UOTC vs Reserves

#1
I start university soon and am debating whether to join the UOTC or the Reserves. Clearly the UOTC will be better scheduled around my education but the Reserves I’m sure would offer more.

I have an AOSB pass and would like to make sure my years at university prepare me for the Sandhurst challenge as well as my Officer career.

Would any recommend the Reserves over the OTC or vice Versa?
 
#2
Just go and have fun and do all the things you may never get the chance to do again. Hit the odd visit to a regiment instead.
 
#3
Fitting OTC and studies around each other was difficult enough. No-one's going to be impressed if you scrape a third and whine that it was because you were off with your reserve mob when you should have been working.

You'll also have more opportunities to lead in the OTC and the second year syllabus includes leadership training.
 
#4
And they fit everything around your school year. Skiing before the uni starts back up, adventure training at Easter. Annual training at the end of exams. Year 2 all about leadership, 7 questions, plan ex's etc. Staff understand the importance of study and exams and should make allowances as many officers did OTC and some got poor degrees because of that, so will try to impress upon you the importance of balance. If you intend on becoming an officer then going to a normal Reserve unit will not prepare you for that, they might prepare you for understanding what its like being a Tom though
The biggest and most important point is that on a training night or training weekend there will be more than 7 people, platoon attacks with sections of 3 people just isn't much fun
 

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#5
You're going to Sandhurst anyway so why spend your university years playing soldier? Unless you need the cash then do the bare minimum of time at OTC needed to allow you onto the cheap skiing trips and otherwise spend your time doing something more enjoyable.

There's a line from Junior Officers Reading Club where the author is advised against OTC because 'at least when you're sitting in a field being rained on at Sandhurst, it will have novelty value.' Very sound advice.
 
#6
Reserves. Most reserve units will allow you to train with your local UOTC and the UOTC will get a bod they're not paying for.

Opportunities tend to be better during the holidays for exercises and AT as you'll have a skill other than standing around a bar giving it large about "This one time on OTC camp..."

With the reserves you'll get £300 on enlistment, £1000 for passing Phase 1, which equals Yr1 at OTC (Module A but no money). When you complete your Phase 2 (trade training but you're going officer) you'd get another £1000. Because you want to be an officer there are hefty bounties involved with this if you go the reserve route, £5000.

Your training bounty will be much higher with the reserves 2.5 times as much in the first year alone then rising rapidly up to around £1200 in your third year.

On top of that, you'll be capbadged to a proper unit doing actual training not a Uni drinking club which, while motivated, is basically a sausage factory for Reserve Officers and a bit of a doss.

Oh, and the kicker? You can't be mobilised as either unless you want to as a reserve and volunteer.

Reserves at OTC = More experience, more opportunities, more money.
Vanilla OTC = Army Club.
 
#7
I was a TA NCO before attending the Regular CC. Although my intent was always to join as a soldier post TELIC/HERRICK deployment, before the 'you've got a degree have you considered commissioning' conversation.
I'll try and balance what my experience gave me.

RMAS - Nothing to worry about for the 'soldiering' side of training. The Officer side, 7 Qs took a bit of getting used to, and I got there eventually. Once it clicks, it clicks.
As a JNCO I had experience of actually commanding in a proper sense, rather than as an appointment on exercise - I'd stress that there is a definite difference.
Depending on where you see yourself, I rejoined my old cap-badge. My RSB interview was all about the transition from NCO to Officer and what I could bring to the party rather than Regimental History, and motivation etc. Being a Reservist will definitely help when you look to rejoin.

OTC - There was one TA Officer in my Pl, who had deployed on TELIC 1 as a Terp, he was very good and nothing was really a surprise to him. However there were plenty in the Pl who had NO military experience who did very well.

Post RMAS - When commanding soldiers I found my experience to be extremely valuable. You can relate, you come across as 'normal,' you'll probably have experience of a shit Pl Comd/Coy Officers so know what not to do. Likewise you know what motivated you as a soldier so can apply that to your command. I would temper this with don't lead with this as your opening gambit, or keep banging on about it. The guys will find out, they always do, and it'll probably be to your credit in the Cpls/Sgts' messes, even if you never hear about it.

Managed to get a few deployments out of it, including a couple of big exercises and there was more than enough to keep you occupied (if you want to organise it, competitions, AT, etc).

Although I'm sure OTC is great if you want to get a bit of pocket money, get leathered and smash into student birds which lets face it is what uni is all about anyway.
Actually, go to the OTC!
 
