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The ROTC Option

The ROTC Option

By Laura Jeanne Hammond

August 09, 2010


  • Scholarship requirements: Apply junior year or by fall of senior year. Deadline is Nov. 15. Scholarship applicants ranked on several factors, including SAT scores, extracurricular activities, grades and athletics. Online application available.
  • Scholarship details: Up to $17,000 a year toward tuition plus monthly non-taxed stipend. Students also may be eligible for aid from the college to cover room and board.
  • Post-graduation commitment: Eight years (four years active duty, four years Reserves; or eight years in the Reserves) Points of interest: Leadership lab includes classes in land navigation, first aid and weapons training and is available at 270 campuses.


  • Scholarship requirements: Apply as a high school senior. Deadline is approximately Dec. 1. Online application available. A board determines scholarship winners based on personal interview and answers to an online application. Students must pass Air Force Officer Qualifying Test (AFOQT) and medical exam.
  • Scholarship details: From $9,000 to full tuition; $510 for books; monthly non-taxed stipend.
  • Post-graduation commitment: Minimum four years of active duty
  • Points of interest: In-college scholarships available for students who did not receive a scholarship freshman year. Express Scholarships available for fully qualified students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic Serving Institutions and for students majoring in critically needed areas, such as computer and electrical engineering and meteorology.


  • Scholarship requirements: Four-year scholarship deadline is Jan. 1. To be eligible, must meet academic and physical standards of the Navy and Marine Corps.
  • Scholarship details: Scholarship covers full tuition at any college with an NROTC unit, school fees and textbooks plus monthly non-taxed stipend. Choose from one of three scholarships: Navy, Marine Corps or nursing.
  • Post-graduation commitment: Eight years; at least four years of active duty
  • Points of interest: NROTC class covers topics such as naval orientation, history, navigation, ship engineering systems and leadership and ship weapons systems. If you’re on scholarship, you could cruise during the summers on surface ships, submarines and aircraft carriers.

Below is an interview with Second Lieutenant John Pellegrino:
Details: Business management major; hometown is Colts Neck, N.J.; after graduation in May 2004, joined the 18th Airborne Corps in Ft. Bragg, North Carolina
Why did you join ROTC? My whole life, I wanted to serve. And I got a scholarship.
What was the best part of ROTC? The best part is your growth–seeing what you become as a leader and as a person compared to what you come in here as.
What was the most challenging aspect? The personal dedication you have to put into it. Regular college life tries to interfere. It needs to be a discipline in yourself when you have to get up at 6 a.m. three days a week.

Second Lieutenant Tom Bonarski:
Details: Mechanical engineering technology major; hometown is Moon, Penn.; after graduation in 2004, joined the 101st Airborne in Ft. Benning, Georgia for three years.
Why did you join ROTC? Coming out of high school, I knew I wanted to go into the military. I got a really nice scholarship, so it all came into place.
What was the best part of ROTC? The amount of places the Army has sent me to train. (He has jumped out of planes, been to seven states and South Korea and learned to rapell out of helicopters.)
What was the most challenging aspect? It takes some time. You have to be able to balance your work. As you get older, you have increasing demands.
Does war scare you? It’s not something you look forward to, but with all the training I’ve done here, I’m prepared for it. Nobody likes to leave their family behind, but as soldiers, it’s what we’re trained to do.

Article reprinted with permission from Next Step Magazine.

For more information on ROTC and joining the Military to help pay for school, visit Fastweb’s Military section.

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