College Student FAQ

You Have Questions. We Have Answers.

Is enrolling in Army ROTC the same as joining the Army? Once a student starts taking ROTC courses, is he/she obligated to join the Army?

Enrolling in Army ROTC is not, strictly speaking, joining the Army. You will not be sent to boot camp. However, the primary purpose of the Army ROTC program is to produce its Officers, so you must agree to serve as an Officer in the Army after graduation in order to go through the entire program, or if you have received an ROTC scholarship. Enrolling in the ROTC Basic Course (the first two years of college) does NOT obligate you to serve unless you have also received a scholarship. For more details, see: Service Commitment.
What kinds of scholarships are available in Army ROTC? Are any of the scholarships retroactive?

Army ROTC offers two-, three- and four-year scholarships, which pay full tuition and fees, include a separate allowance for books, and a monthly stipend of up to $5,000 a year. Army ROTC scholarships are not retroactive.

What is my Army service obligation to pay back any scholarship benefits or for enrollment in the ROTC Advanced Course?

Upon graduation and commissioning, all service obligations are 8 years, but are broken down according to what options you choose.  There are three forms of 'service':

  1. Active duty. Active duty means you're a full-time soldier. You work 5 days a week (sometimes more, sometimes less). Active duty soldiers live on or near a military base and have all the best benefits.
  2. National Guard or Reserves. This is part time. One weekend a month and two weeks out of the summer you will assemble with your unit and train. The rest of the time, you're a civilian. 
  3. Inactive Ready Reserve. The IRR is the backfill and emergency force for the nation. While you're in the IRR you do not train at all, you do not have to report to anyone, but in the event of a major need for soldiers (WWIII), you may be recalled to service.
A cadet who chooses Active duty, and does not take a scholarship, will owe 3 years Active and 5 in the IRR.

A cadet who chooses Active duty and does take a scholarship will owe 4 years Active and 4 IRR. 

A cadet who chooses Reserve duty will owe 6 years as a Reservist or National Guardsman, and 2 years IRR.

All who graduate and complete ROTC training are commissioned as Second Lieutenants in the U.S. Army. For more details, see: Service Commitment.

What good is Army ROTC for a career outside of the Army?

Army ROTC is one of the only college programs that teaches leadership. This training is invaluable for any career that involves leading, managing and motivating people or fostering teamwork. Young Army Officers are typically responsible for hundreds of Soldiers and millions of dollars in equipment; this kind of management experience can be very attractive for post-Army employers. For more details, see: Legacy & Value.

Why should I choose Army ROTC over a different branch's ROTC?

The Army offers a wider range of career opportunities, in more places around the world, than any other U.S. military branch.

How do I learn more about the Army?

Email or phone 212-650-6478, and speak with us in person about the exciting opportunities in the Army ROTC.

And also visit the Army ROTC website for additional information.

Are all college majors compatible with Army ROTC?

Army ROTC Cadets are allowed to major in nearly all academic areas.

What are Army ROTC courses like? How will the class work help me? Will ROTC classes interfere with his/her other studies?

Army ROTC classes normally involve one elective class and one lab per semester. Although the classes involve hands-on fieldwork as well as classroom work, they are standard college classes that fit into a normal academic schedule. These courses can help students with personal and academic decision making while giving them the tools to exercise leadership in college life, even before graduating and becoming Officers. For more details, see: Curriculum.

How will being an Army ROTC Cadet affect my daily life? Do Cadets experience normal college life and activities?

Army ROTC Cadets have the same lifestyles and academic schedules as any other college students. They join fraternities and sororities. They participate in varsity team and individual sports. They take part in community service projects. But there are two intensive Army ROTC courses that take place on Army Posts, usually during the summer:
  • Leader's Training Course—This four-week summer course at Fort Knox, Kentucky is ONLY for students who enroll in Army ROTC without having taken the first two years of military science classes.
  • Leadership Development and Assessment Course—All Cadets who enter the Advanced Course must attend this five-week summer course at Fort Lewis, WA between their junior and senior years.

What are the chances that I will be deployed to support the Global War on Terrorism?

It depends on the Army branch the Cadet chooses and the unit to which he/she is assigned. However, Army missions and challenges are always changing, so there's no way to know in advance which specialties and units will be needed where. All Soldiers in the Army or Army Reserve face the possibility of deployment at some point during their careers. But all Soldiers are fully trained and proficient in the tasks and drills of their units. And Officers are specifically trained to make the right decisions so that missions can be carried out safely and successfully.

Can I go into the Army Reserve or National Guard after graduation instead of the regular Army?

Yes. Selected Cadets may choose to serve part time in the U.S. Army Reserve or Army National Guard while pursuing a civilian career. For more details, see: Active Duty & Army Reserve or the Army National Guard website.

What is the typical career path for an Army Officer? What career fields are available?

Army ROTC graduates are commissioned as U.S. Army Second Lieutenants. They then receive specialized training in one of 17 different Army branches. During their Army careers, they'll receive regular professional training as they advance through the ranks, and they'll have many opportunities for advanced leadership positions and post-graduate education.

What kind of salary and benefits will I earn as a commissioned Army Officer?

Visit the Benefits section of the Army website  for complete details. Specifically, the Money sub-section provides details on pay for both Officers and Enlisted Soldiers.