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Guest ZOOKID

USAFA (Academy) or ROTC

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Guest Kermit

Being from "The small liberal arts school from the foothills of the Rockies" (USAFA), most of the cadets are just jealous of the life all others are having at a normal college. Unfortunately not many academy guys take advantage of all the other stuff you can do there, instead they sit in their dorm rooms thinking how great they are compared to all the ROTC guys. A lot just need to get out of their dorm room and experience life.

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The fact of the matter is that you will find dickheads out of any of the commissioning sources, period dot. This is something I learned at ASBC. Just because a dude wears an Academy ring does not mean he's a dickhead necessarily. When I in-processed at Nellis a wise Lt Col (Academy grad) told us that wearing an Academy ring doesn't not make you a better officer. I've met a ton of cool Academy dudes (I did 4 years of ROTC myself) and work for a former zoomie that is pretty damn cool. It's very very to hear people say "I did this and that when I was in the Academy, ROTC, or OTS"... noone gives a flying **** once you're on active duty.

So to answer your question of what to say to your roomie? What I'd say is "I partied and got laid for four years, how about you?" or simply "**** off a-hole."

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Who gives a rats arse where you got your commision. I only care about two things.

1. Can you fly the jet and kill the bad guys?

2. Can you lead other dudes/dudettes to do the same.

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Guest pavesooner

Lets face it...in ROTC unit there are good and bad....the best of the best compete for various slots and stand out among the rest....

Academy grads, got an endorcement to go to school....if you have the GPA and pass a flight physical you get a pilot slot....Not much process of elimination here....

Not every academy guy is a tool some of the guys are very sharp....but like any organization they have tools....but so does ROTC.

The difference is: the academy places a lot of tools in the cockpit while ROTC weeds them out...

The beauty of competition! Not evey kid should get a trophy!

[ 05. November 2005, 07:26: Message edited by: OspreySooner ]

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Guest Whiplash

I've been debating this for awhile. I haven't applied for either, but I'm going to be applying next year for the Air Force Academy. Has anyone on here been through the USAFA? I know that going through ROTC in college isn't the same as going through the Academy because everything is done different. But doesn't the Air Force Academy give a lot of pilot slots to the students there? Compared to ROTC is it easier if I do well? I know it's hard to get into the USAFA, but I think I have a pretty good chance if I do well on my SAT.

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it's not just a pilot slot choice but a lifestyle choice for the next four years. How do you want to spend it?

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Edited by Tron Carter

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Guest Dunce

GO ZOOMIES!!!!

(yes, you have a great shot at a pilot slot through the academy AND you get to score some hot academy chicks or CC hippies.)

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Both are good programs and when it comes down to it you'll just have to look into both and decide which is a better fit for you.

The freedom of ROTC is definitely appealing but if you're drawn to the more military "lifestyle" that the academy offers, then that may be the better option.

If you like both, then I would recommend that you look into one of the Senior Military Colleges in the country and the various programs they provide. For me Texas A&M and the Corps program was the best of both worlds. Virginia Tech also has a Corps program, although I'm less familiar with it.

What I ended up with was an "academy" type environment (rigorous freshman experience, very close knit group of peers, living and eating every day in a military environment, and uniforms every day) while attending class with civilian students, including some very nice looking ladies, one of whom I ended up marrying.

Another bonus for me was that all four services were represented in the cadet Corps so it will be a great experience to learn about the Army, Navy and Marines, as many of your fellow cadets will be pursuing commissions in those services, something you won't find at the Academy.

If you go to a Senior Military College, then just remember that you'll still officially be an "ROTC" student and will have to compete for rated slots through their program, which are considerably more difficult to come by than at the academy, from what I've heard. You'll also have to do Field Training, although it will probably be a joke.

Edit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Senior_Military_College

Again, make your own decision. This was just my experience, hope it helps.

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Guest Whiplash

Thanks for the replies. I really laughed at Tron Carters posts. I've grown up around the military all of my life so I'm used to it. My dad is in the army and I live right next to the army base at Fort Hood, Texas.

