Depending on when you come in, your best shot at getting a pilot slot will probably be via the Air Force Academy. For example, everyone but like 2 or 3 people from this year's graduating class got UPT slots (pilot slots). Granted, many might have to wait a year before UPT (Pilot Training), but they still got their slots. My class has been told that we're getting something close to 600 slots, yet we have less or just around that many people PQ
(Pilot Qualified) than that, meaning almost everyone will get a slot if they want it.
I don't know how AFROTC works, but from what I've heard they get about the same number of slots as the Academy does, but have to spread them out over a hell of a lot more people. I think Capt. AWACS went the AFROTC route, but I'm not sure if he's rated or a flight crew member.
As has been said here many times before, make sure you don't do OTS, come to USAFA or go AFROTC just to become an Air Force Pilot. I've seen it many, many times, where people come in here perfectly fine looking just to become a pilot, and then come junior or senior year lose their PQ
because of some "freak" thing (i.e. accidents, medical conditions etc..), and are stuck as non-rated officers in jobs they hate (after your sophomore year you must commit to 5 year for non-rated (i.e. non-pilot) or 10 years after completion of UPT).
Your primary focus should be on becoming an officer, and then a pilot. I've always wanted to be a pilot and came here for that reason, but I've come to accept and like the fact that becoming an officer is far more important that a pilot. Should I lose my PQ
, I'd be perfectly happy serving as a non-rated officer.
Again, I can't talk much about AFROTC or OTS, but I can go more into detail about the Academy. Don't come here expecting it to be a normal college. Everything, I mean everything that you need is given to you at no charge and you'll get paychecks that will increase as you move up.
There's been a lot of changes here in the last year which has made it a lot more tolerable as a freshman (i.e. after Thanksgiving they could go out every weekend and on weekdays, no more large scale beatings (physical training by upperclassmen) not as much hazing etc..). Much of this has been a long time coming, and was just implemented this year, partly because of all that's been happening out here. A lot of it is for the better, but certain traditions are being phased out.
There still are a lot of rules to follow, and coming from a civilian lifestyle, they will seem stupid. You'll get leave 4 times a year: Thanksgiving, Christmas, Spring Break and Summer. Summer leave is only 3 weeks, but you do get to come back here and do cool things like jump (parachuting), soaring (gliders), GE
(Global Engagement), CST (Combat Survival Training) (well maybe not so cool) etc.. We've got one of the most demanding curriculums. You won't take a major's class until the end of your Sophomore year, and even then you'll probably only be taking one or two. Everything before then are core courses and required. As a freshman you'll be taking something like 18-21 credit hours per semester, with classes such as Physics, Chemistry, Engineering, Math, Engineering etc... (i.e. no basket weaving). It can get pretty tough to manage school with military duties and athletics, all the while trying not to get too burned out. If you make it through, you'll graduate usually the first week in June and will pin on 2nd Lt. and officially be an officer. You'll get 60 days 2nd lt. paid leave after graduation, and then will report to your first duty station.
More about admissions:
I think the admission rate for 2008 was someting around 8 or 9%, which means if you want to come, you really need to excel in all aspects of your life (i.e. team captain, club president, NHS etc...). You'll need a nomination from a Senator or Congressman/woman to even get looked at. It's not too hard, you just go for an interview, but depending on where you come from and who's attending, it can get really competitive. Just try to do your best in everything.
The Academy will be a huge culture shock at least for the first semester, but the Academy's "Long Blue Line" is something you won't find anywhere else. I've been able to do a lot of things, go TDY to a few places since I've been here, and almost all Academy grads I've encountered have said there's a certain bond between all grads...
If you have any more questions about the Academy, feel free to hit me up on e-mail or IM