Frequently Asked Questions

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Program at a Glance

A brief overview of scholarships & program requirements

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Recruiting Officer Letter

HRNROTC's recruiter shares scholarship opportunities.

General Information

As the official NROTC website says, "The NROTC Program was established to develop midshipmen mentally, morally and physically and to imbue them with the highest ideals of duty, and loyalty, and with the core values of honor, courage and commitment in order to commission college graduates as naval officers who possess a basic professional background, are motivated toward careers in the naval service, and have a potential for future development in mind and character so as to assume the highest responsibilities of command, citizenship and government." Hence, our purpose at the NROTC Unit is to train and commission future leaders who meet these important requirements and will honorably serve as officers in the United States Navy and Marine Corps.

If you have a "B" average or above, moderate-to-excellent SAT or ACT scores, have been actively involved in high school extracurricular activities (especially athletics), and wish to pursue a technical major, your chances of receiving a four-year scholarship are excellent. However, as discussed in other answers, even if you don't receive a four-year scholarship in high school, joining the College Program at the beginning of your freshman year is an excellent way to prove your aptitude and initiative, and compete for a three-year scholarship at the end of your freshman year.

You must be a U.S. citizen; you must be at least 17 and not yet 23 years old as of September 1st of the year you enter the program; and you must be able to graduate by age 27. Age waivers are available for those with previous military service. 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 (a link to a height/weight chart is included below). 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.

A1. The application is done through the Naval ROTC website, You can begin the application process at the end of your junior year of high school. You must have your ACT or SAT scores sent to the scholarship board, and they must arrive before December 31st. All aspects of the application process, including the interview and medical exam, are scheduled by a regional coordinator assigned to your area.

A2. If you arrive on campus as a college freshman and desire to enroll in the NROTC program, you may apply for the College Program. 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 Unit will assist you in preparing the application. If you are awarded and accept a scholarship, you incur the same obligation as a four-year scholarship student entering their sophomore year.

Scholarship Information

The NROTC scholarship selection board will consider the "whole person," including College Board scores, grades, class standing, athletics, participation in extracurricular activities, recommendations, employment history, 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 use illegal drugs are not likely officer candidates.

Care should be taken in selecting those who will provide written recommendations for you. If a candidate is depicted as being just an average run-of-the-mill student, it will detract from the board's assessment of the individual. The application interview with your local NROTC Office or 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 indicative of a hard-working achiever.

Absolutely. The earlier you apply, the earlier you can be selected for a scholarship. If you finish your application processing in time to be considered by the early boards, you can be picked months earlier than those who wait until the last minute to apply. The Navy conducts a continuous selection process from September through April. Navy Option students are considered for scholarship selection as soon as their completed application package is received by the board. Knowing your scholarship selection status in the fall can be a big advantage in helping you to make decisions about which schools you can afford and to which you should apply. The Marine Corps conducts two boards for each selection season, one in November, and one in February, since the later board is normally after college or university deadlines, it helps a lot to apply early. By all means, apply for the scholarship as early as you can. You have everything to gain and nothing to lose. ALSO, APPLY TO ALL THE SCHOOLS YOU ARE INTERESTED IN, REGARDLESS OF COST, SINCE IT IS LIKELY THAT THE UNIVERSITY APPLICATION DEADLINE WILL PASS BEFORE YOU KNOW YOUR SCHOLARSHIP RESULTS.

You can change from one option to the other, but it is not automatic. You must request the change, and it must be approved by both Navy and Marine Corps officials on the basis of your own personal record. 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.

When you send in the initial scholarship application form, you will have checked either the Navy or Marine Corps box on the form. The box you check will determine the route that your application will then take. You will be contacted by a Navy or Marine Corps recruiter to complete your application processing, according to the box you checked. If you are processed by a Navy recruiter, then you will be eligible for a Navy Option scholarship. The Navy and Marine Corps conduct their own scholarship selection boards to consider their own candidates. The Marine Corps is a much smaller service than the Navy and requires fewer new officers each year. Thus, the number of NROTC scholarships awarded by the Marine Corps is far fewer than is offered by the Navy.

