I probably should have written this a couple months back when many of you were just starting your application. I’m trying to help out my fellow procrastinators get back in the game. Many of the applicants on my list still haven’t submitted everything, so this information may be relevant to more than a few of you.
Got an email from one of my applicants the other day. The applicant was asking about the essay on the Army ROTC scholarship application. He wanted to know how important it was, and what it should say. I would start out by saying that it is certainly not the most important part of the application. Your whole person score and your SAL attributes will carry most of the weight.
Here is what I would suggest you do when you write your essay. By no means is this the official answer, but my thoughts are that this may score you a couple bonus points and get you the slight edge in the process. There are two blocks on the application where you can add narrative input to your submission. These blocks are titled “Applicants Additional SAL Achievements” and “Personal Statement”.
Here is what I would suggest for the first. Take a look at the PMS interview sheet, and make sure you annotate anything on the front side of that sheet that would “check a block”. Highlight anything that has to do with Scholar/Athlete/Leader things you do. If you are weak in one area, don’t lie. Just make sure you are strong in another. Don’t discount things like responsibility at a part time job to show your leadership potential, or an individual sport to highlight your Athletic attributes. Don’t leave anything off the table in this block.
For the essay I suggest you look at three things (Google them):
I’ve linked each of these to the best link I found on Google. Once you have looked at these three topics I feel you have enough information to know what we are looking to instill in an Officer, and what we want in our Cadets. If you sit down and now write your personal statement describing why you want to be an Army Officer, and throw in some statements that sound like your values and beliefs align with the Soldier’s Creed/Warrior Ethos/Army Values/Leadership Dimensions you should have a personal statement that will convince a board member that you have what it takes.
Hope that makes sense…What do you think???
Filed under: Army ROTC Information, The Scholarship Process | Tagged: Army ROTC, Army Values, Cadet, cadet command, Clarkson, Clarkson Army ROTC, Clarkson University, deadlines, GKB, Golden Knight Battalion, LDP, leadership dimensions, Reserve Officers Training Corp, ROTC, Scholarships, Soldier's Creed |
Applying for ROTC Scholarships
For incoming college freshmen who want to join ROTC right away, the scholarship application process occurs during the senior year of high school. As with other college application tasks, if you’re interested in applying for an ROTC scholarship, it pays to get started early. You’ll need to choose which military branch to apply to, and make sure ROTC meshes with your other plans for college.
Even if you are offered an ROTC scholarship and choose to accept that offer, keeping your scholarship through all four years of college is not a given. Each branch of the Armed Forces has slightly different standards that you’ll have to meet in order to remain enrolled in ROTC and continue receiving scholarship funds.
As with many other scholarships, if you receive an ROTC scholarship, you’ll be required to maintain a certain level of academic performance, and to continue making appropriate progress toward your bachelor’s degree. In most cases, ROTC programs require that you finish your degree within four years.
Where ROTC scholarships differ from other scholarships is that you’ll also have to meet requirements that are specific to your suitability for military service. In order to continue receiving your scholarship, you’ll have to adhere to military standards of physical fitness and maintain a certain level of performance in your ROTC training.
Students who join ROTC are also expected to follow certain rules regarding their behavior, even when they’re not actively engaged in training. Dishonesty, cheating, failing a drug test, or otherwise getting into trouble can lead to disciplinary action and jeopardize your ROTC scholarship. (You’ll also need to be careful about what pictures of you end up on social media.)
If you don’t continue to meet these standards, you risk receiving disciplinary action, being placed on probation, or even being “disenrolled,” or removed from the ROTC program. As we’ll discuss in the next section, whether you leave ROTC by choice or are disenrolled, the consequences of ending your participation in ROTC are quite significant.
Making a Commitment to ROTC
As we’ve mentioned, participating in ROTC requires that you sign a contract agreeing to serve in the U.S. military in a particular role, for a particular period of time. Depending on your service branch and other factors, this commitment may last up to twelve years and may include a varying amount of active-duty service.
Since contracts are signed when you enter ROTC or accept an ROTC scholarship, rather than after you’ve received your training, it’s important that you plan carefully when deciding whether to sign an ROTC contract. That contract will determine your lifestyle and career options for the foreseeable future.
Signing an ROTC contract represents an extremely serious — and legally binding — commitment to serving in the armed forces, and it’s quite difficult to get out of this commitment. In certain cases — for example, if you encounter an unexpected physical health issue — you may be able to drop out of ROTC without significant repercussions, but this is not guaranteed.
If you fail to meet the program’s requirements and are disenrolled, or if you leave the program by choice, you can expect to face major consequences. Leaving ROTC, willingly or not, is a complicated legal process which can involve a formal investigation and a hearing in front of officials from your military branch. You may even need to hire a lawyer to help you prepare your case.
Typically, through this process, you’ll be asked to pay back any scholarship funds you’ve received, which can add up to a substantial amount of money. You might also be asked to repay your debt in military service, but without the officer status conferred upon those who successfully complete the ROTC program. Some students are given a choice; others have that choice made for them.
Clearly, joining ROTC is definitely something that you should not do just for financial assistance with college, especially with the intention of dropping out of the program later. Getting out of ROTC is not easy, and on the other hand, going ahead with military service when you aren’t really committed to being there does a disservice to your fellow military members.
So should you join ROTC? That’s a question you’ll have to ponder deeply before you sign any contracts. Military life is obviously not for everyone, and its demands are high. However, some people certainly find that they flourish in the structured military environment and take great pride in serving their country in this way.
If you’re considering joining ROTC, gather information and seek out advice wherever you can in order to make an informed decision. Talk to your parents about whether they think you would succeed in a military setting. Talk to current members of the military and to veterans about their experiences. In the end, however, it’s you who has to decide if enrolling in ROTC is the best path for you.
The bottom line is that you shouldn’t join ROTC or accept an ROTC scholarship unless you are sure you want to pursue a military career, with or without that scholarship. If you’re informed about and prepared for the commitment, however, enrolling in ROTC and seeking out ROTC scholarships can significantly help with your college costs while also giving you a head start in your chosen career.
Here are some resources for learning more: