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Aviation Colleges?

tripletmamatripletmama 368 replies9 threadsRegistered User Member
Our Jr. high school daughter has decided to become a pilot. She seems fairly committed - has started Ground Training, flying, etc. I'm new to this whole aviation world and trying to help her pick a college (she also wants a college degree).

I know the top colleges for aviation - some in unsavory places like North Dakota (sorry - she's more of a fair weather gal having lived in SC and CA) or crazy expensive (like Embry Riddle) - but what colleges are best for becoming a pilot? I've heard to pay close attention to how much flying time they will be able to get - and the cost of that (which is in addition to the degree) - and if they can also get paid hours through instructing. Cost is factor for us and her.

Any advice for colleges that are best for aspiring pilots that aren't in unsavory places or will break the bank? (oh and btw, she has a 3.4 gpa, multiple Varsity sport athlete, maybe enough to play college sports- but probably not enough to get into a Military Academy - which would have been good).
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Replies to: Aviation Colleges?

  • kelly30bluekelly30blue 2 replies0 threadsRegistered User New Member
    I have a friend whose children have all attended aviation colleges: Arizona State University, Alaska University Anchorage, Rocky Mountain college in Montana... My daughter got accepted to the Air Force Academy. Don't rule this out especially for women. The Air Force Academy loves athletes. You are required to participate in a sports at the academy. She should attend a Summer Seminar for the Navy or Army between her Junior and Senior year of high school to see if she even likes academy and military life. All have some type of aviation training. Unfortunately the application for Air Force Summer Seminar closed on January 15th. My daughter attended the Air Force Summer Seminar and fell in love with the military, go figure. She is now doing Air Force ROTC at college. There is a shortage of military pilots and it is a great option. The application for academies are tedious but worth it. Her GPA isn't completely off the mark. All of my friends kids that attended the other schools I mentioned above are currently pilots working for regional airlines. Watch for the cost and return... regional pilots make very little money starting out.
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  • yourmommayourmomma 1323 replies1 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Take a look at Lewis University in Il. They are the "Flyers" and have their own airport. It's Div 2 so athletics might be doable as well. Good luck.
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  • 3js3ks3js3ks 316 replies10 threadsRegistered User Member
    We have one here in MI, one of my coworkers has a son in his second year, he really likes the school.

    https://wmich.edu/aviation
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  • tripletmamatripletmama 368 replies9 threadsRegistered User Member
    Thanks Kelly for the tips. Great idea about the other academy summer programs. Yes - I looked at the Air Force summer program and saw the deadline of Jan. 15 - emailed the local USAFA rep and he told me it's a hard deadline - bummer! But we will definitely tour the campus - I have a friend whose daughter is in Colorado Springs also - looks like a very tedious application process but I keep telling our daughter it'll be worth it in the end if she gets in!

    Thanks for the advice! BTW - where is your daughter doing Air Force ROTC? Why didn't she go to the Academy?

    Tripletmama

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  • happymomof1happymomof1 29672 replies175 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Love your description of UND's location! We were in Grand Forks for two years during which the locals kept commenting that the winters were unusually mild while we were feeling oh-so-very cold. I worked with a number of international students headed into the pilot-training program there, and while most were from places significantly warmer than SC or CA, they were grinning and bearing it. One complaint they did have was that US students were able to get the instructor assistant jobs after a point, and that they couldn't as international students. If she does get interested in UND, send me a PM, and I can put her in touch with students there.

    Wishing you all the best in the great college hunt!
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 23023 replies17 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I don't think she should rule out Embry-Riddle or Florida Tech (just down the street) as being too expensive until she looks at them closer. Yes, the aviation part will cost $15k on top of the COA of the schools, but they have a lot of merit aid and ERAU has extra scholarships for women. Both also have ROTC and give sports scholarships.

    The first time we looked at Florida Tech and the price tag of $50k (now almost $60k) I thought "no way" but with merit and the athletic scholarship we were able to make it work (daughter is not in aviation). I know the ROTC program (Army) is very popular, and it is a Yellow Ribbon school so if your child has GI benefits, it is quite generous.

