“Do I have to join the Army?”
The most frequently asked question, and biggest misconception, is about the military requirement associated with joining SFA’s ROTC. Lumberjacks who become ROTC cadets are not required to join the Army after they graduate. Of course, enlisting is an option – and a good one.
Not sure what ROTC is, exactly? Want to know the benefits of participating? Curious about scholarships or careers? If you’ve ever wondered about ROTC, check out this list of frequently asked questions to learn more.
What is ROTC?
ROTC is the Reserve Officers' Training Corps. It is a college elective for undergraduate students. The goal of the United States Army ROTC program is to develop technically competent, physically fit and highly motivated men and women for positions of responsibility as commissioned officers in the active Army, the Army Reserve and Army National Guard.
Upon completion of the curriculum, students will have an understanding of the fundamental concepts and principles of the military as an art and as a science. The leadership and managerial experience gained through ROTC provides great benefit for students in both their civilian endeavors and their military careers.
What is the ROTC curriculum?
The curriculum for the ROTC elective is divided into two phases. Each phase takes four semesters to complete, but each student has different requirements, and the program will be structured according to each individual.
- The basic course includes the study of Army history, organization and structure.
- The advanced course concentrates on tactical operations and military instruction, as well as management, leadership and command techniques.
What are the benefits of joining ROTC?
In addition to being eligible for scholarships through the United States Army, ROTC cadets gain valuable leadership and management skills that prepare them for successful careers.
Considering a career in the private sector? Employers will appreciate your leadership skills and discipline. Do you plan on joining the military after graduation? ROTC graduates are qualified to become commissioned officers in the United States Army.
Is ROTC like “boot camp”?
No. ROTC is simply a college elective course that develops your leadership abilities.
If I enroll in ROTC, am I joining the Army?
No. ROTC is a college elective, and ROTC cadets have no military obligation during the first two years of college (or the first year, for ROTC scholarship students). By enrolling in ROTC, you can also receive a minor in military science, which complements any degree or program of study.
If you plan to join the military after you graduate, you’ll have the option to contract into the ROTC commissioning program to become an Army officer. This usually happens during your junior year.
What makes ROTC different from regular college courses?
Students in ROTC participate in a unique program that involves both classroom and "live" learning environments. For instance, an ROTC cadet might be found leading classmates through adventure training, down a river in a raft or up a mountain wall.
What is the time commitment for ROTC?
Students who become ROTC cadets take military science classes and military science labs and are encouraged to attend physical training three times a week. There are numerous other clubs and volunteer opportunities that cadets can participate in to become solid teams and foster a sense of fellowship and leadership.
What if I want to go into the Army after college?
Cadets who choose to pursue a military career enroll in the ROTC commissioning program. After they complete college, they can enter the United States Army, Army Reserve or Army National Guard as second lieutenants. From there, they can pursue additional specialized training and post-graduate educational opportunities that lead to advanced leadership positions.
Does ROTC offer scholarships?
Yes. Each year hundreds of students attending colleges nationwide receive ROTC scholarships. ROTC awards them to students pursuing a variety of majors at SFA. ROTC scholarships are not based on financial need. Instead, they're awarded on merit exhibited in academic achievement and extracurricular activities such as sports, student government or part-time work.
All Army ROTC scholarships pay for tuition and fees or housing. Scholarship winners also receive an annual allowance for books, as well as a monthly stipend.
How often are ROTC scholarships awarded?
If you are still in high school and applying for a four-year scholarship, your application should be submitted by January 10 of your senior year. Call 1.800.USA.ROTC or apply online. Winners are announced in the spring.
Once you are on campus, two- and three-year ROTC scholarships also become available. Graduate students who are applying for or are already accepted into a program at SFA may also apply for a two-year ROTC scholarship.
How are ROTC scholarship winners selected?
ROTC scholarships are not based on financial need. Instead, they're awarded on merit. Merit is exhibited in academic achievement and extracurricular activities, such as sports, student government or part-time work.
Do you need to have a scholarship to enroll in ROTC?
Anyone can enroll in ROTC. And regardless of whether you're a scholarship winner or not, all ROTC books, supplies and equipment are provided at no cost to you.
Can veterans join the ROTC?
Veterans who have served in active duty or in the Army Reserve/National Guard are also eligible for the ROTC program. Although veterans are not required to take the basic ROTC course, they are encouraged to do so. All students, including veterans, must have a minimum of 60 credit hours prior to enrolling in the advanced course.