With Lejeune High School’s military connection and successful JROTC program, it is no wonder that many seniors will be attending college this fall on ROTC scholarships.
James Gardiner, who helps run the JROTC program, reports that eight students had been offered ROTC scholarships. Although the requirements for ROTC scholarships vary slightly by branch and school, they are all highly competitive.
“Each scholarship recipient finished in the top 25 of the class, scored in the top 20% on standardized tests, and maxed (or came very close to max) the service physical fitness test,” said Gardiner.
In addition, candidates must show that they are well rounded by demonstrating excellence in academics and sports, participation in extracurricular activities such as student government, and letters of recommendation. The selection committees for these scholarships interview potential candidates in-person.
“The application process was certainly extensive and time consuming, but entirely worth it. It was very clear that they want to know everything from your high school career,” said Kamrin Wisherd, a Lejeune student who received an Army ROTC scholarship to East Carolina University.
Not only do recipients of ROTC scholarships have tuition and all college expenses paid for, they also get advantages going into military service.
“They get a head start on their peers based on the military training they received in college and have the opportunity to network while in college and begin to establish their reputation. They also receive pay while they attend college and their time counts towards their overall pay date for their career,” Gardiner said.
“The biggest benefit of my ROTC scholarship is that it takes a great deal of pressure off by offering financial support,” said Nathanial Presson, who will be attending East Carolina University on an Air Force ROTC scholarship.
“My Air Force scholarship has given me the ability to go to Texas A&M, which is out of state,” said Dylan Presson, Nathaniel’s twin brother.
Wisherd and the Pressons all give credit to the Lejeune JROTC program for making them competitive applicants for ROTC scholarships.
“JROTC was a great resume booster and helped prepare me for military service,” Nathaniel Presson said.
Maintaining ROTC scholarships throughout college includes keeping up GPAs, attending classes, summer training and maintaining good conduct. Although there are many benefits of ROTC scholarships, the time commitments and the payback period to the military aren’t for everyone.
“Between college and (a career in) the Army, it really determines my next 12 years of life,” Wisherd said.