    It doesn't hurt to be a girl applying to STEM schools.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 78291 replies691 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited January 2018
    San Jose State University has an aviation major with a professional flight option:

    http://info.sjsu.edu/web-dbgen/catalog/departments/AVIA-section-1.html

    Arizona State Polytechnic has an aeronautical management technology major with a professional flight option:

    https://poly.engineering.asu.edu/aviation/professional-flight-bs/

    You should expect extra cost for the actual flying part of the courses and curricula, since the operation of aircraft is expensive.
    edited January 2018
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  • KardinalschnittKardinalschnitt 187 replies3 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    edited January 2018
    Off the top of my head, cheapest warm-weather schools would be Delta State in MS and Henderson State in AR. Other lesser-known schools with pro pilot degrees are Central Washington, Westminster in Utah, Rocky Mtn College, Central Oregon CC, San Jose State. Lots of community colleges. I think the whole list is on aopa org. Many schools that don't have flight degrees have flight clubs that make getting hours quite a bit cheaper (Iowa State comes to mind). At some point, I had a list of all the flight programs in the US and their total cost. Can't find it. Google compare professional flight (or pilot) degree total cost. In the end, we gave up completely on the idea (and my daughter started in middle school as well) as it just doesn't work out financially for us. She was sure she would do AFROTC but then wasn't eligible. Dd is hoping to take flying back up when she gets out of school.

    Edited to add: Yup, I can't find that comparison of costs because I even deleted my whole aviation bookmarks folder. I guess I was in a mood. :-)
    edited January 2018
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  • YakfisherYakfisher 2 replies0 threadsRegistered User New Member
    I'm a professional pilot, and I wouldn't say attending an "aviation college" is required to be successful in aviation. Much the same as a professional athlete, I would recommend your daughter pursue a college degree in a career she would enjoy if the whole aviation thing doesn't work out. An aviation career can get derailed many ways - loss of medical, economic downturn (furloughs), FAA violations, to name a few. Consider the college degree to be a viable fallback plan. That said, flying airplanes for a living is a fantastic job, and I'd encourage your daughter to chase that dream as long a she can! I suggest picking a college with access to a decent airport that will allow your daughter to pursue her degree and her licenses at the same time. A technical degree will generally be more of an asset getting an aviation job, but not strictly required - my undergraduate degree was in marketing. Military flying experience carries significant weight with the airlines - there just aren't very many jobs on the civilian side that provide comparable challenges, equipment, and responsibility at such an early stage of your flying career. So I would give serious consideration to the service academies, as well as ROTC programs. ROTC offers many scholarship opportunities, but even non-scholarship ROTC students regularly get selected for flight school. If it helps, my path was through the University of North Carolina. I got my private pilot's license at the local airport while I pursued a marketing degree at college. My junior year, I joined Air Force ROTC. I was commissioned on graduation and went straight to pilot training. After I left the Air Force, finding a job was easy - but it's a hot job market. Ten years ago, it wasn't. If military service doesn't interest your daughter, it isn't strictly required - I work with many fine pilots who worked their way up to the majors by flight instructing, towing banners, corporate flying, and the regionals. In that case, I think an aviation college would likely help your daughter connect with her first flying job - but after that, her flying experience will carry much more weight than her degree. Good luck to you, and I hope that helps!
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  • gouf78gouf78 7787 replies23 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Don't know much about Western Michigan University but they recently opened up an aviation school in southwest FL.
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  • BuckeyeMWDSGBuckeyeMWDSG 874 replies8 threadsRegistered User Member
    edited January 2018
    The Ohio State University has its own airport and is in the process of renovating it. They have a flying team, too.
    https://aviation.osu.edu/
    http://www.flyosu.org/index.html
    https://osuairport.org/
    edited January 2018
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  • kelly30bluekelly30blue 2 replies0 threadsRegistered User New Member
    My daughter attends Harvard.
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  • BuckeyeMWDSGBuckeyeMWDSG 874 replies8 threadsRegistered User Member
    edited January 2018
    Wikipedia's National Intercollegiate Flying Association entry lists its members by region.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Intercollegiate_Flying_Association
    Most seem to have aviation programs.
    edited January 2018
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  • MaryBarbara58MaryBarbara58 135 replies3 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    My son became a member of the Civil Air Patrol when he was in middle school. He became a private pilot while in high school. While we had to pay for flight time, it was much less expensive than a traditional flight school. At age 27, he now volunteers as a senior member with CAP.
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  • tripletmamatripletmama 368 replies9 threadsRegistered User Member
    Interesting - Lewis University is on all the lists - and I've heard this before - will check it out!!!
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  • tripletmamatripletmama 368 replies9 threadsRegistered User Member
    Thanks Momof1 - I'll let you know if she wants to head to the tundra! I do know that 1) It is likely one of the least expensive option, and 2) It apparently has lots of instructor hours possible given that some Chinese airlines do training there. Just what I heard. They apparently also have tunnels to get from one building to another - need I say more? :-)
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  • tripletmamatripletmama 368 replies9 threadsRegistered User Member
    Twoinanddone - Great to know about ER and the cost. She has already contacted the LAX coach there - and will be going to a lax camp there this summer. That MAY bring her $17k if she gets a scholarship (ave. cost of a lax scholarship there according to collegestats. And then there's a woman's scholarship, etc. But still - at $46k - that's a long way to go compared to other options. BUT - they are next to an airfield which is a bonus. She has always been in a boys world: http://www.moultrienews.com/article/20150610/MN11/150619931/1019/MN so she's comfortable with that.
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  • tripletmamatripletmama 368 replies9 threadsRegistered User Member
    YakFisher - thanks for taking the time to share your info. She's not that academically oriented (although she is smart) and tells me that flying (at this point) is the only thing she is interested in. She is doing a Ground Training course right now and plans to start logging hours. https://marin99s.org/
    You aren't kidding when you say it's a hot market out there! American Eagle Cadet program already called her to tell her about what they offer (before one hour was logged! Cracks me up. Apparently they can't find enough pilots for the demand right now. But I know that things can change - just like they did after 911.

