The Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) for the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines is a great option for any college student or service member considering college. The ROTC program, offered at hundreds of different colleges and universities across the country, is a way to combine college education, military education, and the result of a college degree and commissioning as a 2nd Lieutenant or Ensign upon graduation. 


In addition to a pathway to leadership in the military, ROTC also offers additional military training, focused leadership development, and educational scholarships to pay for school. There are some key pointers to help get the most from both a college education and an ROTC program.




Take Advantage of All That College ROTC Has to Offer #1 – High Admission Rate & High Graduation Rate At A Prestigious Institution. Choosing an ROTC program should include choosing a great college or university first, and then ensuring that it has an ROTC program.  These 15 colleges and universities offer above average rates or admission, high graduation rates, at least two different service ROTC programs, and reasonable costs.  These 15 colleges and universities offer string academics and total costs that are less than $25,000 a year.




Take Advantage of All That College ROTC Has to Offer #2 – Make Your Daily College Schedule Fit Your ROTC Schedule.  Any service ROTC schedule will be demanding on your academic schedule.  Most ROTC programs have early morning physical fitness, weekends at military bases, and summer long training.  The offered ROTC classes MUST be taken as scheduled; they cannot be postponed or doubled up in one semester.  Follow these scheduling tips for your academic calendar.  (1) On a best case basis, schedule your classes Tuesday through Thursday. (2) If you take a morning class, try not to start before 9 AM.  (3) If at all possible, do not have Monday classes so you have a homework catch up day after weekend training. (4) Do your personal fitness training (gym, running, weights) immediately after your ROTC fitness sessions.  (5) Do not plan to do any summer school classes due to mandatory ROTC summer training.  


Take Advantage of All That College ROTC Has to Offer #3 – Learn From The Cadre NCO’s and Enlisted. In ROTC, you learn how to be an officer. One of the best ways to be a great officer is to ask the ROTC cadre who are Non-Commissioned Officers (NCO) how to be a good officer.  I still take lessons I learned from Master Sergeant Sharp, an 82nd Airborne Combat Veteran of the 1983 Grenada Invasion, on how to lead by example, set the standard in all things, and how to attack the most difficult problems first.  Officers lead, but NCO’s and enlisted military personnel get the job done.  Learning how to learn from NCO’s and enlisted personnel is one of the best lessons to be gained from ROTC.


Take Advantage of All That College ROTC Has to Offer #4 – Additional Military Training & Graduate As An Officer.  During the summer, the Army ROTC, Navy ROTC, and Air Force ROTC all have additional military schools, special attachments to active duty units, foreign language training, and more activity.  As an ROTC cadet, I was able to go to Airborne School and then spend 6 weeks with an Engineer Battalion learning how to build special float bridges that could span rivers in minutes.  This exposure helped me understand the wider role within the Army and gave me specialized training that might have been difficult to get on Active Duty.  Raise your hand as much as possible for these training opportunities.  When you graduate, you will be a more seasoned officer on your first day.


Take Advantage of All That College ROTC Has to Offer #5 – College ROTC Can Pay The Majority of Your College Education.  Every service has ROTC scholarships from 2 years to 4 years as well as access to living stipends, book allowances, and other scholarships to pay for school.  Sometimes, but not all, the ROTC scholarship will cover the full cost of your education.  Apply for an ROTC scholarship and other assorted scholarships.  Scholarships make your educational path easier and you are well prepared to become a military officer without the burden of enormous college debt. 


ROTC is one of the best ways to become a military junior officer and simultaneously earn a college degree. To take advantage of ROTC, select a great school, set your schedule to adapt to the ROTC schedule, learn from cadre NCO’s, and take advantage of training and scholarships.













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About the blogger:

Chad is the author of two books: (1) Combat Leader to Corporate Leader and (2) Battlefield to Business Success. Chad’s brand message is that organizations & individuals need to translate and apply military skills to business because they immediately produce results and are cost effective. Chad is a retired US Army Special Forces Lieutenant Colonel with 20+ years of Active and Reserve service in infantry, Special Forces, and joint headquarters units. He served in Iraq, Bosnia, Korea, and throughout the United States. He was awarded the Bronze Star, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Special Forces Tab, and the Ranger Tab.  Chad is an adjunct Lecturer of Marketing at Creighton University in Omaha, NE. In addition to teaching, he is a mid-level marketing executive and has worked in marketing and sales roles for various companies, including General Electric, Comcast, and Manugistics. He has been published in over 110 different articles in over 85 separate publications including The Harvard Business Review blog, Business Week Online, Forbes, Christian Science Monitor, and USA Today. He has a BA from Northwestern University and an MBA from Georgetown University.


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