How to Win a Navy or Marine Corps ROTC Scholarship2024-04-19T16:57:45+00:00

How to Win a Navy or Marine Corps ROTC Scholarship

How to Win a Navy or Marine Corps ROTC Scholarship

CAPT Roberts

Last Updated on April 19, 2024

Overview of the NROTC Scholarship

The Navy ROTC scholarship is incredibly prestigious and difficult to attain, including the Marine Corps Option ROTC scholarship. The scholarship is extremely generous, paying full tuition at public and private schools affiliated with Navy ROTC (NROTC). Every year, over 5,000 students compete for approximately 1,200 Navy ROTC scholarships. Nearly 2,200 students compete for 400 Marine Corps Option ROTC scholarships.

Understanding the what the Navy ROTC panel looks at will help you apply effort to the areas that matter most in your application. NROTC scholarship requirements include:

  • Excellent grades
  • High SAT or ACT test scores
  • Outstanding recommendations from teachers and others
  • Community involvement
  • Demonstration of leadership potential
  • A strong athletic profile
  • Medical qualification

In this guide, we break down all of the above to help you understand how to earn a NROTC scholarship to one of the 63 Navy ROTC detachments at colleges across the United States.

Contents of this Guide

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

  • Part 1: Types of Navy ROTC Scholarships
    • High school scholarships and the different 4-year Navy scholarships
  • Part 2: How Navy ROTC Ranks and Selects Candidates
    • College Board Scores
    • Selection of Major
    • Scholar, Athletics, and Leadership
    • Interview
    • Physical Fitness Test
  • Part 3: How Navy ROTC Ranks and Selects Candidates
    • Physical Fitness Test
    • Scholar, Athletics, and Leadership
    • College Board Scores
    • Interview
  • Part 4: Medical Qualification and Starting the Process

Our goal is to provide you with insider tips on how to win a Navy 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 Navy ROTC program. We recommend learning more about the Navy ROTC program from their official website.

Choosing a Navy ROTC Program

Many different colleges and universities across the U.S. have Navy ROTC programs, developing leaders of tomorrow by preparing students to become officers in the Navy or Marine Corps. You must be enrolled in the following list of Navy ROTC colleges or universities in order to participate.

Here is a list of all colleges and universities with Navy ROTC

Some schools offer additional financial incentives to Navy ROTC scholarship recipients. We’ve created a complete list of Navy 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. Navy or Marine Corps, earning a scholarship and a degree through the Navy 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 Navy ROTC Scholarships

Below are the benefits of the different types of Navy ROTC Scholarships.

High School Scholarship Program

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

  • 4-year Navy scholarship
  • 4-year Navy-Marine Corps Option scholarship
  • 4-year Navy- Nurse Option Scholarship

Benefits of an NROTC Scholarship

Navy ROTC scholarship recipients receive:

  • Full tuition at public and private schools affiliated with Navy ROTC
  • A monthly stipend of $250-$400
  • A $750 annual allowance for books and supplies
  • Possible but not guaranteed: monetary offsets for room and board if on a NROTC scholarship

The average cost of tuition and fees at a private college in the U.S. is currently around $38,000 (compared to only $10,700 for in-state students attending public colleges). The Navy ROTC scholarship is one of the most generous scholarships, as not all branches offer the option of paying the high cost of private college tuition.

On average, this scholarship is worth upwards of $152,000 for private colleges, leaving Navy ROTC scholarship recipients only with the cost of room and board.

Chances of Receiving a Scholarship

Read more about your chances of winning a Navy ROTC scholarship here.

Service Obligation

The service obligation is an agreement between you or your student and NROTC. This obligation is generally four years. All Navy ROTC midshipmen go on active duty in the Navy or Marine Corps.

How to win a navy rotc scholarship or marine corps option rotc scholarship photo of marines and navy sailors

What Matters to the Navy ROTC Scholarship Selection Board?

The following is how Navy ROTC breaks out its scoring by percentages to select scholarship winners.

  • High School GPA and Class Rigor: 30%
  • SAT or ACT: 15%
  • Teacher Evaluations: 15%
  • Officer Interview: 10%
  • Extracurriculars and Athletics: 17%
  • Essays: 7%
  • Physical Fitness Test: 5%
  • Military Parents: 1%

Most important criteria for Navy ROTC:

  • Have a high GPA with excellent grades in math and science classes.
  • Designate either a Tier I or Tier II Academic Major.

