Prospective Cadet FAQ

Q: If I enroll in Army ROTC, will I have a service obligation?

A: You may enroll in all ROTC classes with no service obligation. The obligation comes when you decide to contract into the ROTC program to become an Army Officer.

Q: If I do contract and become a Second Lieutenant, will I have to serve on Active Duty?

A: Although many of the upcoming graduating cadets will receive an active duty tour. Cadets who receive Reserve Duty will serve in local Reserve or National Guard units one weekend a month, or serve in the Ready Reserves with no “drilling” requirement if a suitable unit is not available where you reside. The Reserves are one of the best adjunct career and retirement systems in the U.S. today.

Q: Won’t ROTC interfere with my academic or athletic pursuits?

A: Our current cadet corps maintains an average cumulative GPA above the general university average. There are some time demands and some voluntary extracurricular activities in ROTC, but we find that many our cadets learn to become experts in time management. Your academic and athletic success is our highest priority. Excelling academically and athletically goes hand-in-hand with ROTC. Army ROTC provides the best leader development program in the world. During the academic year, your focus is on getting your degree -- with ROTC classroom instruction and labs complimenting that education. While learning to become an Army officer, you are interacting, socializing and learning with students with diverse backgrounds, experiences, outlooks, and goals. This dynamic develops the team-building and negotiating skills that Army officers need to help the people of the world.

Q: I see ROTC as a potential interference to my career field. What should I do?

A: There are surely some career tracks where ROTC may not help you, but the exceptional record of graduating cadets getting competitive jobs in their fields is well above average. In the Reserves, there are also a plethora of job networking contacts and many employees view Reservists or officers leaving active duty in very high regard. Further, students that emphasize their ROTC enrollment are generally viewed as desirable to most employers because of their competitive leadership and managerial abilities, maturity, and time management skills.

Q: What about haircuts and wearing uniforms?

A: We hold ourselves to a standard of being well-groomed; hair off your ears and not down your shoulders (crewcut not required). You will learn how to wear a uniform properly, but the uniform is only required to be worn two times a week. We emphasize proper decorum, respect, military courtesies, ethics and standards of conduct; all of which apply equally well to non-military, professional careers.

Q: What can Army ROTC do for me even if I only want to enroll for a year or two?

A: If you enroll in Army ROTC, we will help you become a better person in manifold ways. ROTC will: Give you better leadership and managerial skills applicable to any field. Provide you a lot of personal attention, encouraging you to excel academically and further mature. Class sizes are smaller-scaled and everyone is afforded quality personal counseling. We compel you to stay in shape and improve your physical fitness since there are some progressive physical fitness requirements that need to be reached to complete the program. We give you the opportunity to learn what the military is all about - the role of the Army and its soldiers, (strategy, politics, technology, standards, career fields, etc.) We offer additional fun and learning activities, and opportunities for you to make more friends than many other organizations on campus. Cadets consistently relate that one of the best aspects of the ROTC program is the camaraderie students find among each other.

Q: Is enrolling in Army ROTC the same as joining the Army? Once a student starts taking ROTC courses, is he/she obligated to join the Army?

A: Young adults must serve as Officers in the Army after graduation if they have received an ROTC scholarship, OR if they have enrolled in the ROTC Advanced Course. Enrolling in the ROTC Basic Course (the first two years of college) will not obligate someone to serve unless they have also received a scholarship.

Q: What kinds of scholarships are available in Army ROTC? Are any of the scholarships retroactive?

A: Army ROTC scholarships vary based on the length of time remaining for students to complete their degrees. There are two-, three- and four-year merit-based scholarships providing full tuition. Scholarships also include annual book allowances and a monthly stipend. Army ROTC scholarships are not retroactive.

Q: What is my Army service obligation to pay back any scholarship benefits, or for enrollment in the ROTC Advanced Course?

A: Scholarship winners must serve for four years; non-scholarship Cadets who enroll in the ROTC Advanced Course must serve for three years. All who graduate and complete ROTC training are commissioned as Second Lieutenants in the U.S. Army.

Q: Will Army ROTC help me for a career outside of the Army?

A: Army ROTC is one of the only college courses that teaches leadership. This training is invaluable for any career that involves leading, managing and motivating people or fostering teamwork.

Q: Why should I choose Army ROTC over a different branch’s ROTC?

A: The Army offers a wider range of career opportunities, in more places around the world, than any other U.S. military branch.

Q: Are all college majors compatible with Army ROTC?

A: Army ROTC Cadets are allowed to major in nearly all academic areas.

Q: What are Army ROTC courses like? How will the class work help me?

A: Army ROTC classes normally involve one elective class and lab per semester. Although the classes involve hands-on fieldwork as well as classroom work, they are standard college classes that fit into a normal academic schedule. These courses can help students with personal and academic decision-making while giving them the tools to exercise leadership in college life, even before graduating and becoming Officers.

Q: How will being an Army ROTC Cadet affect my daily life?

A: Army ROTC Cadets have the same lifestyles and academic schedules as any other college students.

Q: What are the chances that I will be deployed?

A: It depends on the Army branch the Cadet chooses and the unit to which he/she is assigned. However, Army missions and challenges are always changing, so there’s no way to know in advance which specialties and units will be needed where. All Soldiers in the Army or Army Reserve face the possibility of deployment at some point during their careers. All of our soldiers are fully trained and proficient in the tasks and drills of their units. Officers are specifically trained to make the right decisions so that missions can be carried out safely and successfully.

Q: Can I go into the Army Reserve or National Guard after graduation instead of the regular Army?

A: Yes. Cadets may choose to serve part-time in the U.S. Army Reserve or Army National Guard while pursuing a civilian career.

Q: What is the typical career path for an Army Officer? What career fields are available?

A: Army ROTC graduates are commissioned as U.S. Army Second Lieutenants. They then receive specialized training in one of 17 different Army branches. During their Army careers, they’ll receive regular professional training as they advance through the ranks, and they’ll have many opportunities for advanced leadership positions and post-graduate education.

Q: What kind of salary and benefits will I earn as a commissioned Army Officer?

A: Visit the Benefits section of the website for complete details. Specifically, the Money sub-section provides details on pay for both Officers and Enlisted Soldiers.

Q: How do I learn more about the Army? Or more about Purdue University Army ROTC?

A: Visit the website or the Contact Us section of our website.