After having observed the ROTC scholarship selection process over a six-year period as the PMS of two separate Army ROTC programs, combined with my research on the ROTC selection process for both the Air Force and the Navy, I can’t help remarking about the importance of the SAT/ACT in the overall selection process.
Four Essential Reasons to Ace the SAT or ACT to Win an ROTC Scholarship:
Both the Army and the Air Force give separate and distinct points for SAT/ACT scores. The Army—17% and the Air Force a little over-30%. The Navy does not have a formal point system (from talking with people familiar with the process) but puts great weight in their selection boards on SAT/ACT scores.
#1 All three services conduct a selection board. Having sat an Army ROTC Scholarship Board, (unfortunately or fortunately)- the SAT/ACT is a shortcut used by Army ROTC board members to “rack and stack” candidates. The board counts for 25% for Army ROTC. I go into more detail on my experience sitting such a board in this thread: https://www.serviceacademyforums.com/index.php?threads/observations-of-the-army-rotc-scholarship-board-member.67383/#post-664568
#2 The Navy has no numeric system for their board but ranks SAT/ACT highly.
#3 The Air Force is an exception as their board looks mainly at leadership, “motivation towards the Air Force,” the fitness test, and height/weight. The board score counts for 40% of the overall process. Nevertheless, board members do have access to ACT/SAT scores and from what I understand take them into account.
#4 (the takeaway) Board scores have an outsized influence on scholarship selection. Given that the Services have a superscore or best sitting policy for the SAT/ACT, it is to your advantage to take the test again if you can realistically improve your score. It is also advantageous to take both tests (SAT and ACT) because the highest score or scores from either testing service is used in the final evaluation.
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