Frequently Asked Questions
"The order, the self-discipline, the pride that had been instilled
in me by ROTC was a tremendous companion to my basic liberal arts
education and prepared me well for my Army career, or for that matter,
any career I might have chosen."
GEN (Ret) Colin Powell, Secretary of State
Q. What is Military Science?
A. Military Science is the name of the academic department that provides ROTC instruction at Western Illinois University. The program includes a specified sequence of leadership, management, and professional knowledge classes as well as "hands on" leadership experiences.
Q. What is ROTC?
A. ROTC stands for Reserve Officers' Training Corps. It is a program of study leading to a presidential appointment as a second lieutenant in the United States Armed Forces.
Q. Is WIU Army ROTC like "boot camp"?
A. No. ROTC cadets go directly to college where they earn their degree.
Q. Can women participate in ROTC and apply for scholarships?
A. Yes. ROTC is an equal opportunity program, and encourages participation without regard to gender, race, origin, or religious affiliation.
Q. If I enroll in Army ROTC, am I joining the Army?
A. No. You can enroll in ROTC classes for up to two years with no service obligation whatsoever. At WIU, you can earn six credits hours that may count toward your degree. All ROTC course credits will appear on your official transcript. For those students that require a minor, Military Science is a recognized minor at WIU and will be a natural fit into your academic plan.
Q. What is the ROTC program comprised of?
A. The ROTC program is divided into phases: The Basic Course (freshmen and sophomore years), the Advanced Course (junior and senior years), Army history, organization and structure. The techniques and principles of leadership and management are stressed throughout. The Advanced Course concentrates on tactical operations and military instruction, as well as advanced techniques of management, leadership, and command.
Q. How do students benefit from WIU Army ROTC?
A. In college and after graduation, cadets find that the training and experience that they have received are assets - whether pursuing an Army or civilian career. Employers place high regard on the management and leadership skills that ROTC instructors stress. Plus, ROTC looks great on a resume. When cadets complete the ROTC course, upon graduation, they become commissioned officers in the U.S. Army.
Q. Does military science count as a "minor"?
A. WIU counts Army ROTC as a minor.
Q. Won't ROTC interfere with my academic or athletic pursuits?
A. No. There are some time demands and some voluntary extracurricular activities in ROTC. But, simply put, ROTC cadets are more mature and better time managers than many students. Your academic and athletic success is the highest priority and we stress that. You must do well academically and athletically to succeed in ROTC.
Q. Does Army ROTC offer scholarships?
A. Yes. Each year hundreds of students attending colleges nationwide receive ROTC scholarships. ROTC awards them to students studying science, engineering, nursing, business, as well as a variety of other majors. ROTC scholarships are not based on financial need. Instead, they're awarded on merit. Merit is exhibited in academic achievement and extracurricular activities, such as sports, student government, or part-time work.
Q. Who is eligible for a ROTC scholarship?
A. You can apply for four-year ROTC scholarships while in high school, or two-, three-, or four-year campus based scholarships once you've started college. The scholarships are based on merit, not need. To qualify for a ROTC scholarship, you must:
- Be a U.S. citizen
- Be between the ages of 17-26
- Have a high school GPA of at least 2.5
- Have a high school diploma
- Meet physical standards (Physical exam and Army Physical Fitness Test)
- Agree to accept a commission and serve in the military on active duty or in a Reserve component after graduating
Q. How much money does WIU Army ROTC usually award and what does the money go towards?
A. A WIU Army ROTC scholarship is worth the value of full tuition and mandatory fees (or room and board), $1200 for books and a monthly spending allowance (stipend) of $300 to $500 depending on what academic year you are in. (Freshman= $300, Sophomore=$350, Junior=$450, Senior=$500). Also, students are eligible for a State Scholarship if you are from Illinois which would waive the cost of tuition
Q. Can only scholarship winners enroll in WIU Army ROTC?
A. No. Anyone can enroll in ROTC, regardless of whether you're a scholarship winner or not, and all books and equipment are furnished at not cost to you.
Q. If I do eventually contract and become a Second Lieutenant, I will have to serve on Active Duty, right?
A. No. At least two-thirds of the upcoming graduating cadets will receive an active duty tour. Cadets who receive Reserve Duty will serve in local Reserve or National Guard units one weekend a month, or serve in the Ready Reserves with no "drilling" requirement if a suitable unit is not available where you reside. The Reserves are one of the best adjunct career and retirement systems in the U.S. today.
Q. I see ROTC as a potential interference to my career field. How can you get around that one?
A. Well, there are surely some career tracks where ROTC may not help you, but the exceptional record of graduating cadets getting good jobs in their fields is well above average. In the Reserves, there are also a lot of job networking and contacts, and most employees view Reservists or officers leaving active duty in very positive terms. Further, students that emphasize their ROTC enrollment are generally viewed as desirable to most employers because of their competitive leadership and managerial abilities, maturity, and time management skills.
Q. What about haircuts, wearing uniforms, and harassment?
A. Well, you have to be well-groomed; hair off your ears and not down your shoulders (crew cut not required). You will learn how to wear a uniform properly, but the uniform is only required to be worn during class times and training. Finally, harassment of any type went out years ago; it is not acceptable. We emphasize proper decorum, respect, military courtesies, ethics and standards of conduct; all of which apply equally well to non-military, professional careers.
Q. What can Army ROTC do for me even if I only want to enroll for a year or two?
A. If you enroll in Army ROTC, we will help you become a better person in manifold ways - no doubt about that. ROTC will:
- Give you better leadership and managerial skills applicable to any field.
- Provide you a lot of personal attention, encouraging you to get good grades and further mature. Class sizes are small and everyone is given personal counseling.
- We compel you to stay in shape and improve your physical fitness. Yes, there are some progressive physical fitness requirements and you cannot be overweight and complete the program.
- We give you the opportunity to learn what the military is all about these days - the role of the Army and its soldiers, (strategy, politics, technology, standards, career fields, etc.)
- We provide additional fun and learning activities, and opportunities for you to make more friends than virtually any other organization on campus. Cadets consistently relate that one of the best aspects of the ROTC program is the camaraderie students find among each other -that is what Esprit de Corps or belonging is all about.
Q. What makes WIU Army ROTC different from regular college management courses?
A. Students in ROTC learn through a unique program that involves both classroom and "live" situations. For instance, an ROTC cadet might be found leading classmates through adventure training, down a river in a raft, or up a mountain wall.