Considerig dropping army rotc

zimmy11

New Member
Hey guys. So I'm considering dropping out of rotc but I'm not sure what would happen if I did. I've seen lots of other people asking but it was from a couple years ago, so I want to get the most up to date info as possible.
Here's a little background...so I'm a freshman in my second semester of AROTC and luckily received the 4 year national scholarship. I officially contracted, am getting paid, and all that good stuff. I absolutely loved rotc last semester, but this semester I feel like I'm not in the honeymoon stage anymore and honestly don't like it. I love the people, but I just don't really want to be there. I am involved in a lot at my college and feel as if I'm spreading myself too thin, and honestly rotc is no doubt what I would want to drop first. I don't want to make a rash decision and regret it, but also if I'm going to drop I know I need to do it before starting sophomore year. Assuming I dropped before I started my sophomore year, would I have to repay the money the army spent on me/enlist to pay them back, or would it be early enough where I didn't owe the army anything? If I do have to pay them back, how likely do you think it would be for me to have the option to enlist? I don't really have the money to just pay them back, so I definitely prefer the enlisting option but don't know how realistic that is.
Also do you know if it would it be possible to submit my request to drop, see if I had to physically pay them back or just enlist, and then decide if I want to drop based off of what I would owe the army?
I know talking to a member of the cadre will be the most helpful to me, but I don't want to talk to them before knowing as much info as I possibly can beforehand.
I would appreciate any info or recommendations you have for me. Thank you so much!
 

AROTC-dad

Moderator
5-Year Member
Have you read your contract?

DA-597-3 reads on page 4:

"I understand and agree that I will incur an active duty and/or reimbursement obligation after the first day of my MS-II year (sophomore year) if I am a three-, four- or five year scholarship recipient;

In other words, you have no obligation so long as you resign before day one of your MS-II year.

Be sure you read your copy of your scholarship contract DA-597-3 for any differences from the above.

Source:
http://www.rotc.pitt.edu/forms/da597_3.pdf
 

zimmy11

New Member
Hey guys. So I'm considering dropping out of rotc but I'm not sure what would happen if I did. I've seen lots of other people asking but it was from a couple years ago, so I want to get the most up to date info as possible.
Here's a little background...so I'm a freshman in my second semester of AROTC and luckily received the 4 year national scholarship. I officially contracted, am getting paid, and all that good stuff. I absolutely loved rotc last semester, but this semester I feel like I'm not in the honeymoon stage anymore and honestly don't like it. I love the people, but I just don't really want to be there. I am involved in a lot at my college and feel as if I'm spreading myself too thin, and honestly rotc is no doubt what I would want to drop first. I don't want to make a rash decision and regret it, but also if I'm going to drop I know I need to do it before starting sophomore year. Assuming I dropped before I started my sophomore year, would I have to repay the money the army spent on me/enlist to pay them back, or would it be early enough where I didn't owe the army anything? If I do have to pay them back, how likely do you think it would be for me to have the option to enlist? I don't really have the money to just pay them back, so I definitely prefer the enlisting option but don't know how realistic that is.
Also do you know if it would it be possible to submit my request to drop, see if I had to physically pay them back or just enlist, and then decide if I want to drop based off of what I would owe the army?
I know talking to a member of the cadre will be the most helpful to me, but I don't want to talk to them before knowing as much info as I possibly can beforehand.
I would appreciate any info or recommendations you have for me. Thank you so much!
Update: I just found and reread my scholarship offer letter, and it says, "This is an inactive reserve status and provisions of the agreement will not apply until the second year of the rotc program for 4 year scholarship winner or immediately upon signing for 3 year advance designees. Once entering the second year military science level II class, all scholarship cadets incur a military service obligation or financial recoupment obligation for educational expenses paid by the army, in the event they fail to complete the rotc program or fail to serve the obligated period of military service. You may not voluntarily from your scholarship contract after entry into military science level II class."
So from that, I got as long as I don't begin my sophomore year I can drop without owing the army anything. Is that what you guys are understanding from that? Just want to double check. Thanks!
 

AROTC-dad

Moderator
5-Year Member
Yes. That is precisely what @AJC and I said.

If you begin your sophomore/MS-II year, you are obligated to complete the commissioning process. If you flunk out, quit or are disenrolled for disciplinary issues, you will owe the Army money and/or enlistment. The only exception I am aware of is a medical disenrollment, where the obligation is usually waived (unless you were being really negligent).
 

