ROTC is a good option for Navy and Air Force. They treat their people the best, in general. You should definitely be an officer. The academies are an option as well. My father went to the Air Force Academy and my bro's there right now as a junior. My aspiration is the Coast Guard Academy. It is the hardest to get into, so you'd have to have a pretty impressive resume. You still have to have one for the Air Force Academy, too. The military has a lot of good pros and a few cons. You automatically get health care and a job. As an officer, you get a significant amount of more money than enlisted. You could also be a pilot in any branch, but you'd want Air Force, Navy, or Coast Guard. Let me stress that Army and Marines, while they are honorable, just aren't what you'd want. Their standards are lower, and their people are the rejects from the other branches (that's the army.) In the marines, you don't get that much option to choose your career. The cons: you don't stay in one place for a long time. You move around a lot, but you eventually get used to it. You actually get to see awesome places, though. I'm a military brat and I've been to 14 different countries and 3 continents because of that. If you choose Coast Guard, they don't deploy as much (when they do, it's to the Persian Gulf) and you stay in the US. I highly recommend the military-- not as a job program, but as a way of service and honor. In order: Coast Guard, Air Force, Navy, and just don't do the Army or Marines is my advice. Think carefully and choose wisely.
I have heard that when you are in ROTC you have to do training or something over the summers, is that true?
Yes, you do. There is definitely a regimen you have to follow and you have responsibility in ROTC, since you're looking to join the greatest military in the world, after all. There is training over the summers and during the academic year as well, I believe. I'm not discouraging you about ROTC, but a tip of advice when you would be interacting with academy people is to be humble, since they tend to look down on ROTC people. That'll end though after you get out of college and into the military for real. You should definitely go military.
Thanks for the advice. I definitely have more information to consider now.
My aspiration is the Coast Guard Academy.
Sounds like a good choice for you.
Why would you say that?
"Let me stress that Army and Marines, while they are honorable, just aren't what you'd want. Their standards are lower, and their people are the rejects from the other branches (that's the army.)"
Beg pardon?? This is honestly not spoken from any first hand knowledge.
Look, what it all comes down to is what JOB you want. The military is not the job, it is the company you work for. The Job is the position you fill. The Airforce, Navy, and Coast Guard just don't have a variety of positions available.
Years ago during the Clinton era it was possible to retire from the Airforce as an E-5 because they just don't promote well. With the current reduction going on you can expect that again. The Army promotes much better in general because of the turn over.
As for the officer vs. enlisted crap......it depends on what you want to do. If you want to be a first line supervisor and lead and train soldiers/airmen, etc...then be enlisted. If you like staff jobs and setting policy then be a career officer.
I have over 18 years in service and have worked in multiple joint service positions and deployments.
You know what, I am sorry and I some out of hand on this subject. I was biased and I would like to apologize to those who took offense to my rash comments. I would like to thank you all for your service, and I appreciate you putting me back in line. I will think before I speak/post again.
Glad somebody said it
First, talk to the ROTC cadre at your school.
The first two years of ROTC are free, easy As (if you do not skip classes), and carries no military commitment unless you sign up for a scholarship. It is hard to go wrong and you will end up learning a lot. If life events cause you to enlist later you will start with significantly higher rank, pay, and more opportunities. A history or poly-sci major really should take advantage of these "free" years even if they think that they already know everything about the military.
These "easy" years are important for several reasons such as giving you a chance to decide whether or not you really want to be an officer which is not the same as an enlisted soldier. (Or warrant officer.) There is not the tiniest shame in being an enlisted soldier over even a good officer. ROTC and military service is complicated so these two years of classes will answer more questions than you can think to ask at this time.
IF you choose to contract and become an officer life will change your third year of ROTC. Physical training and some weekend activites become mandatory and pre-military will become your real major. You will probably be given a generous scholarship and can make much more if you are simultaneously enlisted in the National Guard. Again, don't be afraid to talk to your ROTC cadre and/or NG recruiter for more info.
Your next summer you will ordinarily go to basic camp which is sort of basic training with coffee and donuts. Unlike regular basic you will rotate through multiple leadership positions and get to play with more expensive toys. IF you still end up enlisting instead of being commissioned this normally counts as regular basic (the easy way) and you start with even more rank and opportunities. By this time you will have collected your first cool stories to tell.
Your last year is actually calmer as you are given the chance to finish your major up and are usually more in a staff and mentor roll to the younger cadets. Take a deep breath because after being commissioned, even if you choose to stay NG or Reserve, your military life will get much more "focused."
Few schools offer Navy ROTC and the Marines do not exactly have ROTC (http://officer.marines.com/marine/making_marine_officers/commission...). USAF ROTC cadets must be engineering, math, or hard science majors with moderately high GPA expectations. Although life is cushy in the "Chair Force" you could argue that they do not really treat their officers that well especailly compared to USAF enlisted. I had an old crusty SMG who often stated that if he lived a clean life, said, his prayers, and went to church that when he dies he would go to the Air Force. On the otherhand I have persoanlly know USAF pilots that I somehow just feel sorry for(?)
Army doesn't care whether you have a 4.01 GPA in satellite engineering or are barely getting by in underwater basket weaving. They want leaders. Army ROTC graduates are not uncommonly "stolen" by other branches. Ask your cadre..... Also, since cadets drop out of the military academies, their seats sometimes become available for ROTC cadets (who think to apply).
Even if you choose not to join the military ROTC does not hurt your resume and cadets have a much higher graduation rate.