Reserve Officers' Training Corps scholarships provide up to a "full ride" way to pay for a college education. Competition runs high for ROTC scholarships, so you may increase your odds of getting an education paid for by the military if you apply for scholarships from each of the different military branches.
Three Possible ROTC Scholarships
The U.S. Army, Navy and Air Force each offers and controls its own ROTC scholarship program. ROTC programs run in partnership with universities and colleges. A specific college may accept the scholarships of one, two or all three military branches. With the ROTC program, the military is looking for the best possible officer candidates. There are many more applicants each year than available scholarships, so applying for more than one could increase your chances of being awarded a ROTC full-ride college education.
Apply to Any or All Military College Programs
The Air Force ROTC website says you can apply for as many of the officer college education programs as you want. In addition to the three ROTC scholarships, the military also pays for college educations for students accepted to one of the five service academies. The Air Force website says you should immediately notify all of the other programs to which you applied when you accept a scholarship or appointment to an ROTC program or service academy.
Keep Track of Deadlines
Each of the ROTC programs is completely separate from the others and managed by the respective branch of the military. This means cutoff dates for applying could be different, so you should make note of those dates to ensure you get all of your applications in on time. Also check for differences in the application process or acceptance requirements. Ensure that you send the exact information that each branch -- Air Force, Army and Navy -- wants from ROTC applicants.
Commitment to Serve Required
The return payment for the college education paid for by the ROTC is a commitment from you to serve as an officer for a minimum number of years in the designated branch of the military. The commitment is usually divided into years on active duty and an additional number of years as a reserve officer. A point to remember is that you will be required to serve as an officer in the specific branch of the military that gives you the ROTC scholarship.
Tim Plaehn has been writing financial, investment and trading articles and blogs since 2007. His work has appeared online at Seeking Alpha, Marketwatch.com and various other websites. Plaehn has a bachelor's degree in mathematics from the U.S. Air Force Academy.