Hesitations About Enrolling

Hello everyone. Apologies in advance if this is in the wrong forum. I figured this one fit the best.

I graduate university in one year and want to start my path towards the airlines shortly after. However, there seems to be almost too many paths to reach my goals, and it is very intimidating. After touring five different flight schools, I’ve narrowed it down to two, ATP being one of them. I’ve toured my preferred location (DAB) and taken the intro flight. I thought I felt confident about my decision to go to ATP, but the more I sat down and thought about my options, the more I moved back to the fence I was sitting on. Perhaps this is an initial sign that ATP might not work for me. Maybe it’s that price tag hanging over my head that’s freaking me out. I’m here today to get some well-informed and honest opinions.

First, it might be important to know that my study habits are admittedly not stellar. Every educational institution has wired me to study to take tests, and I know that won’t fly here (pun intended). No excuses there. I messed up letting myself get into that hole. As such, the pace of this program is obviously a concern* (I understand it’s not for everyone). I learn better when I can work with my hands and apply it. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll sit down and study the heck out of something if I need to. Still a big concern, ya know? That said, here are my hesitations:

What are the implications if I fall behind on certain materials and I’m not keeping up with the intended pace?
What are the grounds for being kicked out of the program? Can I be kicked out if I’m not learning fast enough?
I heard CFI school in Jacksonville is backed up out the store and around the block. If it’s the case that I find myself waiting too long, want to get started teaching elsewhere, and leave ATP’s umbrella, I heard that I have to pay back the money that was already given to me through the tuition reimbursement program?
With how much regional airlines are hiring at the moment, how big of a factor should partnerships with airlines be when deciding on any flight school? Does it eliminate any steps if I applied from a school without a partnership? (i.e. what do partnerships do for me if regional airlines are picking up guys pretty fast anyway)

As of now, those are my main concerns. Sorry for the mouthful, guys. Just wanted to give as much related information as possible so you guys get an idea of what I’m working with.
I want ATP to work out for me. But I’m hesitant about investing myself into something and finding out after starting that it’s not meant for me. I’m fortunate enough that my parents have invested so many resources into me. I just want something to show for it and make them proud.

I appreciate your time, folks. As a blanket statement for all potential replies, thank you so much for taking the time to read and respond.

*Regarding the pace, I’ve done the IB program (if that has any meaning to you. It’s just a super vigorous high school program. Possibly a notch up from the AP program?) and graduated with my IB diploma. I don’t know if that is comparable to the workload and pace at ATP.


I’m going to make this really simple. If you don’t believe you can handle the pace of training at ATP, what makes you think you’ll be able to handle actual airline training? ATP’s program was created BY airline pilots to prepare future airline pilots. ATP’s accelerated program with an emphasis on self study is not intended to rush you out the door and save money on ground school. It’s is intentionally, deliberately and specifically done to get you ready for the rigors ahead. Do you think an airline will let you take your time to learn/study at your own pace? Do you think an airline will keep you in the program if you can’t keep up with the pace they set? Yes the Regionals are desperate for pilots but if you can’t complete the training you’re out. I’m at a Major and in the last year we’ve had the highest washout rate the company has ever seen and these are pilots who’ve been flying for Regionals but clearly had marginal skills. While it’s great news the airlines are hiring like crazy and possibly even lowering their standards but at the end of the day this isn’t about “getting through” and checking boxes. You need to have knowledge and skills and need to be able to step up and possibly work harder than you ever had. If you’re not prepared to do that then no ATP is probably not for you but I’d also think long and hard if being an airline pilot is as well? I know all the ads are saying “you too can be an airline pilot” and I’m not saying it’s rocket science but they don’t just hand out the keys to the Boeing either.


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Adam has a good point. If you can get through ATP’s program, you will be well equipped for the airlines. As simple as that sounds, I know it’s still probably hard for you imagine what an accelerated program will be like since you’ve never experienced it before.

If you aren’t ready to jump all in, you could find a self-paced flight school and get your private pilot license there first. That way you can learn at your own pace and you won’t have $80k hanging over your head. If that experience goes well for you, you can enroll at ATP with a PPL and 80+ hours. This is the path that me, Chris and Adam all took. It worked out for us in the end. We all had to unlearn some bad habits when we got to ATP though.


Adam, I understand what you’re saying. Thanks for making it direct. Your perspective on the pace really got to the bottom of my fear of the pace. I think it’s that I don’t know the pace they operate at, so when I look at the all the knowledge I’ll need to pick up by a certain time, it seems super fast. Either way, you’re right. I didn’t think about the pace at the airlines as well.

I saw that option to enroll with ATP with a PPL. With Adam and your’s feedback, I’ll look into it more in depth. Thanks!

I had some of the same worries as yourself. I just decided that I want it bad enough, and that if anyone can apply themselves to self study then I can too. I would NOT have been what I consider to be mature enough for ATP a year ago, but I am now, because nothing worth having comes easy. I’ve kind of coasted through school and got decent grades my entire life, but now I know that I can’t just go through the motions. I start ATP soon, but if you can commit to the program (its for your benefit) then you can do it too.

Just ask yourself if you’re mature enough, and be honest with yourself.

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I also want to touch on something else you asked regarding Airline partnerships. These days the Regionals are hiring like crazy and honestly, in that regard, it does not matter where you train. Earn your licenses and ratings, build your time and you will get hired. BUT here’s something to consider. When I completed my training with ATP 15yrs ago it was a very different environment. The Regionals were far from desperate and just getting an interview, let alone getting, hired was VERY challenging. I actually had a friend who interviewed with 2 Regionals, got declined, apply to a few others, never got a call and gave up for good. As soon as I met the airlines mins ATP sent my resume in and I had a job 2 weeks after. That was because ATP had established their reputation of delivering a quality product (ie, skilled competent pilots) and the Regionals knew they were not going to waste thousands of dollars training pilots who couldn’t “keep up”.

Yes the Regionals are hiring like crazy. Yes you will get hired by the Regional of your choice. Yes the pay is the highest ever. Yes many have flow-thrus with their Major partners, etc etc etc BUT none of that matters if you wash out of newhire training. So yes it makes a difference which school you chose.



Thanks for coming back to address the other concern, especially your last paragraph. I appreciate your bringing up things that I never would’ve known about.