ROTC’s benefits attract student interest

ROTC is an option for many students concerned with paying for college

Tia Rotolo

For seniors deciding post high school plans, ROTC offers a unique college experience with benefits and an opportunity to honor one’s country.
According to senior Jack Kempf “ROTC is a commissioning program for all branches of the military. If you’re accepted after applying, you get a full scholarship to your university. Following graduation, you are required to serve five years active duty and three years reserve.”
ROTC gives individuals the ability to be part of the armed forces while still attending and receiving the traditional college experience.
An anonymous senior said she wanted to do more during her time at school, “I’ve always looked up to people in the military and it’s a great opportunity to be part of something greater than myself.”
Most high school students don’t want to involve themselves in something with a high risk factor and little reward. However, family ties can often sway a student’s desire to join.
Senior Mason Mcquet has a family history of military involvement. He feels as though joining ROTC would keep the tradition going, with added benefits. “I’m mostly attracted to the benefits of serving,” Mcquet said.
The benefits range from financial to career-based. Most ROTC programs include a 2-4 year full ride scholarship for the participant, while also providing access to plenty of jobs post-college.
Ewing notes the ROTC’s ability to help kids commit to jobs when needed. “You’re gonna have a career in the army following the program if you want it. You can do social work, infantry, armor, or pilot, just to name a few. There’s a career for everyone who wants one,” Ewing said.
Ability to find jobs is consistent for all of the branches, but branch-choice will vary with the student’s involvement and commitment.
Ewing, as a first year ROTC member, already faces a minimum of six hours a week of active participation in the program.
The weekly commitment for college kids is minimal compared to what students would face after college.
For Kempf, NROTC (the Navy branch) will allow him to begin commission as soon as he graduates. “NROTC will give me the chance to go to the Marines Officer Candidate School between my junior and senior year of college, so that I will be commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant the day I graduate. After I graduate college, I will be obligated to serve in the Marine Corps for 5 years active duty and 3 years in the reserves,” Kempf said.
As rigorous and time consuming as the program is, it still allows time for a minimal college experience as long as a consistent sleep schedule is maintained.
According to Ewing, free time has to be devoted to studying. “Classes with ROTC just means you have to be time efficient. You don’t have a lot of time to waste around doing miscellaneous college stuff.”
For students wanting to join ROTC, they must consider specific colleges, since not all universities offer ROTC programs.
Branches offered vary depending on college, therefore Kempf’s interest in NROTC limits his college search. “There are approximately 150 schools nationwide that offer Naval ROTC. This means that I can only apply to these schools if I want to do NROTC,” Kempf said.
The search can be difficult given that not all schools offer specific branches, on-campus facilities, or financial aid.
An anonymous senior notes the difficulty in finding a school that offers full necessities for her. “Some schools don’t offer ROTC programs, some only offer through other schools, and some don’t offer any financial help. I’m only looking at schools with ROTC on campus with benefits and reputable Pre-Med programs,” She said.
In committing to the perfect school, one needs to be willing to dedicate time to maintaining their physical health as well.
“It is important to get in shape and stay in shape. Before you can apply for an NROTC Marine option scholarship, you must take a physical fitness test or PFT.
The PFT is very important to the Marine Corps and weighs heavily on your application,” Kempf said. Maintaining good grades and being involved in various extracurriculars and athletics can help in differentiating one’s self from other candidates in the highly selective process.
If ROTC is desirable for a student, it has to be well-thought out before committing. While the benefits would be helpful for any college student, an internal desire to serve one’s country is necessary.
Senior Sam Yavitt notes the positive and negative factors to having a career in the armed forces. “A recruiter told me if someone only wanted to obtain the financial benefits received from ROTC without a genuine interest in serving your country, the person would be completely miserable,” Yavitt said.