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Guest ZOOKID

USAFA (Academy) or ROTC

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Guest ZOOKID

I am a junior in High-School, and I am definately want to become an officer in the Air Force(pilot). MY dad is a 73' USAFA grad and my brother just commisioned out of ROTC and is heading to ENJJPT. Based on both my fathers and brothers experiences, I am leaning towards ROTC. I am confident that I have a good shot at both ROTC scholarship and Academy acceptance (4.0, sports, eagle scout). I just want to hear some pro's and con's about the Academy and ROTC. Thanks.

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Guest waxgoblin

you'll find people here probably will tilt towards the rotc route. if i got a full afrotc scholarship to the private colleges you can probably get into, i would probably take that over the zoo, and live a normal college life.

pretty much what it gets down to is, do you want to live a college life or a military college life?

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Wax is very correct. I chose the ROTC route because I wanted to have a semi-normal college life. Chicks, booze, parties... I am not sure you get that at USAFA. But, I will say that you will know pretty damn close to everyone and have a load of connections if you go that route. There are pros and cons to both.

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Guest gtyj98

i got both, and chose ROTC. after going through the USAFA summer seminar, then seeing a real college campus, there was no comparison. plus, why go through hell at the zoo when you can have a normal 4 years and still become a pilot (and officer).

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Simple descision matrix:

USAFA = Four years of hell. Never having the "college" experience.

ROTC = A small amount of suck, but after a bad day you have the ability to go out, get sauced, and bang Mary Jane Rottencrotch.

And what do they call you when you finish either USAFA or ROTC?........Lieutenant.

One thing to keep in mind is that you'll actually make bank at the Academy since you will barley spend your stipend. But it is worth the smack year, daily marches to chow, and all of the new sensitivity training? That's up to you. A vast majority of my Zoomie friends say no.

I personally don't know why anyone would want to give up the best four (or seven) years of their life. Besides, if you're going to be a pilot you're going to spend at least the first two years of your military career in a training environment. Do you really want to make that six?

HD

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Guest Rainman A-10

It is easier to get a pilot slot at the Zoo.

I bailed on the Zoo option after my second recruiting trip. Several guys on the football team told me not to come if I had good eyes and could get a pilot slot in ROTC. I took their advice and have had few regrets only because things worked out. My best friend went out there to play hockey and he b!tched about the place constantly. I rarely saw in the summer him because he stayed at school to make up classes he tubed or some other reason. I saw him several times in Minnesota over the next 4 years when the USAFA hockey team came out to play and I was always amazed at the wacky appreciation they all had for the "freedom" on their team trips. I did stop into the Zoo to see him when we were playing in Colorado and he did not look like he was having a good time. Years later, we were together flying A-10s and there was no way to tell the difference in commissioning source. I thnk I had more fun in college but I was lucky.

I would've had many regrets if things had not worked out in ROTC or if my eyes went south during college or if I needed any type of waiver or a lot of other ifs that are not a problem at the Zoo but a big problem if you're just an ROTC shmuck.

My advice, take whatever you can get. Make sure you are aware of all the risks if you end up with multiple options.

Remember, having fun in college is not worth it if you never end up at pilot training.

Good luck.

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I'll piggy-back on Rainman's post. My experience was sort of the mirror opposite of his.

I turned down several full athletic scholarship offers from civilian universities in my home state. I was also recruited by all the service academies and several Ivy League schools. I will say that I didn't know squat about ROTC at the time.

When I took my recruiting trip to the Zoo, I was impressed by the dudes who hosted me. They were a bunch of top-notch individuals and warriors. I was a farm kid from Ohio. My dad thought I was an idiot to consider going to the Academy when I could get an education free--and closer to home. Looking back, part of my rational was probably defying my old man.

Anyway...I'm not endorsing the Academy over ROTC. I didn't even know about ROTC then. But, the notion that you aren't going to have any "college experience" at the Academy is wrong. After the first year, I spent most weekends off-campus, doing the same sh!t anybody else would have been doing at that age.

Again, without comparing to ROTC, I'll throw out what I think were the positives in my case. I graduated from the Zoo in '87 so I've had some time to let it sink in and ponder it.

1. I made some awesome friends for life. Just last winter, I took a ski trip with 6 of my old buds and our wives. It was as if we'd never been apart. The sh!t you go through together at the Academy bonds you.

2. You'll never be around more smart people at the same time in your life (maybe unless you go to an Ivy League School). Being in a fighter squadron gives you that to some degree. I'm just talking about the sheer numbers at the Academy.

