Opportunities in ROTC
Opportunities in ROTC
By: Joseph Masrik
Life following graduation from high school can be full of decisions and changes. One such decision can include choosing between earning a higher education or enlisting in the military. While both have their individual benefits, another option includes participation in Army ROTC or Reserve Officers Training Corps.
1. What is Army ROTC and what benefits does it offer?
The Army ROTC is offered at many colleges and Universities across the nation. This program had been established to seek committed intellectual young men and women who want to serve in our nations military as junior levels of management or officers. This program is added to their curriculum and is called Military Science. Military Science is conducted like any other class and is taught by Commissioned Officers and Non Commissioned Officers to prepare cadets for military service after graduation. Students who are in 4 year degrees in or are getting a Master’s degree and interested in military service and complete all the requirements of the program will Commission as a Second Lieutenant.
The many benefits to being in the Army ROTC program are endless or at least what you make of it. Some benefits of going through ROTC instead of straight enlistment after high school are listed below:
a. Getting your Degree and Army Commission at the same time - Going to college and joining the Army ROTC right out of high school instead of enlisting and coming in as a Non-Commissioned Officer will result in getting two great career choices done very early in life. Once cadets have completed their undergraduate or graduate degree they will be the master of their destination in life, and will be able to go anywhere and do practically anything that they put your mind to. The possibilities are endless while serving as an Army Officer, and can be beneficial even after the military with all the experiences that is gained.
b. Your Salary as a Commissioned Army Officer is much higher than that of an enlisted soldier. Just as some graduates enter the workforce directly after graduation, some directly enlist. While cadets are going to college, some graduates will be enlisted and serving like those already in the work force, but when a cadet completes their Undergraduate degree over 4 years, compensation as a commissioned Officer and leader is well noted.
c. You will be not only be a Commissioned Army Officer upon the day you graduate, but will start right out in the junior fields of management with a tremendous amount of career growth.
d. Other benefits to joining ROTC include learning and having fun while doing it. Joining ROTC opens opportunities to be part of military formals, rappelling, rifle marksmanship, first aid training, land navigation training, leadership and management instruction, outdoor camping, and much more.
2. Scholarships –
There are 52 different types of scholarship opportunities that are in place to assist those that are displaying the Leadership qualities looked for in our future Officers to help ease the burden of paying for college, so candidates can focus energies into their studies. The areas these scholarships’ fall into are:
a. The NATIONAL HIGH SCHOOL SCHOLARSHIP – This scholarship is available to High School students across the country and abroad. This is open to apply the summer prior to senior year, and normally opens the second week of June. It is found at www.goarmy.com. Application only takes a few minutes to register and only a few documents need to be uploaded. The two scholarships that get awarded are 3 and 4 year scholarships. If a student is awarded a 3 year scholarship there is still plenty of potential to possibly get an upgrade to a 3 ½ year depending on how well they are doing their Fall semester, and by the recommendations of the ROTC command.
b. CAMPUS BASED SCHOLARSHIPS – These Scholarships are in all areas and are awarded to cadets in the program who have no scholarship when they begin college. These scholarships are given based off of an order of merit list that the cadre put together based off of the cadets performance during their first year in the program. Being placed on the order of merit list is based off of doing well in studies or classes while in college, coming to all classes and interjecting opinions in classroom discussions, coming to all ROTC physical fitness training sessions in the mornings, and being energetic in all areas that expected from our future Army Officers. Displaying these qualities will earn a recommendation by the ROTC Battalion Commander for a contract. Once this has happened, cadets go see the Recruitment Operations Officer, or ROO, and discuss options for scholarship contract or non-scholarship contract which vary in service obligation.
c. Army Reserve and National Guard Scholarships – These scholarships are available to those currently serving in the Reserve, National Guard, and or who is possibly thinking about joining. These three types are called the Guaranteed Reserve Force Duty (GRFD), the Dedicated GRFD, and the Minuteman Scholarships which are available to those who want to serve but only want to serve on a part-time service status and working full time in their career field as a civilian.
3. What happens after Graduation?
Once a student has graduated they will attend military course as a Second Lieutenant called Basic Officer Leader Course (BOLC). This course is specifically designed around the career field that they have been selected for as a Commissioned Army Officer while serving. After graduating from this course, which varies in length and type of branch, they will then be assigned to a unit that can be anywhere in the world, where they will be in charge of 30- 40 people.
The best advice for student still unsure of whether they wish to participate in ROTC or not, is to register for one course, and to judge the program by the experience after the semester is over. To best weigh the options of joining ROTC, meet with representative from a school of interest, or read more online.