What is ROTC and why is it relevant? (2023)

How the program helps students pay for college and prepare for academic and career success

Many students avoid joining a JROTC program because they have no intention of joining the military after high school. But what many students may not realize is that JROTC teaches skills that colleges and employers want but aren't typically taught in the high school curriculum. Regardless of your military intent, JROTC will help you develop skills that will better position you for success in and out of the classroom. Read on to find out what the program is all about and how it can set you up for academic and career success, and even help you pay for college.

JROTC History, Mission and Vision

The Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (JROTC) is a four-year program that grew out of the National Defense Act of 1916. The United States was preparing for World War I and needed a steady stream of teenage male candidates. masculine. enlist in the armed forces as soldiers and officers in the US Army. The program has served the needs of the nation and many communities so well that it has continued and is still going strong today.

Under the Vitalization Act of 1964, Congress expanded the Army's JROTC program to include all branches of the military: Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and Air Force. It was also at this time that Congress authorized the replacement of active-duty military personnel serving as instructors with retired active-duty, Reserve, and National Guard service members. The next big change came in 1973 when women were given the opportunity to participate in JROTC programs.

JROTC's stated mission is "to motivate young people to be better citizens". The vision of this congressionally mandated program is "to provide skilled leadership, personality, and leadership development while fostering partnerships with communities and educational institutions."

Many students think of JROTC as a military preparation program, but as you can see, its mission and vision don't say that. Since its inception, the purpose of the JROTC program has been to teach cadets leadership, geography, civics, health, global awareness, life skills, and US history. With this focus on leadership, core values, skills and self-discipline, cadets are better positioned to function in their own lives, even if they never joined the military.

ranking structure

The rank structure of a JROTC battalion generally mirrors that of an active duty unit. For example, an Army model JROTC battalion might be structured as follows:



  • Kadett Oberst
  • Lieutenant Colonel Cadet
  • senior cadet
  • Kadettenhauptmann
  • cadet lieutenant
  • cadet lieutenant



  • Cadet Command Sergeant Major
  • Cadet Master Sergeant
  • First Sergeant Cadet
  • Kadettenhauptfeldwebel
  • Cadet Sergeant First Class
  • cadet sergeant
  • cadets sergeant
  • kadettenkorporal
  • Private Cadet First Class
  • private cadet

A cadet battalion may contain additional positions, and the list of duties for each position may vary. JROTC instructors determine the best positions and duties for each cadet based on battalion composition. Cadets advance through the ranks based on skill, skill, and experience.


The curriculum in a JROTC program is typically divided into four modules called Leadership Education and Training, or LET. The JROTC curriculum for each branch of the military differs slightly. Below is a sample of the US Army's JROTC program to give you an idea of ​​what is covered in each LET:


(Video) 5 HUGE mistakes to avoid on your ROTC application

Since the first-year mission is to motivate cadets to be better citizens, instruction focuses on citizenship, leadership, and success in high school and beyond. Community activities vary, but generally include providing color guard at events, participating in community parades, and participating in training and rifle teams.


The second-year mission focuses more on leadership. Courses include communication skills, leadership with a leadership lab, Cadet Challenge, first aid, map reading, history, US citizenship, career opportunities and the role of the US Army.


Third-year cadets receive more exposure to leadership situations by serving as instructors and guides in their cadet battalion. Cadets also pursue independent study in communication, first aid, history, map reading, career opportunities, and technological knowledge.



In the fourth year, cadets perform the day-to-day administration of the cadet battalion, alternating between the positions of battalion commander and various staff officers. They also develop their leadership skills by serving as assistant instructors in their battalion and planning events such as graduation ceremonies, award ceremonies and military balls.

The JROTC cadet uniform must be worn at least twice a month, but many programs make their cadets wear it once a week at school, as well as when out in the community. Cadets who complete the four-year program can enroll after high school and enter recruit training at a higher level (first class E-3 Private instead of E-1 Private).

Although JROTC is not a military readiness program, it does have some military nuances. In addition to the regular use of military-inspired uniforms, there are also courses in physical preparation, drill instruction, military customs and courtesies, and military history, all taught by retired servicemen.

How do I know if JROTC is right for me?