If I went to the academy, I wouldn't have to pay a dime to go to school. That's one of the best advantages. I've tried to look up videos and information about rotc and the usafa. The academy has a lot of cool things to offer, like soaring and flying propeller driven aircraft. I think it's even possible to get your pilots license there, not sure though.

If I go to college (I'll probably be going to UTSA) then I will have more freedom to do what I want. UTSA is a really nice college too. I looked at the AFROTC program and saw a lot of things that there is to do. Like Arnold Air Society and things like that.

It's possible for me to get a presidential nomination and vice presidential nomination for the Air Force Academy too.

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Make the decision based on what type of college experience you want. You can get a pilot slot out of both sources w/ some effort. I think going to the AFA b/c "it has more pilot slots" is a stupid reason by itself. Go there b/c that's the experience you want. Hundreds of guys every year get pilot slots out of ROTC w/ a FAR less amount of asspain than their USAFA counterparts. But in the end, you need to figure out what you see as being a good 4 yrs of college, something you can look back on and be glad you did it that way. There is far more to college than wearing a cheap business suit (read AF service dress) and marching around at 6am on Saturdays, but that's just my opinion.

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Guest Sessy
it's not just a pilot slot choice but a lifestyle choice for the next four years. How do you want to spend it?

Funny, I think I saw the second pic outside Haps one night... Maybe I was just drunk and it was two freshman chicks fighting over a twinkie.

:beer:

Edited by Sessy

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Something else to add...I'm not sure how you do with the ladies, but if you get the chance to talk to a zoomie, ask them about the "blue goggles", they're comparable to the famous West Point "Gray Goggles". It'll open your eyes to what you may have in store.

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I was a ROTC nazi so can't comment on the Academy, but the admission requirements for a 'normal' school and ROTC were/are not as tough as getting an Academy slot (sts). The payoff, in my mind, is a better shot at a pilot slot/better chance of a waiver for whatever that ails ya that would ground a ROTC dude.

Remember, you have to have a Congressional/Presidential/Vice-Presidential/offspring of a Medal of Honor winner* or be selected for the Academy prep school to get in (for enlisted only or do they take 'off the street?'). So in addition to good grades, lots of extracurricular (sp?) activity, you've got the part of competing and winning such an appoinment.

* Zoomies, did I miss any of the 'foot in the door' categories?

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Guest Whiplash

I do marching band and play on the drumline. I know of a guy that got in and that's all he did and his grades were average. Hopefully I can get a president/vice president nomination.

Edited by Whiplash

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Doesn't ROTC also offer full scholarships? I thought they were called "Title I" scholarships or something like that.

But then, I didn't do either...I finished college on my own, then went through OTS. 4 years of asspain condensed into 12 weeks...every time my friends talk about their commissioning sources, I'm convinced anew that I went the right way.

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Guest ASUcadet

I'd recommend applying for both, because you might get into USAFA but you may not get an AFROTC scholarship or vice-versa. Personally, I think the 'cadet' life is ok a couple hours a day during the week, but if I lived at Field Training I'd go insane and, to be honest, one of the big reasons I chose to do AFROTC instead of going to USAFA was the girls. I really like girls and I couldn't see myself at a school for 4 years that's 90% dudes. But, too each their own. It sounds superficial, and to some extent it is, but I haven't met many people from the Academy who don't feel like they missed out on a great college experience.

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Yeah there are scholarships but I guess he was referring to free housing also. At the Academy do you still get a stipend? I'd go the ROTC route but thats because I did it. I love it because I only have it a couple hours a week. You still get to be a normal college student and the pilot selection rate was still 60% this year so you have a pretty decent shot if you keep your grades in order.

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If you can keep a 3.0 GPA or higher, run 1.5 mi in under 12 min and have the ability to not piss off the wrong people, you'll very likely get a rated slot through ROTC. It really is not that hard, or at least sure as hell is not nearly as hard as people who haven't done it make it out to be. Basically, don't discount ROTC as an option b/c you think you won't get a slot out of there. I also agree w/ applying to both. If you get a scholarship for ROTC and accepted to AFA, then great, you at least have some great options.

