Joining A Unit: How To

hockeygirl

Member
Joined
Dec 24, 2015
Messages
128
Being in a NROTC unit is something that I would like to do in college and realized the other day that I have no clue how to actually join a unit, despite having gone through the NROTC scholarship process. I am visiting a school with a unit this coming Monday and am sending the freshman advisor an email to meet up. What should I expect, what should I know, what should I bring as additional information? Are units at 'normal schools' different than those at Maritime Academies (if so what changes)? Is there a how to guide that I am somehow missing that everyone else has (if so could you pretty please provide a link)?

Thank you for all of your help.
Sincerely,
clueless
(ps. all and any advice is appreciated)
 

NavyNOLA

Member
Joined
Mar 11, 2016
Messages
636
You don't need to overthink this one. Any good unit will be happy to sit down and talk with a prospective college program student. Bring a copy of your scholarship application with you to provide to the freshman advisor so that he/she can have all the data on you. Besides that, come with any and all questions you have. Dress nice to make a good impression. Let them know the status of your application to the school; let them know if you've been accepted, already enrolled, etc. If you decide to commit to the unit, there will be some paperwork down the road, but that's not anything you need to worry about at this point.

Bottom line, bring your scholarship app, go with questions, and let the officer provide you with the path ahead.
 

5Day

Member
Joined
Nov 18, 2015
Messages
1,729
You are not missing anything. Each battalion will have a slightly different process for a college programmer to join. Some will be as easy as giving them your name and they will add you to their list, some may have a simple application for you to fill out. Just ask the officer what their process is for joining. Bringing your NROTC application, per @NavyNOLA , may be enough and you would just need to let them know what your final decision is.

There are no specific questions you need to ask. Just be yourself, be polite and ask what you want find out and what is important to you. You already know more than most since you have been here on these forums.

You could ask what class you would need to sign up for during fall class registration, It will be Introduction to Naval Sciences and Leadership Laboratory. Each school could have a different number identifier. But, again you don't need that information yet. You could ask when orientation week starts. You could ask how many of the senior class went into which service area. This could give you a feel for how large their sub mission is (if that is important to you). Talk to some Midshipmen to get a feel for the balance between academics and ROTC requirements.

Enjoy the trip. Every battalion my DS and I visited was impressive. The fit between you and the school will be more important than what the NROTC unit is like.
 

kinnem

Moderator
10-Year Member
Joined
Oct 21, 2010
Messages
13,972
+1 to above. The classes to enroll in will vary by college and not just the course numbers. In addition to the two classes 5Day mentioned, DS also had to sign up for ROTC PT. Yup, his college gave him a credit hour each semester for PT as they considered it no different from any other Physical Education class. If you're visiting as soon as you mention, I would be on the phone to the freshman adviser or whatever other officer you can contact. They will respond to email but perhaps not on your schedule.... rule of thumb.... when you need to communicate with someone, work every communications path available at least once. These guys are busy as they're not just handling ROTC responsibilities, but are working on their own advanced degrees as well. They may also be on spring break this week. Any one of the officers there will be more than happy to speak with you. If you can't get in touch with anyone then wander the ROTC building and try to locate a Navy officer and explain your situation. You're on the right path. Go for it. (Oh yeah, consider the Marines! :D)

EDIT: By the way, Maritime academies generally focus on the merchant marine, or at least that's how I understand it. You can commission into the Navy via that route though. One of Captains in charge of DS's unit went to one of the Maritime schools and commissioned as a Naval Aviator 1-2 years after his graduation. The Skipper was a cool dude! :cool:
 
Last edited:
Joined
Feb 23, 2017
Messages
48
So to join the NROTC unit at say NCSU for MO you'd just have to sign up for the required classes and PT, then pass the PFT? Also, when would you have to pass the PFT?
 

kinnem

Moderator
10-Year Member
Joined
Oct 21, 2010
Messages
13,972
The PFT is generally given within the first couple weeks of school although one normally has until the end of the semester to actually pass it. If you're interested in pursuing it, I would speak to the cadre beforehand.... like no later than April before folks disappear for the summer, that way they can let you know when to report, etc. A physical akin to a high school sports physical performed by your own doctor may be required (was for DS). There may be other paperwork to complete as well but it's all normally a formality. They just want to make sure you're in good health and you've kept your nose clean. Often NROTC freshman orientation starts a week before regular students arrive.

If you're considering NCSU, it's a great unit. They do a fair amount of things in conjunction with the units at UNC and Duke. I'm sure freshman orientation, and the Navy/Marine Ball is among them. DS almost went there but it was too close to home for his tastes (20 minute drive in heavy traffic). Go Pack!
 

5Day

Member
Joined
Nov 18, 2015
Messages
1,729
NCSU, is that North Carolina State University, correct?
They have one of the better NROTC website. They are one of the few schools that I have seen that has an application for college programmers. Here is there link to how to join as a college programmer https://naval.dasa.ncsu.edu/join-nrotc/college-program-advanced-standing/ Poke around there website.