AROTC-dad

Moderator
5-Year Member
Agree with the Sheriff. Unless you are in jeopardy of being at risk academically, you should not make a hasty decision.

Financially and career wise this is a significant opportunity to walk away from.

That said, if you have no interest or aptitude for leading soldiers, you should walk away while you can do so at no cost.
 

Dckc88

Member
I want to reiterate the above advice, give yourself time. Think about the goal of being an officer, do you still want that, or are you sure that you do not? Being an ROTC student is a means to an end, not the end game. If your heart is not in it to be an officer, then walking away is the right decision. Take all the time you need to make such a big decision, as you have already experienced, things can change quickly in your phase of life (aka the teen years). I don't know where you live but I know where my daughter is going a lot of the cadets are struggling right now, and I think partly because we literally live in dreary-land, and it is gray and dreary. And believe it or not that can make a huge difference in mood and outlook. Wait until the birds are singing and the sun is shining before making a final decision, your future is worth the wait!
 

zimmy11

New Member
Thank you all so much! It's reassuring to know I can drop without consequence until I start sophomore year, but I'll definitely take time to think it through and make sure I'm confident in my decision.
And just to double check..so I've been googling this a ton lately (the most reliable source haha) and some people have said that once you swear in, even if you're just a freshman, then you will have to pay them back. However, since the contract offer said nothing about that, I'm just guessing that's not true. Do you know if swearing in changes your ability to drop before sophomore year? Thanks!
 

emwvmi01

5-Year Member
Agree with the Sheriff. Unless you are in jeopardy of being at risk academically, you should not make a hasty decision.

Financially and career wise this is a significant opportunity to walk away from.

That said, if you have no interest or aptitude for leading soldiers, you should walk away while you can do so at no cost.

To further expand on this though it would be helpful to talk to Cadre or recent graduates about their experiences. I think it is hard for an MS I or MS IV to say if their heart is in the business of leading Soldiers based on ROTC experience. If I had based my decision to commission or stay in the service off of my ROTC experience (particularly Camp) I would have either not commissioned at all or gotten out at my minimum time. So think back to what it was that first interested you in military service. Also, think of how you may look back on things in 20 years and whether not having a chance to lead Soldiers is something you would regret. Look above the foxhole of your current position and see the larger field and start thinking that way. I can almost guarantee you that you will not regret accepting a commission and in 7 years when you are at the end of your active duty service obligation you would find that it would lead to richer experiences than you can currently imagine.
 

nofodad

5-Year Member
To further expand on this though it would be helpful to talk to Cadre or recent graduates about their experiences. I think it is hard for an MS I or MS IV to say if their heart is in the business of leading Soldiers based on ROTC experience. If I had based my decision to commission or stay in the service off of my ROTC experience (particularly Camp) I would have either not commissioned at all or gotten out at my minimum time. So think back to what it was that first interested you in military service. Also, think of how you may look back on things in 20 years and whether not having a chance to lead Soldiers is something you would regret. Look above the foxhole of your current position and see the larger field and start thinking that way. I can almost guarantee you that you will not regret accepting a commission and in 7 years when you are at the end of your active duty service obligation you would find that it would lead to richer experiences than you can currently imagine.
There is very little about AROTC that is similar to being in the Army...at least that's what I'm told.
 

MohawkArmyROTC

Recruiting Operations Officer
Thank you all so much! It's reassuring to know I can drop without consequence until I start sophomore year, but I'll definitely take time to think it through and make sure I'm confident in my decision.
And just to double check..so I've been googling this a ton lately (the most reliable source haha) and some people have said that once you swear in, even if you're just a freshman, then you will have to pay them back. However, since the contract offer said nothing about that, I'm just guessing that's not true. Do you know if swearing in changes your ability to drop before sophomore year? Thanks!
The contract you signed takes precedence over anything you read on the internet. Everybody above has brought up great points, and you should make a well thought out decision, as this decision can have an impact on your future. My only question is what is it about ROTC that makes you want to quit?
 

