Who Should Consider Joining a ROTC Program?

Perhaps you’ve heard about ROTC programs, and you’re wondering if it would be beneficial for you to join one. If you have all the following characteristics, you’re the ideal candidate for joining an ROTC program:

1. You Have a Strong Desire to Serve as an Officer in the US Military.

You’re probably aware that ROTC stands for “Reserve Officer Training Corps.” College level ROTC programs exist for the primary purpose of training students to become officers in various branches of the US military. If becoming an officer isn’t your most important career goal, the Reserve Officer Training Corps probably isn’t a good fit for you. Additionally, one of the following most likely describes your situation:

  • You’re a high school student, recent high school graduate or college freshman; there are ROTC programs available for both high school students and college students.
  • If you aren’t in high school or college, perhaps you’re already in the National Guard, which would qualify you for the Simultaneous Membership Program.
  • Perhaps you’re an enlisted soldier, but you’re not already an officer. In that case, you’ll probably be able to enroll in an ROTC program and use your federal tuition assistance to attend college.

2. Nothing Disqualifies You From Serving in the US Military.

There are multiple things that can disqualify you from ROTC eligibility. Ideally, you’re a US citizen; if not, you’re probably not eligible until you legally make arrangements for immigration. If you have a moral or religious objection to wars or weapons, military service is not compatible with your belief system — which would disqualify you from participating in the Reserve Officer Training Corps program.

3. You’re Athletic, Healthy and in Good Physical Condition.

As part of the program, you’ll be participating in physically rigorous activities such as rappelling. More importantly, you’ll need to be able to pass the relevant physical fitness tests to begin your career as a military officer after graduation. You probably won’t qualify for the program if you’re over or under the recommended weight limits, if you have asthma, if you have ADHD or if you take Ritalin. This link takes you to detailed info about the Air Force ROTC’s physical requirements.

4. You’re Outgoing.

You’ll have to be able to live and work in close quarters with bunches of different personality types, whether you like them or not. Having an outgoing personality is an asset.

5. Academically, You’re an Over-Achiever.

The academic requirements are rigorous, particularly for cadets on scholarship. You’ll have to maintain at least a 2.5 grade point average if you’re on scholarship. Otherwise, you need at least a 2.0. If you’re prone to failing classes, the program probably isn’t a good fit; you’re not allowed to score less than a C- in the classes required for the program.

6. You Want to Develop Your Leadership Abilities.

If you have no desire to lead others, there’s no compelling reason to enroll in the program. It’s ideal if you already possess leadership skills, and it’s even better if you want to make leadership the central focus of your career.

These are a few of the most important points that describe the ideal ROTC candidate. If you want to know more, you can check out the Air Force ROTC program requirements here and the National Guard program information here.

Recommended Resource: 50 Great Schools Where High School Students Can Get College Credit