Frequently Asked Questions
Many prospective students who were considering joining the NROTC program have asked specific questions about NROTC in an attempt to determine whether they were suited to the program and vice versa. If you or your parents have questions about the NROTC program, take the time to read this document; it may help you to understand who and what we are and whether the NROTC program is right for you. Read the entire page; there may be some questions that you haven't even thought of yet.
NROTC Coursework and Curriculum:
Training and Campus Life:
Applications and Requirements:
Midshipmen and CU:
A: Our purpose is to train college students for leadership roles as commissioned officers in the Navy and Marine Corps.
A: Certainly. Very few people of high school age, or even college age, will know what they want to do for an occupation for the rest of their lives. Some of our students may decide to make the naval service their career after they are in it for a while, but there is no long-term obligation to do so.
A: There is a variety of good reasons for joining, and each student has his own personal reasons. Some students want to take advantage of the scholarship benefits. Some students join because they want to be Navy or Marine Corps officers and prefer NROTC to attending the Naval Academy. Some students know that they want careers in aviation or nuclear power, and join to receive advanced training in those fields.
A: The scholarship covers full tuition at the University of Colorado. In addition each scholarship student receives: all educational fees paid for; uniforms; $300 towards books each semester; and up to a $400 per month subsistence allowance. At Colorado, we also provide university medical coverage. The NROTC pays for scholarship students' initial transportation from home to school and from school to summer cruise training.
A: Yes. Students who enter the junior year in College Program status will begin receiving a $350 per month tax-free subsistence allowance. In addition, during the entire four years, they are given use of the uniforms they need, and their naval science textbooks. They also receive pay during summer cruise between their junior and senior years.
A: No. Those expenses must be borne by the individual families. Students who find that room and board payments represent a financial hardship should investigate Colorado's financial aid program. Many of our NROTC students, and most other Colorado students, receive some form of financial aid from the university, either in the form of grants, loans, or work-study jobs on campus.
A: We have two categories of students. Our scholarship students are obligated for four years of active duty after graduation. They accept the obligation at the beginning of the sophomore year. Our College Program (non-scholarship) students are obligated for three years of active duty after graduation. They accept the obligation at the beginning of their junior year.
A: Correct. Scholarship students have a year, and College Program students have two years to experience the NROTC program before they have to decide whether to remain in the program and to incur the obligation, or to leave the program without obligation.
A: Most of our students, male and female, will graduate as "line officers". That means that they will be expected to go on to further training in aviation, submarines, or conventional or nuclear powered surface ships. There are a very limited number of medical school scholarships. We also have a NROTC Nurse Corps option leading to a commission in the Navy Nurse Corps. As a Nursing Student you would apply to and attend the University of Colorado Health Science Center or Regis University after two years at CU Boulder because CU Boulder does not have a nursing program. Those who choose (and are accepted for) the Marine Corps can go into aviation or a variety of ground officer assignments.
A: Yes. Assignments are made on the basis of the student's choices, qualifications, performance and needs of the Navy. Scholarship status is not a factor in the assignment process.
A: Most likely. At the beginning of the senior year, fall semester, our students state their duty preferences, and most will get their first choice of duty. There are some prerequisites, such as being physically qualified for aviation, and having the right college major and GPA for nuclear powered ships and submarines. Here at Colorado, we are VERY proud of our success rate in getting our midshipmen their FIRST choice of assignment.
A: The Navy does not give such a guarantee. However, experience has shown that a solid academic performance at Colorado, and high scores on the aviation aptitude exam, plus being physically qualified for aviation, will give a Midshipman an excellent chance of getting aviation. The Marine Corps does offer flight guarantees, which can be granted by meeting the requirements any time up to 90 days before graduation.
A: That is a possibility, but not a very likely one unless you have an exceptional record of undergraduate academic work. A few top students are selected each year to go on to graduate school, but the vast majority of Midshipmen are expected to enter the military after graduation. Keep in mind, though, that the Navy and Marine Corps have their own Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, and you will be eligible for assignment there after your first three or four years of active duty. This will enable you to obtain a graduate degree in one of the offered courses of study while receiving full pay.
A: Maybe. At this time, a maximum of 25 NROTC Midshipmen nationwide receive permission to apply to medical school each year. If admitted to medical school, they attend immediately following graduation. Under this program, students begin to serve their obligation following their residency. To enter this program, the student must gain acceptance into a medical school.