Students join JROTC for a variety of reasons: a personal goal, following in the footsteps of a family member, paying for college, or simply being part of an organization that allows them to express their patriotism and desire to serve their country.

(Video) #Transizion ROTC: Everything You need to Know

However, some students may be in doubt about membership. If you are considering joining your school's JROTC program but are unsure, take some time to think about the following questions:

  • Would I dedicate myself to the JROTC program?
  • Am I a patriot of the United States?
  • Regardless of the obstacles I encounter, will I be driven to success?
  • Am I disciplined enough to achieve the goals I set for myself?
  • Do I want to learn valuable skills that can help me succeed in the real world?

If you answer yes to these questions, you may be a good candidate for the JROTC program. But regardless of whether you join the military later on, the education you receive during JROTC is second to none in public schools and will serve you well for the rest of your life.

How to join the JROTC

With over 3,000 JROTC programs spread across all branches of the military, there's a good chance there's a program at or near your school. To join JROTC, look for it as an elective in your school's class offerings. High schools without their own JROTC program often have reciprocal agreements with nearby schools that offer JROTC, allowing students from a school without a program to participate in a nearby school's program. To see where JROTC programs are available, visit the following websites for more information:

How JROTC prepares you for the real world

The biggest benefit of attending JROTC is that it teaches valuable life skills that many high schools don't emphasize, and for some cadets, those skills aren't taught at home either. For some inner-city cadets, their instructors may be the only role models they have.

And since JROTC is funded by the military branches, it's free to join (no military commitment once completed). Even uniforms are provided free of charge. JROTC cadets can earn the following for free:

  • leadership skills
  • trust
  • discipline
  • Communication and cooperation skills.
  • College financial planning skills
    (e.g., how to complete the FAFSA, how to find and apply for scholarships and grants)
  • community service skills
  • Responsibility
  • Time management
  • Problem Solving Skills

These experiences can be used in the military, during college, or in almost any real-world career.

JROTC can also help high school students stay focused and on track for graduation. According to 2014 dataUnited States Army, JROTC cadets in Chicago, Detroit, and rural Hawaii had higher graduation rates compared to the senior class overall:

Hubbard High Schoolin Chicago, 96% of its JROTC cadets have graduated compared to 81% of the overall senior class

renaissance gymin Detroit, 92.8% of its JROTC cadets have graduated compared to 65.5% of the overall senior class

Waianae High Schoolin rural Hawaii continued its graduation streak of 100% of its cadets, while the overall class graduation rate was only 67%

Pay for college with JROTC

Another key benefit of participating in JROTC and ROTC is the financial support these programs provide. Cadets can take advantage of several scholarships to help cover college expenses. There are two ways that JROTC can help you pay for your higher education:

Specific Scholarships

JROTC cadets are eligible for school-specific scholarships starting in ninth grade. These scholarships cover the cost of studying at 260 different colleges. Select schools offer up to $6,000 per year in a JROTC program. Cadets in leadership positions can earn an additional $3,375 per year. And best of all, there is no application process. Funds are automatically added to the student's scholarship package for the selected participating institution.

Students can also apply for external scholarships, and the program's leadership training gives JROTC cadets an advantage over other applicants. JROTC graduates are better prepared to study, take tests, set goals and focus on the task at hand - all qualities colleges look for in recipients. And since these scholarships are awarded by the schools themselves, there is no service obligation (i.e. no recruiting or obligation to join ROTC in college).

ROTC Concessions

ROTC, the next step of JROTC, also offers school assistance. These scholarships are awarded by the ROTC Military Department, which means they are not limited to any specific ROTC unit or faculty. However, they are subject to military service. All recruitment requirements include an eight-year commitment, part of which is the duration of the fellowship. For example, acceptance of a four-year ARMY ROTC fellowship requires four years of active service in the Army. The remaining four years of the eight-year commitment are in Idle Ready Reserve (IRR).

scholarship requirements

Because ROTC wants to spend scholarship money wisely and is looking for the best of the best, there are some requirements for students applying for scholarships. For example, applicants for an Army ROTC Scholarship must:

