Drake Cadet Q&A
(Answered by a Drake GMC & POC cadet)
How does Physical Training (PT) differ?
Unlike the ISU cadets, Drake cadets are not required to PT with the other cadets. Instead, Drake cadets PT individually and provide thorough documentation as to what exercises they did and for how long. They are still required to complete at least two one-hour PT sessions per week. Being a Drake Cadet means you also have more responsibility because if you do not reach the score you wished to reach on a PT test, it is solely your responsibility.
Is transportation a big issue?
Transportation seems like a big deal at first, but it is not bad at all. The travel is about 45 minutes to ISU from Drake, which seems daunting at 5:30 in the morning, but after the first couple weeks of LLab it becomes a typical routine and allows for a nice break from Drake’s campus. Weather was a big transportation concern of mine when I joined because I thought of how bad Iowa roads can get in the winter and how much worse they likely are early in the morning. Fortunately, from my experience LLab was always canceled on days I was concerned to drive so it has never been an issue. For those that do not have a car, carpooling is a great resource.
Would ROTC get in the way of my classes?
ROTC has never gotten in the way of any of my Drake classes. Fortunately the cadre has always been extremely accommodating and allows cadets to take courses via a web-based course program. This allows for Drake cadets to limit their driving and take their Air Force classes from Drake. These “online” courses are unlike traditional online courses in the way that you must be present in class at a certain time and participate via webcam. The ROTC classroom at Iowa State is equipped with microphones and cameras so Drake students can view the classroom like everyone else as well as participate by asking and answering questions through their computer microphone.
If you need to take a full eighteen credits for your degree in Drake classes, you can choose to omit completely your ROTC credits for that semester. If you want the credit to count, you simply let the cadre know and they do the rest for you.
Are there any certain POC (Professional Officer Course) positions that you are ineligible for?
Drake cadets are not, per se, ineligible for any POC positions, but there are several positions that would likely be entirely too difficult for Drake cadets to do because of time constraints and the distance. The following positions would be nearly impossible or not recommended for Drake cadets: Physical Fitness Officer, Resources Officer, Wing Commander (as well as most of the Wing Staff positions depending on scheduling) and Flight Commander. Otherwise Drake cadets can complete almost every other POC position.
The only ROTC course that must be attended in person is LLab which occurs at 6:30 a.m. on Tuesday mornings. It is over at 8:00 a.m. so Drake cadets could be back at Drake by 8:50.
Do I have to pay any special tuition or payments to Iowa State?
As a crosstown student, you are not required to pay and tuition or fees at Iowa State.
Is there anything that you had to figure out yourself that you wish someone had told you before going into the program?
Before I began the program, I wish someone would have told me to read the D&C manual as well as the Field Training Guide. I think that doing both of the above before arriving on the first day would have helped with confidence and feeling like less of an outsider. Overall, the cadre was excited to have me and made sure I understood exactly how the program would work before I committed myself.
What advice would you give to a prospective Drake Cadet?
(POC Cadet) I would advise prospective Drake cadets to look past the drive time and see that taking ROTC at Iowa State is awesome! I, too, was concerned about the driving at first and am so thankful that I didn’t let a car ride get in the way of such a great experience.
(GMC Cadet) As a Drake cadet, it is hard to feel like you fit in. You lack the flight experience and the bonds that other cadet form throughout the year. To help make that less of an issue, make one friend. Talk to them frequently and feel comfortable with them. In knowing one person, you will meet many more people and have a greater level of comfort which will ultimately lead to your success.