A: NROTC students take, on average, two Naval Science courses per year, one each in the fall and spring semesters. These courses may be taken as electives in whatever major you choose. All Navy/Marine option scholarship students must take one course in American Military History/National Security Policy. All Navy option students are required to take two courses in English Composition. Navy option students are also required to take one course in computer science. Additionally, scholarship students (not including Marine option students) must take two semesters of calculus and two semesters of physics.
A: The NROTC Unit provides professional tutoring in calculus and physics for those students who need a little help with these difficult subjects. Additionally, we require all incoming freshman and anyone struggling to participate in weekly study hours. Midshipmen will be assigned a mentor. A mentor is an upperclassman in the same or similar major. Their function is to provide incoming freshman advice about school, NROTC and university life. Lastly, each Midshipman is assigned to a class advisor. The class advisor is an active duty Lieutenant who also provides advice about school and NROTC while keeping the big picture in mind. The advisor will make sure each Midshipman is tracking along in his major and NROTC.
A: In most respects, it is the same. Marine option students are not required to take calculus and physics courses. Marine option students take different Naval Science courses in their junior and senior years, and in the summer after their junior year they take part in the Officer Candidate School (OCS) training program "BULLDOG" at Quantico, Virginia. Our Marine Officer Instructor guides them in their development, and upon graduation they are commissioned as Second Lieutenants in the U.S. Marine Corps.
A: There are three different cruises. The first summer cruise, after the freshman year, gives all scholarship students the chance to learn about the four basic "line officer" specialties. The students spend one week at each of four locations to receive indoctrination in aviation, submarine, surface ships, and Marine Corps amphibious operations. The second summer cruise, which all scholarship students take after the sophomore year, is aboard either a surface ship or submarine (student's choice) and is geared toward experiencing the Navy from an enlisted viewpoint. The summer cruise after the junior year provides junior officer training aboard ships or submarines for the Navy students, and at the Marine Corps Base at Quantico, Virginia for the Marine Corps students. College Program students complete one summer training cruise; their cruise is the same as their scholarship student counterparts' after the junior year. Nurse Corps students take two cruises, one aboard ship after freshman year, and one at a Naval Hospital after junior year.
A: The summer cruises are part of our curriculum and are a required part of the program. However, we will allow you to state your preference for when you would like to take the cruise. The cruises are only four to six weeks long, so you should still be able to work for part of the summer. Also, the Midshipmen are paid about $550 per month during the duration of the cruise.
A: Our students travel all over the world on cruises. The Navy pays for travel expenses from school or your home to the cruise site and your return to home each summer. Our juniors have many options available to them. They can request Aircraft Carrier or Patrol Squadron cruises and special training with Navy Seals. They may also request a foreign exchange cruise for their final summer. Each year, several of our students take summer cruises aboard ships of a foreign Navy. Some degree of foreign language ability is required to cruise with non-English speaking navies.
A: It is nearly identical. The physical fitness standards are a little different for women; and women cannot cruise aboard submarines. Other than that, the women train the same as the men.
A: Yes. NROTC and Academy graduates have identical opportunities to go into the fields of their choice. When it comes time to state duty preferences and to be selected for duty assignments, students with higher academic and aptitude rankings, regardless of where they go to school, will be most likely to receive their first choice of assignments.
A: No. NROTC Midshipmen are only required to wear the uniform on Thursday for classes and Lab. Lab, otherwise known as drill, may consist of military formation, classroom sessions, general briefings, tactical scenarios, or physical fitness training.
A: Here at the University of Colorado Boulder (CU), the Housing and ROTC (Reserve Officers Training Corp) departments are partnering to provide students enrolled/involved in the Army, Air Force, and Navy/Marine Corps ROTC programs with the ability to live with another ROTC student as roommates in the Residence Halls on the CU campus. The purpose of this program is to make living in the Residence Halls more convenient, inclusive, and comfortable for Resident Cadets. Interested? It's easy to sign up. When filling out the required CU Residence Hall application simply answer "yes" to the question in the questionnaire section regarding ROTC Cadets. Be advised that requests to be housed with an ROTC roommate will be on a space available basis depending on when the request is made. If you have questions regarding this program please do not hesitate to call our representatives in the CU Housing and ROTC departments.
CU Housing Contact: 303-492-6673 or email at Reservations@Colorado.EDU Naval ROTC Contact: LT Duane Lawson, 303-492-2576 or Duane.Lawson@Colorado.EDU
A1: Start the process at the beginning of you high school senior year. The Navy Recruiting Command and Headquarters, Marine Corps accept and process all NROTC scholarship applications. Go to https://www.nrotc.navy.mil to start the application process. The Navy Recruiting Command or Headquarters, Marine Corps will notify you of the results of the scholarship selection board. A2: After arriving on campus as a college freshman. By entering NROTC as a College Program student, you can apply for a three-year scholarship at the end of your freshman year. The staff at the NROTC will assist you in preparing the application. If you receive a scholarship and accept it, you incur the same obligation as a four-year scholarship student entering their sophomore year.