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All good points from everyone here. I know it may be coincidence, but over at Luke just about every pilot I've come across graduated from the academy and said they went there because getting a pilot slot was more promising. Also, I hear if you have medical issues they are a lot more forgiving and help you through the door into UPT. Just what I heard, but I could be wrong.

What I've gathered from those that did the Academy or are in it right now...

1. Your first year you are going to be very controlled and it gets old really fast. Surprise dorm room inspections on weekends, no time for sleep, friends, women, or anything else that relates to a balanced life. You eat, breath, and sleep the chair force. I hear after your first year you get more freedom.

2. Its good for people who have a hard time pushing themselves. The military structure and knowing that you have zero room to fail will help you get good grades. Don't forget the extra curricular obligations that go with the education. If you can handle stress really well, you will do well at the academy.

3. I went to the academy to assure I'd get a slot.

4. The academy payed 100% of school.

These are the main things I've heard, but of course theirs more.

I did a year of ROTC and I will say in all honesty, I didn't like it for the fact that it was nothing like the real AF. You have to play the game and befriend all the dorks or they will hate you and make your ROTC life a living hell. When you are doing PT 3 times a week, having LLAB once a week, positions in the wing with responsibilities, you will be seeing and talking to a lot of your peers. The drama that went with it all wasn't worth it to me. School was my number one priority and ROTC was getting in the way of it all. I know some people will say otherwise, but each persons experience is different and I will admit that yours may not be the same. ROTC wasn't my thing and I found that out after a year of being there. Some people absolutely love ROTC to the point of obsession. If you do ROTC and apply yourself, you can do well and get a slot. Not everybody does though, ask around and you'll hear the stories of those who didn't make it. It happens, its life.

What I can recommend if you decide ROTC is this.

*Take the AFOQT early on and do well on it (the best you can). You have to pass that to stay in and you've only got 2 chances to pass it. Start studying now. A good way to prepare is buying a copy of the ARCO to give you an idea of what to expect format wise. Also study as much SAT/ACT information as possible. Sharpening up on your vocabulary will give you the upper hand on some of the test to, so be paying attention to words and what they mean.

*Prepare for the PFT now. When the school season starts, you will take your first PFT pretty shortly and that PFT score of yours will leave a good first impression that you've taken the initiative to take care of your body before hand.

*If you can get ahold of warrior knowledge, it will come in handy. For some of our ORI's we were asked to recite certain things that you will need to know. I believe the ROTC website has this? If not, ask around and you should be able to find it.

*Learn to be tolerant of all people, because you will most certainly see some weirdo's in your group. If you can mingle with all of them, you will have a better chance of succeeding.

*Work hard and never loose your temper, because it will be remembered, I promise.

*Don't show up acting like you want to be a pilot. First show your desire to be an officer that wants to be a part of the AF regardless if you get to fly or not. If you show this and do your best, your actions will be noticed and you'll be someone people want to follow. You det should help you get a pilot slot if your what the AF is really looking for.

*Stay on top of your grades. Getting behind can be the end deciding factor for not getting a pilot slot. Don't let it happen to you.

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Guest Whiplash

Thanks for all of the input. It really gives me an idea of what each of the two is like. I'm going to apply for both eventually and I'll see what happens.

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Guest ASUcadet

Good luck man, let us know how it turns out. If you do end up in ROTC though, keep in mind that every detachment is completely different and they usually change every 3 years along with the commander. For example, my freshman year we had afternoon physical training (PT), PTs could be excused for schoolwork, Field Training Prep was optional, we 'signed in' for past activities (PT, FTP, etc) at LeadLAB on our Honor Code, the Wing wasn't as involved, etc. Now, we have mandatory stuff at 615 4-5 days a week, FTP is mandatory for 200s, we have 'scan cards' that record the event and time that we sign in, and PT can't be excused for anything (funerals, car wrecks, etc) except for official military training (Base Visit for example). So you might want to 'shop around' for detachments to find the one that's right for you. It sounds like you live in Texas, so I don't think you're exactly limited in your options for schools.

