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I’m going to research this thoroughly, but if anyone has any info to share about how ROTC programs work, I’d love to hear it. My dd thrives on physical activity and would enjoy military type drills and physical training exercises. She recently had the opportunity to participate in physical training with the firemen/women in our town and this really brought this *weird* love for those type of activities home to us.

My initial thoughts about ROTC are all negative because I don’t want her in combat or even having to serve in a safe capacity shortly after having a child. So, what are the actual commitments — both while at college and afterwards?

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I went through college Air Force ROTC as a homeschool grad. It's entirely possible. I didn't need to commit to military service until the summer before my junior year.  That varies based on scholarships.  Here's a link to get your research started: http://afrotc.unt.edu/

I'm thankful that my parents supported my efforts. One of my classmates did not have a supportive family, and it was incredibly hard for him to succeed. He's a powerful, effective military officer today.

The Air Force paid for my last two years of college so that I graduated without debt. I'm glad I served; it was worth what I invested in it.  I left the military before I had kids.

 

 

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6 hours ago, elroisees said:

I went through college Air Force ROTC as a homeschool grad. It's entirely possible. I didn't need to commit to military service until the summer before my junior year.  That varies based on scholarships.  Here's a link to get your research started: http://afrotc.unt.edu/

I'm thankful that my parents supported my efforts. One of my classmates did not have a supportive family, and it was incredibly hard for him to succeed. He's a powerful, effective military officer today.

The Air Force paid for my last two years of college so that I graduated without debt. I'm glad I served; it was worth what I invested in it.  I left the military before I had kids.

 

 

Thank you. So, it looks like you can participate in ROTC for two years without making a service commitment as long as you don’t accept scholarship money? I would support my dd in whatever she chooses to do, but I would want to make sure she fully understands the commitment and I’d want her to take that first two years to get a better understanding of what she would be committing to.

Are there particular majors that are required? Right now my dd is planning to major in the classics with an eye toward medical/physician assistant school or speech and language pathology. 

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Well, I sort of hate to tell you how things were because it's been *cough* 18 years and my data may be old. 🙂

When I went to college, you applied to the ROTC program and also registered for the appropriate class and lab. You attended military science classes and lab two days a week, and PT (exercise) two very early mornings. 

You had to commit to military service before your junior year, and attend a training camp that summer. Also, you might commit sooner if you took a significant scholarship. The commitment was 4 years of active service and 4 years of inactive reserve.  Pilots had a longer service commitment because of training but that was decided later if you were so lucky as to qualify and be selected.

There were better scholarship options for certain majors, but you could take almost any major. 

There were physical, ethical and academic requirements. If you committed to serve, you took the oath of enlistment, and if you failed to deserve a commission you might be required to serve as enlisted, with exceptions for medical reasons. I never saw that happen, but I did see people ejected from the program for lying or cheating. One gal lied on her run time during our freshman year and was gone within an hour.

 You requested the career fields you thought you would enjoy, and the military computer told you your destiny during your senior year, using your major, your class ranking, your wishes and the needs of the service at that time.  Most of us got what we wanted; we had an excellent cadre that worked hard for us.  Commissioning occured the same morning as graduation, and then you'd report to your duty station two weeks later. 

We worked our tails off.  I highly recommend it. 😁  Because the process is so selective, if your daughter were to contact the units where she's considering attending, it would not be like contacting an enlisted recruiter. The enlisted recruiter has a quota to fill. The ROTC recruiter - not so much.  She could ask questions and get reliable information. 

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There are specific majors that one can get a degree in and be in ROTC, mostly they are math, science and engineering, but I think there are a some  languages that also work.  I looked it up.  A list for the Air Force is below.

This link has the majors for the Air Force.  I believe the others are similar.

https://www.afrotc.com/scholarships/desired-majors/

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3 hours ago, elroisees said:

Well, I sort of hate to tell you how things were because it's been *cough* 18 years and my data may be old. 🙂

When I went to college, you applied to the ROTC program and also registered for the appropriate class and lab. You attended military science classes and lab two days a week, and PT (exercise) two very early mornings. 

You had to commit to military service before your junior year, and attend a training camp that summer. Also, you might commit sooner if you took a significant scholarship. The commitment was 4 years of active service and 4 years of inactive reserve.  Pilots had a longer service commitment because of training but that was decided later if you were so lucky as to qualify and be selected.

There were better scholarship options for certain majors, but you could take almost any major. 

