Can you offer any hints regarding what the scholarship selection board looks for in making its selections?

The NROTC scholarship selection board will consider the “whole person,” including College Board scores, grades, class standing, athletics, participation in extracurricular activities, recommendations, employment history, interview results, and perceived potential.  We are looking for the future leaders of the Navy and Marine Corps.  We want well-rounded students who are intelligent enough to excel in academics, athletic enough to meet the physical challenges of military service, and who are personable and dynamic enough to assume roles as military leaders.  It is not enough to be only bright, or only athletic, or only personable.  It takes a combination of the three qualities to be a successful Naval Officer.  Officer candidates must also be of high moral character.  Students with criminal records or who use illegal drugs are not likely officer candidates.

Care should be taken in selecting those who will provide written recommendations for you.  If a candidate is depicted as being just an average run-of-the-mill student, it will detract from the board’s assessment of the individual.  The application interview with your local NROTC Office or recruiter is also vitally important.  Look sharp and present yourself well.  College Board scores can be a positive factor for the student, but only insofar as they are supported by actual academic achievement.  A student with high SAT or ACT scores, but mediocre grades and class standing, is less desirable than a student with moderate scores and high grades and standing. One is coasting and the other is indicative of a hard working achiever.

Is there any particular advantage in applying for the NROTC scholarship before the 31 January deadline?

Absolutely.  The earlier you apply, the earlier you can be selected for a scholarship.  If you finish your application processing in time to be considered by the early boards, you can be picked months earlier than those who wait until the last minute to apply.  The Navy conducts a continuous selection process from August through April.  Navy Option students are considered for scholarship selection as soon as their completed application package is received by the board.  Knowing your scholarship selection status in the fall can be a big advantage in helping you to make decisions about which schools you can afford and to which you should apply.  The Marine Corps conducts two boards for each selection season, one in November, and one in February, since the later board is normally after College or University deadlines, it helps a lot to apply early.  By all means, apply for the scholarship as early as you can.  You have everything to gain and nothing to lose. ALSO, APPLY TO ALL THE SCHOOLS YOU ARE INTERESTED IN, REGARDLESS OF COST, SINCE IT IS LIKELY THAT THE UNIVERSITY APPLICATION DEADLINE WILL PASS BEFORE YOU KNOW YOUR SCHOLARSHIP RESULTS.

If I start out as a Marine Option student, can I switch to be a Navy option student, or vice versa?

You can change from one option to the other, but it is not automatic.  You must request the change, and it must be approved by both Navy and Marine Corps officials on the basis of your own personal record.  The changing of option after the sophomore year is discouraged because it involves making up the specialized courses that are begun for Navy and Marine option students beginning in the junior year.

As a scholarship applicant, how do I know whether I am being selected as a Navy or Marine Option candidate?

When you send in the initial scholarship application form, you will have checked either the Navy or Marine Corps box on the form.  The box you check will determine the route that your application will then take.  You will be contacted by a Navy or Marine Corps recruiter to complete your application processing, according to the box you checked.  If you are processed by a Navy recruiter, then you will be eligible for a Navy Option scholarship.  The Navy and Marine Corps conduct their own scholarship selection boards to consider their own candidates. The Marine Corps is a much smaller service than the Navy and requires fewer new officers each year.  Thus, the number of NROTC scholarships awarded by the Marine Corps is far fewer than is offered by the Navy. 

What if I haven’t been granted a scholarship or I missed the 31 January deadline for the NROTC scholarship application? Can I still join NROTC and receive a scholarship?

Absolutely.  If a student hasn’t been granted a scholarship, he or she can join the NROTC College Program and will be able to participate in everything a scholarship student does with the exception of summer training, but they may attend the initial orientation prior to the fall semester.  After one academic term, in which the student’s academic performance and aptitude can be assessed, the student can be recommended for scholarship status to the Commander Naval Service Training Command, who is empowered to award scholarships to promising College Program students.  Additionally, you may apply on your own directly to the Commander Naval Service Command, just as you would before beginning College, for the 2-year or the 3-year scholarship.  In general, if you can earn better than a 3.3 GPA in your first academic term, achieve a “B” or better in Calculus, and demonstrate a high aptitude for Naval Service, you would be competitive for the 3-year or the 2-year NROTC scholarship, and/or for advanced standing.

What happens if I am a College Program midshipman and don’t get a scholarship?

If you don’t earn a scholarship by the end of your sophomore year, you will automatically be submitted for Advance Standing status; if granted, it will provide you with a stipend every month during the school year for the remaining two years.  Upon graduation Advanced Standing midshipmen receive the same commission as Scholarship midshipmen. If a midshipman has not been granted Advance Standing by the beginning of the junior year, he or she will be disenrolled from the NROTC program with no service obligation.

Should I wait for the results of the NROTC scholarship selection before I apply for admission to Yale?

Absolutely not! In most cases you won’t be able to wait. The deadline for admission application to Yale is 1 November for early action and 1 January for regular decision. Unless you are fortunate enough to be selected for an early scholarship, you may not know your NROTC scholarship status until after Yale’s admission deadline.  

Are NROTC scholarship selectees given any preferential treatment in the Yale admission process?

No.  The same personal characteristics and academic credentials are considered in scholarship selection and in Yale admission; so, being selected for a scholarship is a good indication that you might also be selected for admission, but it is neither guaranteed nor implied.

If I am given an NROTC scholarship, does that guarantee that I will be admitted to Yale?

No.  The scholarship selection process is COMPLETELY INDEPENDENT of the Yale admission process. You must, on your own, seek admission to Yale or some other NROTC university.  It is a good idea for NROTC scholarship applicants to apply to more than one NROTC school to ensure acceptance to at least one NROTC school.

I'm trying to decide which school to attend. Are there any differences among the various NROTC Units?

The naval science curriculum at each school is identical.  If there are any apparent differences among NROTC Units, they are due to the customs and traditions of the Units, the physical set-up of the Unit, the personalities of the Unit Staffs, and even the midshipmen in those Units.  Our advice would be to choose your university on the basis of its overall reputation and the availability of the degree programs you prefer.  Look also, at the reputation of the school’s graduates. You should narrow your choices down to a few, and then visit those campuses (and their NROTC Units) to help you make the final decision.