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Advice for a high school student

Bruin49

New Member
Before I start I’d like to apologize for asking any stupid questions or anything this is my first post. Im a jounior in high school and aspiring to be a pilot in the military (I’d love to fly fighters but I’d be happy with anything). After looking through some forums I have like a billion questions but I can figure out the specifics on my own. I’d just like to hear what your opinions are on the best way to do this and maximize my chance of getting to fly and what your experience was like. What branch? ROTC vs ocs? what can I do now? Is a civilian license worth it? Anything else you can tell me to increase my chances would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks,
Payton
 
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RecruitingGuru

Making Recruiting Great Again
Before I start I’d like to apologize for asking any stupid questions or anything this is my first post. Im a jounior in high school and aspiring to be a pilot in the military (I’d love to fly fighters but I’d be happy with anything). After looking through some forums I have like a billion questions but I can figure out the specifics on my own. I’d just like to hear what your opinions are on the best way to do this and maximize my chance of getting to fly and what your experience was like. What branch? ROTC vs ocs? what can I do now? Is a civilian license worth it? Anything else you can tell me to increase my chances would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks,
Payton
Lots of good questions as a 17 year old. Start off by searching around this forum and even Google. You will be surprised to see what you can find with a click of a button.

Good luck.
 

wink

VS NFO. Blue and Gold Officer
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
@Bruin49 Don't be afraid to come back with questions. I haven't found all the answers to my questions by using the search function.
 

Spartans1991

Active Member
Before I start I’d like to apologize for asking any stupid questions or anything this is my first post. Im a jounior in high school and aspiring to be a pilot in the military (I’d love to fly fighters but I’d be happy with anything). After looking through some forums I have like a billion questions but I can figure out the specifics on my own. I’d just like to hear what your opinions are on the best way to do this and maximize my chance of getting to fly and what your experience was like. What branch? ROTC vs ocs? what can I do now? Is a civilian license worth it? Anything else you can tell me to increase my chances would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks,
Payton
I think you're going to have a hard time getting what you're looking for out of this. It's going to be really hard to predict where aviation's needs are going to be next board let alone by the time you're applying. I think the best advice would be to have someone you trust go with you and talk to some rotc folks (I don't know anything about it). See what they tell you and if sounds like something you'd be interested in. As far as branch again talk to them and see what they say. Things you can be doing now is maintaining good grades, don't be an idiot and get yourself in trouble, and enjoy high school.
 

peppergunner

ɹǝqɯǝW pǝʇɹǝʌuI
Maximize your chances now? Pay attention in Math and Physics. It'll help you the most when you take your aptitude tests.
 

Pags

Pope of Chili Town
pilot
If you want to serve by flying than maximize your chances by applying to all the options for all the branches but be aware of each service's proclivities. USAF has lots of airplanes and lots of fighters but tends to give pilot slots to USAFA grads over other sources. USA has lots of helos and lots of WOs, Army Aviation Officers dont do as much flying as the WOs do. USN/USMC has a bit of everything but more RW/TR and less big wing than USAF. USN/USMC seems to more equally share pilot slots between commissioning sources. USMC has programs that "guarantee" you aviation. USCG has a small number of aircraft and is highly selective and also generally likes their aviators to have served on boats prior to flight school. Many of the services have a way to get you a free/cheaper college education that comes with a service obligation. Service obligations tend to increase your chances at a pilot slot.
 

hlg6016

A/C Wings Here
X2 on whats been said, You still have time to narrow down your choice of branch. Stay out of trouble and your future is wide open.
And be advised that the velocity of sparrows differs from northern to southern hemispheres.
 

Pags

Pope of Chili Town
pilot
X2 on whats been said, You still have time to narrow down your choice of branch. Stay out of trouble and your future is wide open.
And be advised that the velocity of sparrows differs from northern to southern hemispheres.
And the type of swallow (African vs European).

Also, if OP is a junior he may very well be behind the power curve when it comes to applications for service academies and ROTC. If that's the case apply to them all and let the gods chosen for you.
 
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abctotheabc

Well-Known Member
Your GPA is extremely important. Keep it as high as possible. Don't get injured or break the law because the medical and legal process to get into the military after something like that can be messy and complicated and take long. Have some good extracurriculars on the side to fluff your package.
 

Maxillarious

Registered User
pilot
Before I start I’d like to apologize for asking any stupid questions or anything this is my first post. Im a jounior in high school and aspiring to be a pilot in the military (I’d love to fly fighters but I’d be happy with anything). After looking through some forums I have like a billion questions but I can figure out the specifics on my own. I’d just like to hear what your opinions are on the best way to do this and maximize my chance of getting to fly and what your experience was like. What branch? ROTC vs ocs? what can I do now? Is a civilian license worth it? Anything else you can tell me to increase my chances would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks,
Payton
Hey Payton,

I'm assuming that you mean you'll be entering your junior year of HS starting in a few months. A great option would be to apply to a service academy- look into the application process now and also apply for a summer seminar program at the academy if you choose to go that route. I hate to say it, but just due to how the number ratios play out, your best chance at being a pilot is to go the Air Force route. (threw up in my mouth a little bit saying that) Navy is a great choice too, but to get a pilot spot, you're really going to have to work hard for it- like be in the top third of your class or better.

