Thanks for all the advice. I got a variety of responses but they've all been helpful.
Starkmann- Thanks for the details on what your day to day routine is like; they're pretty vague on their websites. I could see being proficient in the 2 mile clashing with my training goals, same with the height weight requirements.
Dastang- there's a recruiter nearby so I'll definately stop in and talk to them.
Hedo- It sounds like you've done something close to what'd I'd be trying to accomplish and you got what I expect I'll get out of it.
Flop Hat- I'll take you up on your offer once I have some good questions figured out
Jeff- I'll check out some of the colleges in Ohio and PA. I taken notice of the 1 year deal, my mom's worried that you'll have to pay back the tuition they gave you for that year, but they say with no obligation so that doesn't seem to be the case. Are they paying for your master's or are you? If they are, does that incur any extra years of service?
Midwest Man- I had looked at the AF and Navy programs but I didn't look hard enough. After checking them out thoroughly, they seem to offer a lot more options, especially ones that are science degree friendly. If I apply I'll look at those two branches. I have the same question for you that I had for Jeff, did you incur extra years of service by going for higher degrees? You make it seem like you were going to be in the AF longer because of the degree you earned through them. I see what you're saying about public vs. private schools. I know Clarkson has good science programs, but thinking along your lines I probably won't apply to Fordham. I'm not really sure what public universitys I'm looking have reputations for so I'll need to look into that. The best way to find out what school is good at what would probably be to visit them so I'll try to do that.
dahun- I'm not especially interested in being a pilot but maybe I'll find some new interests if I sign up.
Horatio- I know there are other forms of aid, but ROTC seems like my best shot at substancial merit based aid. I'm not going to earn anything from sports and my grades aren't high enough for a pure academic scholarship, and I don't think I'll get any big need based scholarships. I know I could probably pick up $500-$1000 here or there but it doesn't really compare to $17k. I'd like to hear what you have to say though. I'm not sure if you're suggest that I just go to a public school or if you're suggesting that there's another form of aid I'm totally missing (besides loans, I'm trying to avoid owing a ton of money).
slimjim- right on
I looked around some more and decided I have a few options. The simplest is going to a public school and there are a few good ones near by. But, if I get into a nice private school, I'll probably turn to ROTC to help pay for it.
The Airforce offers 3 levels of scholarships, the highest level would pay for my entire tuition but is only offered to ~5% of applicants. The 2nd level is similar to the Army's program and gives you about $15k for tuition.
The navy will pay full tuition if you apply to 3 schools with NROTC and get into one of them, and have an SAT over 1100-1200, however you have to serve for 8 years. Only 3 years have to be active duty, so I could study for an additional degree or maybe get some experience in other fields while I'm in the reserve.
Anyway, I think I might apply to 3 expensive/hard to get into schools that have the program to give me that option if I want. I'll probably aim for a public school and if I'm really unhappy with it can always transfer later.