Also, your commander's ranking is 50% of your score for pilot, which is a lot considering that your GPA is worth 10 or 15%, so as Brabus said, it's really important that you manage not to piss off the wrong people.

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Guest AasClown

While I can't comment on the USAFA, I'm currently a senior in the ROTC program at Clemson. I like to think of ROTC in very much the same terms as the Boy Scouts or Student Government in high school. You're going to have people from all walks of life in the program for varying reasons. There are people who take it WAY too seriously, and others that don't take it seriously enough (the people I like to call "box-checkers", or people that're there just for the money, benefits, etc.). I think you'll find that it's the people that are right in the middle between these two extremes that make it out the best from an ROTC program.

You don't want to invest EVERYTHING you have in ROTC, because hell, you're in the program for an education first right? On the same token, you don't want to just spend minimal time doing ROTC things because it won't help you in the long run. I'm talking about gaining leadership experience more than anything else. Since I haven't been active duty before, I can't say with 100% certainty, but I know just from the people that Clemson has commissioned in the last few years that if you're in a good program with a cadre that is very dedicated and professional, you'll be very well off to start your Air Force career as an officer. It all depends on what you put into it, and what you take away from it. You'll have people that are willing to teach you, but you just have to go into it with a good attitude and a willingness to learn.

That's a perspective that you should take with you everywhere, no matter what you end up doing.

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Guest Lindseyaf

i can't comment from experience, but my fiance is a junior at the Academy. We've been together for 6 years, so the academy has been a part of my life too, in a weird sort of way. If you are wanting info about how it is right now at the academy I can have him answer any questions you have. He's a nice guy-lol.

The first year is tough. They are trying to 'weed' out the people who can't cut it, and many go. You go through basic the summer before classes start. 6 weeks of crap put on by the upperclassmen. Then you don't have many privileges until this thing called recognition in March. It's basically hell/basic crammed into 3 days. You gain more and more privileges after that. The summer after your freshmen year you are able to do little 3 week courses, like soaring, jump, ect.

The sophmore year is known as the hardest academically, because you have all these classes that aren't your "major" classes. People always seem to think that no one leaves the academy on the weekends or never gets out, but Nick, my fiance has left every single weekend since the middle of his freshmen year. He goes to movies and out to eat. It's not too bad.

No one is "committed" to the air force until they step into their first class their junior year, so you have plenty of time to realize if that's what you really want. Most people who go to USAFA are wanting a military career instead of 10 years or so.

Every single person I've known who has graduated from USAFA who wanted a pilot slot, got one. I don't know the details, but it sounds good.

Sorry I've rambled on, and probably wrote way too much for anyone to care. It's just a big part of our lives at the moment. I say, if you are more into wanting a 'college' lifestyle, go to a civilian college. But it wouldn't hurt to apply to both and decide later.

P.S. you do get a paycheck every month at USAFA.

Edited by Lindseyaf

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I know it may be coincidence, but over at Luke just about every pilot I've come across graduated from the academy

It is coincidence. Going to the AFA or XXX school doesn't make you a good pilot, your personal ability does, not to mention luck and timing (which also has nothing to do w/ what school you went to).

I didn't like it for the fact that it was nothing like the real AF.

I respect your opinion, but whip should remember he has the rest of his life to "play real AF." Assuming a full career, you'll have 20 yrs of the "real" AF, so it's weak at best to say the AFA is better b/c it's "real" military...which I can only imagine it is nothing close to the real thing; neither is ROTC obviously.

keep in mind that every detachment is completely different and they usually change every 3 years along with the commander.

That's a big one. Just b/c one det is incredibly retarded doesn't mean every one is. Find a group of people you like in ROTC and associate w/ them...there will be idiots, avoid them except when necessary. That goes for everywhere, not just ROTC.

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