Is the freshmen orientation like a boot camp? Will I have to go to boot camp?

No to both questions. The orientation is supervised and run by the NROTC Unit staff who are assisted by the upper class midshipmen.  The evolution stresses the need for discipline and teamwork, and while some will have to adjust a bit, the orientation is intended to be a stressful yet manageable environment. It is certainly less stressful when compared to a real boot-camp or what the service academy freshmen go through for their entire first year.  The orientation is not easy. It is physically and mentally demanding.  However, after the initial trauma that accompanies discovering discipline, most students find it to be enjoyable and rewarding.  Additionally, it is also an excellent opportunity to get to know your freshmen classmates before school starts and build friendships that last your entire college career and beyond.

As for attending boot camp, Navy Option midshipmen will not have to attend any further orientation training.  Marine Option midshipmen will have to attend Marine Corps Officer Candidate School (OCS) after their junior year.  This is a high-stress, six-week-long training program in Quantico, Virginia, but again, this is not “boot camp” in the technical sense of the term, as it is a program designed primarily to test and foster leadership in the individual candidates.

Is there an orientation for new NROTC students where we can learn how to be midshipmen?

Yes.  Each year, just prior to Orientation Week before the fall semester begins, the Yale University NROTC Unit hosts a freshmen indoctrination program (INDOC). It lasts about one week, and is held at Naval Station Newport in Newport, RI in conjunction with the Holy Cross NROTC Unit, who are a part of our consortium.  The expense of the program is borne by the Navy.  At INDOC, the freshmen are introduced to military discipline, fitted for their uniforms, learn basic seamanship, and undergo a variety of activities to prepare them to become members of the midshipmen battalion.  They receive physical fitness training and tests, swimming tests, close order drill instruction, sailing instruction, and some classroom instruction.  Lectures on military courtesy, midshipmen regulations, etc., will be received during INDOC so that by the time that school starts, the freshmen will be fully functioning and knowledgeable members of the battalion.

Find additional important information on ROTC programs here.

NROTC Program Information


NROTC Scholarship Selection Criteria


Navy Physical Readiness Program (see Tables on pages 28-32 for height/weight and test standards)


Marine Corps Physical Fitness Standards (see Appendices G and I)


Department of Defense Medical Examination Review Board


In addition to the medical exam, is there a physical fitness exam required for scholarship selection?

Both Marine and Navy Option students are required to pass a physical fitness test; Marines have to pass the physical fitness test (PFT), while Navy and Nurse Option have to take the AFA. Once in the NROTC program, all midshipmen are required to pass a semi-annual physical fitness assessment, which, for Navy option students, consists of the body composition assessment (BCA), the physical activity risk factor questionnaire (PARFQ), and the physical readiness test (PRT).  The PRT consists of 2 minutes of push-ups, sit-ups, and a 1.5-mile run as fast as you can run it. Points are awarded for each exercise, and a minimum passing grade is established for each exercise and for the total points earned.  All midshipmen are encouraged to seek excellence in their physical fitness, and to do more than the bare minimum to pass. Marine Option students take a slightly different test that consists of pull-ups, sit-ups, and a 3-mile run. Marine option students will also take a combat fitness test  (CFT) which consists of several different exercises geared to more accurately assess their ability to fulfill common motions that they may be required to perform within the fulfillment of their duties.

If I am notified that some physical problem will disqualify me from scholarship eligibility, is there anything I can do?

That depends on the nature of the problem.  There are some problems, such as minor eye corrections that can be waived.  Some problems, such as having had certain childhood diseases, or a family history of diabetes, can cloud your medical record to the point that additional medical evidence may be required to substantiate your qualification. Unless you are told that your condition is absolutely disqualifying, you should do all that you can to obtain medical certification.  Letters from family doctors or your local specialists can help to show that your condition should not be disqualifying. When in doubt, ask for a medical waiver.  For more information, see the link below to the Department of Defense Medical Examination Review Board (DoDMERB) website.


Will my scholarship selection be held up if I have trouble passing the medical exam?

The scholarship selection process is completely independent of the medical examination. Scholarship selection is based on academic performance, extracurricular activities, and demonstrated leadership potential.  You can be selected as a scholarship nominee even before you take the medical exam; but, of course, it cannot be awarded to you until you have passed the medical exam.  The importance of completing and passing the medical exam cannot be over-emphasized.  It is up to you to do all that you can to complete the medical exam in a timely fashion. I f follow-on exams or inputs from your local doctor are required, then you must ensure that these requirements are met.

I have no experience with the military; how do I know if I will fit in?

You don’t know, and neither did any of us who are in the military now.  You have to join the program and experience it for yourself.  That is why the first year is without obligation.  We are looking for intelligent and physically fit men and women of high moral character who can be trained to assume positions of leadership and great responsibility in the Navy and Marine Corps. If you fit that description, and if you prefer to be a leader rather than a follower, then you owe it to yourself to give it a try.

Can you play sports and participate in NROTC at the same time?

Absolutely.  We have had a number of midshipmen who were on the swimming and diving team, played rugby and lacrosse, and participated in almost every intramural event.  The question is really one of time management; Yale is a Division I school with time-consuming varsity athletics, and you would probably have to negotiate with both the Unit and your coaches in order to make the time commitments for each work.  Some sports are more flexible than others with the NROTC time commitment.  


Can you describe how a midshipman fits into the overall picture at a university?

An NROTC midshipman is a civilian, pursuing his or her own academic degree in a normal university environment, in the same manner as a non-midshipman would.  The only difference is that the midshipman takes a series of Naval Science courses, similar to minoring in a specific field beyond the intended major, and he or she wears his or her uniform to class once a week. Midshipmen are free to join student societies and clubs, and enjoy all aspects of campus life.  You will blend in with and participate in the campus activities of your choice, and when you graduate, you will serve with pride as a Navy or Marine Corps officer.

If I join the NROTC program, would I be considered to be in the military, or would I still be a civilian?

NROTC midshipmen are given the same status as “inactive reservists”.  You would have a reserve military ID card, but you would be a civilian during all but the summer training cruise periods of your curriculum.  The summer training is performed in an active duty “reserve” status.