Army Strong Stories

U.S. Army

Visit »
Log In

Thinking about Joining ARMY ROTC?

January 27, 2011 | Cadet Matthew Flynn
Whenever I walk across campus in my ACU uniform, I am usually stopped by fellow students, Professors, or facility members who wish to inquire about the Golden Knight Battalion (Clarkson Army ROTC program). The most common question I receive is “do you have to wear your uniform every day,” or “Hey Matt, I’m interested in joining the Army ROTC program, can you tell me where to join and how the program works.”

Throughout this blog post, I hope to touch base on all the common questions and concerns that students who are interested in joining Army ROTC have. The program certainly is not for everyone--that being said--it offers valuable life skills that cannot be learned anywhere else, and everyone can benefit from taking the class and learning more about leadership and the armed services.

This post is not in any way, shape, or form meant to serve as a recruiting tool; moreover, it is simply to help those who are interested make the best decision. As a contracted cadet, who believes that joining ARMY ROTC was the best decision that I have ever made, I admit that I do posses a little biased. However, throughout this post I will do my best to stay to the facts about the program and let the students at Clarkson decide if it is right for them.

Before I attempt to answer what I anticipate to be the 5 most common questions a perspective cadet would ask. Here are a few links that go into further depth about topics I will touch base on:

Clarkson Golden Knight Battalion (Army ROTC) Website:
Information about Army ROTC Scholarships:
Additional FAQ From the GKB Website:
Major Toth’s Email---If you’re interested in Joining, Shoot him an Email!

Q1: Do you have to wear your uniform around campus every day?
A: Absolutely Not. Cadets, at most, have to wear their uniform 2 days a week. My uniform needs to be on for my 50 minute ROTC Class, and for the 2 Hour lab Thursdays 1500-1700 (3pm-5pm). On Mondays and Thursdays when I have class and lab, I generally wear my uniform all day. However, I only NEED to wear my uniform during class and lab.

Q2: How do I Join?
A: Joining is actually really easy; sign up for the class and lab in Peoplesoft. And that’s it, you joined! Make sure you still shoot Major Toth an email to let him know that you are enrolled (email listed above and below Q&A).

Q3: Does taking the class, mean that I could be sent to war anytime?
A: Again, ABSOLUTELY NOT. The Army trains cadets for 4 years, at which point, SOME of them become officers in the Army. There is no way that a MS1 cadet with one semester under his belt would ever be sent to combat; especially a non-contracted cadet who has no commitment whatsoever to the Army.

Q4: Explain the difference between contracted cadets and non-contracted cadets?
A: I am a contacted cadet; meaning that I receive a full ride scholarship from the army including a monthly stipend ,book allowance each semester,full tuition and room and board. When I receive my tuition bill, all I see at the bottom is zeros. After graduation I will owe a 4 year active duty, or 8 year reserve duty to the Army.

Non-contacted cadets do not receive any monetary contribution; however, they are also not required to attend PT and Labs (but it is strongly encouraged....see next question). Non-contracted cadets also have NO commitment to the Army. Many non-contracted cadets are interested in the Army, and eventually choose to become contracted cadets.

Q5: Is it required to attend PT and Labs?
A: For contracted cadets---Absolutely. No excuse is a good excuse for missing morning PT or Lab. Failure to attend PT will earn you an appointment with the Master Sergeant. My best advice to contracted cadets would be to attend all PT sessions and Labs.

Non-contacted cadets are not require to attend labs or PT, but are highly encouraged to do so. For non-contracted cadets wishing to become contracted----attending PT and labs is the best way to improve your chances of being awarded a scholarship. Remember, to be awarded a scholarship--you must first pass the PT test.

There it is in a nutshell, the 5 most common questions/concerns that students interested in Army ROTC have. I hope this blog post has been informative and helpful. Any students interested in joining the Golden Knight Battalion should contact Major Scott Toth by email at


Cdt. Flynn


  • gage
    6/10/2013 12:17 AM
    i am goin to be a freshman in high school next year and wanted to know how old you have to be to join R.O.T.C
  • CDT Flynn
    6/10/2013 8:03 AM
    Gage - I believe the age required to contract as a cadet is either 17 or 18. Nevertheless, at any age, a student may consider and look into the program. If you have any more questions, feel free to send me an email.
  • ratherbeplayingsoccer
    6/24/2013 4:55 PM
    hey so I too am going to be a freshman next year and just wanted to let you know there is a program called jrotc wich they offer in some highschools.
  • Kristal
    6/25/2013 7:02 PM
    What's the difference between 4 years active duty and 8 years reserve duty?
  • gage parsons
    8/4/2013 4:02 AM
    when i was 13 i was caught ding dong ditching and now i have a juenile record , will this affect my chances in joing the army
  • Mr. Toth
    8/5/2013 11:54 AM
    Gage...You have to make sure you are honest when asked about prior convictions, but something like this shouldn't prohibit you from serving or participating in Army ROTC. This isn't the kind of thing we like to see on someone's resume, but everyone makes mistakes, and as long as this is an isolated incident, and you have some achievements which show this was out of character for you, you should be fine.
  • Allison
    8/8/2013 3:27 PM
    I heard that the army rotc scholarship is highly competitive due to budget cuts. I'm really depending on this scholarship and a career in the army so my question is how competitive are the four year rotc scholarship? Also is there anything I can do (as a high school senior) to better my chances?
  • Austin
    9/25/2013 4:32 PM
    hey i was wondering if you are not a contracted cadet and you join the military after your four years are you still an officer? and i went to military school (grizzly youth academy) one year ago and i am still a california cadet would that affect me joining ROTC?
  • CDT Flynn
    9/25/2013 9:00 PM
    Austin --- to answer your question, after receiving a bachelors degree -- an individual may enlist or attend OCS. Enlistment brings you into the army as an enlisted soldier; OCS is the path to officership outside of attending a Military Academy or ROTC program.
  • Cody Jacob
    3/12/2014 1:05 PM
    really enjoyed your website and this story specifically. Would love to share my website for you to take a look at and get some feedback!

Your address will never appear on this site