There were physical, ethical and academic requirements. If you committed to serve, you took the oath of enlistment, and if you failed to deserve a commission you might be required to serve as enlisted, with exceptions for medical reasons. I never saw that happen, but I did see people ejected from the program for lying or cheating. One gal lied on her run time during our freshman year and was gone within an hour.

 You requested the career fields you thought you would enjoy, and the military computer told you your destiny during your senior year, using your major, your class ranking, your wishes and the needs of the service at that time.  Most of us got what we wanted; we had an excellent cadre that worked hard for us.  Commissioning occured the same morning as graduation, and then you'd report to your duty station two weeks later. 

We worked our tails off.  I highly recommend it. 😁  Because the process is so selective, if your daughter were to contact the units where she's considering attending, it would not be like contacting an enlisted recruiter. The enlisted recruiter has a quota to fill. The ROTC recruiter - not so much.  She could ask questions and get reliable information. 

 

 

Well, not much has changed it seems since you were in the program, because you pretty much summarized the structure of the current program based on what I read in the link you sent me. It sounds pretty great and I’m sure my dd would love it. It would totally suit her personality.

And I see they have Japanese on the list of highly desired majors. My dd loves Latin and is proficient in Spanish but has been dying to take Japanese for a couple of years and is getting ready to start that language class tomorrow. I will pass on all the info and the links to her. Lots of food for thought. Thank you!

 

Edited by Mom0012
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22 hours ago, Mom0012 said:

I’m going to research this thoroughly, but if anyone has any info to share about how ROTC programs work, I’d love to hear it. My dd thrives on physical activity and would enjoy military type drills and physical training exercises. She recently had the opportunity to participate in physical training with the firemen/women in our town and this really brought this *weird* love for those type of activities home to us.

My initial thoughts about ROTC are all negative because I don’t want her in combat or even having to serve in a safe capacity shortly after having a child. So, what are the actual commitments — both while at college and afterwards?

This may come across as blunter than I intend.

Our family has both extensive military service and a lot of fire service.  

Anyone joining the military should go in prepared for the possibility of wartime service, combat (both within the specialty of that service and in less traditional roles via cross-service assignments - many members of the Navy served in Iraq and Afghanistan on months or year long special assignments).

The tasks the military is asked to perform are complex, sometimes outside what would be categorized as safe, and are performed in all seasons and weather.  Injuries and death can happen as a result of training.  The training is designed to make service members and units able to perform safely, but the risks can never be completely removed.

I'm happy to answer questions about Navy ROTC or the Naval Academy. 

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46 minutes ago, Sebastian (a lady) said:

This may come across as blunter than I intend.

Our family has both extensive military service and a lot of fire service.  

Anyone joining the military should go in prepared for the possibility of wartime service, combat (both within the specialty of that service and in less traditional roles via cross-service assignments - many members of the Navy served in Iraq and Afghanistan on months or year long special assignments).

The tasks the military is asked to perform are complex, sometimes outside what would be categorized as safe, and are performed in all seasons and weather.  Injuries and death can happen as a result of training.  The training is designed to make service members and units able to perform safely, but the risks can never be completely removed.

I'm happy to answer questions about Navy ROTC or the Naval Academy. 

Yes, thank you for pointing out the seriousness of the commitment and the risks involved.

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51 minutes ago, Sebastian (a lady) said:

This may come across as blunter than I intend.

Our family has both extensive military service and a lot of fire service.  

Anyone joining the military should go in prepared for the possibility of wartime service, combat (both within the specialty of that service and in less traditional roles via cross-service assignments - many members of the Navy served in Iraq and Afghanistan on months or year long special assignments).

The tasks the military is asked to perform are complex, sometimes outside what would be categorized as safe, and are performed in all seasons and weather.  Injuries and death can happen as a result of training.  The training is designed to make service members and units able to perform safely, but the risks can never be completely removed.

I'm happy to answer questions about Navy ROTC or the Naval Academy. 

You're absolutely right, Sebastian, but could my *mom* have said that she was prepared for all that when I started college and ROTC?  Probably not.  She was proud of me, but she was still a mom.  I think some worry is normal.  She didn't hold me back, though.  

(By the way, I love the quote at the end of your signature!)

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6 hours ago, elroisees said:

You're absolutely right, Sebastian, but could my *mom* have said that she was prepared for all that when I started college and ROTC?  Probably not.  She was proud of me, but she was still a mom.  I think some worry is normal.  She didn't hold me back, though.  

(By the way, I love the quote at the end of your signature!)

