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FAQ

Do I have to go to basic training to do ROTC?

No, absolutely not. No prior military training or experience is required. Basic training is not part of the ROTC program. If you desire to go to basic training, contact your local National Guard or Reserve Recruiter. In Clemson, the Army recruiter’s number is 864-654-3888.

How much time does ROTC take?

Not a great deal for freshmen and sophomores, a little more later on for juniors and seniors. For freshmen and sophomores, ROTC meets for one hour a week with a hands-on lab for two additional hours every other week. For junior and senior cadets, class is one hour in the fall and two hours in the spring, with lab for two additional hours every week.

Will ROTC conflict with my other classes?

No, military science classes are scheduled just like any other class. We have a planned curriculum to work with most common Clemson course requirements, and also to accommodate the ROTC students at Southern Wesleyan and Tri-County Tech. It’s not to say that it won’t happen, but you will find us very flexible with regard to working through conflicts. 

What do ROTC students do?

Mainly, they are just like any other college student. They earn an academic degree and learn to think and reason at the college level. Along the way, they will learn leadership skills and have experiences that will set them apart from their peers. These skills and experiences will qualify them to become officers in the U.S. Army. Upon graduation, they are placed in job positions as second lieutenants, either on active duty or in the Reserves or National Guard. 

Can I "major" in ROTC?

No. ROTC is taken for elective credit, but you can receive a minor in military leadership by taking all four years of military science as well as a few other related courses. The military science department is part of the College of Business. ROTC students choose a major in any other course of study in which they are interested and qualified. 

Can I participate in other activities while taking ROTC?

Yes! In fact we highly encourage students to participate in other activities. We subscribe to the total person concept and want well-rounded individuals to lead the Army and the nation into the 21st century. Participating in other activities is one of the criteria looked favorably upon when a student applies for an ROTC scholarship. Clubs, athletics and volunteer activities are all helpful endeavors in developing your leadership skills. 

Does ROTC offer any extracurricular activities?

Yes. The Clemson Rangers, Pershing Rifles, Tiger Platoon, and Scabbard and Blade are all activities that are supported by ROTC. The Ranger Challenge Team, the Army ROTC varsity sport, is another activity to participate in. Our students also form their own intramural sports teams, as well as participating in fundraising and community service projects. 

How many women are in ROTC?

ROTC is an equal opportunity program. We encourage participation without regard to gender, race, origin or religious affiliation. NOTE: Certain eligibility requirements, including citizenship, age restrictions, medical qualifications, etc., must be met in order to earn a commission.

Do I have to be a Clemson student to enroll in ROTC?

No. Any Clemson, Southern Wesleyan or Tri-County Tech student is free to try ROTC as an elective course offering.

Do I have to wear a military uniform while taking ROTC?

No, you may wear civilian attire to class on Tuesdays. However, during Thursday’s lab time uniforms are required. You will be issued the uniforms and equipment you need free of charge.

I heard a huge drill sergeant shaves my head when I join ROTC. Is that true?

Here is the deal with regard to hair: We do not cut anyone’s hair! You must, however, meet the Army’s appearance standards. That may mean, for males, shorter hair than you currently have, but nobody gets his (or her) head shaved. Females must wear their hair up off the collar of the uniform they are wearing. 

I heard ROTC students have to run every morning at 0500 (That’s 5:00 a.m. for most of you). I certainly hope that’s not true!!

No, it’s not. Our juniors and seniors, along with all scholarship students, are required to partake in physical training (PT) on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 6:00 to 7:00 a.m. For the rest, it is considered an optional activity. We strongly encourage a healthy lifestyle that incorporates a regular fitness program. Incidentally, we do more than run during our time together. We play sports, do aerobics, complete obstacle courses and participate in many other activities that are fun and get us into good physical condition. 

I heard that ROTC students are always running around in the woods. Is that true?

Not entirely — we do a good portion of our training outdoors. We do enjoy adventure activities such as hiking, rappelling and orienteering. If these types of activities excite you, then register for a class: You have nothing to lose! 

Do we take field trips in ROTC?

Yes, once a semester usually. These trips are called field training exercises, or FTXs for short. These trips are designed for ROTC students in order for them to enhance their leadership skills in a field environment. These trips include training on real Army bases; rides on tanks and helicopters; visits to historic battlefields; etc. 

Do I have any summer training requirement in ROTC?

Yes. During the summer between your junior and senior years of college (normally), all ROTC students will attend LDCA. This five-week leadership experience is the culmination of your training thus far and goes a long way in determining your future as an officer. There are many other summer training opportunities that are entirely optional, such as the Army Airborne or Air Assault schools or the Northern Warfare training camp, to name a few. 

When does my participation in ROTC begin to incur a military service obligation?

For most students it’s the start of your junior year of college. This is when you decide whether or not you want to pursue a commission in the Army. At this time you would sign a contract with the U.S. Army. This applies to two-year scholarship students and all non-scholarship students in the program. A three-year or four-year scholarship winner becomes obligated at the start of their sophomore year. 

What is the time I owe the Army if I complete ROTC and become an officer?

Eight years, but before you leave skid marks running away, let’s break it down so it does not appear quite so daunting! These eight years can be fulfilled in a number of ways: three or four years (depending on scholarship status) on active duty, and then the remainder in the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR). Essentially the IRR is a non-active status with no drill requirements. The other option is six years in a drill unit of the Reserves or National Guard, meeting one weekend monthly and two weeks each summer, followed by two years in the IRR. This obligation is federally mandated and is the same obligation across all services.

What if I already have prior military service?

We accept students with prior experience, and, in fact, in some cases, prior service may be counted toward your ROTC basic course.