  • be an american citizen
  • be between 17 and 26 years old
  • Have a high school GPA of at least 2.50 (based on a 4.0 system GPA)
  • Abitur or technical diploma at the time of university entry
  • Score at least 1000 on the SAT in Math and Speaking or 19 on the ACT, excluding required writing scores
  • Meetphysical standards and height/weight
  • Accept a commission in the active Army or selected reserves (Reserves or National Guard) designated at the time of appointment

Apply for a ROTC Fellowship

Most industries have a specific grant application process. If in doubt, contact your school counselor and visit the appropriate branch website for more information. As an example, ARMY ROTC uses aonline applicationsfor their scholarships, and applicants must first create aAccountemgoarmy.com. An ROTC fellowship typically covers full tuition and fees, a book allowance, and a monthly stipend. The monthly stipend can range from $300 a month for a freshman college student to $500 a month for a senior. The monthly stipend is capped at $5,000 per year, but with academic years of 9 months, the cap is unlikely to be reached in any year.

(Video) UK ROTC - Winning Matters

Conversion to ROTC

Students interested in joining the ROTC but who don't want a military contract or obligation can do so in their first two years. Regardless of whether you complete the entire program or not, the benefits of attending College ROTC include:

  • An opportunity to further develop leadership skills.
  • A structured path to a career after college
  • More career advice than is typically offered on a college resume.
  • continuing professional education

For high school seniors who have completed a JROTC program, entering the ROTC is a familiar process. Like JROTC, ROTC is an elective that you can enroll in when you enroll in university courses. Once enrolled, you will be assigned a military uniform and must wear it at certain times, usually at least once a week and on special occasions. Unlike the JROTC, however, ROTC cadets must meet strict, regulated standards of fitness, hygiene, and behavior similar to military requirements. ROTC cadets who are not on a scholarship program may attend for up to two years without incurring any military obligations.

Unless ROTC cadets have already received a scholarship during their freshman year, they are usually required to enter into a legally binding contract involving a military obligation. Most commitments require a minimum of three or four years of active duty, with the remainder of the total commitment being 8 years in TIR.

For Coast Guard JROTC cadets, the transition process to ROTC is a little different. Although the Coast Guard has a JROTC program, it does not have an official ROTC program. Instead, cadets must undergo a pre-commissioning initiative for college students orCSPI. This program is open to highly motivated students who have high academic standards and leadership skills. Applicants must be admitted to a bachelor's degree from an eligible university.

Upon acceptance, students enroll in the Coast Guard and complete basic training over the summer. In return, they receive full funding for up to two years of college. This assistance includes tuition, fees, books, housing, medical benefits and a full-time Coast Guard salary for the two years of the program. Upon graduation and completion of CSPI, students are commissioned as Ensigns (O-1) and receive their first commission of service.

JROTC and College Transition FAQs

Many students have questions before committing to a JROTC or ROTC program. Below are some of the most frequently asked questions and answers:

Do I commit to military service by participating in JROTC?

No, not at all, shape or form. The training you received will help you if you decide to join the ROTC or go directly into the military after high school, but you are not required to serve in the military if you join and participate in a JROTC program if you complete all four years. .

What about ROTC?

Again, the answer is no, but with a caveat: If you accept an ROTC fellowship, then you have entered into a legally binding contract that requires definite time in one of the branches of the military, depending on the ROTC selected. Otherwise, you can join ROTC in college and attend up to two years without incurring any military obligations.

How do I apply for an ROTC fellowship?

Each industry has its own online application process. Below are links to the application pages for all ROTC fellowships:

  • army
  • Navy and Marines(Note: Marines do not have their own application process. The Marine option can be selected in the Navy's ROTC application.)
  • Air Force

Each application can be downloaded, completed and submitted, or completed and submitted online. Acceptance deadlines and/or application deadlines for a given academic year will be published on each page. Instructions and requirements are also posted online, and the application requires a significant amount of time. If you first read the application and collect all the necessary information in advance, the process will go faster and easier.

Can I complete one branch of military ROTC and then join another branch of the military?

Generally not. However, cadets who do not already have a fellowship contract can complete the first two years of ROTC in one military branch and then transfer to another ROTC branch prior to commitment. Once the appointment is made, you must remain in your chosen military branch.

