The Reserve Officers Training Corps is a college program that was established in 1926. ROTC training is offered at more than 1,000 participating colleges nationwide, according to Today’s Military. Qualified ROTC candidates attend fully-paid college programs in exchange for joining the military after graduation. ROTC programs are provided through the U.S. Army, the Navy and Marine Corps and the Air Force. Each ROTC program has its own eligibility requirements.
Air Force ROTC
To qualify for admission into the U.S. Air Force ROTC program, candidates must be U.S. citizens. ROTC students have to maintain a grade point average of 2.0 throughout their academic training. Scholarship recipients must have a GPA of 2.5. Applicants must also be physically fit and have high moral character. Cadets who are enrolled in Air Force ROTC programs must take a physical fitness test each fall and spring semester as well as a Department of Defense medical examination. The physical examinations can be taken at local military bases or designated medical facilities.
To join the Army ROTC, candidates must be U.S. citizens between ages 17 and 27 and have a high school diploma or equivalent. The Army ROTC program is open only to incoming freshmen; candidates with some college course credits cannot apply their credits towards the Army ROTC program. Applicants with prior histories of arrest or civil convictions must provide a written explanation for their offenses. Applicants must also meet minimum SAT and ACT scores. Army ROTC graduates must be willing to serve in the U.S. Army as Active Duty, National Guard or Reserve officers, according to Seattle University.
Navy and Marine ROTC Corps
Candidates who join Navy and Marine Corps ROTC programs can apply to either the Navy or Marine ROTC. Navy ROTC applicants must be U.S. citizens and under 34 but at least 17 years old. The U.S. Navy requires ROTC applicants to submit their medical records, character references and information related to the applicant’s drug, traffic offense and criminal history. In addition to being U.S. citizens, Marine ROTC applicants must be between ages 17 and 23. Applicants must also have a 1,000 in their combined SAT score, or an ACT composite score of 22, and meet physical requirements.
High school seniors as well as college and vocational students can join the Coast Guard Student Reserve. Unlike ROTC programs, the Coast Guard Student Reserve has less stringent age restrictions and service requirements. Those who enlist must be between ages 17 and 30 and are only required to participate in paid training, which lasts for two summers. Student reservists serve one weekend per month during the school year, according to Today’s Military. Candidates who are interested in obtaining additional information about ROTC programs can visit the websites for each ROTC program and contact a recruiter.