What is the ROTC?

The ROTC can be your step up to a military career, if that is what you want to do.
Picture courtesy U.S. Army ROTC

What is the ROTC, and should you consider joining the program? That will depend a lot on what you are looking for, as the system has several advantages and disadvantages for students.
ROTC is short for Reserve Officer Training Corps, and the program, which began in 1819, is available from every branch of the U.S. military.

The ROTC provides scholarships for those who enroll, as well as full tuition reimbursement for National Guard cadets with a GPA of 2.0 or above. Contracted cadets also receive a monthly stipend which increases with each year spent in college. Another, less obvious, advantage of enrolling in ROTC while in college is staying physically fit, and developing a camaraderie with new people.

If you are planning a career in the military after college, joining the ROTC may be a good idea, as the program can allow you to graduate as a commissioned officer. ROTC combines both classroom and physical activities to prepare students for life in the military.

The program allows you to take the first two years of the four-year program without an obligation to serve in the armed forces after graduation.

While in school as a member of the Army ROTC, you will be referred to as a cadet. Students following a career path in the Navy are called midshipmen.

Service in the ROTC can take away from time that you might spend studying, leading to declining grades. The strict time schedules required to serve in the ROTC can also lead to additional stress.

Bobby Touran is the founder and CEO of ApplyKit. ApplyKit helps students manage their entire college application process and also provides key resources to help them excel every step of the way.