New Member
Dec 28, 2016
Hi- I'm a cross town student at an NROTC unit, and I'm a freshman. In the next couple weeks, after break ends, I'm planning to DOR - start of second semester. I've thought about it a lot, and it's the right choice for me not to be in the program. The travel and amount of things that NROTC requires are preventing me from really enjoying my college experience, and it's wearing on me academically too. I still really want to serve my country, and I was wondering if DOR-ing stops me from attending OCS. Is that true? Would the DOR be a hurdle in my application process for OCS?

I am a scholarship student, but I was under the impression that I could quit ROTC anytime during my first year and not have to pay back the money. I'm not sure whether I would do Navy or Marine Corps OCS/PLC/OCC.
You are correct in that you would not have to pay back the money. That would be true up to first day of sophomore year. Can't speak to the other aspects.

You should probably make sure the parents are informed and prepared for this. How will you pay for college after dropping? Could you afford to attend the same college? If not, what's your plan? Just some questions I'm sure you're already asking yourself, but just in case...
I agree with Kinnem. Please, discuss this with your parents. I think that all parents will go with the "Bird in the Hand" approach--you worked hard to earn your scholarship--it is a straight pathway to achieving your dreams and the service is investing in helping you to achieve the objective of bringing you on as an entry level leader. If you walk away, you may find it difficult to get it back. Now, about the cross town difficulties. Before you drop, please talk to your PMS and talk about the problems you are having with time on the road and the impact this is having on your academic performance. I would like to think that you have already had this conversation with the PMS. I guess the real question is this: Is it your overall academic performance that is suffering from the time spent on the transportation or is it the 'really enjoying your college experience.' These are vastly different issues. Again, talk to your parents. If you want to apply for PLC, the items that brought you to a NROTC scholarship will certainly help but there are no guarantees and I strongly suggest that you talk to a Marine Officer recruiter soon and include that information in your decision making process.

I just edited this. The 'really enjoying my college experience' bit doesn't sit well with me. How will you make up for the lack of college tuition and income? Will you be enjoying your college experience if you are having to shower in the gym to save money on soap and shampoo or work in the cafeteria 15 hours a week for student employment as part of your tuition packet? Please, please, think about what you will have to do to pay for school if you drop your scholarship. Think about how you will have to spend your summers--waiting tables, selling shoes, working the cash register at Target versus ProTriMid or Global Officer. Good luck. Hard choices.
Op, my advice is to see it through the second semester and then make your decision. You can even take a month or so into the summer to be sure you are making the right choice. This is a big deal, weigh your options carefully before you pull the trigger.
You need to be comfortable that walking away from the scholarship will likely limit your ability to serve in the military. I am not sure if it limits your ability to apply to OCS but I do know OCS programs are based on meeting shortfalls from the Academies and ROTC and so the threshholds they have can be very tight or loose as they are the quick faucet to up accessions of officers. They will also have a lot of top level candidates with prior enlisted service applying. So you could apply and may get accepted to OCS but right now you have the one sure path to a commission pending successful completion of your program. I would also say consider that if the stress of cross-town ROTC is high then military service with daily commutes, long hours, PT and leadership positions as well as social obligations may not be for you either.

The other thing to consider is sticking it out that second semester and see where you stand. If your commitment doesn't start until fall of sophomore year it would even be worth applying for a summer program so you can get exposure to the Fleet and see if that changes your perspective. Good luck!
That statement of seeming to value a college experience over ROTC sits poorly with me.

You understand that thousands of your peers have gone to SMCs and SA in order to serve, understanding that their "college experience" will not be there. Maybe you need that level of commitment.
I agree with much of what has been said in the previous replies, but want to add a few additional thoughts. My DS is a recent NROTC scholarship awardee and will begin his journey in the fall. He chose to go the ROTC route over a SA because he wanted that "traditional" college experience, along with the military training to become a naval officer, so I think I understand your desire to enjoy your college experience. That said, it is clear that ROTC is a substantial commitment and requires the student to make sacrifices and give up some enjoyments. But you have to look at the bigger picture of what you receive in return. Not only the tuition and book money and the monthly stipend, but the training you are receiving that will prepare you for success in your future, whether that is as a career naval officer or whether you decide to serve your commitment and join the civilian world. Right now you have a clear path. It is not an easy one, but anything that is worthwhile come with effort. Another thing my DS and I discussed when selecting his schools is the challenges of joining a unit at a cross town university. This obviously come with additional time commitment, as well as other challenges. What are your thoughts on applying to transfer to the host university?

