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Should I join CAP


3 Green

I'm 15M and planning on doing NROTC, but would like to know if CAP would be worth my time to improve my marketability. CAP isn't particularly useful in my area, but if it increases my chances I would be willing to do it anyway. I realize I have some time, but I would rather be overprepared, then get to ROTC and my resume isn't good enough.



Per Diem Mafia
Totally agree, just trying to improve my chances of the NROTC scholarship.
To improve your chances: get good grades and develop a way to convey your desire to be a Naval Officer in your interview. Reminder, the NROTC scholarship doesn't mean anything if you don't get into the school first. I'm sure the college would happily take federally guaranteed money, but you need both.


Well-Known Member
Hello Spatz,

I am a current CAP Officer and a prior cadet myself. I spent six years as a cadet before going off to the Marines. I came back in 2016 and was recently selected for squadron command after a little over six years as a cadet programs officer. I've had many of my peers from my cadet days go on to NROTC, one with a full scholarship, as well as to service academies, OCS and the enlisted ranks. On top of the military folks I know doctors, lawyers, ivy league grads, cops, business owners and more that all utilize their CAP experience to succeed in life.

I've helped multiple cadets apply for scholarship opportunities and the academies, and one of my cadets has been nominated to the Naval Academy and is awaiting his appointment. I can't think of a single cadet that would claim their time in CAP hurt them and most would credit the program with helping them achieve their goals.

CAP's Cadet Program is a phenomenal program, but simply being a cadet isn't going to help you much. You'll have to do the work and be high achieving within the program for it to really benefit you. My advice to you is to visit some squadrons in your area and see what they do. You say CAP isn't really useful in your area. That may be the case as far as our emergency services missions go, but there is a wealth of opportunity to pursue leadership education, career exploration opportunities, awesome special activities and other experiences to be had. These can both aid you in achieving your goals and also give you experiences and knowledge that will be useful to you for the rest of your life.

CAP has been very, very good to me for most of my life at this point. I hope you'll give it a chance to be good for you. Maybe in 20 years you'll be the old man writing to a 15 year old lad encouraging him to be the best he can be. After all, that's what the Cadet Program is all about: transforming young Americans into dynamic citizens and aerospace leaders.


FERS and TSP contributor!
@Spatz I will second what's been said above. I'm around CAP cadets routinely and I wish as a young man in my high school years, I had been exposed to CAP. If your future self has asperations as a leader in the profession-of-arms then absolutely join CAP as a cadet. You will find yourself surrounded by what I would call "nice kids" (nerdy, smart, polite, engaged), caring supportive role-model adults, and have an opportunity to enjoy some incredibly rewarding and cool experiences. Oh and by the way, you will be a better human in the process. And it just so happens that these values will be regarded highly as you seek to achieve your life goals. Additionally you will meet people who's judge of character will matter when you are asked to supply references. Go for it.