A Question for ROTC Applicants


5-Year Member
Jan 6, 2010
It seems that there are a lot of ROTC applicants on this board who did not also apply for a service academy. For those who chose to do this, why didn't you apply for an SA?
It seems that there are a lot of ROTC applicants on this board who did not also apply for a service academy. For those who chose to do this, why didn't you apply for an SA?

Simple answer here. Goaliegirl wants to play womens varsity hockey in college (not available at any SA) in addition to preparing to serve her country.
To have the experience of a 'real' college life.
I wanted a "college" experience as well. I've always wanted to serve my country in the Army so the ROTC seemed like a perfect mix for me.

The SA are great for alot of people, but I know that it is just not for me. Two family friends(One a retired Major in the Rangers) both went to ROTC instead of USMA and LOVED it.
WAMom's son wants to serve as an AF officer but wants a more "normal" college experience. He has heard enough from his brother to know the 24/7 military environment would not suit him during his college years.
Back in 8th grade, my son wanted to attend WP. Then he changed his mind. He thought about WP briefly in 11th grade, then ruled it out...again. Then, in August before 12th grade, he decided to go for it. But, since he really never got his act together for the Congressional stuff, I don't think his heart was really in it.

In the end, I think a civilian college + ROTC will end up being the best option for him.
I decided very late in the process (even though I was under the impression it was early) to apply to the Air Force Academy. I received a letter saying should I get a nomination, I would be accepted. I heard most people at the Academy are insanely smart and I don't want to do a technical major. I grew up near The Citadel so I am familiar with them. My dad also went there so I know all about it. I thought I'd be able to shine a little more coming from there than the Academy, plus I know The Citadel would be more meaningful to me. Hell, 9 months of being a plebe says something. So I decided to withdraw my application and instead try for a 4 year scholarship to The Citadel.

Everyone tells me I made a mistake in doing that, and I probably did, but I'd rather enjoy where I am than be guaranteed a pilot slot. (which I can still get at The Citadel if I work my butt off)
My son also came to the idea late in the game, after a visit in September to the A&M Corps of Cadets, where he decided he wanted to be a cadet at A&M. It was a natural from there to consider how his degree would fit with the military (aerospace engineering) and apply for the scholarship.

ETA: And too late in the game to apply for the SA's, I think.
You cannot major in nursing at any of the SAs. That was a problem for my wanna-be-nurse daughter.
To have the experience of a 'real' college life.
That appears to be a fairly popular answer here, and it's the same reason for me.

I love the military, and to one day join those ranks will be a childhood dream come true, however I also know that there are four very special years of my life ahead of me, and I want to take advantage of a more relaxed atmosphere while still gaining the opportunity to become an officer in the Air Force.

I could take the military life, and whenever I've been exposed to it I've had no problem adjusting and making the best of it, but for the next four years, where either way I will become an officer (even though pilot chances are higher at the academy), I would like to take the "regular" college route.

I do admire those who apply to the service academies though. I have two friends at the Kings Point Merchant Marine Academy and there's always some aspect of pride or otherwise supportive feeling (hard to describe) that I get when I hear of people who seriously consider the academies. It's a tough life, but I know it's a great option. For people who are interested in one of the academies though, just really make sure to do your research. Understand the differences between ROTC and a service academy, such as general life, likelihood of obtaining a specific career route, etc.
My son looked at the academies and the regular colleges and decided on the Corps of Cadets at VT. He never applied at any academies. He is still in his freshman year, so it is tough, but getting easier. The Corps of Cadets is a great "in between" and is by no means easy--they live in barracks and have a very structured schedule and wear a uniform every day, but they pretty much leave them alone during the day--if you don't have class, you can leave campus and get something to eat or whatever--you can't do that at a SA. Also, there was a study done about retention rates and the ROTC has a much higher retention (reelistment) rate than the SA; although the reasons are debateable. Still, if a SA is what you want, go for it; it's just not for everybody.