3. The education is top-notch. I've never felt inferior, from an educational standpoint, at any time in my life since the Academy.

4. The extra-curricular activities and opportunities are cool. While still in college, I got to see a good bit of the world, play Div-1A football at very high level (three bowl games in four years--all victories!), fly gliders and airplanes, and do some things that would not have been financially feasible at another school.

5. The Academy opens doors for you in later life; whether in the military, airlines, or business, there's a network out there.

It was hard. It sucked at times. I don't regret it. I'm proud I did it. Since then, I've flown A-10s my whole career. For someone who actually is in a position to choose between ROTC and the Academy (and most people aren't) it's going to be a personal choice.

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Guest Rainman A-10

Yep, Bozz and I had almost the exact same scenario with two different choices and we both ended up flying A-10s without it mattering one bit where we went to school.

I am the poster child for the saying it is better to be lucky than good.

I can say I was sweating blood my senior year with a torn rotator cuff, torn anterior deltoid, 13 shoulder separations and 9 games with a cast on my right leg for a "high ankle sprain". I had less than zero chance for any medical waiver because I was ROTC. I only a couple months to recover after the season before my last pilot training physical. My ROTC PAS/DETCO told me I should seriously consider sitting out the season after my first significant injury. I lost a lot of sleep over that but never even considered sitting out a single play. Probably stupid, definitely lucky.

If I had been at the USAFA, no problem.

USAFA is a great deal if you can get in and you want to lock up a pilot slot.

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If your dad is a grad and you're asking whether or not you should go to the zoo, go ROTC. The Academy is one that takes a desire to be there because it is in fact a challenge to stay there.

It's kind of like a pilot slot; if you're not sure you want to go, don't do it because there'll be someone who actually wants to be there who won't get a spot if you take it.

On the other hand, if you want a real challenge that will really change you, a career in the Air Force, and a great paid for degree, go USAFA.

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Need To Fly-

I'd recommend you take the same test I did as a junior in H.S.:

1. Can you afford college without taking out a loan?

Yes - (+3)

No - (-1)

2. Do you already have a girlfriend?

Yes - (-1)

No - (+4)

Never asked a girl out - (+6)

Girls? Who cares! - (-4)

3. Ever drink alcohol as a minor?

Yes - (+3)

No - (-2)

4. Do you have your PPL?

Yes - (+2)

No - (-1)

5. Do you easily meet the physical criteria for UPT?

Watch - (+3)

Ray Bans - (+2)

4.0 GPA - (-4)

Top 10 in your class - (-3)

20/15 vision, uncorrected - (+3)

20/20, corrected, older siblings wear glasses - (-4)

6. Any chance you could be cast on "Beauty & the Geek"?

Yes - (-4)

No - (+2)

7. Having someone yell in your ears for several years makes you feel:

Nervous - (+4)

Like home - (-4)

8. Ever been handcuffed?

Yes - (+3)

No - (-3)

9.Ever handcuff a chick?

Yes - (+6)

No - (0)

10. The thought of eating meals in 2 minutes or less leaves you thinking:

Hey, more time for SportsCenter - (+4)

Why? - (+2)

Cool, a challenge! - (-4)

What's SportsCenter? - (-2)

Scores:

1 - 41: go ROTC

-37 - 0: go AFA

Hope this helps.

BATMAN

[ 10. July 2005, 15:18: Message edited by: Batman ]

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Hope this helps.

BATMAN

Right, whatever. I had a good time at USAFA...even as a frosh I partied on the weekends (the ones I could get out), I was in a cheesy cover band. Made some good friends that I know will always be there, and vice versa. Granted I didn't always follow all the rules except the golden rule: "Don't get Caught". Did some fun stuff you could only do there. It wasn't all fun and games...1st year kind of sucked, but I'm glad I went that route. FWIW.

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16...for college it's a personal choice. if you want the academy lifestyle then go there. if you want the real college lifestyle, go to normal school. what really sucks is having your cake and eating it too (VMI). you get the miserable experience for 4 years, but you still get the rotc route...which wait a minute, sucks compared to having the academy where you're guarenteed a slot if you can breathe. oh well, i did 4 years at the "I" and am a lot better for it. if you're not sure what you want, go to a normal college.

because...why would you want this ? when you can have this everyday

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I'm one of the few dudes around who's been both an Academy and ROTC cadet. Honestly, I really don't know which is better. Some food for thought:

1. Do you want to be a pilot? I found that the USAFA system helps you get there much easier. Any medical issues you may have will be solved much easier at USAFA than in ROTC

2. How much do you value the typical American college experience? Rush, parties, late night trips to who knows where, and having a beer and macaroni breakfast are all things you'll never experience at the Zoo.

