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Top Twelve Frequently Asked Questions about Army ROTC

1. What is Army ROTC?

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 Leadership Assessment Development Course, usually in the summer between your junior and senior years. LDAC will give you hands-on training and the confidence you can’t learn in a classroom. The mission of Army ROTC is to “commission the future officer leadership of the US Army.”

2. What is the military obligation after graduation from college?

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.

3. How do students benefit from Army ROTC?

In college and after graduation, cadets find that the training and experience they receive are assets—whether they pursue an Army or civilian career. Employers place a high regard on the management and leadership skills cadets acquire in the ROTC program. ROTC experience looks great on a resume.

4. Can I still participate in other activities?

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.

5. I’m already a second-year student. Is it too late to enroll?

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 Basic Camp in the summer between your second and third year. This is a five-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.

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

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.

7. What is SMP?

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 a actively drilling soldier, you have access to government money to pay for school, such as the GI Bill.

8. What are ROTC courses like?

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.

9. Is enrolling in Army ROTC the same as enlisting or joining 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 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.

10. How can I prepare myself for Army ROTC?

There are two important things you can do to prepare yourself for Army ROTC. First, develop good study habits in order to keep your grades up. Second, start a personal fitness program concentrating on pushups, sit-ups, and running. You should expect to take a physical fitness practice test shortly after the semester begins. If you don’t pass it, you will be required to do additional fitness sessions in order to catch up. For a male in the 17-to-21-year-old age group, you will need to do a minimum of 42 pushups and 53 sit-ups and complete a two-mile run in no more than 15:54. For a female in the 17-to-21-year-old age group, you will need to do a minimum of 19 pushups and 53 sit-ups and complete a two-mile run in no more than 18:54. Finally, if you intend to compete for an Army ROTC scholarship, bring your high school transcripts and any other records pertaining to leadership and athletic participation.

11. Am I deployable?

No, the Army’s policy is that ROTC cadets are in a nondeployable status while enrolled in the program.

12. How can I find out more about Army ROTC?

Contact us or stop by our office.

Department of Military Science
Hoskins Library Room 108B
1400 Cumberland Avenue
Knoxville, TN 37996-4010

Voice: 865-974-4512
Text: 865-406-4243