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What Students Should Know About ROTC Programs

Last updated October 27, 2021

The Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, or ROTC, was created to train college students for service in the US military (check out the different branches of the military here!) through special programs with mentor instructors, academic materials, and leadership training. ROTC programs can also offer scholarships to cover the full cost of college. There are many different ROTC programs across the county, so taking your time to research each program and apply for training and scholarships is important!

U.S. Military ROTC Programs

Army (AROTC)

  • 1,100 campus programs
  • Example careers include infantry and medical corps

Navy (NROTC)

  • 150+ campus programs
  • Example careers include submarine and Navy Nursing Corps
  • There is a Marine Corps option within the Navy ROTC program

Air Force (AFROTC)

  • 1,100 campus programs
  • Example careers include piloting and aircraft maintenance

ROTC programs

Benefits of Joining ROTC

  • Scholarship opportunities to cover tuition, fees, books, and more
  • Professional opportunities after college graduation
  • Specialized training for military officer positions after college
  • Identified academic advisor to help with your academic progress during college (picking a major, registering for classes, balancing ROTC training, etc)
  • Unique training and one-of-a-kind experiences

Requirements for ROTC

While requirements vary depending on the program, there are a few basic requirements for all of these programs:

  • You must be at least 17 years of age
  • You must be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States
  • Must have a high school diploma
  • Potential cadets may be required pass a physical fitness test (standards vary for each branch of the military)
  • Each branch’s ROTC program have different academic requirements for all cadets with extended requirements for scholarship recipients
  • As part of the professional and leadership development training cadets must participate in summer training throughout their 2 or 4 year program

*It is important to remember that ROTC scholarships and some advanced programs (beyond the first two years of college) are provided in exchange for mandatory active duty service after graduation. Make sure to carefully examine each program, along with your goals after college, before committing to any scholarships or programs. 

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