Split Option


10-Year Member
5-Year Member
Oct 6, 2008
If a junior looking to apply is in a congressional district that already has close to the allotted 5 appointments attending WP, or if the congressional nomination is hard to get due to process or the amount of those seeking the nomination - what about the split option route? Doesn't the junior who did his basic over the summer before senior year now have the option to ask his company commander to nominate him/her? And if an appointment doesn't occur cant the split option route also be rolled into ROTC?

Anyone with practical and pragmatic thoughts on the split option route?
If I am not mistaken, you are talking about enlisting your junior year, going to basic training the summer before your senior year and going to Guard or Reserves once a month during your senior year in high school.

The answer is yes you would qualify for a service connected nomination. These are available to those who are either in ROTC or AD, Guard or Reserves.

Even if you qualify for a service connected nomination you still must (should) apply to your members of congress for a Congressional nomination. Do not assume that 1) there is not one available or 2) the competition is too stiff.
I did the split opt back in 2000 when I first applied to USMA. I knew it was a way to get a nomination, but I also wanted to experience some life on the enlisted side. I'm glad I had the experience, and your commander simply has to fill out a DA form, and that will count as a nomination; however, it's not like that guarantees you to get in. It's a huge risk; back when I did it, the Infantry in the Guard (which I was in), had not been deployed since WWII--it's a whole different world now. If you do split opt and dont get into USMA, or ROTC, you're gonna be stuck enlisted and deploy with the unit you are in, regarldess of whether or not you're in school. I think it was a wise decision for me, but it's not one you should wander into lightly.
I attended a recruiting meeting given by a WP admissions officer this past Sunday. While he echoed all the cautions cited by ScreamingEagle, he said that getting in from the enlisted ranks is one of the "easiest" ways to get in WP. That is based on the fact that they have a certain numbers of slots available to enlisted soldiers and, in some years, some of those slots go unfilled. He specifically mentioned the split option for high school students. But, like Just_A_Mom said, you should/must apply to all available nomination sources.
so Screaming Eagle, if you do not get into ROTC or a service academies you risk deployment - I get that. Any definition on that risk. Are the various heads of ROTC at any one college less welling to take on a split option enlisted from the reserves? Is there any problem in transferring your split option to the ROTC - do your years served clock still keep turning over?
How about the pay - you get your coverage of college tuition in ROTC but do they also keep your reserve pay coming? I think the only risk for a person who is in the running for USMA missing out on ROTC if there is some unsaid friction from the ROTC command rolling the split option reserve guy into a specific college. Should the ability to roll inot ROTC be spelled out prior to enlisting?
Here is my two cents. Apply to USMA as a normal high school student. If you are rejected you can join the National Guard under the College First progam. This program will allow you to remain non-deployable for up to four years. All the while you can either be attending a civilian school as an ROTC SMP cadet or reapplying to USMA as a enlisted soldier without the threat of going overseas.
If you enter any officer commisioning program, i.e. USMA, ROTC, OCS, you will be able to neg out of your enlisted contract. As far as I know, ROTC programs have no problem picking up split opt, or any other enlisted, guys. That being said, this is the Army. Say you do split opt, you finish basic, apply to USMA and dont get in, then you go to AIT and re-apply to USMA, and your unit comes up on orders, well then, it's tought luck, enjoy Iraq. The chances of getting into either ROTC or USMA and not getting stuck in the Guard are pretty good, but you're rolling the dice. Once you enlist in the Army, you're in the Army, and you'll do what you're ordered, regardless of your prior ambitions.
Just had a ROTC officer from a major state university tell me son that ROTC scholarships will not be given to split option prior services. is he right? any knowledgeable recruiters/ROTC folks know? The SMP or green to gold does not provide the same 100% tuition as a 4 year ROTC scholarship would - as far as I am aware.