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Frequently Asked Questions

reserve officers' training corps (rotc)

For general questions about the Army ROTC experience, see the Army ROTC Frequently Asked Questions.

What does ROTC stand for?

ROTC stands for Reserve Officers' Training Corps.

Why does the Army have a program like this one?

ROTC commissions the majority of the U.S. Army's officers. Today’s Army officers must be smart, flexible, disciplined, and tough. A college education, combined with a world-class program of leadership instruction, prepares our leaders to handle complex affairs with under a wide range of physical, intellectual, and cultural conditions.

Why would I want to join?

Cadets join for a variety of reasons—service to country, leadership training, great benefits, opportunities to travel and grow, and challenging, specialized training for a career of selfless service along the way.

What are the incentives?

Students who commit to military service may receive scholarships, monthly subsistence stipends, and other incentives to help them in college. Cadets who earn a commission may serve on active duty or may choose to serve in the National Guard or Army Reserve.

What is the ROTC training schedule?

The standard ROTC training schedule consists of three weekly Physical Training sessions, weekly leadership labs, one military training exercise each semester, and several social functions. At the labs, cadets will learn and practice skills ranging from basic drill and ceremony to light infantry tactics. All of these skills play an important role in shaping cadets into flexible, capable, and confident military professionals.

Will there be time to participate in sports or other non-ROTC activities?

Yes. Academic achievement is always your top priority, but extra-curricular activities also help you grow in ways that ROTC cannot. When we say we want flexible leaders for our Army, we mean that those who enjoy a breadth of experience and are able to carefully manage that breadth. As a result, they will be more responsive and relatable in complex social and cultural landscapes. Our cadets are proud, active members of BC’s vibrant community. We are proud to have cadets (often in crucial leadership positions) on the Dance Team, the Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies Journal Al Noor, the Varsity Diving Team, and a wide range of campus activities and clubs.

Questions Frequently Asked by Parents and Advisors

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

A: No. However, young adults must serve as Officers in the Army after graduation if they have received a ROTC scholarship OR if they have enrolled in the ROTC Advanced Course. Enrolling in the ROTC Basic Course (the first two years of college) does NOT obligate someone to serve unless they have also received a scholarship. For more details, see Service Commitment.

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Q: What types of scholarships are available in Army ROTC? Are any 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 scholarships, which pay full-tuition and fees. Scholarships also include an annual book allowance (currently $1,200) and a monthly stipend (currently $300–$500 per month). Boston College additionally provides funding for the standard meal plan, guarantees on-campus housing, and provides free on-campus housing for five seniors. In addition, there are Guaranteed Reserve Forces Duty (GRFD) scholarships; these guarantee service in the Army Reserves or National Guard, after a short period on Active Duty, to attend Officer training. No scholarships are retroactive.

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

A: Scholarship recipients generally must serve four years on Active Duty; non-scholarship Cadets who enroll in the ROTC Advanced Course must serve three years. GRFD scholarship recipients serve a short period, approximately six months on active duty, to learn branch-specific skills. All who graduate and complete ROTC training are commissioned Second Lieutenants in the U.S. Army. For more details, see Service Commitment.

Q: What good is Army ROTC 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. Young Army officers are typically responsible for hundreds of soldiers and millions of dollars in equipment; this kind of management experience can be very attractive for post-Army employers.

Q: Why should my young adult choose Army ROTC over a different branch of ROTC?

A: The Army offers a wider range of career choices, in more places around the world, than does any other U.S. military branch. At BC, Army ROTC is the only branch of service with full-time Cadre (instructors) and staff on campus supporting Cadets training and administrative needs. The Air Force and Navy provide these services at another campus. In addition, the Army ROTC scholarship at BC is more lucrative than either the Air Force or the Navy scholarship.

Q: How do I learn more about the Army?

A: The GOARMY.com web site has a section specifically designed for parents and advisors. See For Parents, where you'll find straight answers to more of your Army questions. You can also start exploring the Army experience from our BC ROTC home page.

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 my young adult son or daughter? Will ROTC classes interfere with his/her other studies?

A: Army ROTC classes normally involve one elective class or 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. For more details, see Curriculum.

Q: How will being an Army ROTC Cadet affect my young adult son or daughter's daily life? Do Cadets experience normal college life and activities?

A: Army ROTC Cadets have the same lifestyles and academic schedules as do other college students. BC Cadets are able to participate in the same activities as all other students. For example, a recent graduate was on the varsity ski team for four years. There are two intensive Army ROTC courses that take place on Army Posts during the summer:

  • Leader's Training Course—Students who wish to enroll in ROTC as late as their sophomore year of college and in some cases their junior year, or as graduate students beginning a two-year program, can receive constructive credit for the Basic Course by attending a 28-day Leader's Training Course at Fort Knox, KY.
  • Leader Development and Assessment Course (LDAC)—All Cadets who enter the Advanced Course must attend this four-week summer course at Fort Lewis, WA, usually between their junior and senior years.

Q: What are the chances that my young adult son or daughter will be deployed to support the Global War on Terrorism?

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 is 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. But all soldiers are fully trained and proficient in the tasks and drills of their units, and Officers are specifically trained to make the right decisions so missions can be carried out safely and successfully.

Q: Can my young adult son or daughter go into the Army Reserve or National Guard after graduation instead of the regular Army?

A: Yes, selected 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 my young adult son or daughter earn as a commissioned Army Officer?

A: Visit the Benefits section of GOARMY.com for complete details. Specifically, the Money subsection provides details on pay for both Officers. Pay includes basic pay, and untaxed allowances. For example, a single Second Lieutenant living in Chestnut Hill, MA would earn approximately $49,000 (based on 2007 pay scale and untaxed housing allowance), while a married Captain after three years of service and living in Chestnut Hill, MA would make approximately $77,600 (based on 2007 pay scale and untaxed housing allowance). Benefits include free medical and dental care, 30 days' paid vacation per year, and 20-year retirement.

Parents can find more information at GOARMY.com.