U.S military academy vs. colleges with an ROTC program

In the United States, there are two of ways for students to get military training: going to a college with an ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corps) program or joining a college military academy, such as West Point, a well known military academy. Doing either will grant those who plan on joining the U.S Armed Forces a chance to start out as an officer, and not an enlisted soldier. The question is: which choice is better?

One of the big differences between ROTC and military academies in the U.S is that in ROTC, you get to experience college normally with the addition of attending a military science class along with your mandatory classes; military academies are for those who are serious about receiving a military education and are sure they want to join the military.

Whether you want to join a college’s ROTC program or to join a military academy, I think it depends on you and how you want to receive your education.

From what I’ve been told from my Army Instructor, the ROTC program pays for your college tuition and other fees if you plan on joining any of the 5 branches afterwards. Just like JROTC in high school, I’d say that ROTC would be an extra class to learn more about the concepts in the military; like drill and ceremony. Unlike a military academy, the big focus of ROTC is leadership training as it prepares cadets to join the military as officers; hence the name Reserve Officer Training Corps. If you want to join the military as an officer and your primary focus is more on your normal college academics, I’d recommend that you join an ROTC program in college.

College level military academies are much different in how they teach even though both have the same concept of becoming an officer in the military. Unlike colleges with an Army ROTC program, a military academy focuses more than leadership training. I’d expect military academies to focus a lot on academics like physics as well as a lot of the concepts you’d learn in ROTC. Since ROTC is a course taken with your other college classes, the amount of physical activities that are done is less than what a cadet would do in a military academy. Don’t get me wrong though; the activities you do in ROTC can get very physical at times. I recommend joining a military academy if you’re serious about receiving a military education or you’re positive you want to join the military as an officer.

In my opinion, joining an ROTC program or military academy are both equal ways of joining the military as an officer. Joining one or the other depends on someone’s views on how they want to receive their education.

Of course, an easy way for people to join the military would be to talk with recruiters after you finish high school. You can still get a college education, the only thing would be that you’d join the military as an enlisted soldier; meaning that it would take a very long time to become an officer.