Enrolling in Army ROTC is not, strictly speaking, joining the Army. You will not be sent to boot camp. However, the primary purpose of the Army ROTC program is to produce its Officers, so you must agree to serve as Officers in the Army after graduation in order to go through the entire program, or if you have received an ROTC scholarship. Enrolling in the Leadership 100 and 200 level courses (the first two years of college) does NOT obligate you to serve unless you have agreed to receive a scholarship.
Scholarship winners must serve for four years; non-scholarship Cadets who enroll in the ROTC Advanced Course must serve for three years. All who graduate and complete ROTC training are commissioned as Second Lieutenants in the U.S. Army.
Army ROTC is one of the only college programs that teaches leadership. This training is invaluable for any career that involves leading, managing and motivating people or fostering teamwork. Young Army Officers are typically responsible for hundreds of Soldiers and millions of dollars in equipment; this kind of management experience can be very attractive for post-Army employers.
Army ROTC classes normally involve one elective class and one lab per semester. Although the classes involve hands-on fieldwork as well as classroom work, they are standard college classes that fit into a normal academic schedule. These courses can help students with personal and academic decision making while giving them the tools to exercise leadership in college life, even before graduating and becoming Officers.
Army ROTC Cadets have the same lifestyles and academic schedules as any other college students. They join fraternities and sororities. They participate in varsity team and individual sports. They take part in community service projects. There are two intensive Army ROTC courses that take place on Army Posts, during the summer; Basic Camp and Advanced Camp. Basic Camp is not required, however, to commission as a 2LT, Advanced Camp is a requirement.
Basic Camp is an option for all ROTC students to take during the summer, normally between their freshman and sophomore years. Basic Camp is a 31-day training event designed to introduce Cadets to the Army. The objective is to develop Cadet leadership skills and train them on individual and junior leader tasks to develop and reinforce Warrior Ethos and our Army Values. Basic Camp provides the critical thinking skills necessary to succeed in ROTC, and, ultimately, the Army. Basic Camp Cadets graduate the course prepared to lead at the team (3-4 Cadets) and squad (9-13 Cadets) level.
Advanced Camp is normally taken during the summer, between your junior and senior years. Advanced Camp is a 31-day training event that is designed to assess a Cadet’s ability to demonstrate proficiency in basic officer leadership tasks. Cadets are evaluated on their ability to lead at the Squad and Platoon levels, both in garrison and tactical environments. Cadets are mentally and physically tested during a 12-day consequence driven field training exercise that replicates a combat training center rotation. Successful completion of the Advanced Camp is a prerequisite for commissioning.