What is this Scholarship? How do I apply?

NROTC Mission: “To develop future officers mentally, morally, and physically, and to instill in them the highest ideals of duty, loyalty, and the core values of Honor, Courage, and Commitment in order to commission college graduates as Naval officers who possess a basic professional background, are motivated toward careers in the Naval Service, and have a potential for future development in mind and character so as to assume the highest responsibilities of command, citizenship, and government.”

This purpose of this post is to give the very basic information related to the scholarship. In future postings, I will expand on each section of information.

What is NROTC Scholarship Exactly:

The NROTC program is a commissioning program for future military officers in the USMC and USN. In the military, officer serves as a managerial/leadership role and requires a bachelor degree. One can become an officer through various means, the big three being Officer Candidate School, ROTC, and military academies. For more information in the differences in these programs, see (CODEEDIT: Comparing commissioning sources).

What this program IS NOT:

This program is not for you if…

  1. For Navy Options: No restricted line officers or staff corps officers. The only officers commissioned from NROTC are unrestricted line officers. This means unless you want to be A Naval Aviator, Naval Flight Officer, Surface Warfare Officer, Submarine Officer, or Navy Special Warfare (EOD/SEAL) – this scholarship and program isn’t for you. No lawyers, doctors, intelligence, public affairs, cyber, etc.
  2. Undergraduate only – this is not a graduate program. 
  3. Active duty not permitted unless granted a “conditional release” is granted.

Basic Requirements:

  1. Be a United States citizen, naturalized U.S. citizen or have submitted naturalization papers (must be naturalized prior to scholarship activation);
  2. Have no moral obligations or personal convictions that will prevent bearing of arms and supporting and defending the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic or to taking an oath to perform such acts;
  3. Be at least 17 years of age on or before 30 September of the year of enrollment and less than 27 years of age on 31 December of the year an applicant expects to graduate, complete all NROTC training requirements, and be commissioned. Those with prior or current active duty in the Armed Forces may be granted age waivers equal to the number of months served. Those granted the maximum age waiver must not have reached their 30th birthday by 31 December of year graduation
    and commissioning are anticipated;
  4. Meet physical requirements for the NROTC Program (CODEEDIT see physical requirements post)
  5. Possess a high school diploma or equivalent certificate
  6. Be accepted for admission as a full-time student at a participating NROTC college or university.  You can not be part of the NROTC program if it has not been approved by big Navy. (CODEEDIT: see list of approved schools)

Program Benefits

  1. Full tuition, including authorized academic fees (lab fees for example).
  2. Textbook stipend ($375/semester)
  3. Monthly stipend during the academic year and while on official summer cruise. $250/mo as a freshman and then increasing $50/mo every year to $400 as a senior.
  4. Uniforms and tailoring

Application Process

  1. Apply online via http://nrotc.navy.mil
  2. Will be assigned a Navy/Marine recruiter of Candidate Guidance Officer who will help coordinate required paperwork, candidate fitness assessment, and scedule and officer interview.


NAVY: A continuous selection board (CSB) holds multiple boards throughout September – April for all Navy option and Nurse selects.

MARINES: Marine Corps Recruiting Command (MCRC, pronounced “MikRik”) hols boards bi-annually in November (early board) and February (primary board).

Medical Exam

Scholarship nominees must meet physical qualification standards. Those selected for the scholarship will be forwarded to DoDMERB (Department of Defense Medical Examination Review Board) for scheduling of a physical examination. DoDMERB will determine if the candidate is qualified medically for commissioning. If found disqualified for any reason (asthma, for example, is a big one), the case file will automatically be sent to Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (BUMED) for waiver recommendation. A waiver denial will result in scholarship denial.

This process can take some time, especially if remedial tests must be conducted. If a student reports to the unit without medical clearance, they will not be placed on scholarship until they are physically qualified or secure a waiver.


The scholarship application requires the candidate to list their top 5 schools of choice. There is some strategy to this that is further explained in the placement post, but placement is based on a few things:

  1. Desire of the candidate
  2. Order of merit compared to other applications
  3. Quotas available at the unit to include the specific cross-town schools of the unit.

NOTE: The scholarship and admission to the school of choice are TWO separate processes. NROTC scholarship will assume you will gain admission to your top 5 desired Universities and assign you to one of these top schools if you are selected for the scholarship. If you do not get admitted to the University that the NROTC scholarship was placed, you must notify your recruiter and they will start the process to place you at another school in which you were admitted. You must be admitted to the school of choice as well as have the NROTC scholarship placed there. *See the Placement post for more information on this.

Deferring Acceptance

This is possible on a case by case basis. I’ve done it for a few students. Contact the NROTC unit you are assigned to start the process. Typically it is due to religious reasons, but I’ve also seen students defer for personal and professional reasons. Typically they are approved but will require you to have a valid excuse.

Other paths:

The above is the typical path that most students will follow to gain admission to the NROTC program. This is a very basic overview, please see the respective sections for more in depth information and advice as you proceed with this process.