I agree it would be a good idea to stick out your first year on scholarship and even attend CORTRAMID over the summer. Your repayment obligation does not begin until you step foot in class as a sohpomore. You are going through a big adjustment period right now, being off on your own and with a lot of new responsibility. Stick with it and you just might find that you find that groove you need to be successful; just give yourself time to adjust to your new life. You might find that desire to push through and keep going. Or you may confirm your thoughts that this is not for you.
Please give this decision more thought. I agree with those who said you should stay the second semester and go through the summer. My daughter is at a SA and told us at her first Christmas that she was going back to DOR. We pleaded with her to give it more time, stressed the amazing opportunity etc. When she left, we weren't sure of her decision. She decided to stay and is now a second class and is very happy that she stayed. You will learn how to juggle everything and it will get easier. The opportunities are incredible, give yourself more time.
Could you apply to the college you have to travel to and keep your scholarship?
Actually, I am going to second what Ginko just wrote. My own ROTC was at a very selective private college--and the ROTC department would assist students from our sister/member schools that did not host the program with gaining admissions to our school. It is much easier to transfer into a school than to apply out of high school-but especially if people on the inside are pulling for you. Great thinking Ginko!

The only thing I would add, is that when I look back at my college experience and my friends today--we are the same people from ROTC. We used to have low key 'lunch reunions' at the Pentagon when a large group of us worked there. I know that it is harder for the kids that have to commute--but those guys are colonels now, too. So definitely worth staying the course and living the dream.
Instead of thinking about what you're missing, consider how ROTC is enhancing your college experience. One of my sons, for example, has gotten to attend all three SEC Championship games -- for free. He met Peyton Manning and Tim Tebow at the most recent one in his role as color guard commander. And travel? Yes, there's some. He went to Liberia last summer for CULP for an eye-opening and life-changing experience. So try to see the glass as half full, and perhaps you will realize that plenty of guys would give their left nut to be in your position. Best of luck with your decision.

You took a scholarship from someone who wouldn't have quit. Better to leave before wasting more of other people's time.
You took a scholarship from someone who wouldn't have quit. Better to leave before wasting more of other people's time.

You, and everyone else, have no way of knowing if that is the truth. Period. There is a reason why ROTC programs award scholarships and then allow for people to try the program out for a year without financial repercussions. It's the reason why Service Academies don't hold a commitment ceremony until the end of a cadet/midshipman's sophomore year of the beginning of their junior year. Attrition is factored into the quotas maintained by personnel management offices, admissions, etc. They EXPECT people to leave. What may sound good at the beginning of someone's freshman year of high school may not end up being what they truly want once they go to college or once they enlist for that matter. People change, have different goals and want different things.

As for the OP "taking" the scholarship away from someone, another false statement. OP earned the scholarship, they would not have given it to him otherwise. The people who didn't get scholarships, guess what? Not everyone wins and not everyone gets a trophy. Those people were beat out by their competition. It doesn't make them unaccomplished or inadequate individuals, other applicants were just better. That's life. Statements like this irritate me because it's an attempt to make someone not afforded an opportunity feel better about themselves by trying to convince others that they were a better fit, that they wouldn't have quit, that they deserved it and the one who withdrew didn't, without having any experience in a SMC, ROTC or SA environment. This forum is for all people to come and seek advice, ask questions, discuss their options and learn. It's not here to make generalizations and inaccurate perceptions of someone's character based off of one four-line post.

OP, like others have stated, carefully consider your options. I recommend you finish out your freshman year. Consider your financial options if you withdraw from the scholarship, discuss additional opportunities with your family and really consider your decision. You say you want to serve your country yet you feel ready to give up an almost fool proof method of obtaining a commission for the hope that you're accepted to OCS following your college experience. There's no guarantee that you'll be accepted to OCS, it's just as competitive, if not more so, than ROTC. Consider that next time you apply for another opportunity, someone else might beat you out. Service is also about sacrifice, you may be right that you'll miss out on some of the aspects of "regular college life" but you also have the opportunity to experience so much more than the college students not enrolled in ROTC. At the end of the day, you need to ask yourself what is more important to you, a four-year "supposed to be normal" experience or the chance you claim you desire most of all, to serve in what is considered to be the world's premiere naval service. I have high school classmates who went to Ivy Leagues and top tier schools who wanted the normal college experience that are now waiting tables in my 2,000 person hometown, I have others that are in medical school, those that are engineers, pharmacists, teachers. I have a classmate who enlisted in the USMC, has been deployed five times and has four kids. I have a friend who now lives in Ireland, travels with a renowned choir and sees the world. There is no such thing as a normal or regular college experience or life experience. It's up to the individual to make choices about what kind of life or experience they want to have while potentially making short term sacrifices to get there. Good luck!
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You took a scholarship from someone who wouldn't have quit. Better to leave before wasting more of other people's time.
That's certainly incorrect. First he or she earned their scholarship and are entirely entitled to it. Second, leaving without cost in the first year is part of the program and the Navy expects it will happen. In many units 66% will leave before the end of the program. It isn't easy. Each MIDN will question if that's where they want to be at least once and probably many times over the course of their 4 years.