When I started this blog 6 years ago (holy crap! 6 years ago!) some of the first posts were about how to start the scholarship process and how to get started in Army ROTC. Time to bump that info back to the top of the blog and freshen it up a little. The optimal target audience for this information is a high school junior finishing up their junior year. That student is considering college and has a desire to serve in the military. If you aren’t a high school junior and are interested we should still talk, there are plenty of ways to become an Army Officer. Here’s what I think my optimal audience should do.
Step one – do your research
Visit www.goarmy.com/rotc …poke around on the site. Understand that Army ROTC is a program that trains college students to serve as Army Officers when they graduate from college. Look at the requirements. Don’t be afraid to contact an Army ROTC Battalion and talk to an Enrollment Officer if you have questions.
Along with researching ROTC opportunities you’ll also need to figure out where you want to attend college and what you want to study. You won’t be majoring in Army ROTC. The internet is a great source of material. You can use a search engine to develop a list of schools that offer what you want. Most University websites will give you a good idea what they offer. You can also usually find information about Army ROTC battalions too. In our case we have a wealth of information on the Clarkson University website, and on social media platforms like facebook and instagram.
Step two – apply for the scholarship
If you follow the link to http://www.goarmy.com/rotc/high-school-students you will find a link to the four-year High School Scholarships and on that page you can start your application. It is first going to ask you to create a goarmy.com account. It is very important that once you create this account you return to the ROTC page and log in here. I publish the various dates for the scholarship process once they are released each year. Typically the window to apply opens in June before a high school students senior year. The first board meets in October and the deadline to start the process is in early January. Watch this blog for the dates.
A WORD OF CAUTION…If you are on the goarmy.com site you will see an apply online button. That is not the button for applying to Army ROTC. That button takes you to the Army Career Explorer (ACE) which is focused on enlisted options for the most part.
Step three – keep in touch/start a dialogue
As you go through the process make sure you are letting people know you are interested in their program. Whether it is a school or an Army ROTC battalion, we want to hear from you, and we will keep track of our conversations. In my case I contact interested applicants often and track all correspondences. Clarkson also does the same and I can cross reference their system and mine to see if an applicant is showing interest. If I hear from you often then you will get my help. If you don’t respond to my emails I’m guessing you plan to attend another school.
You have to make sure you are providing good contact information. If you provide an email address make sure it’s one you check often. With the advent of mobile devices it should take days to respond to an email.
I also suggest that scanning and emailing is the best way to respond to requests for forms or documents. On the application website you can scan and upload documents. There is no reason why someone would put something in an envelope and mail it or fax a document these days. Scan and upload when possible.
I also recommend you plan some campus visits once you narrow your list. If you visit a college ask about meeting with someone from the ROTC program. In my case, I encourage visitors to schedule their visit through the Admissions office, and ask to meet with Army ROTC. Admissions does the rest.
Step four – Don’t give up
If you go through the high school process and don’t get an offer you can still attend college, enroll in Army ROTC class, and become an Army Officer. You may have the opportunity to earn a campus based scholarship or take advantage of another program like the Simultaneous Membership Program (SMP). Not every Cadet is on scholarship.