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#8
It is true that many of those going officer end up going along to OTC to get Mod B etc, however they aren't really part of the unit, so don't always get the perks.
The drinking club bit has really reduced dramatically, as a lot less goes on at OTC's, its mainly outside OTC they do within their groups. The big thing is that there are loads of people there and you helped along the way. The problem with Reserve units is that there aren't many that turn up, there are still a lot of old and bold that either talk about their time drinking on some foreign exercise, or give it big licks about their deployment (okay, not everyone, but there are a few and if you get stuck in the section with them its nausea).
As for the money, no idea, but I believe that if you pass mainboard you money jumps up dramatically, more than you would as a Tom. Also you end up meeting those guys and girls that are planning to go regular or get a Reserve commission so a few of them go off at the same time and sort of become a small clan.
The important thing is they tailor it to training people all at the same level, no drill nights where you spend your time putting out chairs, no weekends where you are training above/below your standard.
But I can see the point of going to a reserve unit if you then turn up to do the officer bit at OTC.
As for the bit from the officer from young officers drinking club, i lost all respect for him when he said that all those that didn't get into an infantry unit went to bonk Corps; this made me realise that his whole army experience was infantry and he had no idea outside bayonets (as a lot of corps has a prerequisite of qualifications - I.E engineering degree to join REME etc)
Oh yeah, and OTC's can still be a bit of a dating agency
 
#9
As for the bit from the officer from young officers drinking club, i lost all respect for him when he said that all those that didn't get into an infantry unit went to bonk Corps; this made me realise that his whole army experience was infantry and he had no idea outside bayonets
I've tried a couple of times to read YORC, every time I've put it down. Its a bit cringeworthy.

However the value of teeth arm Officers involving themselves in activities other than their core business (and the frustration that follows) can be a whole other forum, let alone thread!!
 
#10
Cheers for all the great replies.

I guess my dilemma is I want to prepare as much as I can for Army life and Sandhurst, but ill probably get there and look back to regret not enjoying university more.

Possibly OTC while pursuing reserve opportunities or Reserves while pursuing OTC opportunities is the way forward.
 
#11
Cheers for all the great replies.

I guess my dilemma is I want to prepare as much as I can for Army life and Sandhurst, but I'll probably get there and look back to regret not enjoying university more.

Possibly OTC while pursuing reserve opportunities or Reserves while pursuing OTC opportunities is the way forward.
Don't worry about preparing for Sandhurst - it's designed to take in people with zero previous experience. Don't be daft enough to completely f*** up your degree, because it's what will sit on your CV for decades - but be aware that the grade of your degree matters for your first, maybe your second job; after that, no-one cares about anything more than "has a degree" (the two blokes on my degree course who thrashed themselves to get Firsts on our rather crunchy combined-honours course, regretted missing out on University life... basically, they never had a social life, never tried much new stuff).

The OTC is designed around term time; enjoy it. Get pissed, chase/catch/live with $PREFERRED GENDER, try new things. Don't sit in a comfy bubble that matches previous experience, challenge yourself to operate outside your comfort zone. If that means trying your hand at acting, or stand-up comedy, or playing in a band, or sport, or voluntary work with the homeless, do it.

You'll have enough time at the Factory and afterwards to (potentially) live in an echo chamber where everyone worries about red trousers and a GTi - these are the three or four years where you can genuinely get out and try new stuff. Go for it.

You'll be a damn-sight more useful to your first troop/platoon if you've had to beg from a bank manager, had a messy split-up from a partner, had troubles sharing a flat, f***ed up your budget and spent a week living on baked beans and toast, had the whole "I'm late... Oh f***" conversation; than if you were Mr.Sensible who spent all their spare University time training with the reserves.
 
#12
It’s a long time ago now, but I went to university with a similar decision to make and an RCB pass (I’m old) in my pocket.

I’d already been a reservist for a year when I started at university. My first year, I did the minimum with what was then the TA, second nothing. I became seriously disillusioned with the Army. A friend persuaded me to go along to the OTC and it reinvigorated my Interest. The rest is history; a 24 year career as a regular officer and three as a reservist with the ADF.

My point. If you don’t join anything, you may well find you drift away from your current chosen career. Personally, I’d go with the OTC. Do enough to keep your hand in but don’t let it take over your life. Get the best degree you can and enjoy what will probably be the only time in your life where you are only responsible to yourself.

Forget using either the Reserve or UOTC to prepare for RMAS. It’s not why you go to university.
 

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