A: You must be a U.S. citizen; you must be at least 17 years old as of September 1st of the year you enter the program; and you must be able to graduate by age 25. Age waivers are available for those with previous military service. College Program students can join at the age of 16 and must be able to graduate by the age of 27 1/2. You must be a high school graduate and you must be medically qualified. Men must be between 62 and 78 inches tall (66 to 78 for Marines); women between 60 and 78 inches tall (same for Marines). Weight should be proportionate to height. Vision must be correctable to 20/20 with refractive error not exceeding +6.0 diopters (+7.0 diopters for nurses). Normal color vision is required for Navy students. There is no color vision requirement for Marine Option students. There can be no severe hay fever or chronic rhinitis, and no history of asthma since the 12th birthday. Positive HIV is disqualifying. Those applicants whose eyes require correction to 20/20 will require a physical waiver, and, by law, the number of waivers that allotted to scholarship students is limited to 35% of the total number of scholarships in effect.
A: The scholarship selection process is completely independent of the medical examination. Scholarship selection is based on academic performance, extracurricular activities, and demonstrated leadership potential. You can be selected as a scholarship nominee even before you take the medical exam; but, of course, it cannot be awarded to you until you have passed the medical exam. The importance of completing and passing the medical exam cannot be over-emphasized. It is up to you to do all you can to complete the medical exam in a timely fashion. If follow-on exams or inputs from your local doctor are required, then you must ensure you meet these requirements.
A: That depends on the nature of the problem. Some problems, such as minor eye corrections, can be waived. Some problems, such as having had certain childhood diseases, or a family history of diabetes, can cloud your medical record to the point that additional medical evidence may be required to substantiate your qualification. Unless you are told that your condition is absolutely disqualifying, you should do all that you can to obtain medical certification. Letters from family doctors or your local specialists can help to show that your condition should not be disqualifying. When in doubt, ask for a medical waiver.
A: Marine Option students are required to pass a physical fitness exam to be eligible for scholarship selection. Navy Option students do not take this exam as a prerequisite to selection. Once in the NROTC program, all Midshipmen are required to pass a semi-annual physical readiness test, which, for Navy option students, consists of push-ups, sit-ups, and a 1.5 mile run. All Midshipmen are encouraged to seek excellence in their physical fitness, and to do more than the minimums in their fitness tests. Marine Option students take a slightly different test that consists of pull-ups, sit-ups, and a 3 mile run.
A: Each year, more than 14,000 students complete the application requirements for an NROTC scholarship. In 2003, about 2400 total scholarships were awarded. That sounds like a small chance for a scholarship, but the odds are much better than that. Many of those 12,000 NROTC applicants apply for other scholarships, too. When the time comes to award the scholarships, a large number of students will decline the NROTC offer because they have received similar offers from the other ROTC's, or from service academies, or from universities. The real odds of receiving a scholarship are higher and, of course, directly proportional to the quality of the individual's academic and extra-curricular records. In addition, there are many three-year scholarships awarded to College Program students. The selection process is based upon your performance in both academics and aptitude and is very competitive.
A: The scholarship selection board meets bi-weekly from October through March of each year in Pensacola, Florida. This board is made up of different groups of NROTC Unit Commanding Officers (Navy Captains). Because of the rolling nature of the board, you could be awarded a scholarship anytime from November through April. If you are ever in doubt as to the status of your scholarship application package, feel free to call 1-800-NAV-ROTC and ask or visit the following web site: https://www.nrotc.navy.mil.
Average SAT 1299 Math SAT 660 Verbal SAT 639 Top Tenth in Class Rank 74% Awards 58% Honor Society 66% Athlete 81%
A: Yes, but not through the process that I just described. Students can become eligible for the award of a scholarship by joining their NROTC Unit in the College Program (non-scholarship) status. After one academic term, the student can be recommended for scholarship status to the Chief of Naval Education and Training, who is empowered to award scholarships to promising College Program students. In general, if you can earn better than a 3.2 GPA in your first academic term, achieve a "B" or better in Calculus, and demonstrate a high aptitude for Naval Service, you will have a good chance for a NROTC scholarship.
