTC. But I'm pretty sure it's possible to make the military committment after you graduate, and still go in as an officer. Isn't that true busdriver? I assume you wuld have to go through some sort of basic training after college.

    If you are attedning Harvard you probably have pretty good financial aid so that element is likely not a consideration. When you graduate from a place like that, with a degree like that, I'd assume lots of doors open up for you. The military will still be one, maybe other areas of the intelligence or national security structure as well (CIA, FBI, state department, etc).

    Of course, I did know some guys (it was mainly guys in my day) who attended the academiies and ROTC. THey were very good students and completely into the military and wanted the experience quickly. Many of them would have probably just skipped college entirely and gone into the military first if they didn't have the ROTC option. So maybe you have that kind of desire.

    Anyway, comments from someone who knows very little. Please folks, correct me if I've said anythig incorrect.

    I dio know my cousin retired from the Navy at 40-something as a CPO with a large pension and immediately went to work at a power plant making beaucoup bucks. And he doesn't even have a degree.
  • PackMomPackMom Registered User Posts: 7,667 Senior Member
    OCS (Officer Candidate School) is not so easy to get into anymore....I know Navy is aiming to downsize. Some of S1's friends who were headed to flight school (already in Pensacola waiting to start FS) were dropped. More flight school candidates than were needed.
  • busdriver11busdriver11 Registered User Posts: 15,165 Senior Member
    "I know pretty much nothing about the military, and less about ROTC. But I'm pretty sure it's possible to make the military committment after you graduate, and still go in as an officer. Isn't that true busdriver? I assume you wuld have to go through some sort of basic training after college."

    Yes, that's true, bovertine. But that would not be ROTC (where you got through training and are involved in the military during college), it would be OCS, as PackMom is referring to. Definitely something to consider if one isn't ready to make the commitment during college, but with the economy in the dumps, I believe as PackMom says, there are plenty of candidates for OCS. Then again, a bright candidate from a top school probably has a great shot. It seemed, however, that the OP is more interested in ROTC.
  • CPUscientist3000CPUscientist3000 Registered User Posts: 5,450 Senior Member
    All your posts have been really helpful!

    When I mention my military interest people (mainly adults since it is not uncommon for HS grads in my area to go to the military) give me this look/say why would *you* want to go to the military?! "You're too smart" or some variation of that which really bothers me.

    I'm glad I know people in the military/ROTC my age who are more open to talking about it than adults are. I would prefer to have my mother's support instead of "do what you want" but...
  • VAMom2015VAMom2015 Registered User Posts: 1,348 Senior Member
    CPU--I will PM you. My DS is a current AROTC scholarship student at an Ivy. I will be glad to answer any questions that I can. It is extra work and your ROTC classes won't count as credit courses (at least they don't at DS's school). He is enjoying it.
  • CPUscientist3000CPUscientist3000 Registered User Posts: 5,450 Senior Member
    Thank you VAMom2015!
  • busdriver11busdriver11 Registered User Posts: 15,165 Senior Member
    I am assuming that your mother's reticence is possibly fear based. We have been immersed in two wars for a long time, with soldiers coming back in large numbers with PTSD, limbs blown off, or dead. Seems that when I talk to kids in your generation, everybody knows someone who has been killed. And I'm sure many people are thinking, these soldiers are getting messed up in Iraq and Afghanistan, for what? Who knows how long it will be until the bad guys move in again.

    Though I personally have the highest respect for and strongly support the military, when my kids/nieces even brought it up, they got a long lecture about being careful with what they signed up for, because in some jobs, you really are cannon fodder, and not much more. Put in dangerous jobs with little training and backup, against an enemy who wants to die. It sounds glamorous, but when it's people you know and love, reality bites. I would think about how your mother might feel. She doesn't want to make a fuss and stop you from doing something, yet she is very fearful, so she just walks away and says, "Do what you want." Put yourself in her shoes. I'll bet if you come up with a good plan, and she learns about what you'll be doing, she'll end up being proud and supportive. We are always afraid for our children.

