The Interplay between ROTC/NROTC and Admissions at Selective Unis


Dec 16, 2017
Historically, has it been difficult to fill N/ROTC units at universities with selective admissions because the scholarship is separate from admissions, and recipients end up being denied admission or they do not even apply to the selective university because they do not fall within their high range of admissions stats? Why don't N/ROTC units have influence over admissions similar to athletic coaches tasked with selecting their teams? If the military units wants these students, shouldn't the universities want them admitted the same way they want impressive recruited athletes? Does it really just boil down to money to the university, or are the N/ROTC units not being fully supported by these elite universities?

With a scholarship in hand, and assuming a particular N/ROTC unit at a selective school has met with and wants a student as part of their unit and the student has suitable credentials for the school, why can't they just say to admissions, "Hey, we want this kid." And if it does happen at some or all of the schools, why is it so secretive when the athletics departments do it so blatantly?
Great question. Wrong place to ask. Go to the universities themselves. They're the only ones who can give you a straight answer.
I respectfully disagree with your premise. I think you may be making the mistake of looking at a single example and applying it globally. Most of my comments refer to Army and Navy. AF struggles at private school because of very few Type 1 scholarships. (Wash U is a notable exception for AF.)

First define selective admissions. ROTC at Notre Dame, UNC, Duke, Northwestern, USC, Michigan, Texas, Wash U, Cal, UCLA, Rice, Cornell, BU, BC, Vanderbilt are strong units depending on service. Those that have all three services are generally strong. Try transferring a scholarship into one of these units in April, most are full. Some of the schools, don't serve all of the services.
The big 5?
Yale, AF and Navy are strong. Princeton Army is one of the best out there.
Navy struggles at Princeton because you have to crosstown to Rutgers. Those familiar with the area understand the struggle. (I have heard they were changing that this year, no confirmation.)
Harvard/MIT all are strong.
Stanford is struggling because they have no on campus presence. Who wants to crosstown 4 days a week to Cal for NROTC? I've heard they are also in the process of changing things to make it easier, no confirmation.
So, whatever these schools/units are doing is working. Would they take more? At the elites? Sure. Most of the selective schools mentioned above fill up.
If you are competitive (fall in the 75% or above) for a selective or elite schools, go visit them. At a minimum, call and talk to the ROO.
You never know what admissions or the services are looking for.
A couple of examples from this board:
36/1600 validictorian from a top high school.
State Champion, All American athlete, school president and early action Harvard accepted. Was never awarded an ROTC scholarship. (He did get one on campus.)
Similar student, first board scholarship awardee from all three services, was denied admission from a not so selective school, his first choice. Ended up at one of the big 5.
You never know.
Hope this helps.
I too disagree with the premise. Top tier schools have no problem filling their rosters. 2nd tier schools do because they end up as the safety schools for those same students