A: When you initially apply for the NROTC scholarship, you must release your SAT or ACT scores to the scholarship board. When your scores are received, and they are high enough to qualify you for the NROTC program, you become "board eligible". At that point, your recruiter will schedule you for your interview, aptitude test, physical exam, and anything else that needs to be completed. In order to have your record appear before the scholarship selection board, you must complete all aspects of the application procedure, with the exception of the physical exam, which can be done later. It is up to you to ensure that all of this is completed in time for the selection board. At the latest, you should complete the paperwork portion of the application by mid-January.
A: As much as you want, but at least ten hours a week. Your Naval Science courses meet three hours per week and replace other electives, so those courses should not be thought of as extra requirements. In addition, there is a two-hour drill session each week, and you may be asked to devote about two nights per month in required activities. There are a number of NROTC extra curricular activities available to you if you are interested in them. We sponsor formal and informal dinners, parties, picnics, and other get-togethers, and we participate in Colorado's intra-mural athletics with a variety of NROTC teams. Almost all of these activities are purely voluntary.
A: NROTC Midshipmen are given the same status as "inactive reservists". You will get a "reserve" military ID card, but you will be a civilian during all but the summer training cruise periods of your curriculum. The summer training is performed in an active duty "reserve" status.
A: The NROTC Unit will pay your tuition and fees directly to the university. Incoming freshman are required to pay a tuition deposit and a housing deposit before school starts. You must pay these deposits. The tuition deposit is applied toward your first tuition bill. Since the Navy will pay that tuition bill, your initial tuition deposit can be returned to you after school starts, or it can be applied to a future housing bill, at your option. The Navy will provide a basic book stipend of $300, independent of the amount you actually spend on books.
A: No. The scholarship selection process is TOTALLY INDEPENDENT of the Colorado admission process. You must seek admission to Colorado or some other NROTC host university. Remember that the NROTC scholarship cannot be awarded to you until you have been accepted for admission at an NROTC host school. It is a good idea for NROTC scholarship applicants to apply to more than one NROTC host school to ensure acceptance to at least one NROTC host school.
A: No. The same personal characteristics and academic credentials are considered in scholarship selection and in Colorado admission. Selection for a scholarship is a good indication that you may be selected for admission; but it is neither guaranteed nor implied. The NROTC scholarship committee might place more emphasis on leadership potential as evidenced in extra curricular athletics or school government activities. The university might place more emphasis on academic achievement.
A: Absolutely not! In most cases, you will not be able to wait. The deadline for admission application to Colorado is early in the spring. Unless you are fortunate enough to be selected for an early scholarship, you may not know your NROTC scholarship status until after Colorado's deadline. So, you will likely have to apply for admission before you know of your scholarship selection - a small investment that could pay big dividends later.
A: Yes. The NROTC scholarship selection board will consider the "whole person", including College Board scores, grades, class standing, athletics, participation in extra curricular activities, recommendations, interview results, and perceived potential. We are looking for the future leaders of the Navy and Marine Corps. We want well rounded students who are intelligent enough to excel in academics, athletic enough to meet the physical challenges of military service, and who are personable and dynamic enough to assume roles as military leaders. It is not enough to be only bright, or only athletic, or only personable. It takes a combination of the three qualities to be a successful Naval Officer. Officer candidates must also be of high moral character. Students with criminal records or who have gone beyond experimentation with illegal drugs are not likely officer candidates. Take care in selecting those who will provide written recommendations for you. If a candidate is depicted as being an average run-of-the-mill student, it will detract from the board's assessment of the individual. The application interview with your local recruiter is also vitally important. Look sharp and present yourself well. College Board scores can be a positive factor for the student, but only insofar as they are supported by actual academic achievement. A student with high SAT or ACT scores, but mediocre grades and class standing, is less desirable than a student with moderate scores and high grades and standing. One is coasting and the other is a hard working achiever.
A: Yes, providing that the University has an NROTC Unit or that it has an agreement with a Unit at a nearby university for you to attend in a "cross-enrolled" status. In the NROTC scholarship application process, you will be asked your university preference. After you receive a scholarship, your admission status at your first choice school will be monitored by that NROTC Unit. Your scholarship cannot be awarded until you have gained admission to your first-choice school. If you are denied admission to your first-choice school, or if your choices change due to personal preference, you must notify the Naval Education and Training Command of your new desires. Occasionally, an NROTC Unit's freshmen class may fill. When this happens, scholarship nominees, who had wanted to attend that school, may be asked to attend their second-choice school if they have been admitted there. This is not a common occurrence. MAKE SURE THE CHIEF OF NAVAL EDUCATION AND TRAINING KNOWS WHAT YOUR CURRENT FIRST CHOICE SCHOOL IS, SINCE IT MAY CHANGE THROUGH YOUR SENIOR YEAR.