    I would get as much information as possible not just from ROTC students (because they can tell you about ROTC, but not the reality of being in the military), but from people who are actually doing the job you are interested in. Is there a base nearby where you can visit, talk to people in your desired career field? Hang around for awhile, see if this is what you want to do, get all the facts. Really, ROTC can be such a party, a group of great friends, an interesting and fun experience, but it's not always representative of military duties.

    And recruiters.....well, realize they have a job to do. To fill the undesirable positions first, not to fulfill your needs. They will not tell you about the very high number of rapes on Army bases, ever.
  • VAMom2015VAMom2015 Registered User Posts: 1,348 Senior Member
    Everyone has good points to consider.

    I forgot to mention I'm also the spouse of a career military officer who did go off to several wars, so I know it from that side too, as well as having in house expertise on actually being an Army officer, so feel free to ask any of those questions in your PM also. I believe everyone should make the most informed decision they can on military service!
  • cobratcobrat Registered User Posts: 12,285 Senior Member
    Had an older cousin go through NROTC in the late '80s.

    From what he recounted, he was required to wake up early for morning runs, take Naval science classes on top of his already heavy engineering workload, set aside time during the schoolyear and summers for training/leadership exercises, set time aside for exercises to maintain physical conditioning, and more. While it was hard for him, it was offset by the camaraderie, full NROTC scholarship he had(college threw in free room and board due to his ROTC status), and prospects for Naval aviation/NFO training.

    Ended up being an NFO on A-6s right before and through the Desert Storm period and served for around 7 years. Although his NFO training contract specified 9-10 years as far as I recalled from what he told me, the collapse of the Soviet Union and the massive RIF of military personnel...especially officers like him meant he got out sooner than expected.
    When I mention my military interest people (mainly adults since it is not uncommon for HS grads in my area to go to the military) give me this look/say why would *you* want to go to the military?! "You're too smart" or some variation of that which really bothers me.

    This varies by school culture, socio-economic status of students/parents attending said school, and time period.

    The legacy of the Vietnam War meant that military service...even academy was disdained by most HS alums who graduated from the mid-60's till sometime in the very early '80s and by many Vietnam Vet fathers towards us kids in our then working-class NYC neighborhood during the '80s.

    While that attitude seemed to have continued into the '90s to some extent at many private day/boarding schools from what I've heard from friends' siblings who attended and some news articles, that was no longer the case at my HS by the late '80s. Many HS classmates vied to gain admission to the Service Academies and/or ROTC scholarships.

    One older kid in my old neighborhood who also happened to attend my HS several years earlier was regarded as a bit odd for turning down MIT with full FA/scholarship for Annapolis. However, his classmates respected him and his decision and wouldn't make such disdainful statements as alums graduating 10-20 years before would.

    On the other hand, that disdainful attitude towards the military was unfortunately alive and well at my LAC while I was there. Granted, its student culture ls far more radically left than most mainstream colleges while I was there. Ironically, despite that...my LAC has had at least 2 younger alums go through various services OCS during college/after graduation with one confirmed serving in Iraq during the mid-'00s.
  • PizzagirlPizzagirl Registered User Posts: 40,488 Senior Member
    cobrat, with respect to military service, what do the opinions of people who

    a) graduated Stuy between the 60's and 80's
    b) were Vietnam Vet fathers in your working class NYC neighborhood, and / or
    c) went to Oberlin at the same time you did

    have anything to do with the OP's situation and the decision that she has to make?
  • cobratcobrat Registered User Posts: 12,285 Senior Member
    That the negative perceptions about military as she described when she recounted being told "You're too smart for the military" varies greatly depending on time period, school culture, socio-economic status of students/parents, and I forgot to mention...geographic region.
  • mathinokcmathinokc Registered User Posts: 925 Member
    CPU --

    What effect will your head injury/concussion this semester have on your ROTC plans?

