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Hairofthedog 09-16-2016 21:12

Graduate Study
I am an MS3 in ROTC. I will, barring a major change of events this year, be in the top 10% of the active duty qualifying cadets and will be choosing infantry. I am also looking into graduate programs from the Rhodes, Truman, and Marshall scholarships. Those are incredibly competitive, perhaps the Truman is the least. However, according to the person in charge of that at my college, I've got a pretty decent chance of getting one - nothing I could count on, but chances are ok.

My question is - what is the effect this would have on my applying for 18a when my year group comes up? I would commission at the normal time with everyone else, but I would go to post grad (in the UK or in the states depending) for 2-3 years, so my year group wouldn't be pushed back when I applied. I'd therefore have very little experience actually being an infantry officer - I'd probably go straight to do IBOLC, Ranger School, Airborne, and walk out O-3 promotable. So, do you think this would really hurt my chances, or would the diversity provided in having a (God-willing) Rhodes scholar at SFAS cause them to give me a shot? There are obviously no certain answers here, but advice from anyone with more knowledge would be a great help, and possibly affect any decisions I make in terms of going to grad school.

7624U 09-17-2016 08:15

Once commissioned you need to talk to your branch manager to get advise on timelines...
If you meet the requirements to attend SFAS and pass the physical and mental fitness tests. along with getting Selected you will be moved into the pipeline......The 18A Cadre (speaking for myself) do not care about your experience level we teach you what you need to know to be a entry level SFOD-A Commander. If that is what you are asking...

I am a current 18A Cadre member...

The Reaper 09-17-2016 11:09

Not fully current on the process, but I strongly suspect that as you surmise, the grad school attendance ruins the time line for the SFAS officer board selection.

You would have very little time for service in a basic branch and obtaining a couple of OERs to substantiate the quality of your service.

I don't think the academic advantage of a grad program transfers into useful team skills the way Ranger School or three years in an infantry unit would.

Having said that, there is no guarantee of being selected, even if you were a Ranger qualified Captain from Regiment.

And having been selected by the officer board to attend SFAS, there is no sure way to know if you would successfully complete and be selected for SF training. It would be extremely rare for an AD officer to be permitted a second shot at SFAS.

As you will learn, you can't always have it your way.

You have to decide which is ultimately more important to you.

Best of luck.


Hairofthedog 09-17-2016 12:15

Thank you both.

I imagine that the most positive step I can make here, if I want to "have it all," would be to somehow manage to delay commissioning until after finishing graduate school. That way, I wouldn't ruin my year group and I'd be able to do a few years in infantry. No guarantees on that count either, I would expect. Somehow, I had hoped that the honor of one of these scholarships would somehow make a board look more positively upon me, but that seems unlikely to outweigh lack of concrete performance.

The Reaper 09-17-2016 22:09

I don't recall civil schooling, or lack thereof ever being mentioned in a board at SFAS during the years I was there.

If you want a shot at SF, I would postpone grad school until after you have been selected for SF, completed the SFQC, and finished your team time. There are plenty of opportunities to obtain graduate level schooling as an Army officer.

If you want to be an academic, take the grad school and forget about SF.


fred111 09-18-2016 04:28

Decide what you want more. If it is SF - go active duty. If it is the grad degree - do that. It is simply a matter of priorities.

xollie316 10-15-2018 18:55

While not involved in the selection process I've got a bit of first-hand and second-hand experience with this topic. A fellow Captain I worked with at Group was selected for a graduate school scholar program immediately after USMA and obviously fit SFAS, SFQC, et al. into his timeline. He had a shortened infantry timeline but made the most of it and made it work. So, at least for him, it was possible.

Additionally, I am post-Captain time at Group and am currently attending graduate school before returning to the regiment in a couple of years so there are options out there.

Good luck.

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