How to Win an Army ROTC Scholarship

How to Win an Army ROTC Scholarship2023-01-24T21:01:44+00:00

There is a lot of information on ROTC scholarships on online forums and various websites, and our goal is to ensure you focus on the right areas for Army ROTC. Understanding the board process will help you apply effort to the areas that matter most in your application.

Here is an overview of the major sections in this guide:

  • Part 1: Types of Army ROTC Scholarships
  • Part 2: How Army ROTC Ranks and Selects Candidates
    • Selection Board Score
    • College Board Scores
    • Civilian Background Experience Form
    • Scholar, Athletics, and Leadership
    • Interview
    • Physical Fitness Test
  • Part 3: Medical Qualification and Starting the Process

Our goal is to provide you with insider tips on how to win an Army ROTC scholarship. We’ll cover a few basics on the types of ROTC scholarships below, but we assume that you have a basic understanding of the Army ROTC program. We recommend learning more about the Army ROTC program from their official website.

Many different colleges and universities across the U.S. have Army ROTC programs, developing leaders of tomorrow by preparing students to become officers in the Army.

We’ve created a complete list of Army ROTC scholarship benefits to help you make that crucial decision of which school is the best fit for you or your student. 

If your goal is to commission into the U.S. Army, earning a scholarship and a degree through the Army ROTC program is a fantastic opportunity. Especially when you consider the possibility of free room and board, making this scholarship potentially worth up to $80,000 per year. 

Types of Army ROTC Scholarships

Below are the benefits of the different types of Army ROTC Scholarships. We’ve only given a brief overview, you can find more details at goarmy.com. If selected, you will also receive a $420 monthly stipend and $1200 annual allowance for books and supplies.

High School Scholarship Program

There are a few different programs under the HS scholarship program:

  • 4-year scholarship
  • 3-year AD scholarship
  • Historically Black College or University (HBCU)
  • Nursing scholarship

West Point Qualified Non-Selects

If you apply to West Point and don’t get selected, there is a chance you could be offered an Army ROTC scholarship if you are qualified. We recommend applying to West Point to increase your chances, if you are interested.

Chances of Receiving a Scholarship

There are usually about 3000 scholarships awarded each year. 1/3rd of these typically are awarded towards four year scholarships. 2/3rds are usually Advanced Designee scholarships covering full tuition for last three years.

You can read more about your chances of winning an Army ROTC scholarship here.

Service Obligation

The service obligation is an agreement between you or your student and Army ROTC. This obligation ranges from three to four years.

Keep in mind that selection for Active Duty happens during Army ROTC and is quite competitive. If you aren’t selected for Active Duty, you may be required to serve up to eight years in the Guard or Reserve.

What Matters to the Army ROTC Scholarship Selection Board?

Some areas of your application are more important than others. Army ROTC ranks scholarship applicants out of 1400 points.

  • Selection Board Score – 25%
  • College Board Scores – 18%
  • Civilian Background Experience Form – 18%
  • Scholar, Athletics, and Leadership – 14%
  • Interview – 14%
  • Physical Fitness Test – 10%

The Army ROTC Selection Board

The ROTC Selection Board is worth 25% of your overall chances of receiving a ROTC scholarship. Professors of Military Science meet three times each year and rank candidates based on the following factors:

  • Interview sheet
  • College board scores
  • High school transcripts
  • Extracurricular activities

Civilian Background Experience Form

This portion is worth 18% of your overall score. The form is designed to determine the following qualities in an applicant:

  • Persistence
  • Enjoys physical challenges
  • Leadership aptitude
  • Moderation
  • Loyalty
  • Diligence
  • Calmness
  • Attraction to Army life
  • Strength
  • Honesty
  • Optimism
  • Kindness
  • Receptibility to criticism
  • Independence / motivation

The Army ROTC Interview

The interview is worth 14% of your overall score. You’ll be scheduled for an interview if you are selected as a scholarship finalist.

The interview is scored in five areas. Here are some tips on acing these sections:

  • Scholar – take AP/Honors classes, score well on your college tests, and rank in the top 10% of your high school class
  • Athlete – competitive participation in sports and receiving varsity letter(s)
  • Leader – participation in student government, captain of a team, leader in volunteer organizations
  • Personal Qualities Subjective Evaluation
  • Potential Subjective Evaluation

We recommend conducting your interview with a Professor of Military Science, if at all possible. This is due to the fact that the board score has other Professors of Military Science, so there is a greater chance that their opinions will be valued and they will understand the process from a higher level perspective.

Bring documents to verify your participation in activities to your interview. You control many of the points here so make sure you get credit for everything you are involved in with your interviewer.

We recommend addressing areas of weakness with the interviewer and make sure they record these and how you are overcoming those weaknesses, specifically for the board.

We also recommend preparing questions to ask in advance. This will give you the opportunity to end the interview on a high note.

Additional Interview Preparation Guidance

Get unique tips for how to ace your video interview, especially important with COVID.


To even be eligible, you must achieve a certain GPA and test scores. You must have a minimum GPA of 2.5. Your SAT score must be at least a 1000, or your ACT composite at least 19. These are the minimums, and we recommend striving for higher.

When students work with us, the two main differentiators between those who win a scholarship and those who don’t are the SAT/ACT and GPA.

College Board Scores

Your SAT/ACT scores are worth 18% of your overall score. We recommend re-testing to meet the averages for recent selection statistics. Strive for a 1295 on the SAT and 29 on the ACT to meet recent averages for the four year scholarship (average scores are lower for the 3 year advanced designee scholarship).

Read this post to learn more about SAT and ACT score requirements for the different ROTC scholarships.

Scholar, Athlete, Leader

This portion comprises 14% of your overall score. Your extracurricular participation, athletic activities, and leadership positions held are accounted for. If you worked instead of participating in sports or other activities, you will receive credit based on the number of hours worked per week.

Holding a leadership position or being team captain for as many years as possible gets you the maximum points. Strive to be active in your community and get involved in activities that interest you the most.

Physical Fitness Test

The Army ROTC Scholarship Fitness Assessment is worth 10% of your score and consists of a 1 minute timed event for both pushups and sit-ups and a 1 mile run.

The test is scored out of a possible 150 points. Each event is equally weighted at 50 points. Below are the minimums and maximums for each event (note, we recommend scoring well above the minimum)

  • Run
    • 9:00-6:30 for males
    • 9:48-7:18 for females
  • Push ups
    • 0-50 for males
    • 0-40 for females
  • Sit-ups
    • 0-50 for males
    • 0-50 for females

Medical Qualification

Medical qualification doesn’t come until after you receive a scholarship offer. You must be medically qualified by 15 December of your freshman year in order to keep your scholarship. You can find out more information about the DoDMERB process at their website.

We recommend scheduling exams as soon as possible in order to keep the process moving along, as it may take some time to get additional testing completed if needed.

Here are some common medical disqualifiers:

  • Asthma (after 13th birthday)
  • Mental health
  • Vision
  • Hearing
  • Orthodontics
  • Orthopedics

These are taken from a DOD Instruction 6130.03. You can receive waivers for certain conditions, but this takes additional time so we recommend starting the process as soon as you receive the instructions from DoDMERB. The biggest takeaway with waivers is that your condition must not prevent you from being able to deploy to a combat location.

As a general rule, make it your goal to become medically qualified before you show up to campus in the fall.

Application Timeline

Keep track of all the board dates and deadlines so you stay on track with the application process.

The Army ROTC application deadline for 2022 is February 4, 2022.

You can get a full list of board dates and deadlines here.

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