I served 17 years myself and yet I find I'm not completely prepared to be a mom of adventurous adults doing daring things.  

One of my sons did an aviation cruise this summer.  About a month after he returned, a pilot in a sister squadron died doing a run in one of the canyons he'd flown through as a back seat passenger (the canyon is in the Top Gun 2 trailer).  

The ship collisions in recent years occurred during normal operations. 

On the other hand, there was a car accident nearby us this morning in which two students were seriously injured on their way to school. Life has risks.

 

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On 8/26/2019 at 7:02 PM, JenneinCA said:

There are specific majors that one can get a degree in and be in ROTC, mostly they are math, science and engineering, but I think there are a some  languages that also work.  I looked it up.  A list for the Air Force is below.

This link has the majors for the Air Force.  I believe the others are similar.

https://www.afrotc.com/scholarships/desired-majors/

No, you can major in whatever and still be in ROTC. The list is specifically for AFROTC, and those majors are preferred for the scholarships they hand out before high school graduation. You could major in underwater basket weaving, register for ROTC classes as a non-contracted student, and then apply for a "sideload" scholarship from the detachment for later years.  

I don't believe Army ROTC cares at all about major. It seems to me that my sons AROTC scholarship friends have all sorts of different majors.

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My AROTC kid could have any major. My AFROTC kids were constrained on majors. 

Something else to consider--being hurt IN ROTC. I currently have two kids who can't/could not Commission. One had to leave AROTC 3.5 years in. She's still looking at another surgery, but so far, is just trying to tough it out as the surgery is horrendous and the first 3 didn't really help. My last also had a National scholarship and cannot Commission. She's looking at another surgery, probably at Christmas--she shattered her leg on the Marine assault course in a blizzard. Norwich has been very generous, and she's continuing her military minor, but she no longer has the full ride that she DID have. It's possible that the next surgery to take out the 6" of titanium in her leg will be successful, but it's also possible that the surgery will mess up the major nerve in her leg. If it IS successful, she may be able to go OCS after graduation, but she won't Commission with her class of 2021. If she was not our last kid, we would not be able to pay what we're paying at NU. NU is covering tuition, but she's paying books with her summer money, and we're doing R&B, basically. 

My other AFROTC still owes another 3 years--if he'll stay in past that, remains to be seen. He worked all the way through school as ROTC doesn't cover R&B, and he lived in his car for a time. The stipend doesn't cover much the first 2 years. Another glitch in the system for AFROTC--you won't get the money until WELL into the first semester. You need to be able to cover tuition, R&B, fees, and books for several months. They were quite upfront about that! AFROTC paid WAY later than AROTC every single semester. And not every candidate gets a National scholarship. Most kids get ones 2 or so years in from the institution. Most kids in my kids' squadrons/platoons/companies  didn't have scholarship monies for several years. 

There is talk of extending Academy commitments beyond 5 years active/2 Reserve (aviation is waaaaay longer than that!). It will happen. And when it does, ROTC commitments are going to extend as well. And don't listen to the recruiter who tells your kid: enlist and we'll guarantee an Appointment to the academy! We have a mom here who is living in that lala land right now. She explained to me that HER enlisted dd will catch up to a friend at the Naval Academy. Nope, not going to happen. Even if your kid DOES get an Appointment (and she's being told she doesn't have to have a Nomination) she'll still have to go to Prep School for a year. She doesn't have the math. But, this kid isn't Academy material. She'll make a great enlisted Marine, but she's not going to become an officer. The recruiters can say anything they want to... 

ROTC is not just a cheap way to do college (and doesn't cover a lot of stuff). It is a commitment to SERVE. If the kid isn't prepared to put her life on the line, she should go another route. 

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As another family who is now going through the ROTC experience I'd like to place some emphasis on previous comments and add a few thoughts.

First, neither ROTC or military service is without risk. Risk is inherent in both the ROTC program and in military service. 

Second, ROTC programs come in a variety of flavors, some provide scholarship opportunities, some allow a commitment between the student and the individual service to commission as an officer upon graduation (with no scholarship having been granted), some are simply courses and exercises that students participate in but there is no guarantee of future military service/employment. While there are program standards, different schools and different services participate in different training activities. ROTC can have a different flavor at different colleges. The program typically includes coursework, physical training, and other activities/military exercises outside of class. For those on scholarship there will be approximately 30 days of service during the summer.