A: Yes. You may join our Unit as a "cross-enrolled" student if you would like to attend the University of Colorado at Denver, but the unit discourages attending CU Denver. As a "cross-enrolled" student, you will attend CU Denver as a full time student and come to the CU Boulder campus to attend Naval Science classes. Be sure to take the commute into consideration. Denver is a 45-minute commute from Boulder. You will be required to be in Boulder at least four times a week for Naval Science classes, Drill and P.T.
A: You should wait until after you are notified of selection as a scholarship nominee, and then write to the Naval Education and Training Command (Code N1/081), Naval Air Station, Pensacola, FL 32508 advising them of your new first-choice school. This cannot be done on the telephone.
A: The naval science curriculum at each school is identical. If there are any apparent differences among NROTC Units, they are due to the customs and traditions of the Units, and the personalities of the Unit Staffs, and even the Midshipmen in those Units. My advice would be to choose your university on the basis of its overall reputation in the major of your choice. Look at the reputation of the graduates of the school. You should narrow your choices down to a few, and then visit those campuses (and their NROTC Units) to help you make the final decision.
A: The NROTC staff is composed of active duty Navy and Marine Corps officers and enlisted personnel. The Naval Science courses are taught by the staff officers. These same officers will double as your NROTC class advisors, providing guidance and assistance, as necessary, in your academic and military pursuits.
A: There are several reasons and circumstances for leaving the NROTC program. There is no obligation at all if you quit before the sophomore year. If, after the start of the sophomore year, you decide to quit, you will either have to pay back tuition expended, or go on active military service in enlisted status immediately if you drop out of college, or upon graduation if you stay in college. If a medical problem develops that would preclude you from commissioning, then the obligation would most likely be erased. If you drop from the program because of your own misconduct or inaptitude, you could be required to reimburse the Navy for your tuition and book expenditures at the discretion of the Secretary of the Navy.
A: The Secretary of the Navy reserves final determination for either recoupment or active military service if you are disenrolled for any reason.
A: You can change from one option to the other, but it is not automatic. You must request the change, and both Navy and Marine Corps officials must approve it. The changing of option after the sophomore year is discouraged because it involves making up the specialized courses that are begun for Navy and Marine option students beginning in the junior year.
A: Yes. Every year the Colorado NROTC unit hosts a freshmen orientation program. Orientation will be held two weeks before the start of classes. The orientation program is voluntary but highly recommended for all incoming freshmen. It lasts six days, and is at Fort Carson in Colorado Springs. The expense of the orientation is borne by the Navy. At Orientation, freshmen are introduced to military discipline and are fitted for their uniforms. They learn basic seamanship and undergo a variety of activities to prepare them to become members of the Midshipman Battalion. They receive physical fitness training and tests, swimming tests, sail training, marching instruction and some classroom instruction. By the time school starts, the freshmen will be fully functioning and knowledgeable members of the Unit.
A: No. The orientation is run by the upperclass midshipmen and supervised by the NROTC Unit staff. We stress the need for discipline and teamwork, and some people have to adjust their attitude a bit. Orientation is intended to be relatively low stress and is certainly less stressful compared to a real boot-camp, or compared to what the service academy freshmen go through for their entire first year. With that said, orientation is not easy. It is physically and mentally demanding. After the initial trauma of the discovery of discipline, most students find orientation to be very rewarding. It is also an excellent opportunity to get to know your freshmen classmates before school starts.
A: An NROTC Midshipman is a civilian, pursuing his or her own academic degree in a normal university environment, in the same manner as a non-Midshipman would. The only difference is that Midshipman takes a series of Naval Science courses, and he wears a uniform to class once a week. Midshipmen are free to join fraternities or sororities, and enjoy all aspects of campus life. Our offices and classrooms are just like all other offices and classrooms on campus. You will blend in with and participate in the campus activities of your choice. When you graduate, you will serve with pride as a Navy or Marine Corps officer.
A: You do not know, and neither did any of us who are in the military now. You have to join the program and experience it for yourself. That's why the first year is without obligation. We are looking for intelligent and physically fit men and women of high moral character who can be trained to assume positions of leadership and great responsibility in the Navy and Marine Corps. If you fit that description, and if you prefer to be a leader rather than a follower, then you owe it to yourself to give it a try.
A: Contact the recruiting officer at (303) 492-2576 or toll free 1-888-600-NAVY.