Thinking about joining ROTC?

Get answers to some of the most commonly asked questions by exploring the topics below. If you don’t see the answers you’re looking for, reach out via email or call 570.320.2400 ext. 7298. We’re always here to help.


What benefits will I receive by participating in Army ROTC?

Army ROTC enhances your college experience with training that will get you motivated, confident, and ready to lead. ROTC instruction is based on training the future leaders of the Army and the nation. You will have practical instruction in organizational leadership, communication, and time management. The skills you’ll learn are enduring and will benefit you for your entire life.

Cadets who sign a commitment contract with the Army also receive monthly stipends of $420. Additionally, some cadets earn a scholarship for either full tuition or room and board. All cadets with scholarships receive book allowances of $600 per semester ($1200 per year).

What career opportunities exist for me in the Army?

You can consider the Army's 'combat' branches, such as Armor, Infantry, Artillery, and Aviation. The Army also employs just about every type of professional including doctors, dentists, hospital administrators, lawyers, intelligence specialists, linguists, and even veterinarians.

Army officers in all branches are leaders of people and managers of resources. While many of your friends are still job hunting, straight out of college you’ll be in charge of a platoon of up to 90 American soldiers, ranging from 18 to 40 years old. You’ll be responsible for their health, training, and welfare program. And it will be up to you to help safeguard and maintain the Army’s multi-million dollar high-tech equipment. This is why junior officers who leave the military are so sought after by corporate America. Corporate CEOs know these individuals have a proven track record. Military officers know how to motivate people and solve problems. Most of all, they have demonstrated the values that employers are looking for in junior executives: duty, honor, loyalty, integrity, commitment, selflessness, and respect.

How much money will I make as an Army officer?

ROTC cadets, upon commissioning, are appointed as Second Lieutenants in the Army. During the first year of service, a Second Lieutenant will earn approximately $36,000, including a tax-free housing allowance. This salary goes up steadily with increases in rank and time in service. Over a four-year period (the active-duty commitment for scholarship cadets), an officer will earn approximately $175,000.

How do students benefit from Army ROTC?

In college and after graduation, cadets find that the training and experience they received are beneficial in their Army and civilian lives. Employers place high regard on the management and leadership skills that ROTC demands. Plus, ROTC looks great on a resume. When cadets complete the ROTC course and graduate, they become commissioned officers in the U.S. Army.


I am already a sophomore, is it too late for me to enroll?

Not at all. You can attend ROTC Leader's Training Course in the summer between your sophomore and junior years. This is a four-week summer training camp at Fort Knox, KY that covers material and information learned in the introductory ROTC courses. After graduating from this course, you are eligible to enroll in MILS305.

I am already a senior, can I still enroll and earn a commission?

If you are already a senior, you can either take ROTC during graduate school, or contact the Recruiting Operations Officer at 570.484.2393 or by email at for more guidance.

Can I be a cadet and still participate in global experiences?

The Army encourages cadets to participate in global experiences for one semester. The best time to take advantage of this opportunity is during your sophomore year.

I want to get my Masters/Professional Degree before going on active duty. Can I do that?

Yes, during your junior year, you can request an educational delay so that you may continue your education before going on active duty. This is a competitive program and is granted only to those students pursuing a technical or professional degree such as law school or medical school.


How much time does ROTC take?

Freshmen and sophomores attend class one hour per week. Juniors and seniors have class for three hours each week. All cadets attend three one-hour physical training sessions per week and a Saturday lab exercise about once per month. Freshmen and sophomores average five hours of ROTC a week. Junior cadets average 10 hours per week.

Senior cadets plan, coordinate, and execute the physical training sessions and leadership labs. They spend about 10 to 14 hours of ROTC a week. Each semester, the Battalion will conduct one weekend field exercise lasting about 48 hours. Outside of the standard program events, cadets have the opportunity to volunteer for several other trainings and events.

What are my obligations?

Cadets do not incur any obligation to the U.S. Army until they sign a contract. Freshmen and sophomores are not required to sign contracts and can participate without obligation, unless they receive and accept a scholarship. When a cadet reaches the junior year, they must sign a contract accepting a commitment to the U.S. Army. Otherwise, they must withdraw from the program. All contracts state that upon graduation the cadet will accept a commission as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army and will complete an eight-year commitment. Cadets who go on active duty are required to serve four years in that capacity and four years in reserve status. Cadets who are going into the National Guard or U.S. Army Reserve will normally serve six years on drilling status (one weekend a month and two weeks in the summer) in their ARNG or USAR unit and two years in the Individual Ready Reserve.

As a cadet, can I still participate in other activities?

Absolutely. ROTC encourages cadets to participate in other programs at the College. Penn College ROTC cadets are members of varsity sports teams. Many participate in extracurricular activities, intramural sports, and community service organizations.

Will I have to attend Basic Training (Boot Camp)?

No. ROTC cadets do not attend Basic Training. In fact, as an ROTC cadet you will not be 'in the Army.' You can participate in ROTC as a non-contracted cadet your freshman and sophomore years without any obligation. This means if ROTC isn't for you, you can withdraw without incurring a military service obligation.

Is there a military obligation during college?

Cadets have no military obligation until they sign a contract. Scholarship winners have no obligation during their first year.

By enrolling in ROTC, are you joining the Army?

No. Students who enroll in ROTC don't join the Army. They take an ROTC class for which they receive credit. It's considered a college elective. Once a cadet signs a contract, they are committed to the Army.


Does Army ROTC offer scholarships?

Yes. Each year thousands of students attending colleges nationwide receive ROTC scholarships.

Who can apply for an ROTC scholarship?

To be eligible for an ROTC scholarship you must meet the following criteria:

  • Be 17 years of age within the first semester of your freshman year and must not reach your 31st birthday by December 31 of the year in which you will graduate from college and receive your commission.
  • Must have taken SAT/ACT, or if in college, a 2.5 Cumulative GPA
  • Be a full-time student (undergraduate or graduate) (12 credit hours)
  • Have demonstrated good moral character
  • Meet physical qualification standards
  • Meet medical qualification standards

How do I apply for a scholarship?

If you are a high school senior, you can apply for a Four-Year High School Scholarship. If you are currently a Penn College student, contact the Recruiting Operations Officer at 570.484.2393 or by email at

I want the scholarship money, but I do not think I want to go on active duty. What can I do?

If you do not want to go on active duty, you can join the Army National Guard or U.S. Army Reserve. There are special Guaranteed Reserve Forces Duty (GRFD) scholarships for these cadets.

How much money does ROTC usually award and what does the money go towards?

Scholarships pay full tuition at Penn College. Penn College pays room and board. Scholarship winners also receive a book allowance of $1,200 per year.

On what basis are scholarship winners chosen?

ROTC scholarships are not based on financial need. Instead, they're awarded on merit. Merit is exhibited in academic achievement and extracurricular activities such as sports, student government, or part-time work. The three main focus areas for the Army are Scholarship, Leadership, and Athletics.

Can only scholarship winners enroll in ROTC?

No. Anyone can enroll in ROTC. And regardless of whether you're a scholarship winner or not, all ROTC books, uniforms, and equipment are furnished at no cost to you.

How often are Army ROTC scholarships awarded?

Four-Year High School Scholarships are awarded between September and March. Prospective cadets must apply by January 10. There may be additional two- and three-year scholarships available throughout the year.