ROTC enables a college student to earn an academic degree in their major, as well as an officer’s commission at the same time. When your obligatory service is completed, you can select a military career or leave the service for a civilian career. Those who elect to stay may qualify to pursue graduate studies at government expense. ROTC programs are available at selected colleges and universities. Nursing scholarships are also available. For information, contact your counselor early in your junior year.
Get the Basics on ROTC
The purpose of the Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) is to prepare young men and women to serve in the military. ROTC offers scholarships in each branch—Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Cost Guard—although scholarship requirements are different for each. But all ROTC scholarships allow you to go to school first (rather than serve in the military before receiving tuition aid), and require you to take ROTC coursework for credit. After you finish college, you must complete a period of service in the military.
Who is eligible for a ROTC scholarship?
You can apply for four-year ROTC scholarships while in high school, or two- to three-year scholarships once you've started college. The scholarships are based on merit, not need. To qualify for a ROTC scholarship, you must:
- Be a U.S. citizen
- Be between the ages of 17-26
- Have a high school GPA of at least 2.5
- Have a high school diploma
- Meet physical standards
- Agree to accept a commission and serve in the military on active duty or in a Reserve component after
How much time do I owe the military after I complete ROTC?
Most cadets incur a four-year, active-duty commitment, but the amount of service time you incur can vary. For example, pilots in the Air Force incur a ten-year active-duty service commitment after successfully completing their training. Army ROTC students who receive a ROTC scholarship, or enter the Army ROTC Advanced Course, must serve full-time in the Army four years for four-year scholarship winners, and three years for others. Selected Cadets may choose to serve part-time in the U.S. Army Reserve or Army National Guard while pursuing a regular career.
How much money do ROTC scholarships offer?
Scholarship amounts vary, but can go up to $18,000 a year. This money must be used to pay for tuition. You are not allowed to use it for room and board. You also receive money each year for books and a monthly allowance.
Can I reapply for a scholarship if I don't get one at first?
If you don't win a ROTC scholarship while applying in high school, you can still take ROTC classes in college. If you decide you like ROTC, you can reapply for a two- or three-year scholarship.
What if I don't like ROTC?
If you've been awarded an ROTC scholarship, but decide this path is not for you, you can quit the program after your first year without any obligations.
What kinds of courses and training does ROTC offer?
The courses you take depend on which branch you enroll in.
Army ROTC, for example, offers a Basic Course during your first two years in college. The Basic Course includes one elective class or lab each semester that teaches military and leadership skills. If you do not have a scholarship, you can take Army ROTC Basic Course without promising to join the military upon graduation.
Then there is the Advanced Course you can elect to take during your junior and senior years of college. The Advanced Course includes one elective class or lab each semester plus a summer leadership camp. The classes teach you advanced military tactics and give you experience in team organization, planning, and decision-making. To register for the Advanced Course, you must commit to serve as an Officer in the U.S. Army after you graduate.
Where is ROTC offered?
To find schools that have a ROTC program use CollegeBoard Select "Find A College" and then "College Matchmaker - Start Here". Set your criteria under the various headings and under "Housing and Programs" select "ROTC". "See Results" will provide a list of Colleges that match your criteria.