(Video) Kendrick Lamar - Cartoons & Cereal ft. Gunplay (Music Video)

If I am in a ROTC program, will I be deployed?

No. Cadets are considered non-operating assets until they graduate and are commissioned as officers. Even so, new officers are generally sent through a basic leadership course before they are assigned to a unit and eligible for deployment, either individually or with their unit.

Can I choose the work I will do after being hired?

No. During the senior ROTC year, cadets undergo an application process that assigns them to a job that ROTC leadership determines is most appropriate.

Will JROTC help me if I decide to join ROTC in college?

Yes, in any case. Although ROTC is more military oriented, after completing JROTC you will be familiar with the structure of the program. JROTC staff also help guide cadets going to college, making sure students take the right high school courses to graduate and go to college, as well as helping with financial aid applications.

If I'm already in the National Guard, can I still do the ROTC?

Yes. However, since this is a different program, the application process is also a little different. National Guard personnel participate in a program called the Concurrent Membership Program, or SMP. They continue to practice with their unit, but are promoted to a senior officer position within their unit to gain more leadership experience. They also wear a patch on their National Guard uniform showing they are SMP cadets.

Upon completion of the ROTC, there is no additional requirement to complete two years of active service; only the obligation that already existed in the National Guard remains. Bear in mind, however, that this path is a longer process, as there are additional requirements for newly hired officers.

If I've done two years of college, can I join ROTC?

Absolutely! The lost years of the four-year ROTC curriculum can be summed up. In that case, you would take a one month basic ROTC course, which would replace the first two years of ROTC.

(Video) The Whitfield Report | Woosh ROASTS Sam on ROTC


What is the main purpose for ROTC? ›

The goal of ROTC is to train college students for future service in branches of the U.S. military.

What are the benefits of being in ROTC? ›

ROTC Benefits
  • Full-tuition scholarship opportunities for high school students entering college as freshmen (Apply here)
  • In-college scholarship opportunities (full tuition for technical majors and up to $18,000 per year for non-technical majors)
  • Language immersion and travel opportunities.
  • Air Force ROTC uniforms provided.
Mar 23, 2022

Why is ROTC taught in high school? ›

Many students think JROTC is a military-preparation program, but as you can see, its mission and vision doesn't state that. Since the beginning, the purpose of the JROTC program has been to teach cadets leadership, geography, civics, health, global awareness, life skills and U.S. history.

What are the 3 core values in ROTC? ›

ROTC cadets are expected to learn and live by the Army Values, a set of core values that define the high standards of conduct required of all members of the Army team. They are: Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity and Personal Courage.

What is the downside of ROTC? ›

Drawbacks to Joining ROTC

You must sign a legally-binding contract that could last up to 12 years. Under some circumstances, you must make this decision before even beginning the program. If you drop out or are expelled from the program, you will face serious consequences, including potential legal action.

Is joining ROTC worth it? ›

Cadets who complete an ROTC program in college get more than their education paid for; they learn valuable leadership skills and begin a journey of lifelong success. Collegiate ROTC programs are a great pathway to an exciting and rewarding military career.

How many years do you have to serve in ROTC? ›

Following graduation, ROTC cadets are required to serve in the active Army, Army National Guard, or Army Reserve. All graduates are required to serve in the military for a period of eight years.

What is the reason why ROTC was abolished? ›

The mandatory ROTC was abolished in 2002 after the death of University of Santo Tomas student Mark Chua, whose killing was linked to his exposé on the anomalies in the training corps.

Does ROTC help get into college? ›

One of the scholarship benefits is being able to increase your chances of getting into a college. Any school with an ROTC detachment is more likely to accept high school applicants with an ROTC scholarship already secured, especially if the ROTC Commander is willing to advocate for them.

Is ROTC technically in the military? ›

Cadets in ROTC are not in the Army, they are in a commissioning program to develop their leadership skills to become officers in the United States Army.

What is ROTC motto? ›

The Motto "Leadership Excellence" expresses the ultimate responsibility of Army ROTC in the discharge of its moral responsibility to the Nation.

What are the five basic fundamental skills in ROTC? ›

Basic ROTC focuses on equipping its graduates with the five fundamental skills of LEAD, SHOOT, MOVE, NAVIGATE, and COMMUNICATE.

