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ROTC and Pilot Selection

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Well-known member
Jan 7, 2002
Hey Guys!

I am currently attending a community college and hope to get into FSU for the fall semester of 2002. I want to join ROTC and hopefully get selected for UPT. I have a few questions for recent grads or just whomever.

I have heard so many different answers about what your major should be. Some people say that you should major in an engineering type field because I'll need it to become a pilot. Other people tell me that it doesn't matter what I major in, as long as I have good academic standing and college community envolvement. Another question I have is: Do ROTC Detachments only get a certain number of UPT slots a year and if you aren't selected you can always try to get in again? I'm not sure how it all works so if somebody could do some explaining on that department, it would be great! I had some other questions but I just can't think of them right now, but I'm sure they'll come to me at some time.

Thanks Again for your input!
No requirement for "technical major" for selection to UPT. If you are going to try for a scholarship, you probably need a technical major (anything from straight math to computer science to engineering to chemistry will generally qualify).

Usually, each year each detachment will get "some" pilot slots. The number depends on AF needs, and can be anywhere from none to enough for everyone in your class. They are typically given to the "top" cadets at the time. So even if you enter ROTC without one, you may get one down the road. If you don't get one in ROTC, you might get selected for navigator training instead, which would allow you to compete again in a few years for pilot training. You can also just go into the AF and then compete from within the service, although that competition is pretty stiff.

You can also complete your degree and then apply for Officer Training School and a follow-on UPT slot. A certain number of UPT slots are reserved for OTS guys.
If you want to fly in the Navy, get a technical degree. If you want to fly in the Air Force, get a law degree. Just kidding...about the Navy... just get good grades and spank the aptitude tests, you'll be fine.
I started AF ROTC but switched to Navy then Marine. AF ROTC always seemed to take a back seat to the academy with respect to pilot slots. Perhaps things have changed but when pilot slots are scarce I think they will dry up ROTC slots first. Then again I don't think the UPT slots are that scarce in any of the services right now. It seems to be a good time to join and fly in any of the services.

Marines are the only ones, that I know of, that offer guaranteed flight slots before you go in. You also get a 1 to 2 month survival camp type trip and a 6 month traing vacation in Virginia before flight school. All this extra training/vacation costs you... nothing!

You don't need a technical major for Navy, Marines, or Coast Guard... I don't know about the AF.

In all cases, be sure you want to be an officer first and a pilot second before you join.

Good luck to you and don't let the paperwork beat you!

Michael Knight:

Hey, thanks for the input! Well yes, I do want to be an officer in the Air Force and I think the best way I could be helpful to the military is to be a pilot. It's what I love and I want it as a career. Usually people are good at what they like to do, and I love to fly!

Thanks Again,
Sounds like you have the right attitude... again, don't let the paperwork discourage you - there is a lot of it!

Good luck and be persistent,
As a current AFROTC 5th year senior I can give you some current advice regarding pilot/nav slot competition.

1. It matters to no end what your major is. I am a double electrical and computer engineering major, and that has absolutely no bearing on my competition for a pilot slot.

2. There are no "set number" of slots per detachment. As of last years spring board (Mar 01) and supplementary STAR cadet board (Sept 01) (and many previous year's boards, from my understanding), the AF took as many people as it had room for in the pipeline. If HQ AFROTC had received a certain allocation # from AFPC, say 550 (which is what the trends have shown), then the top 550 qualified cadets were selected to go to UPT. There is no "reviewing board", there is no "package" that is looked at, there are no "personal factors" considered -- this is not a promotion board nor a personable appeal system. It is a rack and stack procedure, probably very similar to an excel spreadsheet with scores and names listed. (That is a gross comparison -- but you get the point) So, when you hear the term "OM", "Order of Merit", this represents your composite competitive score made up of your GPA, PFT score, Commanders Rating, PCSM score, and now FT performance. This score on it's own really has little bearing, but when allocated with 550 slots to give away, AFROTC will choose "all cadets with OM higher than xx.xx (say 79.25)" because that yields 550 cadets, or slots.

