The Marine Corps ROTC (Reserve Officers Training Corps) is one of four military branches in the United States that offer college students the chance to earn a degree while becoming commissioned officers. The Army, Navy and Air Force also offer these programs. As commissioned officers in the Marine Corps ROTC program, students get involved in a military branch that works closely with the U.S. Navy.
The Marine Corps ROTC program reaches male and female students on college campuses throughout the U.S. The exact structure of these programs can vary. Generally, students take courses at their regular college while being a part of the ROTC program. They also study courses on subjects that will be utilized when they become commissioned officers.
Students usually meet at least once a week for the Marine Corps ROTC program. They are required to wear uniforms, perform military training and participate in drills. In some cases, participation in the ROTC program also is required during the summer months.
Scholarships often are available for students participating in the program. These scholarships can include full tuition and books. A small monthly living stipend also might be offered.
The first requirement to get into the Marine Corps ROTC program is to meet all enrollment requirements at the college. Admission into the program typically requires the student to be a U.S. citizen and have either a high school diploma or a General Equivalency Diploma (GED). Candidates also must be at least 17 years old and younger than 23 as of Sept. 1 to be in the program for that year of college.
Some students take this route to pay for college if they do not qualify for grants or scholarships. Marine Corps ROTC scholarship students usually are asked to commit to a certain length of time for active duty and reserve duty after they complete their degrees. Students also have the option of participating in the program with no commitment. Generally, non-scholarship students can participate up to graduation before deciding whether to join the Marine Corps.
The Marine Corps ROTC program gives students the chance to evaluate whether the military is right for them. In turn, it offers the Marine Corps the chance to see whether a student will be able to meet its requirements for commissioned officer status. Students who successfully complete the program will graduate and then attend the Marine Corps Officer Candidate School for training. Students are then eligible to be commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant.