So you are an incoming freshman, you either applied for a scholarship and didn’t get an offer or you didn’t apply. Army ROTC is still something you can do, you can still complete the program and commission, and you may even still be able to receive a scholarship offer.
First a couple caveats…
- every ROTC Battalion does things a little differently. When you are reading my blog I am usually telling you how we do things at Clarkson, in the Golden Knight Battalion.
- Each year is different. Some years we have more scholarships than we do Cadets, and some years we only get a few scholarships.
- I don’t usually operate on any type of quotas…even when higher says I am supposed to. I will always try to get the best options for each Cadet. I’ve found over the years that the outcomes will balance out in the end and most Cadets in my program are fairly happy with where they end up.
So, if you are starting out as a freshman, or even a sophomore in the fall semester the first step is to enroll in the class. Some programs may consider you for a scholarship, but in my case, unless you have at least committed to enrolling I’m not going to consider you for anything more than enrollment. If I do have the opportunity to provide additional scholarship offers, I’m going to go to my list of incoming students that have asked to be in the class.
One important thing to remember which new Cadets often fail to understand is that without a scholarship you can’t even contract until your sophomore year, so I am in no hurry and can’t really do anything with you other than get you ready/fully qualified, and have you take the steps to be considered for a scholarship. If you are participating fully, passing your PT tests, take care of your DODMERB, and maintain your GPA then we are on track to give you some options.
We hold a scholarship board each semester. Appear before a board and you get on the Order of Merit List (OML). Once you are on that list I will be working to get as many of the Cadets on the list an offer. At some point higher will tell me there won’t be any more offers and that is when we talk about other options like SMP or non scholarship contracts.
My advice is always not to worry about what you can’t control. You or I can’t control how much money and how many scholarships will be offered. You can’t control what the other Cadets will bring to the table. What you can control is your fitness level, your work ethic in the class room, and your level of motivation and participation. If you want to serve your country as an Army Officer and earn a 4 year degree chances are good we’ll figure out a pretty good way to allow you to do that. And like everything in the Army, it may not be the same way you thought you were going to do something, but in the end we’ll accomplish the mission.