Your commitment to joining the battalion as a college programmer, Navy or Marine Option, is much more than just going to classes and doing PT. This is from NCSU NROTC website "College Program and Advanced Standing Midshipmen are students that are not currently recipients of a full NROTC scholarship but are vital members of our battalion. These students are either receiving advanced standing benefits or still competing for scholarships. College Program and Advanced Standing students receive leadership opportunities in the battalion, have Naval Science course requirements and are held to the same institutional standards as our scholarship and active duty students, and the staff." All the midshipmen are treated the same. College Programmers have the additional incentive to do very well, because they are competing for a scholarship or advanced standing. Marine Options need to strive to do much better than just pass the physical test. You need to strive to max the physical test.
 

kinnem

Moderator
10-Year Member
Joined
Oct 21, 2010
Messages
13,972
Thanks for the info!! Also @kinnem small world! I'm also 20 minutes of heavy traffic away from NCSU. As soon as I decide between UNC and NCSU I plan on contacting the NROTC Unit and meeting up!
Good for you. It's a great area to live. We lived in Cary but moved to the Topsail Island area last summer.
What do you want to do in the Navy? What major are yo planning on in college?
 

Dckc88

Member
Joined
Dec 10, 2015
Messages
1,001
Thanks for the info!! Also @kinnem small world! I'm also 20 minutes of heavy traffic away from NCSU. As soon as I decide between UNC and NCSU I plan on contacting the NROTC Unit and meeting up!
Just a thought, maybe visit both? You should always choose a school for the education, however if you are not sure between the two schools and it is already a close decision, maybe learning more about NROTC at each school might help you decide?
 
Joined
Feb 23, 2017
Messages
48
Thanks for the info!! Also @kinnem small world! I'm also 20 minutes of heavy traffic away from NCSU. As soon as I decide between UNC and NCSU I plan on contacting the NROTC Unit and meeting up!
Just a thought, maybe visit both? You should always choose a school for the education, however if you are not sure between the two schools and it is already a close decision, maybe learning more about NROTC at each school might help you decide?

Yeah I've been to both so many times I'm definitely going to use NROTC to help.
 
Joined
Feb 23, 2017
Messages
48
Thanks for the info!! Also @kinnem small world! I'm also 20 minutes of heavy traffic away from NCSU. As soon as I decide between UNC and NCSU I plan on contacting the NROTC Unit and meeting up!
Good for you. It's a great area to live. We lived in Cary but moved to the Topsail Island area last summer.
What do you want to do in the Navy? What major are yo planning on in college?

Yeah I've liked the Cary area a lot especially compared to San Jose, CA. I want to go Marine Corps or Naval Aviation (Pilot or NFO). Majoring in Computer Science.
 

kinnem

Moderator
10-Year Member
Joined
Oct 21, 2010
Messages
13,972
And... the Marines have a pilot shortage at the moment. Who knows where they will be in 4 years but right now they need them.
I think both UNC and NC State have good Comp Sci programs but my gut says State's is better. This is based on no evidence other than State being more of a technology school and UNC more of a liberal arts place. Good luck in making your decision. They're both great schools with their own pros and cons.
 
Joined
Feb 28, 2017
Messages
86
Thanks for the info!! Also @kinnem small world! I'm also 20 minutes of heavy traffic away from NCSU. As soon as I decide between UNC and NCSU I plan on contacting the NROTC Unit and meeting up!
Just curious - how do the UNC and NCSU compare in your view (in conjunction with NROTC)? Are you considering on which one of these two better when reapplying to USNA for 2022? What other factors are you considering and what school are you leaning towards?
 
Joined
Feb 23, 2017
Messages
48
Thanks for the info!! Also @kinnem small world! I'm also 20 minutes of heavy traffic away from NCSU. As soon as I decide between UNC and NCSU I plan on contacting the NROTC Unit and meeting up!
Just curious - how do the UNC and NCSU compare in your view (in conjunction with NROTC)? Are you considering on which one of these two better when reapplying to USNA for 2022? What other factors are you considering and what school are you leaning towards?

Both of these schools have excellent NROTC Units and academics. Kinnem is right, NCSU has a much stronger engineering program, but UNC is known as a more "elite" school. I like that NCSU is less "liberal artsy" than UNC, but other than that there's not much drawing me to one specifically. I'm not applying to USNA I'm purely interested in ROTC (or PLC).
 
Joined
Feb 28, 2017
Messages
86
. I like that NCSU is less "liberal artsy" than UNC

Yeah...it is such a shame that SECDEF Mattis dedicated do much of his life studying the humanities and liberal arts....but what did HE ever accomplish, right?
I personally prefer UNC, but acknowledge that for engineering (intended major) NCSU is better... Then again, if DS is only going to spend one year at a civilian college (hopefully), then the quality of first year plebe-like classes to prepare for USNA are not going to be that much different between the two schools. So then it comes down to NROTC and that it's his decision to make after visiting and meeting with both schools' units..
 

kinnem

Moderator
10-Year Member
Joined
Oct 21, 2010
Messages
13,972
. I like that NCSU is less "liberal artsy" than UNC

Yeah...it is such a shame that SECDEF Mattis dedicated do much of his life studying the humanities and liberal arts....but what did HE ever accomplish, right?
I personally prefer UNC, but acknowledge that for engineering (intended major) NCSU is better... Then again, if DS is only going to spend one year at a civilian college (hopefully), then the quality of first year plebe-like classes to prepare for USNA are not going to be that much different between the two schools. So then it comes down to NROTC and that it's his decision to make after visiting and meeting with both schools' units..
It makes a difference if you do not get appointed when re-applying. One always needs to be thinking of alternate plans... in all aspects of life... and especially on the battlefield.
 
Top