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Rycast

Apply with These Scores or Wait? (Active Duty)

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Hey everyone, I recently took the TBAS and feel kinda bummed about my PCSM score of 52. My AFOQT scores are 82 (Pilot) / 72 (Nav) / 64 (Acad Apt) / 83 (Verbal) / 45 (Quant)

I only have 1 flight hour, and if I were to get my PPL (41+ hours) my PCSM would go to 71. However, I knew after taking the TBAS that I didn't do great. I did well on the directional orientation and multi-tasking, except for the math. I feel that if I practiced with the same incredibly stiff joystick and got faster on simple math problems, I could improve my PCSM score by retaking the TBAS. However, I've been gearing up to apply for the active duty board in June 2016. I can't retake the TBAS before that. My recruiter is not turned off by my scores.

My recruiter also told me I would have to list Pilot, Combat System Officer, Air Battle Manager, and Remotely Piloted Aircraft in order of choice on my application. I would rather just apply for pilot. Has anyone else had to apply for all 4? I'm wondering if applying with these scores will hurt my chance to get a pilot slot - or worse, get me an RPA slot.

Obviously the "whole person concept" comes into play, but I don't have an abundance of extra-curricular activities to list in my application. I have a good GPA from Virginia Tech, 3.63 / 4.00 overall (3.77 in-major), but it's in English. I've worked a lot of computer jobs (including some employed by VT and some while self-employed), and I took computer programming classes. I feel that a Private Pilot License (and volunteering) would greatly enhance my application. There just isn't time to get a PPL before June. Should I wait and apply later?

On a side note, I just turned 26. Obviously applying is the only way to know how things will go, but I'd like to hear your thoughts. Thanks in advance.

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In the past, you were able to only list the positions you wanted to apply for. If you weren't picked up for pilot, they could offer you nav/abm/RPA and you could decline with no prejudice and reapply the next year.

In the last year or two, the application process was changed so that you are now required to list all 4. If you are selected for any of them and turn it down, you cannot apply for the rated board again.

Obviously that makes the decision process much more difficult.

Personally, I would get the flight hours to up your PCSM as much as possible. I would get involved with as much as possible to make the 215 as strong as it can be (I think the format of the 215 has been changed in the past couple years too, so I may not be up to speed on the current format)

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Thanks for the reply. That changes things considerably. So you're saying if I got selected for RPA and declined, my Air Force pilot dreams are shot?

I realize I could be a non-select or RPA-select regardless of whether I have a Private Pilot License, but I'd like to maximize my chances for pilot selection.

To further complicate matters, I've been accepted at Embry-Riddle for a Master's in Aeronautics. I'm considering doing my flight training there (at great cost). They require a deposit by the beginning of next month. It's a 2 year program, which means I would hopefully graduate age 28 and still have a year before the Air Force age limit of 29. It might be close.

If I apply to the Air Force now and get accepted for something other than a pilot slot (which I may decline), then I couldn't reapply after getting my master's. But if I do apply now and manage to get a slot, I could avoid the delay / extra costs. I could fly cheaper a local airport, but Embry-Riddle is tempting and might help my application.

Edited by Rycast

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Retake the TBAS. I did mine in 2010 so the format was different but my PCSM went from a 9 to 80 from the retake. I didn't really understand a couple of the parts and bombed. After going home and thinking a kit and practicing some of the parts I did a lot better. If you got cash and time to burn get the PPL as well. Active duty is much more concerned with the numbers than where they came from. 

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I might have misread and mispoken...with the active duty rated board (i.e. guys who are already commissioned), there is the scenario of declining a rated position and not being able to apply again. I am not sure if that also applies to people applying for OTS and a subsequent rated spot (as I think you are, now that I've re-read your post). Check with your recruiter about that, I'm not sure how it works from that side.

And like viper said, retake the TBAS, and do whatever you can to get flight hours and things to increase numbers.

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Rycast,

I am in a similar situation to you, I am currently a Junior in college and will be applying to the OTS rated board next January.

I have talked to my recruiter recently and what he told me is that you ARE allowed to only apply for pilot and you can reapply as many times as you want. He does recommend putting the other rated jobs on your list because there is a higher chance of being selected (especially RPA right now). Luckily my recruiter doesn't care about the number of people he gets in and is more interested in helping people. Your recruiter may have told you that you need to apply to all rated jobs because you are more likely to get selected which would be better for him.

I'm not saying that this is definitely the case, and I don't pretend to be an expert on the subject since I've only just started the process but I thought I'd share what I had been told.

IF what my recruiter told me is true than what I'd say is that it can't hurt to apply for only pilot in June with your current scores. If you don't get picked up apply again in January and by then you can have retaken the TBAS and maybe get some more flight hours.

