Tips for Scholarship winners 2014

This year’s high school scholarship process has come to an end.  If you are a winner congratulations.  If you didn’t receive a scholarship there is absolutely no reason why you can’t still attend college, enroll in Army ROTC, and become an Army Officer some day.

So, I just wanted to make a few suggestions regarding the offers for the winners.

Scan and email or upload

On the acceptance form, at the bottom it says:

Mail this form to the address in the return address block or fax to (502) 624-1120 or scan and e-mail to usarmy.knox.usacc.mbx.train2lead@mail.mil

I can’t say it enough that the surest way to get any document to Cadet Command is to scan and email or upload.  If you really feel paranoid enough to mail a hard copy, feel free.  If you want to take your chances with a last century technology like a fax machine, good luck.  The Army currently scans, uploads and digitally signs most everything these days.  If you are having trouble with that technology you’ll need to figure it out soon anyways.  Scan and email your acceptance and chase it with a followup email if you don’t get an acknowledgment.  You can also check with the Battalion that you are accepting the offer to.  Someone there should see your accept shortly after you send it (if you email it).

Take care of DODMERB

Usually the next big-ticket item is the DODMERB.  If you have already been DODMERB qualified by another component or branch (USMA, Air Force…) you shouldn’t have to do anything.  I do recommend that you let your gaining Battalion know just in case.  If for some reason your DODMERB doesn’t seem to be looked at by Army ROTC, we can get the system moving.  If you haven’t had a DODMERB yet, the preliminary instructions will be included with your offer letter, and you need to follow those instructions and get the process moving ASAP.  If you think there will be issues with your DODMERB, the sooner you start the sooner you can work through those issues.

For more on the DODMERB process start here: Open Up and Say Ahhhh

Make sure you are ready for the APFT

You’ll have to pass a no kidding Army Physical Fitness Test to standard (60/60/60) to receive your scholarship.  Where and when you take that PT test is up to the Battalion.  You need to make sure you know the standards and are prepared to pass by the end of the Summer.  In my case, I’ll test all my 4 year winners over the summer to make sure they are ready.  If they pass we contract them on day one.  If they don’t they have to wait until they do.  If they don’t pass by the end of the fall semester they risk losing their scholarship.  By testing over the summer I eliminate the surprise if you fail.  I would suspect most Army ROTC Battalions don’t extend that courtesy to their winners.

Each Battalion is different – the next steps

For the winners, and even for the hopefuls there will be paperwork and orientations and coming to campus ready to participate.  Each Battalion does things a little differently.

Just to give you a snapshot of what it could be like, here is what I do.  First off, I have already started my spreadsheet of all the prospects I have identified that have told me they are coming to campus and plan to enroll.  I will also send out a blanket email to all incoming freshmen at three of my schools inviting them to enroll.  Once I firm up my list of all the incoming freshmen who are interested I will invite them to a one day orientation the day before the rest of the freshman class moves in.  I’ll also send some of the basic forms that they can start on and bring to campus.  Our orientation day starts with a contracting ceremony for all the contracting cadets and scholarship winners who are qualified.  We’ll do some basic paperwork for the rest of the enrolling students.  They’ll receive some equipment and uniforms, take a tour, and do some team building.  Then we leave them alone and let them be new freshmen for the rest of the weekend.  Some schools hold week-long indoctrination.  Some may do even less than we do.

So, congrats to those of you with offers, encouragement to those who didn’t get an offer, but still want to be an Army Officer.  Hopefully we’ll see all of you on campus next year.

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