ROTC in College: Advantages, Scholarships And More
The cost of education continues to rise, leaving many potential students scrambling for a way to obtain the money to attend. While some take on the financial burden of loan debt, others look for other ways to pay for school. One of the options currently available at many universities is the ROTC program, which might be the answer for some students.
What is ROTC?
ROTC stands for Reserve Officer Training Corp, and is a program provided by the U.S. Military. Its purpose, as the name indicates, is to prepare students for entry into military careers. The program provides successful students with the chance to learn more about their capabilities, while allowing them to attend college at the same time. Students must decide what branch of the armed forces would like to join before attending school. Options include the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines.
Not all colleges offer ROTC programs at the college level. Approximately, 1,000 schools across America do. The training they receive is based on what branch of the United Sates military they decide upon.
- Army: The topics that are covered include leadership, military operations, communications, principles of war and physical fitness. All are geared to the philosophy, culture and requirements of the army.
- Air Force: Students will enroll in either a two or four-year program. The topics include a general military material course as well as leadership courses. Officer training does not really take place until the final two years of a four-year program. In a two-year program, officer training occurs immediately. The two-year, over the four-year program is the more competitive.
- Navy and Marine Corps: The same training and program is provided for candidates in both branches. Everyone starts their training in the Navy Program. Training in Navy programs differs from the other branch programs. Weekly drills, training weekly in uniform and cruise training as well as navigation make these programs significantly different from the armed forces and air force ROTC programs.
What is similar across the board is the payment of college tuition by the branch of the armed forces responsible for the training. Not only does the military pay for the students’ tuition, it also pays for such things as lab fees and books. ROTC programs provide students with one of the most comprehensive scholarship programs available in the higher education system today.
In addition, the military may pay a stipend to help students take care of other expenses. The candidates, however, need to meet the standards required. The application process for ROTC scholarships is very intense and comprehensive.
When the ROTC program is completed, the student will graduate as an officer in the field of choice, and he or she must serve as a military officer. If the student changes their mind, they must repay all scholarship money received during the course of their education. Although the course work and ROTC work is demanding, many students choose this path. It provides them with discipline, leadership lessons and a clear career path.
As detailed above, ROTC is an intensive program that requires military service upon completion of a degree. The program is not for everyone, and the pros and cons should be carefully considered before a student commits to this career path.