Army ROTC Office of the Provost

Frequently Asked Questions

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Q: What is Army ROTC?

A: Army ROTC is a program offered at hundreds of colleges and universities nationwide, training college students to be officers in the active Army, Army Reserve, and Army National Guard. It's a four-year program, divided into two parts: a Basic Course and an Advanced Course. The Basic Course is normally taken in your freshman and sophomore years. The Advanced Course is usually taken during your final two years of college and includes a five-week Cadet Leadership Course (Advanced Camp), usually in the summer between your junior and senior years. Advanced Camp will give you hands-on training and the confidence you cannot learn in a classroom. The mission of Army ROTC is to "commission the future officer leadership of the US Army."

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Q: How do students benefit from Army ROTC?

A: In college and after graduation, cadets find that the training and experience that they have received are assets – whether pursuing an Army or civilian career. Employers place high regard on the management and leadership skills that ROTC instructors stress. Plus, ROTC looks great on a resume. When cadets complete the ROTC course, upon graduation, they become commissioned officers in the U.S. Army.

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Q: By enrolling in ROTC, are you joining the Army?

A: No. Students who enroll in ROTC don’t join the Army. They take an ROTC class for which they receive credit. It’s considered a college elective. However, the primary purpose of the Army ROTC program is to produce Army 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 in your first two years of college does not obligate you to serve unless you have also received a scholarship.

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Q: What is the military obligation after graduation from college?

A: Following graduation, ROTC cadets are required to serve in the active Army, Army National Guard, or Army Reserve. All graduates are required to serve in the military for a period of eight years. This obligation may be fulfilled through a combination of active duty and service as a citizen soldier in the Army National Guard, Army Reserve, or Individual Ready Reserve. Cadets who graduate with Guaranteed Reserve Forces Duty serve their full eight-year obligation in the reserve components.

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Q: Can I still participate in other activities?

A: ROTC does not interfere with regular college programs. It is not a major, but a series of elective courses. ROTC cadets may participate in extracurricular activities, sports, and community service organizations. Some take second academic majors, academic minors, and participate in overseas exchange programs.

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Q: I'm already a second-year student. Is it too late to enroll?

A: You typically have two options. First, you could "compress" the first two years of military science by taking both first- and second-year classes in the second year. If you cannot complete all the courses, we can send you to ROTC Cadet Initial Entry Training (Basic Camp) in the summer between your second and third year. This is a four-week summer training camp at Fort Knox, Kentucky, that enables you to enter the Advanced Course. In addition to catching you up on everything you missed in the campus program, you can choose to compete for a scholarship. Also, you are paid to attend the course, just like a summer job. Contact us to discuss all the options that may apply in your particular situation.

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Q: I want to get my master's/professional degree before going on active duty. Can I do that?

A: Yes. During your fourth year, you can request an educational delay to continue your studies before going on active duty. This is a competitive program and is normally granted only to those students pursuing a technical or professional degree such as law school or medical school.

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Q: What is SMP?

A: The Simultaneous Membership Program allows you to attend Army ROTC and serve in the US Army Reserve or Army National Guard at the same time. It gives you an opportunity for additional training and experience. Cadets serve as officer "interns" in the Reserve or National Guard while completing college. You can earn Reserve/Guard pay and benefits in addition to your Army ROTC allowances. Also, since you are an actively drilling soldier, you have access to government money to pay for school, such as the GI Bill.

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Q: What are ROTC courses like?

A: Army ROTC coursework normally involves one elective class or lab per semester. Although the classes involve hands-on field work as well as classroom work, they are standard college classes that fit into a normal academic schedule. These courses can help you with personal and academic decisions while giving you the tools to exercise leadership in college life.

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Q: What can students expect to learn by taking ROTC?

A: Quite simply, the leadership and management skills needed to become a U.S. Army officer or have a successful civilian career. During the Basic Course, your studies will include basic leadership development, basic military skills, adventure training, and life skills. During the Advanced Course, your studies will include advanced leadership and management skills, advanced tactics and Army ethics.

Last updated: 04/26/2021