    I know that you were frustrated about your grade in one class this semester. Do you think that adding more time commitments is the best way to deal with that? (This is an honest question. Some people really get more accomplished when fully scheduled/extremely busy).
  • saintfansaintfan Registered User Posts: 8,274 Senior Member
    Do you meet the health standards? I thought you had some type of systemic or auto immune condition that you struggle with?

  • marciemimarciemi Registered User Posts: 591 Member
    CPU - hopefully you remember me from the 2012/2016 group. My son is in the MIT/Harvard NROTC unit right now and I'm really thinking from what you've said in that Parents Group, that it would be very hard for you to do ROTC as a whole. First of all, I thought you had some medical issues. Before you go any further, you may want to look at the list of disqualifiers from DoDMERB:


    Concussion is not necessarily disqualifying (my son had one his senior year of HS) but many rheumatological disorders are.

    Second, the biggest reason they have lost students who were in ROTC (many of them giving up scholarships) is due to the time the students lose in travel (from Harvard or Tufts to MIT). Realize you will be at MIT at least 4 days a week and the schedule will be set. If it conflicts with a class you wanted at Harvard - tough. This last semester my son had to be there at 6am 4 mornings a week. There will be PT at least once a week (more if you don't do well on the testing), a class twice a week (Naval Science or the other branch equivalents) for around 1.5 hours a time, plus a two hour leadership lab. They'll also expect you to do a lot of weekend activities and volunteering (at sporting events, concerts, competitions with other schools, community events, etc.). For my son he has to walk 100 yards from his dorm to the unit. From Harvard, you either have to take the T (if it's on your own for some of the various events) or the NROTC at least I know has a van the students come in for the large group events. Seriously though, most people who have quit have done so because they didn't realize the time commitment would be so large.

    As others have said, you'll commit at least by junior year. If you have a scholarship for AFROTC, it will be at the start of sophomore year but one thing you need to know about AFROTC is that you need to attend EA (Enrollment Allocation) over the summer between sophomore and junior year to remain in the program. Without being in the program freshman year, it would be hard to be selected. Even joining second semester will require a lot of catch up - the selection rate in the past has been as low as around 50% a couple years ago. A lot of this is based on your rankings in the unit, Physical performance, and most importantly GPA in a tech major (primarily Engineering). If you do pursue this, I would ask the unit point blank if you have any chance of being selected based on your major and the fact that you're joining late before you spend the next 1.5 years in ROTC only to be forced to withdraw.

    Also, again as others said, remember you may want to be a pilot but the AF may tell you that you're in security or something similar when you graduate. Again, the selection would be based on your class rank within the unit (with similar factors to above). Pilot is hard to get out of ROTC (compared to USAFA, where my older son is).

    One last thing to others - I know OCS was mentioned, but due to overstaffing and budget cuts, the opportunities to possibly get a slot at OCS (other than for things highly needed areas like Doctors or Linguistic Specialists) is infinitely harder than it was a decade or two ago so I certainly wouldn't count on that method.

    CPU - ROTC doesn't start up again until after IAP at MIT (so not until early Feb) so that gives you a month when back on campus (assuming you're going back soon - I don't know Harvard's schedule) to go over and talk to the units in person. Feel free to ask any questions and I can try to answer them. My MIT son is home until early Saturday as well. Good luck!
  • CPUscientist3000CPUscientist3000 Registered User Posts: 5,450 Senior Member
    saintfan---- That never crossed my mind because I never let that stop me from doing anything else... I just told my mom and she said, "I was going to tell you but I didn't want to crush your dreams." Oops ;) well that solves that problem.

    marciemi--I do remember you and I think I recall you saying your son was going to do ROTC. Thank you for your detailed post!

    Sorry all!! I still appreciate all of your input. I will have this page bookmarked for any future reference. I guess I have to continue to pursue my CIA dream :)
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