Differences in Selection Between Navy ROTC and the Marine Corps Option
The scholarship selection requirements for a Navy ROTC and Navy ROTC Marine Corps option vary greatly. The Navy Option puts a premium on high SAT Math Scores (700 or over) and selection of a Tier I or Tier II major.
On the other hand, the Marine Corps weighs about 30% of their selection on the Marine Corps Fitness Test–an arduous physical challenge that includes pull-ups to exhaustion, two minutes of curl-ups and a three-mile run. While considering the SAT, the Marine Corps does not weigh it nearly as heavily. Additionally, the Marine Corps allows the candidate to choose any major and does not emphasize technical majors.
Why It’s Difficult to Qualify for Both Navy and Marine Corps Option ROTC Scholarships
The differing emphasis of the Navy and Marine Corps leave many candidates at a disadvantage when competing for these scholarships. For example, a Marine Corps option applicant who is in average physical condition probably has no chance of the Marine Corps scholarship. However, he or she, if they have a good SAT math score and list a technical major, may have a good chance at a Navy scholarship.
Conversely, the Navy ROTC applicant who is in excellent physical shape but does not have a good math SAT score will likely not be selected for a Navy ROTC scholarship.
Tip: Apply for the Naval ROTC program in which you best meet requirements and switch after a year
For applicants who fall in these categories, they should consider applying for the Naval ROTC scholarship which best suits their strengths, obtain the scholarship, and then ask to move from Navy to Marine Corps, or visa-versa, after a year in the program. This is known as a “side load.”