Choosing the right ROTC program

One of my first pieces of advice is alway to tell those interested in college and ROTC to look harder at the school than at the ROTC program. It is more important that you are academically successful, than if you can major in Ranger Challenge. 40% of your Order of Merit (OML) ranking is your GPA in ROTC. This OML determines whether you choose what branch you get, or the Army chooses one for you. That being said, here are some questions to ask when you visit a school and talk to their ROTC program, that will differentiate one Battalion from another. I will also include how I answer those questions here in the GKB at Clarkson University.

    How big is your battalion? The GKB is around 100 cadets. I feel this is a pretty good size. Not too large that the underclassmen have to be separated out and trained separately, but not too small that all cadet get evaluated by various upperclassmen during the LDP process and the group of seniors is large enough to balance the load of senior year.
    What training opportunities/facilities do you have on campus/close by? The GKB is one hour away from Fort Drum. We train there, and visit units there. We are also able to be tied into the Fort Drum Chapter of AUSA, and get their support. But we also have opportunities close by. We have woods on campus that allow us to conduct paintball/Situational Training Exercises (STX), land navigation, and Field Leadership Reaction Course (FLRC) right on campus. We also have a rappel tower on campus. We are able to shoot on a local 25 meter range, and we have two areas that allow us to do land navigation and STX within 20 minutes of campus.
    What summer training opportunities do cadets at your battalion usually get. The GKB sent 3 to Airborne school, 2 to air assault school, and 4 on cultural immersion trips. We also had 3 CTLT slots where cadet got to spend 3 weeks shadowing lieutenants at places like Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, and Fort Hood, Texas.
    How is ROTC perceived on campus, how does the university support ROTC. At Clarkson the Army and Air Force flags fly on campus. ROTC scholarship winners receive room and board from the school. Clarkson provides hockey tickets to Fort Drum every year to allow soldiers to see a big time college hockey game. The University participates in the Yellow Ribbon program, which doesn’t really support ROTC, but shows a commitment to supporting the military. Two of our history professors visited the Army’s Military History Instructors Course (MHIC), and started a military history minor in the history department. If you interview with a professor on campus and ask them their opinion, you will undoubtedly hear praise for the cadets and the program.

These are just a few suggestions for questions to ask. It was also my shameless opportunity to sing the praises of the ROTC program at Clarkson, and the great support we get. I hope you hear similar stories from the program you visit.


Fort Drum – The Mountaineer Online

Fort Drum – The Mountaineer Online

via Fort Drum – The Mountaineer Online.

A great article about my counterpart at Fort Drum.  For enlisted soldiers there is no better source for information about the Green to Gold program than Captain Hunt at Fort Drum.

2010-2011 scholarship board dates

I finally found the dates for the upcoming year posted…here’s what they look like:

  • Deadline for documents for the first board   18 October, 2010
  • Deadline for documents for the second board  27 December, 2010
  • Final high school selection board deadline for documents  28 February, 2011

Only three boards this year!

WWW.ARMYROTC.COM is where you need to go to apply online.

If you are looking for a good Enrollment Officer to help coach you through the process just drop me a line, and while you are at it take a look at my schools.

We have just about anything you could be looking for (except a big city and large class sizes).

The Contract

Cadets taking the oath of office at the formal dining out

We are a little less than two weeks out from contracting this years crop of incoming Army ROTC scholarship winners, and other cadets that are qualified and ready to contract.  Many of the most frequently asked questions pertain to what the commitment is, what the obligations are, and what the benefits are.  All of this is spelled out in the contract and I’m going to share it with you today, so you can read it, and take it to your lawyer if you want.  Many people who consider the military hear the advice “get everything in writing”.  There aren’t a lot of “moving parts” in the Army ROTC contract.  It’s pretty simple and straight forward.



I’m going to briefly break it down, and I’ll talk about the Scholarship agreement, but the non scholarship agreement is essentially the same, minus the “all tuition and fees” part and the change in obligation.

The contract is an agreement between the student/cadet and the Army, through the Professor of Military Science.  The Army agrees to do a couple things

  • Pay all tuition and fees, stipend, and book money (you’ll notice that this is the only thing that is typed into the contract, because these values may change and have had caps in the past)
  • Provide you training to be an officer, to include Summer Camp (Warrior Forge)
  • Commission you into the Army (active force, National Guard, or Reserves) when you graduate

Notice that there is no promise of a specific job, or any variation in the length of service.  Unlike an enlisted contract you aren’t joining for a specific job, enlistment length, or bonus.  Pretty straight forward.

The student/cadet is agreeing to the following

  • Enroll in ROTC
  • Maintain academic, physical, and medical standards
  • Accept a commission into the Army upon graduation
  • Keep the PMS informed if anything changes

Again, pretty straight forward.  There are clauses that talk about how the tuition and fees may be paid, what happens if a unit isn’t available for a graduate who has been assigned to the Guard or Reserves, and the opportunity to go on a leave of absence if difficulties are encountered during school.   It also outlines what happens if the student doesn’t fulfill the contract (pay back the scholarship or serve).

Thousands of people sign this contract each year.  The only people  who run into difficulty are the ones who try to out think a very simple agreement.  If you are looking for hidden tricks or think the Army is out to bamboozle you all you have to do is read the contract.  We don’t want to have a leader of America’s sons and daughters who has been tricked into assuming so much responsibility.

If you are considering this path, and are lucky enough to have a scholarship offer make sure you understand what are agreeing too, and what has or has not been promised to you.  If you’ve got problems with serving as an Officer consider another path.

Hope this helps some people understand the mechanics of the path to Officership that is Army ROTC.  It’s a great opportunity for the right person.

GKB Scholarship winner signs his contract