Absolutely. If a student hasn't been granted a scholarship, he or she can join the NROTC College Program and will be able to participate in everything a scholarship student does with the exception of summer training, but they may attend the initial orientation prior to the fall semester. After one academic term, in which the student's academic performance and aptitude can be assessed, the student can be recommended for scholarship status to the Commander Naval Service Training Command, who is empowered to award scholarships to promising College Program students. Additionally, you may apply on your own directly to the Commander Naval Service Command, just as you would before beginning college, for the 2-year or the 3-year scholarship. In general, if you can earn better than a 3.3 GPA in your first academic term, achieve a "B" or better in Calculus, and demonstrate a high aptitude for Naval Service, you would be competitive for the 3-year or the 2-year NROTC scholarship, and/or for advanced standing.

If you don't earn a scholarship by the end of your sophomore year, you will automatically be submitted for Advance Standing status; if granted, it will provide you with a stipend every month during the school year for the remaining two years. Upon graduation Advanced Standing midshipmen receive the same commission as Scholarship midshipmen. If a midshipman has not been granted Advance Standing by the beginning of the junior year, he or she will be disenrolled from the NROTC program with no service obligation.

Absolutely not! In most cases you won't be able to wait. Unless you are fortunate enough to be selected for an early scholarship, you may not know your NROTC scholarship status until after the university's admission deadline.

No. The same personal characteristics and academic credentials are considered in scholarship selection and in university admission; so, being selected for a scholarship is a good indication that you might also be selected for admission, but it is neither guaranteed nor implied.

The Navy scholarship selection board meets from August through April of each year in Pensacola, Florida and in November and April for the Marine Corps. This board is made up of different groups of NROTC Unit Commanding Officers (Navy Captains and Marine Corps Colonels). Because of the rolling nature of the board for Navy applicants, you could be awarded a scholarship at any time from November through April. If you are ever in doubt as to the status of your scholarship application package, visit the NROTC website: Three and two year-scholarship awardees will be notified over the summer between their freshman and sophomore or sophomore and junior year, respectively.

If you have a "B" average or above, moderate-to-excellent SAT or ACT scores, have been actively involved in high school extracurricular activities (especially athletics), and wish to pursue a technical major, your chances of receiving a four-year scholarship are excellent. However, as discussed in other answers, even if you don't receive a four-year scholarship in high school, joining the College Program at the beginning of your freshman year is an excellent way to prove your aptitude and initiative, and compete for a three-year scholarship at the end of your freshman year.

School Selection

No. The scholarship selection process is COMPLETELY INDEPENDENT of the university admission process. You must, on your own, seek admission to the university or some other NROTC university. It is a good idea for NROTC scholarship applicants to apply to more than one NROTC school to ensure acceptance to at least one NROTC school.

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, the physical set-up of the Unit, the personalities of the Unit Staffs, and even the midshipmen in those Units. Our advice would be to choose your university on the basis of its overall reputation and the availability of the degree programs you prefer. Look also, at the reputation of the school's graduates. 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.

You should wait until after you are notified of selection as a scholarship nominee, and then email Naval Service Training Command. Email links are provided under the contact link at cannot be done over the telephone.

Maybe. Our unit has cross-enrollment agreements between ODU and Regent University / Tidewater Community College and Virginia Wesleyan University.

Yes, provided 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. A list of schools with NROTC units is available at In the NROTC scholarship application process, you will be asked to state your university preference by listing five NROTC programs/schools. If you are denied admission to your first-choice school, or if your choices change due to personal preference, you must notify the Naval Service Training Command of your new desires. Transfer of your scholarship to another school is permitted if the gaining NROTC Unit has not reached capacity. Occasionally, an NROTC Unit's freshmen class may fill to capacity. When this happens, scholarship nominees who had wanted to attend that school, may be asked to attend their second or third choice school. Scholarship awards are independent from admission to the host university. In order to execute an NROTC scholarship you must gain admission to the host university.

ROTC Benefits

No, the NROTC Scholarship does not pay for room and board. However, most universities offer financial aid and other grants for certain qualified students. Prospective students are encouraged to contact the financial aid office to learn more information on room and board.

