We are in a time right now when many applicants have heard good news that they have received a scholarship offer, and many others are still waiting for the news. This is a time of great excitement and joy for those that hear the good news, a chance to become an officer in the military and tuition paid for at the same time, who wouldn't be excited. After the excitement fades the reality starts to set in, how will this fit in with my classes, how much time does it take up, can I handle the extra load. All of these are questions every applicant should ask themselves. ROTC of every branch is getting tighter, the need is not as great and the possibility of being cut is getting higher. Applicants and receipients need to be aware that there is no guarantees in ROTC. Cadets are being cut from every branch for many reasons. Mess up in any way, fail a PT Test, miss weight limits, dip below the grade minimum and you can be cut. Some services such as the Navy have taken enlistment off the table as an option to repay the scholarship which means you will be on the hook for every dime. Some cases will seem unfair and will be of no fault of the cadet. Cadets that graduated two, three years ago or before had the benefit of a military that was not meeting its goals. These cadets could miss step and still be commissioned, not so anymore. Get a MIP, a DUI, get into a fight at a local bar or club, you will be shown the door quickly and left with the bill. My point to all this is the new cadets coming up need to be careful and smart, make good choices and be aware that this great opportunity could come crashing down around them. A lot of applicants will select schools that they would not have attended if they had to pay the tuition, they may select private or out of state schools with higher tuition. Selecting these schools are fine as long as everything goes as planned. Be aware of the costs, realize that if something happens you could be stuck paying that tuition. Think of the scholarship as a loan given to you to attend school, the prize is that you do not have to pay the loan back if you commission after graduation, if you don't, the loan comes due. Select schools that you can afford if the scholarship is lost, always keep in mind the money you may need to pay back, save your money. Parents, don't go out and buy that new boat with the kids college money because they now have a scholarship, keep it in the bank just in case then buy the boat when they commission. You don't want to be in the situation where in the last semester you are dropped and have a $150,000. plus bill due. The AFROTC has had this issue for a long time due to the fact the cadet needs to be accepted to SFT to continue, they may not have to pay back what has been paid to that point but they will not receive any more money. NROTC can remove cadets right up to the point of Commisioning for anything from missing weight, fail PT, and many other reasons, AROTC is the same way, fail in any area and your out. If you happen to fall below the required GPA in a semester you'll be on probation and will have to pay that semesters tuition out of your pocket, same with not passing the APFT. ROTC is not easy, it takes time and dedication, do not go into it with out really thinking hard. Remember every cadet has the first year to test drive ROTC, if they drop that year they have no obligation. If you are struggling at the end of the first year think hard about returning, start your second year and your obligation starts including pay back. ROTC is a great program and opportunity, I have two sons' on scholarship and I have had this talk with both of them. The older son is commissioning this spring, I still talk to him about it beacuse one miss step and it all goes away. Every applicant has the best on intentions and full of confidence, just be honest with yourself and be aware that getting the scholarship is just the first phase, your journey is just beginning and it can be a bumpy ride. Good luck to every cadet whether they are on scholarship or not.