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Concerns with ROTC

#1
All,
I'm a currently a high school junior who has been thinking quite some time about a career in the Navy with ROTC. However, like most high schoolers, I'm not exactly sure what I want to do or how long. Ever since I was little I always loved flying and I think it would amazing to go into Naval Aviation, but I just can't shake the thought of what if I hate it and there's no way I can get out. Ten years of inescapable service seems like such a huge decision to make now. I'm also not apposed to intelligence, nuke, or other officer careers and the 5 year commitment to those seem more doable, but my passion is still aviation. I don't want to make it seem like I'm not motivated to have a career in the Navy, but I just can't shake the thought of being locked in during some of the most important years of my life. Have any of you grappled with a similar decision and what did you end up doing?
Many thanks
 

ea6bflyr

Working Class Bum
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
#2
Apply, and see if you get selected for a scholarship. The first year is free with no commitment which includes the summer 30-day midshipman cruise. With that, if you are on scholarship, between Freshman and Sophomore year, you will attend the 30-day CORTRAMID in either San Diego or Norfolk. CORTRAMID exposes you to all the Navy & Marine Corps has to offer. 1 week of surface, 1 week of aviation, 1 week of subs, and 1 week of Marine Corps. This midshipman cruise will help you decide if you want to go forward. Intel is tough to get out of NROTC. I wouldn't worry about the service commitment at this point. I know 10 years seems like a long time to a 16-17 year old, but trust me, if you love what you do, the time will fly by. Good luck on your future decision.
 
#3
Thanks for the reply ea6bflyr,
I see there's no harm in applying, however there is one other concern I forgot to mention. If I hate and drop ROTC would I be responsible for the full cost of tuition? There's no way I could pay for some of the colleges I'm looking at so it seems like if I got into my dream college with an ROTC scholarship it's either continue with ROTC or drop it and likely have to transfer. Can I utilize other scholarships or financial aid that I would have used but was covered by ROTC during my first year?
Thanks again
 

ea6bflyr

Working Class Bum
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
#4
Thanks for the reply ea6bflyr,
I see there's no harm in applying, however there is one other concern I forgot to mention. If I hate and drop ROTC would I be responsible for the full cost of tuition? There's no way I could pay for some of the colleges I'm looking at so it seems like if I got into my dream college with an ROTC scholarship it's either continue with ROTC or drop it and likely have to transfer. Can I utilize other scholarships or financial aid that I would have used but was covered by ROTC during my first year?
Thanks again
Like I said, the first year is free -- no obligation; you can drop any time before your sophomore year and you owe nothing. Depends on what the scholarship covers. You would need to speak to the financial aid office to get the real scoop. If it's a $$ scholarship, then you might be able to double up....if it's a tuition scholarship, then probably not.
 

Pags

Well-Known Member
pilot
#5
Lots of stuff in your post that I wrestled with when I was a young man in your position. Now that it's 20yrs later let me share some thoughts:
-Freshman year of ROTC is a great way to try out the USN and see if it's a fit. If you're interested in flight and the USN give it a shot and see if you like it. Odds are you'll love it and this reluctance will be a distant memory
-The hardest part of ROTC is getting good grades. #2 might be PT if you're not an athlete. If you've ever played some level of sports PT will be easy.
-If you get good grades, getting in to aviation via ROTC is largely a matter of continuing to show up. If you get a scholarship, stick with it, have good grades, aren't a shitbag, don't have some weird medical thing, and say "yes please" to aviation when selection time comes you have VERY good odds of ending in flight school.
-Once you're in flight school provided you have good grades, attitude, don't have some weird medical thing, and aren't a shitbag then you have VERY good odds of getting your wings and moving on to fly grey airplanes in the fleet.
-10yrs will FLY by and will still leave you with ample time for career #2, 3, 4, etc.
-If you get through 4yrs of ROTC and 10yrs still seems like a long time, you can go SWO and be done in 5yrs. 5yrs of seeing the world (hint: it's 2/3 water) and serving your country is nothing.
-Using ROTC as a way to afford a better school isn't bad. This is a quid pro quo arrangement between you and the USN. You get a degree from a school you wouldn't otherwise be able to afford and the USN gets an Ensign for a few years in return. If this is the difference between Harvard and East Podunk State then spending 5yrs in the fleet for a Harvard diploma is a solid investment that will pay huge dividends throughout your life. There is a lot of value to the name that is on your diploma.
 

TimeBomb

Noise, vibration and harshness
#6
Spruce,
There are very few careers where you will be completely free to bail at a time of your choosing if you find it not to your liking. You may be under contract to your employer, you may be paying off student loans, or have a wife and kids who don't want to subsist on ramen while you head back to school. It is hard to get off of almost any treadmill in the real world.
If you want to fly Navy, do it. Right now, ten years is well over half your life, and I understand the apprehension. Know though, your same reservations will apply to any career choice that involves a lot of expensive, front-loaded education.

Listen to Pags.

R/
 
#7
Thanks everyone. I'll definitely by applying, and who knows what will happen from there. I'm excited to see where this program can take me even if it's not aviation (are you saying SWO isn't as bad as you guys make it sound? ;))
 

Pags

Well-Known Member
pilot
#8
Thanks everyone. I'll definitely by applying, and who knows what will happen from there. I'm excited to see where this program can take me even if it's not aviation (are you saying SWO isn't as bad as you guys make it sound? ;))
SWO may be terrible but it’s not a bad trade for a free college education. That’s why you need to make NROTC count and go tot he best school you can. Get everything you can from the USN in return for your service.
 

NavyOffRec

Well-Known Member
#9
NROTC is competitive and we don't know you history if you apply and get it great, if you don't there are other paths. If you are really unsure about your future don't feel that you have to apply and get NROTC to be an officer. The other option is to do well in college and apply for OCS.
 

ea6bflyr

Working Class Bum
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
#10
SWO may be terrible but it’s not a bad trade for a free college education. That’s why you need to make NROTC count and go tot he best school you can. Get everything you can from the USN in return for your service.
Including the best DEGREE you can get.....POLY SCI degrees can only get you so far in the real world.
 

Pags

Well-Known Member
pilot
#11
Including the best DEGREE you can get.....POLY SCI degrees can only get you so far in the real world.
Concur wholeheartedly. NROTC can be a great way for the USN to set you for a good life. Leaving college with a paying job, a good degree, and debt free is a real solid way to start off your life. After your 5yrs of minimum service is up you'd be in a good place provided you didn't get into crushing debt while in the USN.
 
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