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The Best ROTC Programs in the US

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Best ROTC Programs in the US: Because of the monetary, academic, and professional advantages, many students decide to join the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program at their institution. Since its inception in 1819, the ROTC program has helped more over 600,000 commissions. Students who enroll in the leadership course have the chance to get their degree while serving as Air Force, Army, or Naval officers.

Why ROTC?

In addition to their usual college curriculum, ROTC cadets take military science courses with the goal of enlisting as officers after graduation. Through student groups, contests, and university activities, students are encouraged to get involved in the community outside of their ROTC training. In addition to a certain post-college profession, students develop management and leadership skills that are helpful in any industry. Graduates can choose from a variety of positions in their chosen service field that fit their interests.

Many students find that the ROTC is a fantastic option for paying for college. In exchange for military service after graduation, these organizations offer scholarships and loan payback schemes to help students. Graduates who join the military receive special privileges and sponsored housing in addition to an annual beginning pay of $35,000.

Choosing the best ROTC program for you can be difficult with over 274 prestigious academies to consider. These eight institutions were named the best in the nation and received General Douglas MacArthur Foundation Awards in 2021. The MacArthur awards are given to schools that successfully complete the task of developing and appointing skilled lieutenants who are models of tenacity, hard effort, and dedication. Here is a list of the top American ROTC institutions and programs, unranked.

Best ROTC Programs in the US

1. Norwich University (Northfield, VT)

Best ROTC Programs in the US
Best ROTC Programs in the US

The Reserve Officers Training Corps in America was founded at Norwich University, which is well-known for this. The school’s 100 years of commissioned officer development were commemorated in 2016. Each student, whether in the Corps or a civilian setting, can learn about leadership in the military. To develop leaders for the nation’s Army, Navy, and Air Force is the school’s overarching goal.

The oldest Army ROTC program in the country is at Norwich University, and thanks to its demanding curriculum, many distinguished and honorable officers have graduated. The department also boasts the greatest state-wide percentage of active duty commissions. A group of experienced officers, private contractors, and civilians committed to the success of the cadets teach them. Cadets have access to extracurricular activities like the Mountain Cold Weather Company and study abroad possibilities outside of the classroom.

National recognition also extends to Norwich University’s Air Force ROTC Detachment 867. More lieutenants have been commissioned through this program than through any other AFROTC Detachment in the northeast. First-year cadets get involved right away by enrolling in leadership labs and aerospace studies seminars. The goal of the program is to give cadets a head start in their careers by providing financial aid for their education, specialized training, professional development, and team-building exercises.

2. University of New Hampshire (Durham, NH)

Best ROTC Programs in the US
Best ROTC Programs in the US

The ROTC program at the University of New Hampshire has many advantages. Participants in the Air Force ROTC program have the opportunity to go to Air Force facilities domestically or abroad and take part in summertime ROTC activities. Cadets from higher levels go to the Advanced Camp to manage a group of their peers as they work to address a variety of difficulties.

With thousands of awards given out each year, the Army ROTC is one of the largest suppliers of merit-based financial aid in the nation. These grants may include a stipend in addition to full tuition, housing, and board. At UNH, ROTC cadets can take ROTC coursework that match their academic major while having their college tuition covered in full.

Because of the management training they receive via the ROTC program, UNH alumni are highly sought-after job candidates. Through managing the cadet corps and other training activities, students also gain practical leadership, teamwork, and problem-solving skills. Graduates have more than 150 officer career pathways to choose from, each offering a variety of management-level roles. Cadets also leave school with a network of ROTC and UNH alumni who are committed to their success.

3. Saint John’s University (Collegeville, MN)

Cadets from Saint John’s University, College of Saint Benedict, and Saint Cloud State University join the Fighting Saints Army ROTC Battalion. Over 2,600 officers who exhibit a commitment to leadership and service have been commissioned through the program.

The excellent teachers and staff committed to cadet training is one advantage of Saint John’s ROTC program. Many executive officers, supply professionals, and military science lecturers with practical knowledge make up the cadre. At the school’s military science curriculum, Lieutenant Colonel Steve Beard is a dedicated professor with 15 years of experience as an officer. He has received many honors for his service, such as the Navy Commendation Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, and the Bronze Star Medal.

Cadets have access to a variety of student clubs outside of the classroom, including leadership groups and physical competitions. The Ranger Challenge is a varsity sport that tests cadets’ mental and physical toughness over the course of an entire year of training. The program’s strictness has helped the squad, which participates in a variety of competitions, find success. The Army ROTC program at Saint John’s University took first place in the Task Force and Brigade Ranger Challenges in 2021.

4. Santa Clara University (Santa Clara, CA)

Cadets receive a strong foundation of training at Santa Clara University’s illustrious Bronco Battalion Army ROTC. Professors teach their students how to be great cops and how to maintain composure. As a result, a large number of alumni hold important positions in the military, such as Secretary of Defense, Lieutenant General, Major General, and Captain.

Cadets who successfully complete the Army ROTC program are promoted to the rank of Second Lieutenant and given lifelong leadership positions in the Active Army, Army Reserve, or Army National Guard. The resources required for managerial success are provided to fourth-year students at Santa Clara University. The military science program teaches senior cadets how to lead, mentor, and develop their younger counterparts.

