I know this is a question best asked a recruiter. However, I wanted to use this community as a sounding board before I spoke with one. I don't have an officer recruiter near me so I don't want an enlisted recruiter telling me to just enlist because it helps his/her numbers.
I graduated in December '09 with a B.S. Biology from the University of Arkansas. My GPA is a 2.5 which is miserably low especially for my field. Nobody wants a mediocre scientist so >95% of the resumes sent to employers will go directly to the shredder without being read.
My AFQT was 91 back in 2005 when I was considering joining out of high school. I'm studying now so that I can hopefully score near that again when I re-take the ASVAB.
So should I apply to Air Force OTS or should I enlist and not waste everyone's time?
I read that there is no longer a minnimum GPA requirement to apply to OTS. Is this true? If it is what should I tell the recruiter if he/she insists that my GPA is too low?
I'll enlist if I'm non-competitive for OTS, but I have substantial student loans that need paid back so the extra officer pay would be nice. I just need to prove to myself and future employers that I can take on challenges and be a valuable asset. I want to do something I can be proud of since, because of my GPA, it almost pains me to think of my degree.
I know you get many similar questions so I just wanted to say I really appreciate anyone who takes the time to give me their thoughts.
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Whether or not the standard is at a minimum level is one thing. You recruiter will know whether or not you are competitive and it's worth your time. If they say no, then the answer is no.
You could always try another branch.
Certain enlisted fields may allow for a college loan repayment program, and you can always defer your loans while enlisted.
Don't bother studying the ASVAB unless you're looking at enlisting. The ASVAB is not used for OTS candidates. You will need to take the Air Force Officer Qualifying Test (AFOQT) instead.
As far as your GPA being too low...it depends on what you're looking to do in the Air Force. What career fields are you interested in?
There wasn't a minimum GPA for OTS this past year, but it looks like they will be reinstating one to help reduce the high number of applicants. According to the new Active Duty Basic Officer Training Guide, there will be a minimum GPA requirement of 2.5 for rated (aircrew) boards, and 3.0 for non-rated (non-aircrew). I do not know if this will be the same for civilians or not. A recruiter would know what the current standards are. I would expect similar, if not the same restrictions on civilians in the near future.
Word on the street is that if you take the AFOQT and score more than 150 combined on the Academic Aptitude, Verbal, and Quantitative sections, you can apply for a GPA waiver. If you go to a recruiter and they blow you off because of the low GPA, it is possible to schedule the AFOQT yourself through your local AFROTC detachment. If you do that and score well, it will help get a recruiter's attention, and prove that you're serious and willing to do the work to make this happen. Recruiters only get credit for applicants who have a 150 or greater in that score composite, so anything less is usually seen as a waste of valuable time.
I think your degree is considered technical, but again, you will have to talk to a recruiter about that because I was a non-rated, non-technical applicant and have no experience with that. That being said, if it is technical and you're interested in applying as an AF Scientist, I think that could help you. The AF loves its technical degrees. You will still have to score well on the AFOQT and get that GPA waiver if it's in effect, but the technical degree is always a nice thing to have in your pocket.
Do yourself a favor and register over at www.AirForceOTS.com. It's the best online resource for everything AFOTS.
Thank you for your responses. If I applied to be an officer I would be applying to be an AF scientist, I have no interest in flying fighters, bombers, or transports. Because of that would I be better off with another branch? Is being a pilot the only legitimate chance of becoming an AF officer? I don't know if I would have a better chance in the Navy. Army has a propensity of working people outside of their specialty so I would almost rather enlist in another branch than be an Army officer. I respect Marines, but I know I couldn't be one. So really my personal choices are AF or Navy.
I'm studying for the ASVAB because if I cannot be an officer I will probably enlist.
I believe my degree would be considered technical. Unless they only consider engineering programs technical degrees. I don't know people that wouldn't consider advanced chemistry and biology labs technical.
I'll start looking into taking the AFOQT. I'm unemployed right now so I guess it would be better to waste time on this than waste time watching TV. Is the AFOQT like the SAT where you can use a calculator for the math portions or is it like the ASVAB where you cannot?
Pilot is by no means the only way to be an officer in the AF. If anything, it's one of the hardest. The AF has other rated (aircrew) positions that are historically easier to get a slot in than pilot. The non-rated (non-aircrew) slots are very competitive for OTS due to the number of applicants. AF Scientist would be an excellent choice for you if you're interested in that. Again, check with a recruiter regarding the status of your degree (I believe it is technical). That would be a plus for you. The AF loves its technical degrees, and is always looking for engineers and scientists from what I hear. I got selected in a non-rated, non-technical field, so I'm not familiar with the details of technical applicants.
The AFOQT is definitely a more productive way to spend time, trust me. I was unemployed when I started the process, and it was definitely nice to spend a couple hours a day reviewing information. It's not rocket science, but definitely be sure you are well brushed up on your math and verbal components. No, calculators are not allowed. You are given some scratch paper and expected to make calculations by hand. It is timed, so after you've studied, take practice tests and use a stop watch. The timing is what gets most people. Petersons has Officer Candidate test prep material and an online AFOQT practice test:
Thanks again for the information
Should I call an officer recruiter in order to take the AFOQT or can I speak with my local recruiter? I prefer face to face interactions whenever possible.
Should I tell him/her I'm willing to enlist or will he/she make it difficult for me to pursue the Officer path if he/she thinks he/she can get credit for enlisting me? The handful of recruiters I've dealt with in the past seemed like great people, but there is always that bad egg.
Firstly, like to thank you in considering serving in the Armed Forces. No matter the sacrifice, it's an Honor and a Privilege in serving ones country in uniform.