    Having said that - she wants to get her college degree. She is thinking of majoring in meterology. Time will tell. She likes the idea of a college with an airfield. - so doing both She will try to get into the Academies (she is very athletic and plays two Varsity sports, captain of her golf team). Mama likes that idea so she doesn't have debt. College plus flight school is not cheap!!

    She has also thought about going to one of those accelerated flight training school (she spoke to a girl who wasn't getting enough hours at ER and now is at ADP?. They apparently can get a lot of hours and ratings in a year of focused training - and then building up hours as an instructor and going to college after that if they choose. Not sure which is best - college first and then flight training (or at the same time) or vice versa. I'm sure the answer will become obvious the more she gets into it.

    That's amazing that you went to Chapel Hill AND got your pilot training done - you must have busy, busy. We recently lived in Charleston SC and I went to Wake Forest.

    Thanks again for taking the time to share you wisdom. This is all new to me.

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  • tripletmamatripletmama 368 replies9 threadsRegistered User Member
    Katwkittens - great advice!! Sounds like a very tough decision for your son. I can't even imagine what that might have been like. I'm somewhat familiar with West Point (my high school boyfriend went there - and my father helped him get congressional recommendation. But other than that - we don't have any servicemen or women in our family - unless you count someone who was injured at Gettsyburg :-) Our daughter hasn't taken the SAT or ACT yet - so we will see what her scores look like. She is very athletic (always has been:

    http://www.moultrienews.com/article/20150610/MN11/150619931/1019/MN

    so I guess the Academies might be a good fit given that. She seems very focused on flying - but who knows? That can always change. https://marin99s.org/ I have teens so I know that they can and do change like the wind.

    Good advice to look at ALL the Academies. I would hope that there will be overlap in the things required for the appointment. It sounds like it could be a full-time job!

    Thanks again to share your son's experience. I hope that his experience at the Ivy gives him no regrets. You must be very proud!

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