This is not the only way, however. There are many paths to gain admission into the NROTC program to include:

  1. Immediate Scholarship Reservation
  2. Alternative Scholarship Reservation
  3. Minority Serving Institution Scholarship Reservations (MSISR)
  4. Frederick C. Branch Marine Leadership Scholarship Program
  5. Pedro Del Valle Marine Leadership Scholarship Program
  6. 2 or 3 Year Scholarship Program
  7. Seaman to Admiral 21 (STA-21) Commissioning Program
  8. Marine Enlisted Commissioning Education Program (MECEP)

These specific scholarships will be discussed in a separate blog post.

About me and why I’m doing this…

BLUF: Bottom line up front

Congrats! You just learned one of the thousands of acronyms that you will use in the military. What BLUF means, is essentially the key points in any correspondence up at the top so you don’t have to read through paragraphs of explanatory information.

Who I am: Naval Academy graduate and Naval Aviator who spent over 3 years as recruiting/scholarship officer and advisor for incoming freshmen at one of the top NROTC schools in the nation.

What this site is for: I lived and breathed the NROTC scholarship process for over 3 years and am intimately familiar with what it takes to get in and how the secrets to doing so

Why I’m doing this: There are too many students who simply don’t know about this scholarship or there are those that do that do not take the necessary steps to gain admission towards becoming a Naval officer. I want to close that gap and get as many people on scholarship as possible.

Now for the long-winded version…..


As an aviator, I never thought stepping out of the cockpit and into the classroom to teach could ever be as rewarding as flying one of the most technologically advanced helicopters in the world. Much to my surprise, helping students to succeed academically, physically and professionally has been just as rewarding – if not more. I needed to train my future replacement after all! The NROTC scholarship is an amazing opportunity for those looking to serve. My hope is to pass on all the secrets I’ve learned over the years to help you secure a full ride scholarship to a top tier school and earn you commission as a Naval Officer.

My story isn’t the traditional one. I love my parents dearly, but I grew up in a home where excellence was not expected, nor encouraged, and as such, I simply meandered my way through high school from one class and activity to another with no real focus. To give you an example of my supreme dedication to academic success – I took a class senior year on “work study” simply because it gave me the opportunity to pretend to have a job when in reality I simply went home to play video games. I took the SAT because it was what was needed for college, without the vaguest idea of what I wanted to do with it. Turns out I scored well enough to get into a lower tier state school – one of the biggest party schools in the state. Hey – I might as well have fun in college if I have to go! Not surprisingly, I did fairly horrible that first year. I never attended class, I would only put half effort into assignments, and my books were used more so for beer coasters than for what was actually inside. Unsurprisingly I found myself losing my academic state provided scholarship after the first year. My parents were still very supportive of me, and I could do no wrong in their eyes when in reality I really needed a swift kick in the butt – and that’s exactly what the military did for me.

After losing my scholarship I found myself broke and didn’t have the money for the next school year and unfortunately my family couldn’t provide much assistance. You see, I did not grow up in a household that was financially blessed by any stretch of the imagination. To put it in perspective: we were the kind of family that would put water in the bottom of a ketchup bottle to squeeze that very last drop.. My clothes consisted of whatever goodwill had in stock, or what friends and family would pass on to us. My father was what I like to call a “wood maniac.” He would ride around in his rusty old 1958 chevy with a chainsaw on the back hunting for the next big score of wood. If he ever found a fallen tree, I knew I’d be spending that weekend chopping and stacking it for $0.25 an hour. In my father’s mind wood equals heat which equals cheaper electric bill which equals free money! The only warm room in the house was the living room in front of the fireplace. My father sitting in his stained lazy boy would stare at that fire with a smile on his face – likely imagining all the dollars he was saving.God help you if you turned up the thermostat to higher than 63 degrees. Needless to say, when I lost all financial support from the state government I had little means of paying for school without going into debt. So I turned to the military.

Now, I was actually planning on joining the Air Force, as practically everything in the city I grew up in worked on or for the Air Force (it was a bit of a military town). However, the day I walked in to sign the dotted line to work for good ole Uncle Sam, wouldn’t you know it – the office was closed. Long story short, after I entered the Navy office next door, I never turned back. The military gave me something I so desperately needed: discipline. I excelled. After one year after boot camp, I was the top of my class in one of the hardest enlisted programs the military offered. Because of this, I was awarded a direct appointment to the United States Naval Academy where I continued to push myself harder than ever. I chose the hardest degree in one of the hardest schools in the nation. After I graduated in the top 10% of the class, I did what I dreamed of as a kid – I became an aviator. I ended up graduating top of my class in flight school and chose helicopters out of San Diego. As a pilot I consistently scored top of my peers. As I write this, I am currently ranked #1 junior officer in my command with a perfect fitness report. I don’t tell you this to brag, but to show you the power of the military and how it can turn someone who failed out of college with no ambition or discipline into someone with drive and determination.

Now what qualifies me to give you advice?

After my sea tour with aviation was complete – I was then given the opportunity to serve as an Assistant Professor of Naval Science at The George Washington University NROTC program. It was here that I would have the opportunity to teach, mentor, and train some of the greatest individuals I have ever met. In addition to this, I was also tasked as the recruiting officer in charge of scholarships and admission. During this time, I become the subject matter expert on everything NROTC. I have given speeches to hundreds of individuals on this scholarship and I have helped hundreds of students secure a full ride scholarship to their top choice schools – and I’m here to help you do the same.