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Below are answers to frequently asked questions from perspective NROTC students. If you still have questions please reach out to the recruiting office at or call 888-248-7026.


A. The scholarship covers full tuition at the University of South Carolina for four or three years depending on when the student earns a scholarship.In addition, educational fees, uniforms, and a $250 per month tax-free subsistence allowance are paid by the Navy for midshipman on scholarship while in attendance at the university as a freshman (+$50/month each additional year; i.e., $300, $350, and $400). The students are also given $750 textbook stipend per year, which is deposited in equal payments at the beginning of each academic term.

 A. Yes. Students who enter the junior year in College Program status will begin receiving the $350 per month tax-free subsistence allowance ($400/month senior year). Also, during the entire four years, they are given use of the uniforms they need, and their naval science textbooks. They also receive pay during summer cruise between their junior and senior years.

A. No. Those expenses must be borne by the individual families. Students who find that room and board payments represent a financial hardship should investigate USC’s financial aid program.

A1. The application is done through the Naval ROTC website,

You can begin the application process at the end of your junior year of high school. You must have your ACT or SAT scores sent to the scholarship board, and they must arrive before December 31st. All aspects of the application process, including the interview and medical exam, are scheduled by the Navy recruiter in your area.

A2. After arriving on campus as a college freshman.  Students can be nominated for scholarships by staff after fall or spring term.  If you are awarded a scholarship and accept it, you incur the same obligation as a four year scholarship student entering their sophomore year.

A. You must be a U.S. citizen; you must be at least 17 years old as of September 1st of the year you enter the program; and you must be able to graduate by age 25. Age waivers are available for those with previous military service. College Program students can join at the age of 16 and must be able to graduate by the age of 27 1/2. You must be a high school graduate and you must be medically qualified. Men must be between 62 and 78 inches tall (66 to 78 for Marines); women between 60 and 78 inches tall (same for Marines). Weight should be proportionate to height. Vision must be correctable to 20/20 with refractive error not exceeding +6.0 diopters (+7.0 diopters for nurses). Normal color vision is required for Navy students. There is no color vision requirement for Marine Option students. There can be no severe hay fever or chronic rhinitis, and no history of asthma since the 12th birthday. Positive HIV is disqualifying. Those whose eyes require correction to 20/20 will require a physical waiver.

A. Yes, but not through the process just described. Students can become eligible for the award of a scholarship by joining their NROTC Unit in the College Program (non-scholarship) status. After one academic term, in which the student's academic performance and aptitude can be assessed, the student can be recommended for scholarship status to the Chief of Naval Education and Training, who is empowered to award scholarships to promising College Program students. In general, if you can earn better than a 2.5 GPA in your first academic term, achieve a "B" or better in Calculus, and demonstrate a high aptitude for Naval Service, you would have a good chance for a NROTC scholarship.

A. No. The scholarship selection process is TOTALLY INDEPENDENT of the USC admission process. You must, on your own, seek admission to USC or some other NROTC university. Remember that the NROTC scholarship cannot be awarded to you until you have been accepted for admission at an NROTC school. It is a good idea for NROTC scholarship applicants to apply to more than one NROTC school to ensure acceptance to at least one NROTC school.

Career Opportunities

A. Most of our students, male and female, will graduate as "line officers." That means that they will be expected to go on to further training in aviation, submarines, or conventional or nuclear powered surface ships. There are a very limited number of medical school scholarships (about 25 nationwide). Those who choose (and are accepted for) the Marine Corps can go into aviation, ground, cyber, or law officer assignments.

A. Yes. Assignments are made on the basis of the student's choices, qualifications, and performance. Scholarship status is not a factor in the assignment process.

A. The Navy does not give such a guarantee. However, experience has shown that a solid academic performance at USC, and high scores on the aviation aptitude exam, plus being physically qualified for aviation, will give a Midshipman an excellent chance of getting his aviation choice. The Marine Corps does offer flight guarantees, which can be granted by meeting the requirements any time up to 90 days before graduation.

A. That is a possibility, but not a very likely one unless you have an exceptional record of undergraduate academic work. A few top students are selected each year to go on to graduate school, but the vast majority will be expected to enter the military after graduation. Keep in mind, though, that the Navy and Marine Corps have their own Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, and you would be eligible for assignment there, after your first three or four years of active duty, to obtain a graduate degree in the field of your choice while receiving full pay.

A. Maybe. At this time, a maximum of 25 NROTC Midshipmen nationwide are given permission to apply to medical school each year. If admitted to medical school, they would attend immediately following graduation. Under this program, students would begin to serve their obligation following their residency. To enter this program, the student must gain acceptance into a medical school.  You are not guaranteed permission to go to medical school until the start of your senior year.