Third, there are several military programs around the country who offer their students the ability to go through a ROTC program as a leadership program student rather than as a future military officer. They may live and study in a military environment, participate in military style exercises/activities, take leadership courses and have the opportunity to be part of their organizations student leadership, but there is no expectation that they will serve in the military upon graduation.

Fourth, if your plan includes limited participation in ROTC as sort of a test to see if your student enjoys the lifestyle/work/activities/etc., then do your research carefully. The greatest benefits to those participating in ROTC are offered upfront, during the high school, as part of the application process. While some benefits can be obtained later there are more choices early in the process. Furthermore, a student considering commissioning or gaining a scholarship later in college needs to look at the requirements for college courses/majors. It can be very difficult to play catch-up in later years. Some services have both course and major requirements; sometimes these can be waived or changed but not always.

Fifth, do not believe any recruiter that tries to sell your student on enlisting rather than attending college as a path to college or service academy admissions if that is what they desire. They seemed to universally attempt to discourage my child from becoming an officer, attending college, etc. Research the services your student is interested in and then the colleges and specifically their ROTC programs, try to meet with them if possible. If your student is interested in a scholarship or academy plan on beginning the application process before the start of senior year. The earlier the application the greater the chance of success.

Finally, do not underestimate the need for physical fitness in order to successfully participate in these programs. Start training in high school.  Also, having been homeschooled is not a bar to participation in ROTC or college admissions.

In conclusion-I have a kid who is very happy being a part of ROTC, regrets nothing. Somedays it is hard for me to watch what these kids do, I know it is hard for their classmates parents as well. But I am also a very proud mom. Happy to discuss the specifics of my kiddo's program were it to be relevant.

 

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I have about 7 family members including siblings that served in the military, uncles and currently a nephew...

Please be aware that while the benefits are amazing the student needs to participate because of a true love for our country and desire to fight, die, serve and sacrifice for it.  If they don't have that they will be embittered.  If they do have that they will never regret it even with the sacrifices made and hard times to come they will always know in their heart they did the right thing for their country.

The military, even for "safe" positions can take a very hard toll on your body and your physical and even mental health because of the long hours, high standards, "mind games," as well as being deployed puts them in the possibility of being exposed to diseases, situations, and chemicals that can affect the body long term.  Very few positions never get deployed, they are needed overseas all the time, to back up or support the personal on the front lines, etc.  

That said, we have several family members that did really well, used their GI bill, and now have amazing careers with bachelor degrees and no major health or emotional issues, and learned so much respect for authority, about the world, and so much about how to get along when things are tough..... 

We also have family members with mild PTSD, and others with sort of unexplained autoimmune issues.  (presumably due to chemical exposure and over exposure of the body to harsh conditions and being at their physical limit.) They don't regret it because they truly wanted to be in the military all their lives and it wasn't just for the scholarship money 🙂 I am happy that's how they feel.

I know others, outside my family, actually in my extended family who are truly embittered because they felt they were sold a "bill of goods" and didn't realize what they were getting into. 

Best of luck to your daughter whatever she decides!!!

 

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Thanks for all the great information and for sharing your children’s experiences. If my dd went this route, it would not be for the scholarship money. Honestly, her real passion is for volunteering as a first responder. When she joined in with the fire division for their physical training, it just really struck me how much she enjoyed that type of thing. She always has. She had briefly considered attending VMI in her father’s footsteps, but ruled that out. I am going to have her take a look at the program JumpedIntoTheDeepEndFirst mentioned. That is something I could really see her enjoying.

On 8/29/2019 at 3:55 PM, JumpedIntoTheDeepEndFirst said:

Third, there are several military programs around the country who offer their students the ability to go through a ROTC program as a leadership program student rather than as a future military officer. They may live and study in a military environment, participate in military style exercises/activities, take leadership courses and have the opportunity to be part of their organizations student leadership, but there is no expectation that they will serve in the military upon graduation.

 

Edited by Mom0012
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On 8/28/2019 at 7:33 PM, Margaret in CO said:

My AROTC kid could have any major. My AFROTC kids were constrained on majors. 

Something else to consider--being hurt IN ROTC. I currently have two kids who can't/could not Commission. One had to leave AROTC 3.5 years in. She's still looking at another surgery, but so far, is just trying to tough it out as the surgery is horrendous and the first 3 didn't really help. My last also had a National scholarship and cannot Commission. She's looking at another surgery, probably at Christmas--she shattered her leg on the Marine assault course in a blizzard. Norwich has been very generous, and she's continuing her military minor, but she no longer has the full ride that she DID have. It's possible that the next surgery to take out the 6" of titanium in her leg will be successful, but it's also possible that the surgery will mess up the major nerve in her leg. If it IS successful, she may be able to go OCS after graduation, but she won't Commission with her class of 2021. If she was not our last kid, we would not be able to pay what we're paying at NU. NU is covering tuition, but she's paying books with her summer money, and we're doing R&B, basically. 