Best of luck,

 

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Thanks for the replies. I'm relieved to know I should be able to apply for just pilot. I'll ask my recruiter about it. She might not be happy; it seems like she really wants me to apply for all 4 (and fast).

I think I would definitely do better on the TBAS now that I know what to expect. I'll probably get the same joystick to train with, and brush up on my math. In the meantime, I'll get in as much flying as possible.

If my recruiter will let me apply for only pilot in June, I'll probably move forward with it. Otherwise I'll wait until I can retake the TBAS.

Roto, I should probably be giving the guard more thought. But unless I'm mistaken, isn't it more of a part-time job, like the reserves? I'm looking for more of a full-time career. I'd also like the opportunity to live outside my home state. If active duty doesn't work out, I will probably think more about the reserves or the guard.

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Honestly man, if your recruiter seems like she is pushing you to do some thing that fits her agenda, and not yours, find another recruiter.

You are the only one who will ever care about your career. Don't let someone else push you into something

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Do some research. Not sure how OTS applications work but all the ROTC guys now have to apply for all or none of the rated positions. Try to find something current but I'm fairly sure my class back in 2012 was the last that could pick and choose. 

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I just talked to her. She basically said she wouldn't let me apply for just pilot. She said the needs of the Air Force come first, and that if I were to tell her I would decline anything other than pilot, she would just not submit my package because it would look bad for the entire squadron. She also said my PCSM of 52 was the best she has seen from her June OTS applicants so far ... (seriously?)

I get the whole "officer first" thing, but if other people have applied for only pilot, I don't see why I can't.

There are only 2 flight instructors in my area, and both are hard to get in touch with. It's looking more and more like I'm headed to Embry Riddle, and ~$60k of debt, to prove to myself (and hopefully the military) that I really want to be a pilot. Although I guess you're not supposed to say that.

I've tried to research whether or not OTS applicants (applying for active duty) can apply for just pilot, but I'm not coming up with much. This forum is the best place I've found for information like that.

Edited by Rycast

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She said the needs of the Air Force come first, and that if I were to tell her I would decline anything other than pilot, she would just not submit my package because it would look bad for the entire squadron. 

What a douche canoe. Find another recruiter, as this one is obviously only looking out for herself and doesn't care at all about anyone else.

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11 minutes ago, hispeed7721 said:

What a douche canoe. Find another recruiter, as this one is obviously only looking out for herself and doesn't care at all about anyone else.

Absolutely.  Do NOT let someone trying to hit their numbers guilt you into a life changing decision.  If it's allowed to just apply for pilot, find a recruiter who will "allow" you to do that.  

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Thanks guys. I had a hard time finding an officer recruiter at all. Apparently there are none in my area. I'm having to drive 3 hours every time I meet her or take a test.

The first recruiter I talked to was an enlisted recruiter. I asked him about pilot slots and he said, "how does that work?" :banghead:

Maybe I can find a new recruiter in Florida after I (hopefully) move this fall.

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I'm applying to the same board and I was allowed to pick and choose whatever. I'm applying for everything but RPA and was told if I want, I can apply pilot only (chose not to because my boss is a retired colonel who has been a board member who advised me against it). 

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Agreed with the above. Get your scores and tell her to suck it. Look at other flight school options, 60k is a lot of cash for something that may not even work out. As mentioned above, look into some guard/reserve units as well. It can't hurt to put a package together and apply while your trying to retake your TBAS or build flight hours. My biggest regret is not at least trying for the guard/reserve. Having flown manned and now RPAs, RPAs suck unless your into it. Avoid it like the plague. And understand, especially being active the odds are at some point you may find yourself in a droid, even as your first assignment after UPT. 

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Viper, out of curiosity how long did you get to fly manned before being assigned to RPAs?

I've been reading in the "Leaving the Air Force for the Airlines" topic and I'm now re-evaluating my active duty desires.

My recruiter already scheduled my MEPS physical and got me an interview contact. Part of me would like to go forward with the application with all 4 jobs down, but I also feel like it would be risking a non-pilot selection -- more so than if I waited to retake the TBAS and got more flight time.

I'm assuming turning down a selection narrows your chances for a future board, so I'll probably pass on the June board. Thanks again for the input.

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RPAs were my first assignment out of UPT. Supposedly I will have the option to go back manned after a couple years. I'll believe it when I see it. At least I am suppose to go back. RPAs as a second or third assignment are almost a guaranteed death sentence to never go back manned. It sucks. 

 

If if age isent a issue work on getting your PPL how you see fit. Guard/Reseve units seem to like to see that on your app. 

