Switching from NROTC-MO to AROTC


New Member
Sep 7, 2017
Hey everyone, I joined NROTC as a MO this year (college programmer) my entire life I wanted to serve in the military and fly helos. However, we are several weeks in and more and more I feel that the Marine Corps just isnt for me. I have a lot of friends at my school that are in Army ROTC and I have kind have gotten a feel for that program and really think I would enjoy and thrive in the Army side of things a lot more. My question has several parts. First since I am not on scholarship is there any rule prohibiting me from switching branches of ROTC? Second since I'm not on scholarship should I apply for the army rotc scholarship even before i drop NROTC or would that just be in bad taste?

(I really hope this post doesn't come off seeming disrespectful to the Marines. They are intense and the best, but I just dont think the culture is for me.)
As usual I would defer to our resident ROO's @clarksonarmy or @MohawkArmyROTC , for the best advice.

Nonetheless as an AROTC dad, I believe that there should be no reason you cannot switch as a freshman college program MO midshipman to switch and become an MS-I Army Cadet.

My DS began his journey fully focused on the Marine Corps and right now is on track to commission as an Army officer in 2019. After being turned down by USNA and NROTC/MO for a scholarship, He has since thrived in AROTC, earning a campus based 3 and a half year scholarship at his university. He was recruited in 2015 by a local USMC OSO to do OCS/PLC but turned him down as he had established an appreciation for his AROTC battalion by then (even before earning the scholarship).

He has no regrets about choosing Army ROTC.

Your first step would be to make sure you understand the differences between AROTC and NROTC/MO, (besides the culture).
  • AROTC does not guarantee Active duty. But if you excel on the OML, you have a reasonable chance at earning that branch.
  • Army has MANY more helos than Marines. But the Marines are short on pilots too.
  • Army being larger has many more support branches than the Marines and more officer jobs.
  • AROTC offers campus based scholarships (2 year and 3 years).
  • Marine Option sideloads are available but much tougher to get.
  • Marines pride themselves on having a cohesive culture.
  • The Army does offer Rangers and other elite groups but it is DIFFERENT from the Corps.
After talking to your AROTC friends, and given the above if you are still interested in moving to Army, talk to the AROTC ROO at your school about catching up on MS courses and other administrative issues.

The ROO will give you the best advice on what to do to get started.
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Don't see why you couldn't pursue a switch with the campus' AROTC unit immediately since it is so early in the semester. There is nothing holding you to NROTC at all at this point in time. If you're sure Army is the path you want to pursue, especially given AROTC-dad's caveats about active duty, then I would try to do it today. Talk to the AROTC unit first but be sure to give the NROTC unit the courtesy of informing them at the appropriate time.

I do know you could apply for an NROTC scholarship now. You should ask the AROTC ROO about applying for an AROTC scholarship... just to make sure you haven't missed the boat (har-har) already.

Remember, there's Army Strong, and then there's the Corps! :D Just kidding folks!
I joined NROTC as a MO this year (college programmer) my entire life I wanted to serve in the military and fly helos. However, we are several weeks in and more and more I feel that the Marine Corps just isnt for me.

Hawkeye: While I respect your position I do have to challenge you. You joined NROTC this year (4 weeks ago??) You haven't even seen the Marine Corps culture yet. Perhaps you found orientation uncomfortable but honestly, you haven't even begun to understand what the USMC is all about.

That said, if you want to change there should be nothing holding you back.

Good luck
Hawkeye - please keep us posted on your decision and actions. I'm curious to know the outcome.
my entire life I wanted to serve in the military and fly helos.

Depending on the year, Aviation can be a tough branch to get and is not a guarantee unless you finish ROTC in the top 10%.

If your main goal is to fly Helicopters then you may want to research the WOFT program for the Army. For this program you would skip ROTC altogether and apply directly to WOFT. You do not need a college degree to apply but it does help, if selected you would go to BCT and then to Ft. Rucker to attend Warrant Officer WOCS, at completion you would start Flight School. If flying is a main career goal the the Warrant program will keep you in the air for more of your career. Something to check into. I have two sons that branched Army Aviation through ROTC, if you have any questions let me know.