What values are taught in ROTC? ›

To teach students the values of citizenship, leadership, service to the community, personal responsibility and a sense of accomplishment while instilling in them self-esteem, teamwork, and self-discipline.

What happens after 4 years of ROTC? ›

Upon completion of the Army ROTC program, graduates will be commissioned as Second Lieutenants in the U.S. Army and will embark on specialized training in their first Army branch.

What are the 4 benefits of an ROTC graduate? ›

These Benefits Last a Lifetime
  • Train to become a leader and manager.
  • Gain experience you can't find anywhere else.
  • Gain the respect of your peers and future employers.
  • Get help with your college tuition with an Army ROTC Scholarship.

How many hours a week does ROTC take? ›

What is a typical week like for ROTC cadets? As a fully-participating MS I, you are committed to 7.5 hours a week: physical training (PT) for 4.5 hours (1.5 hours each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday), one hour of class, and 2 hours for Leadership Lab on Thursday afternoon.

What GPA do you need to keep ROTC scholarship? ›

Consult your advisor for specific classes that fulfill these requirements. To avoid scholarship probation or the loss of scholarship status you must maintain a GPA over 2.0 receive no subject failures, maintain a 2.0 average in ROTC and continue to progress toward a timely graduation date.

Do you pick your job after ROTC? ›

According to Maj. Eddie Smith, the recruiting officer for TCU Army ROTC, cadets choose between active duty, Army Reserves and the Army National Guard for their profession. However, they are also chosen for their career based on their rank in the “Order of Merit” List.

Can you do ROTC without joining the military? ›

No. You can enroll in all ROTC classes with no service obligation. The obligation comes when you decide to contract into the ROTC program to become an Army Officer.

Can you quit ROTC? ›

3. Obligation for withdrawal. All ROTCs will allow the scholarship cadet/midshipman to withdraw from the program at the end of the freshman year without service obligation. [Note that cadets/midshipmen who receive a scholarship at the start of their sophomore year (ie.

What rank are you after ROTC in college? ›

All who graduate and complete ROTC training are commissioned as Second Lieutenants in the U.S. Army.

Do you get paid during ROTC? ›

For example, cadets in the Army ROTC program receive a $300 stipend in the first year, and up to a $500 stipend in the fourth year, while Navy ROTC cadets receive stipend amounts from $250 to $400 a month depending on how long they have been participating in the ROTC Program.

How much do you get paid during ROTC? ›

A. The Army ROTC Scholarship covers FULL tuition or Room and Board up to $10,000/ year. ROTC Cadets will also receive a cadet stipend of $300-$500 dollars /month depending on class level. In addition, cadets receive a $1,200/year allowance for books.

Do you get paid after ROTC? ›

All cadets receive a monthly stipend to assist with living expenses once they contract with the Air Force, which occurs at the start of their junior year or when they activate a scholarship. Stipends are $300-500 a month depending on the cadet's year in the AFROTC program.

Can ROTC increase your chances? ›

One of the scholarship benefits is being able to increase your chances of getting into a college. Any school with an ROTC detachment is more likely to accept high school applicants with an ROTC scholarship already secured, especially if the ROTC Commander is willing to advocate for them.


1. The Importance of Class Selection
(PrepWell Academy)
2. Introduction to NSTP
(Sir Benn)
3. Perspectives on ROTC at Columbia
(Columbia University)
4. Things YOU Should NOT tell YOUR Recruiter.
(Jamesons Travels)
5. 100 Best Tips, Advice, and Insights
(PrepWell Academy)
6. ROTC Competition
(Eagle Vision)


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Gregorio Kreiger

Last Updated: 08/28/2023

Views: 6351

Rating: 4.7 / 5 (57 voted)

Reviews: 80% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Gregorio Kreiger

Birthday: 1994-12-18

Address: 89212 Tracey Ramp, Sunside, MT 08453-0951

Phone: +9014805370218

Job: Customer Designer

Hobby: Mountain biking, Orienteering, Hiking, Sewing, Backpacking, Mushroom hunting, Backpacking

Introduction: My name is Gregorio Kreiger, I am a tender, brainy, enthusiastic, combative, agreeable, gentle, gentle person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.