Yes. Students who continue to junior year with Advanced Standing status will begin receiving the $350 per month tax-free subsistence allowance ($400/month senior year). Also, during the entire four years, they are given the uniforms and naval science texts they need. College Program students in Advanced Standing status will also be permitted to attend summer cruise between their junior and senior years with the NROTC program covering transportation costs.

The scholarship covers full tuition at the university for two, three or four years depending on when the student applies for a scholarship. In addition, educational fees, uniforms, and a $250 per month tax-free subsistence allowance are paid by the Navy for midshipmen on scholarship while in attendance at the university as a freshman (+$50/month each additional year; i.e., $300, $350, and $400). The students are also given a $750 textbook stipend every year, which is deposited in equal payments at the 45 day mark of each academic term. The NROTC program also pays for scholarship students' transportation from HOR or unit to summer cruise training.

Medical & Physical Requirements

Both Marine and Navy Option students are required to pass a physical fitness test; Marines must pass the physical fitness test (PFT), while Navy and Nurse Option must take the PFA. Once in the NROTC program, all midshipmen are required to pass a semi-annual physical fitness assessment, which, for Navy option students, consists of the body composition assessment (BCA), the physical activity risk factor questionnaire (PARFQ), and the physical readiness test (PRT). The PRT consists of 2 minutes of push-ups, sit-ups, and a 1.5-mile run as fast as you can run it. Points are awarded for each exercise, and a minimum passing grade is established for each exercise and for the total points earned. All midshipmen are encouraged to seek excellence in their physical fitness, and to do more than the bare minimum to pass. Marine Option students take a slightly different test that consists of pull-ups, sit-ups, and a 3-mile run. Marine option students will also take a combat fitness test (CFT) which consists of several different exercises geared to more accurately assess their ability to fulfill common motions that they may be required to perform within the fulfillment of their duties.

That depends on the nature of the problem. There are some problems, such as minor eye corrections that 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. For more information, see the link below to the Department of Defense Medical Examination Review Board (DoDMERB) website.

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 that 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 that these requirements are met.

Military Community & Culture

You don't 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 is 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.

Absolutely. We have had a number of midshipmen who were on the swimming and diving team, played rugby and lacrosse, and participated in almost every intramural event. The question is really one of time management; university athletics are often time consuming, and you would probably have to negotiate with both the Unit and your coaches in order to make the time commitments for each work. Some sports are more flexible than others with the NROTC time commitment.

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 the midshipman takes a series of Naval Science courses, similar to minoring in a specific field beyond the intended major, and he or she wears his or her uniform to class once a week. Midshipmen are free to join student societies and clubs, and enjoy all aspects of campus life. You will blend in with and participate in the campus activities of your choice, and when you graduate, you will serve with pride as a Navy or Marine Corps officer.

NROTC midshipmen under contract are given the same status as "inactive reservists". You would have a reserve military ID card, but you would 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.


Students attending New Student Indoctrination (NSI) in Great Lakes, Illinois. The mission of New Student Indoctrination (NSI) is to provide standardized basic military instruction to Midshipmen Candidates in order to facilitate successful integration of new students into Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps and college life. This summer training lasts approximately three weeks and is a crash course in militarization in the same location as Navy boot camp. More information can be found at

New Student Orientation (NSO) is a local training evolution run by your unit that is supervised and run by the NROTC Unit staff who are assisted by the upper-class midshipmen. The evolution stresses the need for discipline and teamwork, and while some will have to adjust a bit, the orientation is intended to be a stressful yet manageable environment. It is certainly less stressful when compared to a real boot-camp or what the service academy freshmen go through for their entire first year. The orientation is not easy. It is physically and mentally demanding. However, after the initial trauma that accompanies discovering discipline, most students find it to be enjoyable and rewarding. Additionally, it is also an excellent opportunity to get to know your freshmen classmates before school starts and build friendships that last your entire college career and beyond.

As for attending boot camp, Navy Option midshipmen will attend a two-week Sea Trials cruise after their junior year to demonstrate naval skills in a P/F grading system. Marine Option midshipmen will attend Marine Corps Officer Candidate School (OCS) after their junior year. This is a high-stress, six-week-long training program in Quantico, Virginia, but again, this is not "boot camp" in the technical sense of the term, as it is a program designed primarily to test and foster leadership in the individual candidates.