Another option is to apply for a ROTC scholarship and go to a college that participates in the ROTC program.

GPA is big- shoot for 3.5 or better...probably much better. Also, participation in sports teams and volunteering in your community is huge too in getting accepted into a commissioning program. You're going to need good SAT and/or ACT scores as well. For the ACT, I'd say 27 is bare minimum, 32 or better competitive.

Once in a college commissioning program, honesty is, your field of study is not that important as far as getting a pilot slot goes. Pick something that you enjoy studying- the biggest thing is maintaining a good GPA. Also, consider that more than half of pilots do not retire from military service unfortunately- you should pick a degree that will support you in your second career. Computer science is very needed these days, engineering is a great choice too.

Getting a civilian pilot license won't help you get a pilot slot and will only help you marginally in the very beginning of primary flight school. In my opinon, it is not worth the time, energy and effort to get one just for the sake of helping your chances. You can get much of the same basic result by reading a private pilot book and getting familiar with basic flying concepts on a computer based flight simulator.

Flight school students with civilian flight experience were better at radios and struggled less with basic airwork, but after the first few weeks of flight school, that edge levels off as the students with no experience come up to speed. If anything, there are a lot of bad habits that have to be unlearned. It might help with a first impression with flight school instructors and you'll seem a bit more competent and a quick learner, but most kids with flight experience also brought a bit of arrogance with them that tended to negate that first part.

Flying in general is awesome, and I encourage you to get some flight experience if it's for your own personal enjoyment, but again, if it's just for the sake of getting an edge in flight school, the benefit is minimal.

Best of luck.

"Beaker"
 

Python1287

Well-Known Member
pilot
Contributor
Hey Payton,

I'm assuming that you mean you'll be entering your junior year of HS starting in a few months. A great option would be to apply to a service academy- look into the application process now and also apply for a summer seminar program at the academy if you choose to go that route. I hate to say it, but just due to how the number ratios play out, your best chance at being a pilot is to go the Air Force route. (threw up in my mouth a little bit saying that) Navy is a great choice too, but to get a pilot spot, you're really going to have to work hard for it- like be in the top third of your class or better.

Another option is to apply for a ROTC scholarship and go to a college that participates in the ROTC program.

GPA is big- shoot for 3.5 or better...probably much better. Also, participation in sports teams and volunteering in your community is huge too in getting accepted into a commissioning program. You're going to need good SAT and/or ACT scores as well. For the ACT, I'd say 27 is bare minimum, 32 or better competitive.

Once in a college commissioning program, honesty is, your field of study is not that important as far as getting a pilot slot goes. Pick something that you enjoy studying- the biggest thing is maintaining a good GPA. Also, consider that more than half of pilots do not retire from military service unfortunately- you should pick a degree that will support you in your second career. Computer science is very needed these days, engineering is a great choice too.

Getting a civilian pilot license won't help you get a pilot slot and will only help you marginally in the very beginning of primary flight school. In my opinon, it is not worth the time, energy and effort to get one just for the sake of helping your chances. You can get much of the same basic result by reading a private pilot book and getting familiar with basic flying concepts on a computer based flight simulator.

Flight school students with civilian flight experience were better at radios and struggled less with basic airwork, but after the first few weeks of flight school, that edge levels off as the students with no experience come up to speed. If anything, there are a lot of bad habits that have to be unlearned. It might help with a first impression with flight school instructors and you'll seem a bit more competent and a quick learner, but most kids with flight experience also brought a bit of arrogance with them that tended to negate that first part.

Flying in general is awesome, and I encourage you to get some flight experience if it's for your own personal enjoyment, but again, if it's just for the sake of getting an edge in flight school, the benefit is minimal.

Best of luck.

"Beaker"
I’d agree the benefit is minimal for a PPL guy. Someone with an instrument rating will have a much more significant advantage...even more so if coupled with a commercial ticket or beyond.

To the OP, it will not help you get a pilot slot as stated above.
 

Bruin49

New Member
Thanks for all of your guys input i'll go talk to some recruiters soon but it seems like all I can do for now is just do well in school.

And the airspeed of an unladen swallow is about 24mph
 

Maxillarious

Registered User
pilot
Thanks for all of your guys input i'll go talk to some recruiters soon but it seems like all I can do for now is just do well in school.

And the airspeed of an unladen swallow is about 24mph
Nooooooooooooooooooo!

Junior year is actually the point that you actually need to take action on stuff, man. This is when you put in your application packages for the service academies. Summer of Junior year is when the summer seminar programs are held. You need to start the application process for ROTC scholarships and start talking to the ROTC OIC at whatever school you might be interested in if you go that route.

Junior year is also the time that you should start getting recommendation letters from teachers, community leaders and getting your nomination from Congress lined up for a service academy appointment.

It's also the time to start getting in physical shape and getting your 1.5 mile run time down under 10:30.

If you don't start doing all this stuff right now as soon as your Junior year begins, then you're already behind the power curve.

Also, do not go into some recruiting office and talking to a recruiter if that's what you mean...they will bamboozle you with forms and sell you a boat of lies to snag you for their quotas. I can't tell you how many enlisted guys I had as a DIVO who were told by a recruiter that in order to be a pilot they should skip college and enlist in the Navy first. So wrong.
 
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