3. What do you want to do with your summers? USAFA has some awesome summer programs...none of which pay you any more than what you already get paid. ROTC will only steal 4 weeks of your junior summer. All the rest you can work, take classes, or be lazy.

4. Girls. Yes, its possible to date at the Zoo. However, she can't stay in your room.

5. How rebelious are you? You're a member of the Air Force when you're at the Zoo. Too many stupid acts may get you wearing stripes and working in the fuels depot.

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So here is the deal....one of my buddies at the academy is very stuck up, and has the mentality that if you don't go to the zoo, you aren't sh*t. We always exchange heated remarks, etc., but he just presented me with too great an opportunity to pass up. He says "rotc is for kids that can't handle the real deal..." to which I can say a thousand things in response, but I was curious to know what everyone here would like to say back to him regarding that comment....let the games begin.

[ 01. November 2005, 09:56: Message edited by: ENJJPTorBust ]

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Guest kpaul

USAFA = 4 Years of a$$ pain in a school that is 90% male.

ROTC = 2-4 years of limited pain at one of many quality party schools and a 5 week summer camp for wayward boys.

OTS = 4 years at the school of your choice with no military pain included and than 12 weeks of gayness where a guy with 6 more weeks of OTS exprience tries to act important.

All of the above = one gold bar

They all suck!

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The saying I always heard was something like "at the academy, they discipline you, in ROTC, you discipline yourself"

Different strokes for different folks...

personally I would just smile and nod...with an attitude like that someone will eventually straighten him out...

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Guest mphamer

From a crusty, old enlisted guy's point of view:

The AFA won't make you any less of a tool if thats what you started out as. :rolleyes:

MP

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Guest Hoser

Another fine product from the Colorado School for Dysfunctional Boys. It's guys like him who end up on the first day of UPT, asking some guy how to do his own laudry becuase he has never had to do it before.

Hoser

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Originally posted by ENJJPTorBust:

he just presented me with too great an opportunity to pass up...to which I can say a thousand things in response, but I was curious to know what everyone here would like to say back to him regarding that comment.

So you said nothing, walked away, and intend to come back later with a witty retort. How about, "The jerk store called, and they're out of you!"

George.jpg

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What's more important than any of this, is that when you're a Lieutenant...

NOBODY GIVES A F*CK WHERE YOU GOT YOUR COMMISSION!

Except, of course, the USAFA guys, who can't let it go and, even later in life as socially dysfunctional O-4s, still ask, "Oh, what squadron were you in" to other Zoomies.

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Haha, B... your fault for having friends from the Zoo! ;P Just playin'.

Academy cadets are cool. I saw a group at Columbus AFB on my PDT that were about 19-20, all of which were drinking beer at the bowling ally. Our POC (Lt Col) saw that and had a little "talk" with them. Of course on Columbus it is legal to drink at the age of 18 (one of the only two bases left that allow this I think) but the fact they were all drinking and planning to drive a government van back to where they were staying = unhappy Lt Col. Good times, wonder what ever happened to them.

Anyways, good luck with whoever it is. ;P I can't stand people who think they are better than everyone (you and I both, lol... even a little bit of it in ROTC). Oh well, what can you do. Just compliment them on how "hardcore" they are and maybe their head will get big enough and explode. ;)

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Ah, another Academy vs ROTC argument. It's funny to me that only ROTC people bring it up.

It's kind of like the ENJPPT vs SUPT argument...

It's kind of like the Air Force Aviation vs Naval Aviation argument...

or the Seminoles vs Gators argument...

need I go on?

The only people I see making a big deal out of their commisioning sources are the ones that aren't satified with their choices. That includes both Academy and ROTC grads.

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I'll be the first to tell you that we had our fair amount of douches coming out of ROTC. Anytime I hear someone say, "what squadron were you in" or "I was the commander of my ROTC det" I think of the LT from Heartbreak Ridge talking to Gunny Highway. Nobody worth a damn is going to care where you got your bars. Get your job done and do it well, in my exp the guys who worry about this are usually not at the top of their game and lag behind their peers. 2 and a wake up...

Cooter

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I have to agree though with the fact that you definitely get the college experience more out of going the rotc route than the zoo. I studied my ass off and got to go to UPT...but I gurantee I drank a lot more beer and hooked up with a lot more chicks than most academy guys did. But on the flip side coin of that argument is that a lot of my buddies I went to UPT with who were zoomies were a hell of a lot of fun to hang out with on the weekends in Acuna. So in the end, doesn't really matter.

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