3. Recently, a new scoring system has come down regarding what makes up your OM score and what each part is weighted. From the page at http://supt.kitchman.net/overview.html , you can see what your OM is composed of.

4. What AFROTC tells you, actually, what the actual AFI reads in regards to what your OM is composed of, and how much each part counts, is true. I can't stress this enough -- don't get sucked into what other cadets say, such as "Oh, if you pledge Arnold Air, then the PAS knows you are serious about trying to get a pilot slot". While your involvement in the corps does hold a certain amount of weight towards your commanders rating, which is 50%, I feel that sacrificing your study time to be over-involved in the corps will only screw you. Hold on and max out the things you can directly change. That is, you have a direct effect on your GPA and your PFT. Your PFT is the item that you can change the most. Honestly, I can attest to the fact that there really is no reason why anyone cannot score at least a 400 on the PFT. Especially now that is a revised, three event PFT, as opposed to the old five event (pushup, situp, long jump, pullup, 600 yd "gut check" shuttle run) and 1.5 mile run on top of the 5 events. Having come into the program with a PFT score in double digits, I set my goal of what I wanted to score, and achieved it. It took me a summer and I never let up, but I eventually scored a 414, which I considered quite an achievement. (Had I been a finance major or something else that required less of my time (objectively speaking) then I most likely could have scored a 500 -- but realized I had to balance my time to excercise with my study time, work, corps involvement, etc)

5. Finally, in regards to #4, if you set your goal to have a stellar PFT (start with a goal of 400 first) and then set your GPA goal to be no less of a 3.6 cumulative (or whatever works for you), and you achieve those things, I sincerely believe everything else will fall into place. You will have a great GPA, you will have a great PFT score. You most likely will become enthused about being in the corps, and participate more -- but don't let up on the things you can change (and these things will change in the negative sense if you don't work hard to sustain them!!). Your higher GPA and PFT score will contribute more to your image and you will most likely have a higher competitive rate for any awards you may receive, which again will impress your commander (PAS), and directly affect your commander's rating. AND, when you get to FT (Field Training) and you have a stellar PFT score, that immediately will qualify you for a higher rating in your flight, and you will be able to focus on other things and improve your standing, which counts towards 10% of your OM now.

6. While your commanders rating is 50%, I sincerely am of the mindset that if you have a great GPA and a great PFT score, and simply tell the PAS that, when they ask what you want to do, and any other time to mention it, tell them "I want to fly" (I say be specific and to the point, even if you sound like a ten year old kid..."Well sir, I'd like nothing more than to fly A-10's"), then they will make a note of you and keep their eye on you. Make sure they know, and make sure to keep them informed.

I am currently selected to attend JSUNT after May 02 graduation. To address whether you can try again, you only have one primary categorization slot in AFROTC, (spring semester of prior to your final year of school), but you do have the chance to be put on an alternate list, which allows for your chance to attend UPT if others ahead of you are disqualified for whatever reason. I am currently on an alternate list for UPT attendance.

In retrospect, had I done things different, I would have more accurately dismissed cadet rumors and paid more attention to the facts of what my OM is composed of. I would not have changed my major to something less demanding or challenging, such as Business Administration, because I enjoy what I am studying. I most likely would have worked on my PFT score more, and flown more hours to up raise PCSM score (just a few hours -- I wouldn't have attempted my PPL, as I couldn't have afforded it)

Well, that's a lot. I hope it helps, but I really want to emphasize to you about not letting go of the things you can change. Don't let your GPA go to the wayside, and don't let your PFT score flop. I really think, as AFPC likes to say, that if you bloom in those areas, "everything else will fall into place". Likewise, if you don't get selected on the first go-around, or the fourth (like someone I know), don't let up. Remember, it's not over until YOU say it's over.

Let me know of any other questions you may have, I'd be glad to talk.

Go Gators,

p.s. You will most likely loose OM points because you will be attending FSU.

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