The Reserved Officers Training Corps (ROTC) offers assistance in paying for college in return for a promise to serve in the Army, Navy, Marines, or Air Force. A student enrolled in the ROTC will participated in military training around 4 hours a week, on average, during the course of earning a degree, and will receive scholarships to help pay for tuition as well as a monthly payment to cover living expenses while in college. You’ll also be required to enroll in elective classes and labs that are relative to your future military career. After college, you’ll enter the military as an officer.
It’s important to remember that ROTC is more than just a scholarship program, and you should be absolutely certain you wish to join the military after college before you apply for a scholarship. Your scholarship and monthly stipend are contingent upon your promise to serve in the military after your education is completed. If you fail to live up to your active duty commitment, you could be subject to ROTC disenrollment, which can include an obligation for you to repay the aid that you have received and a mandatory active service requirement.
If you are a high school junior who is planning on joining the military and looking at ROTC as an option, it is important to start looking at this in March. There are 1,100 colleges that have ROTC programs for the Army and Air Force/Marines and about 153 colleges that have ROTC programs for the Navy. It’s important to talk to your counselor now to determine which of the schools you are interested have an ROTC program for the branch of the military you are interested in joining. If you currently participate in JROTC in high school, that organization can also help you find schools.
There are many considerations to applying for the ROTC program. It is helpful to have a B average for your high school career. If you can, join the honor society and participate in school programs such as athletics or student government.
It’s recommended that you apply to multiple schools that have the ROTC program you are interested in, to increase your chances of being accepted into a school. It’s also recommended that you start preparing and take the SAT or ACT test as soon as you can. Your performance in these tests will be a factor in your application for the ROTC program. You will also be required to take and pass a physical fitness test prior to being accepted into the ROTC program – so while you are studying for classes, applying for schools and scholarships, and preparing for tests, don’t forget to stay in shape!