ROTC is a great program that provides options for a lot of students. However, the prospect of committing to the military can be scary for many families. Find out more about ROTC by getting the answers you need to the questions many people have asked before you.
- “If I enroll in ROTC, does that mean I’m joining the military?”
Not necessarily. ROTC students don’t incur any military obligation until the start of their junior year if they aren’t receiving any scholarship money. Students who received a 4-year scholarship incur the obligation at the start of the sophomore year. This means that if you are in the college program, you can be in ROTC for two years without a scholarship and have no post graduation military commitments. If you received a scholarship, you can be in the program for one year and leave without any obligations.
- “Is being in ROTC like being at boot camp?”
No, being in ROTC is like being a normal student with some military-training classes. Typically, ROTC programs require you to take one elective course, a lab, and some physical training each semester. This means that the rest of your time and courses are spent like any other college student. Some advanced training course may require summer military training, but the general curriculum is not like boot camp.
- “How will I benefit from being in ROTC?”
ROTC provides you with tons of leadership training and experience. You participate in challenges, activities, and real-world situations. You may be required to lead some challenges, but it’s all to prepare you to be a leader no matter where your career path leads. This helps ROTC students grow as whole persons as much as it helps mold them into great soldiers.
- “Can I get scholarships for being in ROTC?”
Yes. Some ROTC scholarship recipients receive up to full tuition through their school, but it depends on where you choose to go to college. You can apply for scholarships at the end of your high school career or during college.
- “If I’m in ROTC, that means I have to serve on active duty after graduation, right?”
If you choose to go on to the advanced training portion of ROTC, then you do incur a duty commitment, but it’s not necessarily all active duty. The amount of time you are required to commit depends on the branch of the military and the track. Typically, the requirement is around four years of active duty and four years of inactive duty.
- “Will being in ROTC make it hard for me to be a normal student?”
No, ROTC students do all of the things normal students do. From being in fraternities and sororities to being on athletic teams, ROTC students have the same flexibility as other students; they just have additional requirements. The majority of the work in the ROTC curriculum is taken through elective courses as a part of your normal course load.