Yes. Each year, just prior to the beginning of the fall semester, the NROTC Unit hosts a New Student Orientation (NSO). It is approximately four days long. The cost of the program is paid by the NROTC Unit. At NSO, freshmen are introduced to military discipline, fitted for their uniforms, learn basic seamanship, and undergo a variety of activities to prepare them to become members of the midshipmen battalion. They receive physical fitness training and tests, swimming tests, close order drill instruction, and some classroom instruction. Lectures on military courtesy, midshipmen regulations, etc., will be received during NSO so that by the time that school starts, the freshmen will be fully functioning and knowledgeable members of the battalion.


Yes, in most cases, you can. For more information, please consult a unit staff member.

Due to the tier system that the Navy recently implemented, all majors fall into one of three tiers:

Tier 1 encompasses all technical engineering majors, such as mechanical and electrical engineering.

Tier 2 contains the physical and life sciences, as well as mathematics.

Tier 3 contains all other majors, including languages, the humanities, and social sciences.

If you wish to change your major within or up a tier (e.g., from Tier 3 to Tier 2), you may do so with approval from the Commanding Officer of the Unit. If you wish change to move down a tier (e.g., Tier 1 to Tier 2, etc.) you must first obtain the approval of Naval Service Training Command (NSTC).

In most respects, it is the same. Marine Option students are not required to take calculus and physics courses, but are required to attend one extra physical training (PT) session every week that is geared specifically towards Marine Option students. They also take different Naval Science courses and participate in the Officer Candidate School (OCS) training program at Quantico, Virginia in their junior and senior years. While they are guided by the Navy instructors, they are more heavily guided in their development by our Marine Officer Instructor (MOI) and our Assistant Marine Officer Instructor (AMOI). Finally, upon graduation they are commissioned as Second Lieutenants in the U.S. Marine Corps.

The NROTC staff is composed of active duty Navy and Marine Corps officers and enlisted personnel. The Naval Science courses are instructed 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.

Scholarship and College Program midshipmen must maintain a 2.5 Grade Point Average on a 4.0 scale, have no failing grades in any subject required for their major or commissioning, progress on a prescribed timeline for graduation, and have a full academic load every semester (12 credits outside of NAVS).

New NROTC students should ensure that they register for the applicable Naval Science class for their year (ask your advisor about this) as well as the Naval Science Lab.

NROTC students take, on average, two Naval Science courses per year, one each in the fall and spring semesters. All scholarship students (both Navy and Marine Option) must take one semester of American Military History/National Security Policy and one semester of Cultural Awareness. All Navy Option students are also required to take one year of English (grammar and composition), one year of Calculus (by the end of sophomore year) and one year of Physics (by the end of junior year). The NROTC Unit provides professional tutoring in calculus and physics for those students who need help with these difficult subjects. Additionally, the Unit will accept some AP credit for all academic requirements if these credits appear on the university transcript.

ROTC Student Lifestyle

Not required. Each student makes their own accommodations for housing, but it is highly recommended to live in Whitehurst Hall where the NROTC Living Learning Center is located. This is a community with additional academic resources as well as a flood dedicated to NROTC and AROTC students. If you do not place into Whitehurst, you generally live with the rest of the student body in the residential colleges, in the Freshmen housing, or off-campus as they and the university deem fit.

No. NROTC midshipmen at ODU are only required to wear the uniform for one academic day per week (typically Thursday) throughout the school year. Other NROTC events may dictate the wearing of uniforms outside of that prescribed day of the week as well. Lab may consist of military formation, classroom sessions, general briefings, inspections or physical fitness training.

As much as you want beyond the minimum requirements. Your Naval Science courses meet twice a week for an hour and fifteen minutes each class, there is a two-hour lab session once a week, two to three 1-hour PT sessions, and you will fulfill leadership positions that have varying time commitments. On average you will spend approximately 10 hours per week with NROTC.

Midshipmen are required to take one Naval Science class each semester for four years. These classes provide instruction subjects from the history of the Navy to shipboard operations and engineering. Students are also required to attend a Naval Science Lab once a week. If students are on scholarship, they are required to attend approximately 1 month of summer training for three consecutive summers; advanced standing students only attend summer cruise after junior year.