My other AFROTC still owes another 3 years--if he'll stay in past that, remains to be seen. He worked all the way through school as ROTC doesn't cover R&B, and he lived in his car for a time. The stipend doesn't cover much the first 2 years. Another glitch in the system for AFROTC--you won't get the money until WELL into the first semester. You need to be able to cover tuition, R&B, fees, and books for several months. They were quite upfront about that! AFROTC paid WAY later than AROTC every single semester. And not every candidate gets a National scholarship. Most kids get ones 2 or so years in from the institution. Most kids in my kids' squadrons/platoons/companies  didn't have scholarship monies for several years. 

There is talk of extending Academy commitments beyond 5 years active/2 Reserve (aviation is waaaaay longer than that!). It will happen. And when it does, ROTC commitments are going to extend as well. And don't listen to the recruiter who tells your kid: enlist and we'll guarantee an Appointment to the academy! We have a mom here who is living in that lala land right now. She explained to me that HER enlisted dd will catch up to a friend at the Naval Academy. Nope, not going to happen. Even if your kid DOES get an Appointment (and she's being told she doesn't have to have a Nomination) she'll still have to go to Prep School for a year. She doesn't have the math. But, this kid isn't Academy material. She'll make a great enlisted Marine, but she's not going to become an officer. The recruiters can say anything they want to... 

ROTC is not just a cheap way to do college (and doesn't cover a lot of stuff). It is a commitment to SERVE. If the kid isn't prepared to put her life on the line, she should go another route. 

 

Sorry to hear about how two of your kids have been hurt in ROTC. That is not something I would have expected to be a big risk, so that is very good information to have. Wow.

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On 8/29/2019 at 3:55 PM, JumpedIntoTheDeepEndFirst said:

Third, there are several military programs around the country who offer their students the ability to go through a ROTC program as a leadership program student rather than as a future military officer. They may live and study in a military environment, participate in military style exercises/activities, take leadership courses and have the opportunity to be part of their organizations student leadership, but there is no expectation that they will serve in the military upon graduation.

 

Are you able to share more information about this type of program and where it is held? 

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1 hour ago, Mom0012 said:

Are you able to share more information about this type of program and where it is held? 

Virginia Tech is one place.  The Corps of Cadets has cadets in the different branches of ROTC, but it also has the "citizen leadership" track (the VPI track), where students are a part of the Corps, live in Corps dorms, and participate in Corps activities, but are not in ROTC and won't commission.  Definitely a program to look into!  My oldest son graduated from the Corps at VT, and we thought it was an excellent program.  We really like the Commandant, and the leadership he provides.  

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3 hours ago, Mom0012 said:

Are you able to share more information about this type of program and where it is held? 

Senior military colleges:  VMI, TAMU, VA Tech, Citadel, Uni of N Georgia, and our favorite, Norwich University. At Norwich, only about 50% actively pursue Commissioning. It's also unique in that it has civilian students, and also, that it is a private school. Dd will graduate with a major in comp sci, a minor in math, and a minor in military science. She also gets to ride cute little Fell Ponies as part of Cavalry!Image may contain: one or more people, sky, horse and outdoor

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4 hours ago, Mom0012 said:

Are you able to share more information about this type of program and where it is held? 

As others have mentioned above, most of the senior military colleges have this option. Students in these leadership programs often go through the same overall program as the other student cadets but without any assumption they will enter military service upon graduation. I believe at VMI you end up taking ROTC courses for two years and can then drop ROTC and focus on pursuing your degree.  VMI also has a training program for EMTs and volunteer firefighting with opportunities to practice these skills as a student.

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This is another program with a Corps of Cadets that doesn't require ROTC participation. 

Mary Baldwin University https://marybaldwin.edu/vwil/

She might also look to see if there are volunteer EMT or firefighting opportunities at colleges she is interested in.  One of my relatives was a volunteer firefighter through most of college. He spent weekends at the station studying and later had an apartment across from the station. He did firefighter training courses at the state fire academy over the summers.  

He has been a paid firefighter for many years now. 

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