A. Yes. NROTC and Academy graduates have identical opportunities to go into the fields of their choice. When it comes time to state duty preferences and to be selected for duty assignments, the students with the higher academic and aptitude rankings, regardless of where they go to school, will be most likely to receive their first choice of assignments.

 Student Life

A. No. Any of the available majors at USC are allowable. We encourage our students to pursue some form of technical major, but that is not a requirement. Those who major in non-technical subjects will have to take a few technical courses, namely calculus and physics, to prepare them for the technological environment that they will encounter in their military service. These technical courses, even for non-tech majors, will count toward degree requirements because all majors require some math and science course work.

A. Certainly, provided that you can still graduate on time. If, by changing majors, you would be forced to graduate behind your contemporaries (more than four years of academic work), you would have to pay the educational costs beyond the four year point and have the extra time approved.

A. Possibly, individuals in these situations should come in and discuss their personal situation with an advisor.  In addition to the four years of Naval Science courses that must be completed, our scholarship students participate in summer training cruises for four to six weeks each summer. Although we may be able to tailor a course of study for you, it would likely involve doubling up on your Naval Science courses and taking your final cruise after graduation, but prior to commissioning. College Program students would have less of a problem since they only take one summer cruise between the junior and senior years.

A. No. NROTC Midshipmen are only required to wear the uniform on Lab day, which is once a week throughout the school year. Lab, otherwise known as drill, may consist of military formation, guest lecturers, classroom sessions, or general briefings.

A. Though there is no requirement for Midshipmen to reside with other Midshipmen, they do have the opportunity to participate in a ROTC community within the University’s housing structure.  When choosing their dorm, students can specifically select the ROTC Community in their housing application. This ROTC community will allow the students from the three services to live together in a dorm facility. Each student makes his or her own arrangements with the university for housing. Students may live in university dormitories, or later in fraternities or sororities, at their option. Some upperclassmen choose to live in, and share the expenses of, nearby apartments.

A. NROTC Midshipmen are given the same status as "inactive reservists." You would have a "reserve" military ID card, but you would be a civilian during all but the summer training cruise periods of your curriculum. The summer training is performed in an active duty "reserve" status.

A. You don't know, and neither did any of us who are in the military now. You have to join the program and experience it for yourself. That's why the first year is without obligation. We are looking for intelligent and physically fit men and women of high moral character who can be trained to assume positions of leadership and great responsibility in the Navy and Marine Corps. If you fit that description, and if you prefer to be a leader rather than a follower, then you owe it to yourself to give it a try.

NROTC Training

A. In most respects, it is the same. Marine option students are not required to take calculus and physics courses. Marine option students take different Naval Science courses in their junior and senior years, and in the summer after their junior year they take part in the Officer Candidate School (OCS) training program "BULLDOG" at Quantico, Virginia. They are guided in their development by our Marine Officer Instructor, and upon graduation they are commissioned as Second Lieutenants in the U.S. Marine Corps.

A. There are three different cruises. The first summer cruise, after the freshman year, gives all scholarship students the chance to learn about the four basic "line officer" specialties. The students spend one week at each of four locations to receive indoctrinations in aviation, submarine, surface ships, and Marine Corps amphibious operations. The second summer cruise, which all scholarship students take after the sophomore year, is aboard either a surface ship or submarine (student's choice) and is geared toward experiencing the Navy from an enlisted viewpoint. The summer cruise after the junior year provides junior officer training aboard ships or submarines for the Navy students, and at the Marine Corps Base at Quantico, Virginia for the Marine Corps students. College Program students only take one summer training cruise; their cruise is the same as their scholarship student counterparts' after the junior year.

A. Our students travel all over the world on cruises. The Navy pays for your travel expenses from school or your home to the cruise site and your return to home each summer. Our juniors have many options available to them. They can request Aircraft Carrier or Patrol Squadron cruises and special training with Navy Seals.

A. You can change from one option to the other, but it is not automatic, it is on a case by case basis at the approval of the Professor of Naval Science.  The changing of option after the sophomore year is discouraged because it involves making up the specialized courses that are begun for Navy and Marine option students beginning in the junior year.

A. Yes. Every year, just prior to the beginning the fall quarter begins, the USC NROTC Unit hosts a new student orientation (NSO) program.  At the orientation, the freshmen are introduced to military discipline, fitted for their uniforms, learn basic seamanship and undergo a variety of activities to prepare them to become members of the Midshipman Battalion. They receive physical fitness training and tests, swimming tests, marching instruction and some classroom instruction. By the time that school starts, the freshmen will be fully functioning and knowledgeable members of the Unit.

Incoming active duty members also participate in NSO in order to fully integrate them into the USC NROTC unit with their midshipman counterparts, albeit in a different capacity.


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