The Army’s training schools offer cadets additional opportunities for practical instruction. The Basic Airborne School, a three-week training course that teaches students how to safely exit an aircraft and use a parachute and grants them the Parachutist Badge, is one well-liked choice. As an alternative, cadets might take the Hawaii-based Jungle Operations Training Course. The course focuses on training in survival skills, waterborne operations, and jungle mobility. Cadets have access to training facilities as well as subsidized immersion tours to a variety of nations.

5. Bowie State University (Bowie, MD)

The Bowie State University ROTC program offers distinctive training options to enhance each cadet’s experience. They include clinical training, land navigation, swimming, and rappelling education. The BSU Army ROTC Color Guard and Drill Team, one of the most prestigious military traditions, is a well-liked pastime. The club supports formal occasions, sporting contests, community events, and a variety of university events ceremonially.

Current sophomores have the option of going to Fort Knox’s Army ROTC Cadet Basic Training. By enrolling, cadets undertake the responsibility of leading the world’s best military. BSU offers a $5,000 signing bonus to students who complete the program successfully and continue their military education as an added incentive.

The ROTC program is always looking for methods to further their knowledge. The Bowie State University Army ROTC Leaders’ Forum was held in February 2020 to gather information that would help the program from the perspectives of the cadets, cadre, and staff. Alums of the BSU ROTC led and coordinated this leadership panel. The training will become even more effective because to the panel’s personal and professional perspectives from ROTC, BSU, Army, and civilian lives.

6. University of Tennessee (Knoxville, TN)

The University of Tennessee’s AFROTC program helps students finish their degrees while developing leaders for the Air Force. The program requires a weekly time commitment of 3 to 6 hours, although leaders may be required to put in up to 8 hours. Cadets are encouraged to participate in sports, fraternities or sororities, marching band, or jobs on campus in addition to their AFROTC duties.

The Lead Lab is a leadership development facility designed and managed by junior and senior UT cadets. To learn from their peers, the entire cadet corps shows up for the course in uniform. The fundamentals of Air Force drill and ceremony, as well as traditions and practical skills required for field leaders, are taught to cadets.

Out of all the state colleges in the country, the Army ROTC program at the University of Tennessee was the first to give graduates an advantage in achieving their professional goals. The extensive curriculum offers courses in fitness, leadership, and military history. 120 positions in the Army Reserve and 150 in the active Army are available to ROTC program graduates. Law enforcement, engineering, law, and medical are among the career options.

7. University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida

One of the 50 campuses around the country that houses ROTC programs from all branches of the military, including the Army, Navy, and Air Force, is the University of South Florida. The goal of the NROTC is to prepare students for leadership positions in a Marine Corps and Navy that are becoming more and more technological. The curriculum teaches cadets the highest principles of duty while also fostering their mental, moral, and physical development. After being commissioned from the Naval ROTC program, graduates work for highly valued organizations like the Marine Corps, naval aviation, and submarines.

USF is home to the Joint Military Leadership Center, which trains prospective commissioned officers to lead in a variety of settings in order to best serve the three branches of the armed forces. The distinctive, cutting-edge training facility supports cross-service collaboration and cooperative operations. The Commanders’ Cup, a protracted series of competitive events amongst the ROTC units to decide who will win bragging rights and the Cup, is one well-liked activity. These activities foster friendship, service pride, and friendly competition among the services. Cadets also recognize the strengths, weaknesses, and cultures of each branch of the military.

8. University of Oklahoma (Norman, OK)

The Air Force, Army, and Navy ROTC programs at the University of Oklahoma provide access to a wealth of fascinating activities. Every student has the opportunity to develop personally while developing a sense of camaraderie with other cadets who hold similar beliefs. In the knowledge that they will graduate with a job lined up in one of the most cutting-edge companies in the world, ROTC cadets are free to pursue their passions. Also, they have the chance to take part in a variety of practical activities like base tours, paintball, expeditionary days, and lectures from former and current leaders.

Navy ROTC Facilities that support the moral, intellectual, and physical growth of midshipmen are available to them. Almost every University of Oklahoma cadet will sign up for a team in the department, such as the Color Guard, the Close Order Drill Team, or the Endurance Team.

Also, no other university department can compare to the specialist advising sessions available to students. The purpose of pairing cadets with an active-duty commissioned Navy Officer is to shape future Naval Officers. To help their cadets thrive, they offer academic counseling, tutoring, and support with day-to-day ROTC activities.

Best ROTC Programs in the US
Best ROTC Programs in the US

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Harvard University provide ROTC?

Students at Harvard College have the option to enlist in the Army, Air Force, Navy, or Marine Corps ROTC programs through a collaboration with MIT.

Does ROTC require the SAT?

Candidates will either be referred to an approved civilian contractor or scheduled to take the physical examination at the closest military base. 1240 on the SAT or a composite score of 26 on the ACT. Super score requests are not honored. unweighted cumulative GPA of at least 3.0.

Can you fail ROTC?

Yes. One of the main reasons for enrollment termination is failure to achieve academic criteria, although this does not necessarily mean your career is over.

Should I have my hair trimmed for ROTC?

You must maintain good hygiene; keep your hair out of your ears and away from your shoulders (crewcut not required). Although you will be taught how to put on a uniform properly, it is only necessary to wear one for training and during class.

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