Other than enlisting, there are two other routes to serving in the US military: ROTC and Service Academies. Read below for the application processes and to determine which is a good fit for you.
Reserve Office Training Corps (ROTC)
What is ROTC? Another path to commissioning as an officer in the armed services is through the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC). These scholarships are competitive and are only offered to applicants of schools with an approved ROTC program. To qualify, a candidate must have good grades, meet minimum ACT/SAT requirements, show demonstrated leadership, participate in co-curricular activities and pass the DODMERB physical exam. ROTC scholarships are for three or four year awards and typically cover tuition, fees and books for a four-year college. ROTC students also earn a monthly stipend. There is an active duty service requirement for all ROTC graduates.
Click below for more information about each branch's ROTC program and to find what colleges offer ROTC:
There are many components to this application process. This is not your “normal” college experience! You will not only be attending college but embracing a military lifestyle with a minimum five year active duty service commitment with an additional reserve component after graduation. The four years at each of the Academies will provide students with an outstanding education and remarkable opportunities, however it will be extremely challenging both mentally and physically.
Requirements for Admission Candidates must be qualified academically, physically and medically to be considered for admission. In addition, the Academies with the exception of the Coast Guard Academy require a nomination for admission. The Academies all develop a “Whole Person Score” (WPS) for candidates that is based on academics, leadership and physical fitness. Each Academy has their own scoring matrixes and may weight various items differently. A standard breakdown for the WPS is 60% academics, 30% leadership and 10% physical fitness. The goal is to become qualified academically, medically and physically (QQQ) otherwise known as being “3 Q’ed”.
SAT/ACT scores- Most successful candidates have a minimum math/verbal SAT combined score of 1200 or better or an ACT composite score of 28 or higher. The math section of the SAT and ACT are weighted more heavily than the verbal portion.
Grades and rigor for high school courses- Candidates should have completed a strong math sequence through pre-calculus by the end of their senior year. Calculus is strongly recommended. Chemistry and Physics are required. Rigor of course load is looked at strongly. A’s and B’s in Honors and Advanced Placement courses are desirable.
Class rank- Class rank is considered more than GPA as high schools weight courses differently throughout the country.
Letters of recommendation from your most recent math and English teachers (additional letters of recommendation may be required)
School leadership includes; student body leadership, class officer, demonstrated leadership in clubs or musical activities, tutoring, National Honor Society, and organizing events that highlight responsibility.
Athletic leadership would include; varsity sport captain or co-captain and other notable accomplishments.
Community leadership would include; extensive community service, advanced Scouting accomplishments, work responsibilities etc. Other activities along with overcoming adversity and hardship may also be considered.
In addition to the online academic applications applicants must also submit the results of a Candidate Fitness Assessment (CFA).
Events include; timed pushups, shuttle run, sit ups/crunches, mile run and a basketball throw.
Candidates can practice the events in advance to work on and improve their performance.
Each Academy has different rules and requirements as to the events that are measured and for who may administer the CFA.
All candidates must be cleared medically by the Department of Defense Medical Examination Review Board (DODMERB). Competitive candidates will be required to be examined by physicians contracted by DODMERB. Candidates who are not cleared medically and for certain vision requirements will not earn an appointment. Waivers may be granted for certain medical conditions at the discretion of DODMERB.
To be considered for admission candidates must secure a nomination. The Coast Guard Academy does not require a nomination. Securing a nomination does not guarantee admission to an Academy.