In this economic climate, all Officer programs are not only competitive but usually 1 year in the waiting. The Army is more so in the recruiting mode for Officers than the other services. Until recently, the selection rate for Army OCS was 90%. It will be reduced somewhat with the downturn in the economy.
You mentioned not selecting the Army because you have a propensity of working outside of your specialty, that's TRUE in all services. But, in the Officer ranks, your career is closely monitored for career progression in all services. The Army and Air force have over 40% commonality in careers for Officers. For example, pilots, manpower specialists, maintenance officers and the like.
I would highly recommend on serving ones country as an OFFICER with your credentials. I listed below several points regarding the Army. Don't sell them short. Military Officers only reason in being is to LEAD.
The Army has a College Loan Repayment Program (CLRP) up to $65K, for enlisted and OCS/WOFT applicants, certain restrictions apply. The biggest restriction is no prior service.
Minimum GPA is 2.0 from any accredited 4 year college, no exceptions.
Must attend Basic Combat Training (BCT) of 9 weeks prior to OCS of 12 weeks.
Army OCS commitment is 3 years after graduation.
You will more than likely serve a deployment to the war zone. It's not a matter of if, just when. The Army goes to the sound of the guns.
75% of the Officer positions are in the support role while the remaining 25% are slated to combat arms.
Officer job selection is determined by order of merit list (OML) in OCS. Your class standing will determine your selection of jobs (MOS) available.
Best Army OCS forum is found on armyocs.com, go figure.
Seriously, think of the Army as well, they need love too. The military services don't pay much but we play for keeps. HOOAHThis message has been edited. Last edited by: zaurus,
If you look at the Air Force, you will be dealing with Enlisted Accession (EA) recruiters first anyway. They're now handling all of the initial aspects of officer candidates (credit checks, AFOQT scheduling, etc). Once that initial stuff is done, then you're handed off to the Officer Accessions (OA) recruiter to get the application package assembled.
Every recruiter is different. I had a perfect recruiting experience. I told them I wanted to apply to OTS, and never heard any word about enlisting from either of them. They were great and efficient at their jobs, and I really appreciated working with them. I can't guarantee every experience is going to be like that.
So yes, you will need to speak with your local recruiter and make your intentions clear. I agree with Zaurus - no matter the branch, I think you should pursue the officer route first. The Air Force also offers a dual-track system, where you submit a package for OTS and simultaneously do the ASVAB and job selection for an enlisted career. If you don't get selected for OTS, then you proceed with enlisting instead. This is great if you genuinely want to enlist and serve in that capacity. These days, with OTS being as competitive as it is, dual track looks good to people who just want in. But if you want in on the officer side, you need to exhaust that option first. You might try for OTS, and if you din't get accepted, maybe do dual track the next time.
It's entirely up to you though, and which direction you feel would be the best move for your goals.
Ecallah, If I were you I would Try to Go to OTS
worst case is they tell you no. You already have a degree, so it should be a smooth process.
Easier said than done, especially when OTS is backlogged.
Applying for any commissioning program is not just about having the degree (or even GPA), but the whole person concept.
"If you focus on results, you will NOT get change. If you focus on change, you WILL get results."
Edit to add: Especially since AFRS has canceled this summer's non-rated selection board, after also canceling the first non-rated board for FY10. No non-rated boards this year. The next is scheduled for December, but no guarantees. Rated selection percentages aren't likely to be high for the upcoming board either. With the AF in force shaping mode, OTS slots are fewer and far between at the moment, so it is anything but a "smooth process."This message has been edited. Last edited by: Go_Blue13,
I with you Go_Blue13! It's funny how people think that if you have a degree, it's a sure deal becoming an officer. Some folks don't know what goes into officer selection. They just see the rank, prestige and money.
"If you focus on results, you will NOT get change. If you focus on change, you WILL get results."
You mean it isn't as simple as walking into a recruiter's office, throwing down your college diploma, and receiving your gold bars!? Blasphemy, I say!
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Once I had an OCS applicant who I could tell from reading between the lines, thought he was a shoe in because he had a master's degree. It was in Enlish Literature, or something of the sort.
If you had been a third person in my office when he came in, you probably would have thought we were having an argument. He basically wanted me to tell him it was pretty much a done deal because of his master's degree. And he seemed to get frusturated when he didn't hear that from me.
He never got to first base anyway. He had a problem with one of his kidneys, and MEPS wanted medical documents. But during the physical, it was discovered he didn't have normal color vision. Of course he didn't believe MEPS, so he went to an outside ophthalmologist. The outside doctor told him he was "just a little" color blind. Ha! I told him that was like being "just a little pregnant" as far as an OCS application went.
I think the OCS interview board would have had fun with that guy, but we never even got to the reference stage of the game.
I will make this short and sweet. I am a senior at a private school about to graduate with a degree in biology, and a double minor in business and psychology.
Being a bio major is extremely tough, and at my school, science majors do not have super high GPAs. Mine is a 3.0 and this worries me; however, I have been a varsity track athlete for four years, Vice President of my sorority, held an internship in health administration, volunteer for hospice and will be getting letters of rec from a retired Air Force colonel, the CEO/President of the hospital I interned with, and a few business professors who can speak highly of me.
I am taking the AFOQT tomorrow and if I score well enough, am I a viable candidate for regular old OTS (not MSC, already looked into it) despite my low GPA?
Any help is greatly appreciated.
You meet the minimum GPA for both rated and non-rated boards with a 3.0. You'll be competing against folks with GPAs much higher than that, but at least you qualify. Good luck on the AFOQT.
Register at AirForceOTS(dot)com and ask your questions there. Best online source of info.
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