Obligations & Career Paths

Scholarship Students only: There are several reasons and circumstances for leaving the NROTC program. To reiterate, there is no obligation at all if you leave before September 1st of your sophomore year. However, if you decide to leave after that, then you would be held liable for either monetary repayment of the scholarship or for active military service in enlisted status immediately if you drop out of college, or upon graduation if you stay in college. If a medical issue precludes you from being commissioned, then the obligation would most likely be dismissed. If you are dropped 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.

Maybe. It is highly competitive, and the NROTC program is not geared to produce these types of officers. At this time, only a few NROTC midshipmen nationwide are given permission to apply to medical school each year. If admitted to a medical school, they would attend immediately following graduation. Under this program, students would begin to serve their obligation following their residency. To enter this program, the student must first be permitted to apply to medical school as an NROTC student, and then must gain acceptance into a medical school.

That is a possibility, but not a very likely one unless you have an exceptional record of undergraduate academic work. Across the nation, a few top students are selected each year to go on to graduate school, but the vast majority will be 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 would be eligible for assignment there after your initial sea tours to obtain a graduate degree in the field of your choice while receiving full pay.

The Navy does not give such a guarantee. However, experience has shown that solid academic performance, high scores on the computer-based aviation service test & battery exam (ASTB-E), and being physically qualified for aviation will give a midshipman an excellent chance of getting his or her aviation choice.

It depends. Just before the beginning of the senior year our students are asked to state their duty preferences, and most will get their first choice of duty. There are prerequisites for certain duty preference, such as being physically qualified for aviation or passing a screening interview to pursue a career aboard nuclear-powered ships and submarines. An individual's preference is always considered, but assignments are merit-based with "Needs of the Navy" as the top variable.

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, the students with the higher academic and aptitude rankings, regardless of where they go to school, will be most likely to receive their first choice of assignments.

College Program midshipmen are obligated to serve a minimum of 3 years of active duty service with 5 years of Individual Ready Reserve service (or IRR, which is much less restrictive than the regular reserves), for a total of 8 years of commissioned service. The length of active duty is extended to 6 years for Naval Flight Officers and 8 years for Pilots and this obligation begins upon completion of flight school.

Not right away. 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. In other words, scholarship students receive a textbook stipend, a $250/month subsistence stipend, and full tuition with no obligation. You should also note that if a College Program student receives a three-year scholarship at the end of his or her freshman year (see below), then there is no one-year grace period as there is for four-year scholarship students.

Scholarship students that graduate and receive their commission are obligated to serve 8 years of commissioned service, 5 years of active duty and 3 years inactive reserve. This is in an unrestricted line billet (surface, submarine, aviation, or special warfare). If students go to flight school as Pilots or Naval Flight Officers, their obligations increase to 8 and 6 years of active duty respectively, which begin upon completion of flight school. The Nurse Corps and Marine Corps commitment is 4 years of active duty.

Summer Cruise

The summer cruises are part of our curriculum and attendance is mandatory if a student is qualified. However, we will allow you to state your preference for one of four phases throughout the summer. The cruises are only tawo to six weeks long, so you should still be able to work for part of the summer. Also, the midshipmen are paid approximately E-5 pay for the duration of the cruise.

Our students travel all over the world on cruises. The Navy pays for your travel expenses from school or your home to the cruise site and your return to home each summer. Our rising seniors have many options available to them. They can request aviation cruises or compete for limited availability to train with Special Operations or Special Warfare units. They may also compete for a foreign exchange cruise with any number of international navies.

There are four different cruises, at least one each summer. The first summer cruise, known as CORTRAMID (Career ORientation and TRAining for MIDshipmen), occurs after the freshmen year, and gives all scholarship students the chance to learn about the four basic line officer specialties. The students spend one week each at four locations to receive familiarizations with aviation, submarine, surface ships, and Marine Corps 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, submarines or aviation squadrons for the Navy students as well as Sea Trials, and at the Marine Corps Base at Quantico, Virginia for the Marine Corps students. College Program students take part in only one summer training cruise after their junior year.