ROTC Frequently Asked Questions

Leadership and Excellence badge on uniform


Bay State Battalion


Army Training

The Big Question

What does ROTC stand for?

ROTC stands for Reserve Officers' Training Corps.

Why is there ROTC?

ROTC commissions the majority of the U.S. Army's officers. Students who commit to military service may receive scholarships, monthly subsistence stipends, and other incentives to help them in college. Cadets who earn a commission may serve on active duty or may choose to serve in the National Guard or Army Reserve.

Is the training at ROTC like being in Basic Training?

Absolutely not. At ROTC you are an Army cadet. The ROTC program and the very name itself, Reserve Officer's Training Corps, train motivated, academically and physically qualified college students into becoming Army officers. The training methodology is entirely different then traditional Basic Training.

What is the ROTC training schedule?

The standard ROTC training schedule consists of:

  1. Three weekly PT sessions
  2. Weekly labs held after class
  3. A 'field training exercise', FTX, each semester
  4. Two social functions

At the labs, cadets will learn and practice skills ranging from basic drill and ceremony to light infantry tactics. All of these skills play an important role at the semester's FTX. Finally, the social functions are a fun time to bond with peers and instructors in a formal, but relaxed, environment.

What other colleges are associated with the Fitchburg State AROTC program?

Fitchburg State is a partner school. This means that it falls under the Host School, WPI located in Worcester, MA. Other schools that participate in the Army ROTC program are Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Colleges of the Worcester Consortium, and UMass-Lowell.

Will there be time to participate in sports or other non-ROTC activities?

Yes. Army ROTC Bay State Battalion looks at you as a student first. We encourage our cadets to pursue activities outside of Army ROTC. We currently have cadets in our program who compete on a number of college-level varsity athletic teams. The Army ROTC program is centered on the concept of the "Scholar-Athlete-Leader." Academic success is the cadets' and our first priority.

Explain ROTC social life.

The ROTC program provides cadets with the opportunity to interact with cadets from different schools. More importantly, cadets will have plenty of time to enjoy a 'normal' social life at their own school.

Is there a lot of responsibility in ROTC?

Yes, all cadets must learn to deal with military and personal responsibility if they're going to be successful in school or in the ROTC program. Time management skills and task prioritization are essential elements of the ROTC curriculum. Cadets will also be responsible for leading groups of younger cadets and keeping them informed about ROTC events. The most emphasized aspect of ROTC training is leadership. The backbone of the armed forces is strong leadership at all levels, and therefore leadership training is essential within the program. Because of the leadership skills inherent in military training, many soldiers find it easy to find jobs after they've completed their military obligation.

What is the make-up of the Bay State Battalion Corps of Cadets?

The Bay State Battalion typically trains 50-60 cadets each year. The size of the program allows cadets to form close working relationships and get to know each other as peers and friends.

What scholarships are available to incoming freshmen or transfer students?

There may be 3-year and 2-year scholarships available to qualified students. As an incoming student, you may be eligible for any of the two scholarships. If you are an Advanced Designee, the aid does not take into effect until your second year. Some schools provide financial incentives in addition to the ROTC scholarships. Get more information on our scholarships page.

Can only scholarship winners enroll in ROTC?

Anyone may enroll in ROTC. Even if you are not a scholarship winner, all supplies and equipment are furnished at no cost to you.

Can I still get a scholarship if I'm not awarded a 4-year one?

Yes! Some students receive either a 2- or 3- year scholarship.

What is PT like?

Physical Training should be rigorous but developmental. Instructors understand that all cadets are always at different levels of physical fitness. As one progresses through the ROTC program, he/she will be expected to play a more important role in leading PT and developing PT plans. The Army evaluates physical fitness on one's ability to perform push-ups, sit-ups and a two-mile run. Most training is consequently dedicated to improving those areas.

Are there opportunities to work in the real Army?

Yes, Army schooling is offered to cadets. You may get the opportunity to attend Airborne School at Ft. Benning, GA or Air Assault School at Schofield Barracks, HI. After completion of the MSIII (junior year), cadets often have the opportunity to serve as an acting Lieutenant in any number of Army units around the world through a program called Cadet Troop Leadership Training (CTLT). Cadets from the Bay State Battalion have also spent summers training with army cadets from the United Kingdom.

What is Airborne school like?

Airborne School is an intense 3 weeks taught at Ft. Benning, GA. You'll learn how to successfully jump out of an airplane or jet while in flight, control your parachute, and most importantly land safely! Generally, you'll train Monday through Friday and have the weekends to do what you want with the many friends you'll make there. It is not an easy time, but it is certainly do-able. The toughest thing for those of us from the cooler North is definitely the intense Georgia heat. An in-shape cadet who is motivated can certainly earn his/her Airborne wings and join the ranks of the proud United States paratroopers.

What is Air Assault School?

You'll learn a lot at Air Assault School! It is often called the 'ten toughest days in the Army.' From day 0 to day 10, you'll be challenged both physically and mentally. You'll learn about the general helicopter operations, sling load operations, and of course lots of rappelling. In the last 24 hours of this intense and rewarding school, you'll rappel twice from a helicopter and do a 12-mile road march into a graduation ceremony.

Can I fly helicopters as an Army officer? How do I qualify for this?

Yes. Qualification for flight school is difficult, but selection is rewarding. Cadets must receive a qualifying score on a flight-aptitude test. Aviation candidates must have a high GPA to demonstrate the dedication to academics required at flight school. Lastly, cadets must pass a physical exam, graduate from NALC, and send their personnel file to the Aviation Review Board. When accepted into the Aviation Branch, they soon pack their bags for beautiful Ft. Rucker in Alabama for flight school as a Second Lieutenant.

What are some extracurricular ROTC activities that I could do?

You have the option of getting involved in the AROTC program's color-guard team, Pershing Rifles fraternal organization, or the high-speed Ranger Challenge team. These are all completely voluntary activities and are great ways to not only learn more but to meet and get to know other cadets.

Do cadets ever get hands on weapons training?

Yes. Cadets will have the opportunity to familiarize with the M16A2 rifle by firing, breakdown, cleaning and performing function checks. Also, during the AROTC Field Training Exercises, cadets deploy to the field with M16A2 rifles and fire blank rounds for training purposes.

What is the military obligation following college graduation?

Lieutenants leave for their first assignment following graduation from college. Lieutenants may complete the service obligation in a number of ways. The most common term of service is to complete 4 years on active duty and 4 years in the inactive reserve. Options also exist for educational delays and reserve duty. A Guaranteed Reserve Forces Duty (GRFD) contract offers cadets interested in serving in the Army Reserve or National Guard guaranteed duty in the reserve components.