6am and you’re awake. You’re lying in your bed in your college dorm room
listening to the noise outside. This time you decide to get up and find
out what that noise is. Why it’s the
Three Rivers Battalion Army ROTC
cadets, running past the dorms in unison chanting a cadence. You’ve seen
the cadets on campus before. Sometimes they are in uniform, but most of
the time they look just like every other college student. You may even be
curious about the events they have and the benefits you’ve heard of. Once
you’ve taken the time to talk to an Army ROTC cadet, you find out there
are a lot of reasons why cadets are so willing to be up this early. Here’s
how cadets leverage their paper diplomas into the gold bars of an Army
What is ROTC?
Army ROTC is the Army’s “Reserve Officers’ Training Corp”, and was
established when President Woodrow Wilson signed the National Defense Act
of 1916. This college based program offers military science classes and
instruction that enhance one’s college experience and prepares students
for service as officers in the regular Army, Army Reserves, or National
Guard. Cadets who graduate from the program enter the service as second
Three Rivers Battalion includes the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania,
metropolitan area and the University of Pittsburgh, where
Captain Jamie Bell serves as the Enrollment and Scholarship Officer /Assistant Professor of Military Science for Army ROTC.
She says, “There are some students who have the wrong impression of Army
ROTC. We are not all about yelling or getting ready for war. Our cadets
are still civilians and this is an academic setting. In fact we encourage
students and their parents to both come visit us and see our program for
themselves.” While there is still a degree of military style training on
campus, the overall emphasis is on cadets’ education and career
Who enrolls in
Students who want to serve their country, and at the same time want to
enjoy the educational and career benefits of the Army, find ROTC to be
ideal. Perhaps you’ve heard of these famous Army ROTC graduates: Lou Holtz
(head coach at Notre Dame), General Colin Powell (former U.S Secretary of
State), Samuel Alito (Supreme Court Justice), James Earl Jones (actor),
Frank Wells (former president of Walt Disney), Nancy Currie (astronaut),
and Sam Walton (founder of Wal-Mart).
Why enroll in
1. Military career
Guaranteed, immediate employment with the Army once you graduate. The
opportunity to serve your country. Training
on the world’s most advanced equipment and tools. Employer funded
continuing education opportunities. Structured opportunities for
promotions and pay raises. A military career offers graduates many perks
most civilian employers can’t match.
scholarships are not given based on the financial needs of
cadets, rather they are awarded based on merit, as are most perks in the
military. Army ROTC offers several scholarship options. There are a two,
three, and four year options. These
scholarships will generally cover the
entire cost of your tuition, provide an allowance for books and school
fees, and provide a living stipend based on what level you are at in the
Army ROTC curriculum.
Cadets compete for national and campus based
Scholarships are awarded to those with the best Grade Point Averages, Army Physical
Fitness Test scores, and the Army’s Leadership Development Assessment
Course results. ROTC cadets will be the first to tell you don’t let these
criteria stop you from applying; that ROTC wants you to succeed and is
designed to help you reach your academic goals.
Want an excellent insurance policy against economic downturns? Consider
military service. What other vocation is always hiring through good and
bad economic times?
In the civilian world, having a job waiting for you upon graduation has
become a rarity. Faced with unemployment, and debt to pay back, many
students turn to mom and dad for help. A 2009 CollgeGrad.com study stated,
“Among 2009 U.S. college graduates, 80 percent moved back home with their
parents after graduation, up from 77 percent in 2008, 73 percent in 2007,
and 67 percent in 2006.”
4. Civilian careers
Remember that less than 1% of our population serves in all of the Armed
Forces combined. Being a current or former member of the military
immediately makes you stand out. Military service is a highly respected,
and often sought after, attribute of job seekers. Many ROTC cadets will
graduate and serve in the National Guard or Army Reserves as officers
while maintaining a civilian career.
Do employers really favor soldiers? Captain Bell thinks so. In fact she
points to the Army’s ROTC PaYS Program (Partnership for Youth Success).
This program partners with 400 larger companies who give hiring preference
to Army ROTC cadets who will graduate and serve in the Guard or Reserves.
In Caroline Levchuck's Yahoo HotJobs article "Returning Vets: Employers
Want You" she quotes Bob Putnam, senior manager of retail HR development
for RadioShack. "At RadioShack, the core values that we hold near and dear
are integrity, pride, trust and teamwork. That's really what people in the
military are all about, and that's what makes candidates with a military
background perfect for RadioShack."
5. Additional benefits
Cadets who sign a contract with the Army are also entitled to additional
benefits. They can achieve the following stipend amounts:
-1st year, $300 per month
-2nd year, $350 per month
-3rd year, $450 per month
-4th year, $500 per month
Cadets who are not on scholarships, but have contracted with the Army will
also be paid the stipend in their third and fourth year.
Your commitment to ROTC.
scholarship puts you under contract with the Army. You are
agreeing to serve in some capacity for a specified period of time. Meeting
with the college’s Military Science department is important so that you
fully understand the benefits you receive and the commitment expected from
Unless you’ve accepted a
scholarship there is no commitment to participate
in ROTC during your first two years of college. Junior years are called
contract years in ROTC because cadets must then make a decision to
continue ROTC or not. Cadets who continue will choose an appropriate
military career path and contract with the Army.
College life as an ROTC cadet.
Lieutenant Michelle Raia, also of
Three Rivers Battalion, feels
enhanced her college experience. “For me it was like belonging to a
family. Of course discipline is expected from the cadets, we have to be up
early for morning PT (physical training), for example, but I still enjoyed
other college activities. I also noticed that people respect you more
because they know ROTC cadets work hard and are very motivated.”
To learn more about
Army ROTC options, contact:
Captain Jamie Bell
Admissions and Enrollment Officer &
Assistant Professor of Military Science
Army ROTC, Three Rivers Battalion
University of Pittsburgh