Tier I Navy ROTC Majors:

  • Aerospace
  • Aeronautical
  • Astronautical Engineering
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Naval Architecture & Marine/Naval Engineering
  • Nuclear Engineering
  • Ocean Engineering
  • Systems Engineering

Tier II Navy ROTC Majors:

  • Agricultural/Biological Engineering & Bioengineering
  • Architectural Engineering/Architectural Engineering Technologies
  • Astrophysics Biochemistry
  • Biophysics & Molecular Biology
  • Biomathematics & Bioinformatics Biomedical/Medical Engineering
  • Biotechnology Cell/Cellular Biology & Anatomical Sciences
  • Ceramic Sciences & Engineering
  • Chemistry
  • Civil Engineering
  • Computer Engineering
  • Computer Programming
  • Computer Science/Info. Tech.
  • Construction Engineering
  • Electronics & Comm. Engineering
  • Engineering Mechanics
  • Engineering
  • Physics
  • Engineering Science
  • General Engineering
  • General Science
  • Industrial Engineering
  • Manufacturing Engineering
  • Materials Engineering
  • Mathematics
  • Metallurgical Engineering
  • Microbiological Sciences and Immunology
  • Mining & Mineral Engineering Nuclear & Industrial Radiologic Technology
  • Oceanography
  • Petroleum Engineering
  • Pharmacology & Toxicology
  • Physics
  • Physiology, Pathology & Related Sciences
  • Polymer/Plastics Engineering
  • Quantitative Economics
  • Statistics
  • Textile Sciences & Engineering

Marine Corps Option ROTC Scholarship

Like NROTC, the process is opaque and there is not a point total that they use. The Marine Corps awards scholarships by Recruiting District so it is important to have a good reputation and be known within your District. The following is a map of the districts:

You must be a solid performer with very good SAT/ACT Scores (goal is above 1300 SAT/27 ACT), with a good high school GPA. Navy ROTC-Marine Corps option is best sitting.

Unlike Navy ROTC, the Marine Corps does not take into account your college major.

Most important criteria for Navy ROTC- Marine Corps Option

Participate actively in physical fitness and other sessions with the local Marine Corps recruiting office in your area within your district. Be known, be seen.

Score above 265 on the Marine Corps Fitness Test (PFT). Retake it in order to score higher. You can use this calculator to figure out how you would score on the test.

The Navy vs. Marine Corps ROTC Scholarship

How do Navy and Marine Corps ROTC scholarships compare?

FeatureNavy ROTCMarine Corps Option ROTC
Scholarship CompetitionOver 5,000 applicants for approximately 1,200 spotsNearly 2,200 applicants for about 400 spots
Key Application FactorsGPA, SAT/ACT scores, teacher recommendations, community involvement, leadership, athletics, medical qualificationSAT/ACT scores, high school GPA, physical fitness, visibility and reputation in local Marine Corps recruiting district
Scholarship CoverageFull tuition, monthly stipend, book allowance, potential room and boardFull tuition, monthly stipend, book allowance, potential room and board
Service Obligation5 years of active duty4 years of active duty
Preferred MajorsEngineering, technical and Tier I or II majorsMajor does not impact selection
Fitness RequirementsPhysical Fitness Test (part of the application)Score above 265 on the Marine Corps Fitness Test (PFT)
Medical QualificationRequired by 15 December of freshman year via DoDMERBSame as Navy ROTC, through DoDMERB
Scholarship WorthUp to $152,000 at private colleges for tuitionSimilar to Navy ROTC in terms of tuition coverage
Selection Criteria WeightsGPA: 30%, SAT/ACT: 15%, Teacher Evaluations: 15%, Interview: 10%, Extracurriculars and Athletics: 17%, Essays: 7%, Physical Fitness: 5%Physical Fitness, interview and reputation in local Marine Corps recruiting district, SAT/ACT score, and academic GPA
SAT/ACT ScoringSuper scoredBest sitting
Scholarship Application DeadlineJanuary 31 – check NROTC deadlinesJanuary 31 – check Marine Corps Option deadlines

Getting Medically Qualified for Navy & Marine Corps ROTC

Medical qualification (through an organization called DoDMERB) 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. We recommend reading through all the documentation on the left-hand side of the page to learn more 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.

We’re Here to Help with DoDMERB

The entire medical clearance process can be overwhelming, especially since it potentially jeopardizes your scholarship. If you’re looking for additional guidance and clarification throughout this process you can schedule a one-hour consultation with us, or take our online course to help you understand how to avoid some of the top mistakes students make and how to navigate the waiver process. We give you clarity and a plan of action.

Navy ROTC Application Deadline

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


Want to maximize your potential of earning a Navy or Marine Corps ROTC Scholarship?

Navy ROTC and Marine Corps Option ROTC Scholarship Resources


Learn more about Navy and Marine Corps ROTC

Navy ROTC Preparation Program

Navy ROTC application deadlines

Marine Corps Option ROTC application deadlines

Moving Between Navy and Marine Corps ROTC Programs

Letters of Recommendation

Essay Examples

The Fitness Test

Navy ROTC Book

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Online Course

Step-by-step guidance through the entire Navy and Marine Corps ROTC scholarship application process – increase your chances of earning a scholarship!

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