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Dude, like everyone else has been saying, don't let some recruiter push you around. It sounds like they've bit hitting the blue kool aid a little too hard. If it looks bad for the squadron for you to turn down a selection, then maybe she shouldn't put arbitrary requirements on you. If you still feel like fighting that battle, dip your toe into the world of Air Force queep for a minute and reference AFI36-2013, which is what governs the OTS selection process. http://static.e-publishing.af.mil/production/1/af_a1/publication/afi36-2013/afi36-2013.pdf Nowhere in that document or on the AF Form 56 does it say you're required to apply for any specialty you're not interested in. I'd politely bring that up and, if she still wants to be a douche about it, move on to a new recruiter. You could always try to push up her chain, but even if you get your way it's just going to make her resentful and less willing to work with you. Technically, she's within her rights to not submit your application because she doesn't think you'd make a good officer due to that, it's just a really shitty reason to pull that card and she should choke herself. Its your life, not hers.

Your scores probably aren't that great, but the good news is you can retake the tests. Even if you don't, scores are only one component of your application and there's a long list of people that have gone on to pilot training with scores people would generally consider less than ideal. I'd still encourage you to apply if you can find a recruiter that will submit on your terms and let the board decide, but otherwise I think you've got the right idea in biding your time a little bit. Declining a selection for a job that you've listed is going to DQ you from future boards unless you get a waiver which most recruiters probably aren't going to push for (As opposed to turning down something you didn't list that they offered you anyway. That's totally kosher.) It'll give you time to study, retest, fly towards your PPL and get super smart on the whole process so you can submit a baller application. The PPL isn't mandatory, but I think it will help quite a bit based on the way things have been going. It won't necessarily pay huge dividends in UPT or anything, but having a license exempts your from IFS. That means the Air Force doesn't have to pay up for you to go to Pueblo and it saves money and time, thus making you a more attractive candidate.
Plus, the boost you'll get on your PCSM is a nice bonus.

Finally, just a plug from personal experience, if you do end up pushing with this recruiter and her absurdness, there are worse things that can happen to you than getting picked up as a CSO or something. I had a crappy GPA but a strong overall application and ended up wtih a CSO/Nav slot at 28 years old. I've done some awesome shit in the Air Force, had a blast, got the chance to apply for UPT once I was in and got picked up with an age waiver at 31. That may not be the route for you and that's more than okay, but keep that in the back of your nugget if push comes to shove with all of this. Where there's a will there's away, you know, and if you get smart enough on stuff you can make some crazy stuff happen.

Good luck and if you have any questions PM me.

 

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Well, I let her know I wouldn't apply with these scores unless it was for pilot only. I haven't heard back from her.

I didn't realize it was an automatic disqualification from a future board if I declined a selection that I put down. I'd definitely rather apply with more hours.

... I'm hoping Table 1.1.27 in that giant wall of queep you linked me to (p. 19, "Requested withdrawal of application") doesn't disqualify me, either. I didn't exactly finish it, so that doesn't count as a withdrawal, does it? Now I'm being paranoid.

Anyway, thanks for the info. I'm trying to find a decent flight school that won't break the bank and that actually has flight instructors who can find the time to fly. It's cool to know that you managed to move from CSO/Nav to pilot. From the sound of it, I would rather do that than RPA any day.

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Hey everyone, I managed to convince my recruiter to let me apply pilot only (I thought I did, anyway). Apparently she didn't know it was allowed.

I just interviewed with a colonel; he said I did well and that he would recommend me. He seems to think I should put down enlisted jobs as well, but he said he wasn't sure how this works with OTS, since he did ROTC.

However, my recruiter is now saying that I should list 4 non-rated jobs along with the 4 rated choices (or just list pilot and 4 non-rated choices).

Any advice on this non-rated stuff? These are choices that are tacked onto the end of the AF56 form. She just emailed all of her OTS candidates and told us to list jobs. I'm guessing I should stick to my guns on this. Thanks again.

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Apparently she didn't know it was allowed.

This is all I can say about it. She obviously is way out of her league being a recruiter, which seems to be a pretty difficult job

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3 hours ago, Rycast said:

I'm guessing I should stick to my guns on this. 

Do that. Don't list anything but pilot unless you want anything but pilot

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You might have to put down some non rated jobs. Not familiar with the OTS process but I do believe I had to put a bunch of non rated jobs on the form even though I already a pilot slot and approved medical my senior of ROTC back in the day. 

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I thought when applying for AD OTS that you either apply to a rated board or a non-rated board? So to me, I don't understand why you'd put non-rated jobs on your app when you're applying to a rated board...But that was a couple of years ago. Have you tried calling another recruiter to get a second opinion? 

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