Frequently Asked Questions
What does ROTC stand for?
ROTC stands for Reserve Officers’ Training Corps. It is a course of study and training in military science. Upon completion of your degree and the ROTC program, cadets receive a Presidential appointment as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army.
What can ROTC do for me?
- Provide academic credit toward graduation.
- Provide realistic leadership and management experience while still a college student.
- Enhance your resume. Personnel managers know this training identifies the best potential new hires who can set and meet goals.
- Provide numerous opportunities for generous scholarships.
- Enhance your ability to communicate effectively and build confidence through public speaking.
Am I in the Army as a cadet?
Cadets in ROTC are not in the Army. They are in a commissioning program to develop their leadership skills to become officers in the United States Army. Once you sign a contract to become an officer, however, you will receive some benefits of military service, such as the post exchange (PX) and commissary privileges, use of military facilities, and more.
Do I have to go into the Army after college?
Only if you sign a contract do you incur a service obligation as an Army officer. You are not obligated to sign a contract until your junior year, if you are fully qualified. You can serve either part-time (eight years reserve duty) or full-time (three years active duty if you did not have an ROTC scholarship, four years active duty if you did). All students are welcome to take our lower division courses, regardless of their interest in military service.
Are there summer training requirements while in ROTC?
Yes. All advanced course ROTC cadets must attend Cadet Leadership Course (CLC) at Ft. Knox, KY either between their junior and senior year or after their senior year (30-day course). Selected contracted cadets will also have training opportunities to attend Cultural Understanding and Language Proficiency (CULP), Cadet Troop Leader Training (CTLT), Airborne School, Air Assault School, etc. After their freshman or sophomore year, a contracted cadet may also attend Cadet Initial Entry Training (CIET) at Ft. Knox, KY for 30 days.
What is my commitment?
All cadets, whether scholarship or non-scholarship, sign a contract by their junior year to accept a commission in the United States Army. All commissioned officers from ROTC will serve an eight year commitment. If commissioned into the active Army (serving full-time), most officers serve three to four years on active duty followed by four-to-five years in the Inactive Ready Reserve (IRR), The option to continue on active duty or not is based on the performance and preference of the officer. If commissioned into the reserves (serving only one weekend a month and two weeks during the year), there is an eight year commitment. If the commissioned officer was not on scholarship, then the service commitment is six years as a drilling reservist and two years in the IRR.
Will I have to go to war as a student?
As a contracted cadet with our program, you will not be asked to deploy in support of operations overseas. Our focus is to ensure that you graduate from your college with a four year degree, and are well trained and prepared for your future as an Army officer. This is also true for our National Guard and Reserve Simultaneous Membership Program (SMP) cadets.
How does ROTC affect my schedule?
There are two parts to the ROTC classes. You will participate in an academic class, as well as in an associated three-hour lab period. The lab teaches basic military skills and introduces cadets to the Army. You will learn drill and ceremonies, land navigation, patrolling skills, and more. The academic classes are electives that count toward graduation credits, taught by military officers and non-commissioned officers. They cover military leadership, history, military law, and other subjects which make for a well-rounded officer. In addition, the ROTC program includes a physical training portion to provide for physical development. There are many other extracurricular activities that cadets participate in as well.
Do I have to go to the University of San Francisco?
No. While USF warmly welcomes your application to one of our 44 full-time undergraduate majors, Army ROTC offers cross-enrollment with SFSU. This means that you can be enrolled at San Francisco State University and take ROTC’s classes to receive credit at your school. Also, you won’t have to pay USF cross-enrollment fees. Students from the Academy of Art University, Sonoma State University, Dominican University of California, and local junior colleges may also participate in the program.
Can graduate students enroll in ROTC?
Yes. Joining Army ROTC and becoming an officer is definitely possible for a student pursuing a two-year graduate degree, but this requires planning. Since a graduate student will automatically start off in the junior year of Army ROTC, certain requirements must be met even before beginning the graduate program in order to make up for the prerequisite 100 and 200-level ROTC courses. Students will be required to attend Cadet Initial Entry Training (CIET) to satisfy the aforementioned requirements. USF offers graduate programs in the College of Arts and Sciences, and schools of Management, Nursing and Health Professions, and Education.
How much money would I make as a cadet?
You will receive up to $420 a month (up to 10 months) as a contracted cadet. If receiving a full-tuition scholarship, cadets will also receive a book purchasing allowance of $1200 a year.
What is the difference between an officer and enlisted personnel?
There are important differences between enlisted personnel and officers. Individuals who have high school diplomas can join the Army as enlisted personnel. Individuals who have four-year college degrees or graduate degrees usually join as officers. Enlisted personnel and officers fill different types of jobs. Enlisted personnel are found throughout the Army in various jobs. There are nine pay grades for enlisted personnel, E-1 to E-9, while most enlisted personnel are in the pay grades of E-3, E-4, and E-5. About 83 percent of all military personnel are enlisted. Officers work mainly in managerial, professional, and technical occupations. For example, military doctors and registered nurses are officers as well as military lawyers and engineers. All military pilots are officers. Officer specialties are found in all of the management and combat areas such as accounting, planning, artillery, and infantry operations. There are ten pay grades for officers, O-1 to O-10. Most officers are in the O-2, O-3, and O-4 pay grades. About 17 percent of all military personnel are officers. Although enlisted soldiers can rise to the rank of a non-commissioned officer, commissioned officers are appointed to their office through a Presidential commission. In order to become an officer, one must possess a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. ROTC cadets, after graduating from their respective colleges, become commissioned officers.
What is the difference between reserve duty and active duty?
Army Reserve and National Guard members work part time for the Army. They train one weekend a month and two weeks a year. They receive approximately $270/weekend to start and $67/day during the two-week annual training. They are also entitled to limited medical care and access to facilities. Active duty soldiers work full time in the Army. They receive approximately $28,000 a year to start, 30 days paid vacation per year, free medical care, and access to tax-free supermarkets and department stores (PX & Commissary).
Can only scholarship winners enroll in ROTC?
No. Anyone can enroll in ROTC. Regardless of whether you are a scholarship winner or not, all ROTC uniforms, books, supplies, and equipment are furnished at no cost to you.