Day-Tripper

5-Year Member
Hey guys. So I'm considering dropping out of rotc but I'm not sure what would happen if I did. I've seen lots of other people asking but it was from a couple years ago, so I want to get the most up to date info as possible.
Here's a little background...so I'm a freshman in my second semester of AROTC and luckily received the 4 year national scholarship. I officially contracted, am getting paid, and all that good stuff. I absolutely loved rotc last semester, but this semester I feel like I'm not in the honeymoon stage anymore and honestly don't like it. I love the people, but I just don't really want to be there. I am involved in a lot at my college and feel as if I'm spreading myself too thin, and honestly rotc is no doubt what I would want to drop first. I don't want to make a rash decision and regret it, but also if I'm going to drop I know I need to do it before starting sophomore year. Assuming I dropped before I started my sophomore year, would I have to repay the money the army spent on me/enlist to pay them back, or would it be early enough where I didn't owe the army anything? If I do have to pay them back, how likely do you think it would be for me to have the option to enlist? I don't really have the money to just pay them back, so I definitely prefer the enlisting option but don't know how realistic that is.
Also do you know if it would it be possible to submit my request to drop, see if I had to physically pay them back or just enlist, and then decide if I want to drop based off of what I would owe the army?
I know talking to a member of the cadre will be the most helpful to me, but I don't want to talk to them before knowing as much info as I possibly can beforehand.
I would appreciate any info or recommendations you have for me. Thank you so much!

"...but this semester I feel like I'm not in the honeymoon stage anymore and honestly don't like it. "

How may times have I said this in my 22 year marriage and how many times have I said this in my (combine military-civilian) 30 year sof US government service? Too many to count.

"I don't want to make a rash decision and regret it..."

I concur.

It's tough to make big decisions at the age of 18, 19 or 20, I agree. Or any year thereafter. Doesn't get easier.

Good luck!
 

cjcm43a

Member
Hate to be mean about this but you took a scholarship away from others that desperately wanted it and now you are just jumping ship. Honestly, you should honor your commitment and have some discipline about the decisions you have made. I know this may be an unpopular post but too many young people just want to quit something if it gets a little uncomfortable or not "fun". Sometimes you need to rise to a higher standard. I guess if you don't have that internal fortitude then getting out now is probably the best.
 

kinnem

Moderator
5-Year Member
Hate to be mean about this but you took a scholarship away from others that desperately wanted it and now you are just jumping ship. Honestly, you should honor your commitment and have some discipline about the decisions you have made. I know this may be an unpopular post but too many young people just want to quit something if it gets a little uncomfortable or not "fun". Sometimes you need to rise to a higher standard. I guess if you don't have that internal fortitude then getting out now is probably the best.
You are incorrect. He did NOT take a scholarship away from others. He earned that scholarship and is free to do what he wants with it since it IS his scholarship.

I certainly share the spirit of the rest of your post and hope the OP at least sticks it out through the year. One always questions their decision to be in the program... it's sort of designed that way to weed out the folks who are not truly committed, find it's not the right fit, etc. But if he is one of those folks... as I said it's sort of designed that way and it's working the way it's supposed to. There's a reason my DS's NROTC class started with 45 while only 15 commissioned. These programs work that way... and it's why they let you do 1 year with no obligation.
 

Wilco

Member
Very good points from posters. All understand what it is like to be 18, 19, making a life path decision which is why ROTC has a 1 year honeymoon: letting each get to know the other. Balancing the college experience with AROTC can be challenging. There is no question you are missing out on some "fun" aspects of college life. But as an old West Point commentary to cadets states: you are giving up some freedom for more responsibility than most people will know in their lifetime. What are you doing re: AROTC for the summer? As a 4 year contracted MS1 you are eligible (dependent upon your battalion slots available) for CIET; CULP; or even air assault (airborne are tougher to get). Experiencing any of them may give you a different perspective. As will talking with senior AROTC members and officers. Hopefully they will give you honest insight. Many people question their paths, and many officers have often asked themselves "am I good enough to lead these men?" Check back in the Fall to let all know your choice. Good luck!
 

tigers06

5-Year Member
Hate to be mean about this but you took a scholarship away from others that desperately wanted it and now you are just jumping ship. Honestly, you should honor your commitment and have some discipline about the decisions you have made. I know this may be an unpopular post but too many young people just want to quit something if it gets a little uncomfortable or not "fun". Sometimes you need to rise to a higher standard. I guess if you don't have that internal fortitude then getting out now is probably the best.
Don't listen to this guy, OP. You did not "take away" a scholarship from anyone else. ROTC and the military is not for everyone... Hell, it's not even for most. It's an incredibly big decision and one that you should not take lightly. However if you are not 100% into it, dropping it may be the right decision. ROTC isn't some campus club you join for fun, and has very real consequences after graduation. Ignore this talk about "having discipline for the decisions you made." If you really want to get out - do it while you still can, it'll be better for you personally and better for the soldiers you would have half heartedly led in the future! Good luck
 
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