Getting a college education can be one of the most important steps a young person can take towards achieving lasting success in life. For many people heading to or aspiring to college, ROTC can be a great option. This can be a way to deepen and improve your college experience in a variety of ways. Whether you have considered ROTC before or not, the following information will help you decide whether Air Force ROTC at Barton is right for you.
What Is ROTC?
The Reserve Officer Training Corps is a military program that allows students to both study in college and serve after completing their degrees. At Barton, we have an Air Force ROTC program. While most students who participate do so with a commitment to serve following graduation, some participate for a short time without such a commitment.
While participating in ROTC, students will take their normal college courses as well as military science courses. Although ROTC is not the equivalent of Officer Training School, it serves as an important pipeline for Air Force officer recruitment and a great way for someone interested in joining the Air Force to get a good start with a college education.
How Does ROTC Work?
Students who participate in ROTC will complete both their normal college courses for their degrees and additional courses for ROTC. It is set up as a co-curricular activity, meaning that it is pursued in addition to the normal course of study.
Air Force ROTC involves various subjects of study, including flying model programs, flight science, drill formations, astronomy, and management principles. Physical exercise is an important part of ROTC, as it is with any military training and education.
During the first two years of the program, the typical ROTC cadet will have five to six hours of work per week. This includes two physical training sessions, an hour of lecture on Barton’s campus, and two hours of Leadership Labs at East Carolina University in Greenville.
For students who commit to the full program, the second part involves field training during the summer and the Professional Officer Course, requiring seven to 10 hours of work per week. The training involves applying lessons learned in the class to tactical training environments.
ROTC Scholarship Structure
One of the key draws of ROTC is the potential for help with paying for college. Scholarships are only available for students who both complete ROTC and make a commitment to serving after college. This commission can be served with the active-duty Air Force, National Guard, or reserves.
However, it is important to note that not everyone receives a scholarship automatically. Students can compete nationally during their senior year of high school for an ROTC scholarship. Additionally, they can compete at the campus level during college.
The scholarship can be worth up to $80,000 for tuition and fees or room and board. An additional allowance is available to cover books and other expenses.
Misconceptions About ROTC
ROTC is a well-known program in the U.S. However, this prominence also leads to some misconceptions. The following are a few myths and the truth about them:
- College Is Always Paid For: As described above, ROTC does not automatically mean your college tuition will be paid for. In fact, cadets may graduate and enlist without receiving any scholarship money.
- You Have To Commission With the Air Force: It is possible to participate for up to two years without committing to a commission. However, if you accept a scholarship, it will be tied to a commitment. Regardless of how you choose to participate, you will enjoy the learning and leadership experience of ROTC.
- Cadets Can Be Deployed: Some people worry that their college careers could be interrupted by deployment. However, all cadets are considered undeployable, even if the National Guard units they are attached to are deployed. While you are an ROTC cadet, you are a student with a future in the Air Force, not an active airman.
Why Join ROTC?
There are a variety of reasons why people join the ROTC, and it is a personal decision that may be quite different for two different people. Nonetheless, there are a few common reasons that cadets cite as their reasons for joining.
Paying for College
Many cadets receive at least some assistance paying for college. These awards can be quite significant, potentially paying for most or even all of your college education. For those who may not have another way to pay for school, this can be a very valuable opportunity.
An alternative to this is to serve first and then pay for college using veteran’s benefits. However, by following the ROTC route, you will likely be of the same age group as most of the other students, something that many cadets prefer.
Opportunity To Serve as an Officer
If you are interested in joining the military as an officer, ROTC can be a great way to achieve that. You will gain significant experience and have proven credentials within the military structure. Air Force ROTC at Barton can be a substantial head start on a future career with the Air Force.
You may also be able to apply other skills you learn in college to your military career. For example, if you also pursue a technology major such as computer science, you will have some invaluable skills for one of the many technology-oriented roles in the Air Force.
Leadership and Discipline
Many people find that the experience of ROTC helps them develop both their leadership skills and self-discipline. These can both be very valuable for preparing you for a future of success. Leadership experience in the military is often considered a desirable trait for employees after service. Similarly, being disciplined will help you to achieve your goals in all areas of life.
Prestige and Service With an Education
You may be thinking about joining the military as an opportunity to serve your country. Perhaps you are doing this in part because you have family members who have also served. Joining the military through the Air Force ROTC is a great way to serve your country while still putting your education first. You will get the full college experience with the added bonus of participating in ROTC.
Plus, the program is considered to be quite prestigious. It can be a good way to set yourself apart, both in the military and after service.
Learn More About ROTC At Barton College
Air Force ROTC at Barton College is a great way to set yourself up for success. If you think that this could be a good option for your future, learn more about the program. We are happy to have you potentially participate.
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