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Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

What size is the unit?

The Penn State NROTC battalion is the largest in the BIG 10 and one of the largest in the nation. We average 180 midshipmen.

Is there a ROTC dorm on campus?

Yes. Brumbaugh Hall in the East Halls residence complex is the Tri-ROTC dorm. Students may submit a request for Special Living Options (SLO) for a room in Brumbaugh Hall through University Park Housing.

Is asthma a disqualifying condition?

Medically diagnosed asthma after 13 years of age is typically a disqualifying medical condition.

Does NROTC Unit Penn State commission doctors or lawyers?

No. NROTC Unit Penn State does not commission Navy doctors or Navy lawyers (JAG); however, we do commission officers into the Navy Nurse Corps.

What is the latest I can join the NROTC Battalion?

The latest a student may join the battalion each semester is July 1st for Fall Semester and the Friday prior to Thanksgiving for Spring Semester. A student may not join the battalion beyond their sophomore year unless they are on scholarship or Advanced Standing.

What are the GPA requirements for NROTC?

Midshipmen are required to achieve a minimum semester and cumulative GPA of 2.5. Midshipmen who fall below the standards can expect to be placed on either Academic Warning, Academic Probation, Leave of Absence or be recommended for Disenrollment.

What is New Student Orientation?

New Student Orientation provides new midshipmen a team building experience where together they are introduced to the Penn State culture, welcomed into their “First Wardroom” as members of NROTC Unit Penn State, and provided the very basic aspects of our Naval Tradition that they will have the privilege to carry forth as future officers in the Navy and Marine Corps. More information regarding New Student Orientation can be found here.

Is it mandatory to be here for New Student Orientation?

No. New Student Orientation is not mandatory; however, it does give new midshipmen an opportunity to become familiar with the campus and the battalion before the semester begins.

What classes should I schedule my first semester?

Midshipmen should follow the prescribed degree plan for their intended major and ensure they are enrolled in the appropriate Naval Science course (NAVSC 101 for entering freshmen). They should also take into account any academic requirements determined by their scholarship status.

How many days a week do midshipmen PT?

Navy option midshipmen PT once a week with the battalion. Marine Corps option midshipmen PT three times a week; once with the battalion and twice with Charlie Company. Midshipmen are encouraged to PT on their own as necessary.

Can I play sports while participating in NROTC?

Yes. Allowances can be made for midshipmen to participate in Penn State athletics; however, academics and NROTC take priority over sports. Many midshipmen choose to participate in Intramural Sports. In the past we have had midshipmen on the football and cheerleading teams.

What happens when a sport or class interferes with the Leadership Lab or Battalion PT?

Midshipmen who anticipate a conflict with Lab or PT due to classes or sports are required to work with their advisor to determine if there are any options to resolve the conflict. Some conflicts are unavoidable and midshipmen may request to miss Lab or attend conflict PT.

Do NROTC midshipmen support community service?

Yes. Midshipmen can expect to participate in a variety of community service opportunities.

What summer training cruises will I go on?

Midshipmen on the 4-Year National Scholarship can expect three summer training cruises; CORTRAMID between their freshmen and sophomore years, 2nd class cruise (Navy option) or Mountain Warfare Training (Marine Corps option) between their sophomore and junior years, and 1st class cruise (Navy option) or Officer Candidate School (OCS) (Marine Corps option) between their junior and senior years.

Navy Nurse Corps option midshipmen are only required to attend two summer cruises; one shipboard and one at a naval hospital.

Midshipmen on a 3 year scholarship will have the opportunity to attend either CORTRAMID or a 2nd class cruise and a 1st class cruise.

Midshipmen on a 2 year scholarship or Advanced Standing will attend a 1st class cruise.

The 1st class cruise for Navy option midshipmen and Officer Candidate School (OCS) for Marine Corps option midshipmen is required before a midshipman is commissioned and cannot be waived.

What is the commitment time after graduation and Commissioning?

Navy option midshipmen are required to serve a minimum of five years on active duty (Naval Aviators require 8 years of service after winging, Naval Flight Officers require 6 years of service after winging).

Navy Nurse Corps option midshipmen are required to serve a minimum of four years on active duty.

Marine Corps option midshipmen are required to serve a minimum of four years on active duty.

Is NROTC offered at any branch campuses?  Can I travel from a branch campus to participate in NROTC at University Park?

No. Students must be enrolled in classes at University Park to participate in NROTC.

Can I do the 2+2 program?  (2 years at a branch campus and 2 years at University Park)

Students must be attending classes at the University Park campus to participate in NROTC. A student may inform the NROTC unit of their intentions to transfer to University Park and participate in NROTC then apply for the 2-Year Scholarship through the NROTC unit. 2-Year Scholarships are extremely competitive. However, the Professor of Naval Science provides recommendations for students which can increase their chance of receiving a 2-Year Scholarship.


Scholarship Questions

Should I submit an application to all the schools that I put on my scholarship list?

Yes. Not everyone receives the 4-Year National Scholarship for their first choice on their school list. Problems arise when individuals receive a scholarship for a school that has not accepted them. There is the option to request the scholarship be transferred to a different school; however, a transfer is not guaranteed.

Should I pay the deposit the colleges request even though I haven’t heard if I received the scholarship or not?

That is up to the individual to decide. If not paying a deposit results in not being enrolled that could affect your options if you then receive the scholarship for that school. We recommend contacting the school Admissions Office and explaining your situation. They may be willing to work with you while you wait to hear back about the scholarship. If you apply for the scholarship early enough this may not become an issue.

Can the NROTC unit help me get into Penn State?

No. The NROTC unit cannot intervene on a student’s behalf with the Admissions Office.

What are my chances of picking up a 4-Year National Scholarship or a 3 or 2-Year Scholarship?

The 4-Year National Scholarship is extremely competitive. NROTC units are not involved in the selection process for the 4-Year National Scholarship. 3 and 2-Year Scholarships are also extremely competitive; however, the Professor of Naval Science provides recommendations for students which can increase their chance of receiving a 3 or 2-Year Scholarship. The scholarship selection boards will look at SAT/ACT scores and high school performance for the 4-Year National Scholarship, whereas the focus is on college performance and NROTC participation for the 3 and 2-Year Scholarships.

What can I do to help my chances of picking up a 4-Year National Scholarship or a 3 or 2-Year Scholarship as a current freshman?

Take Calculus (MATH 140/141) and Physics (PHYS 211/212) and do well in them. Since you have already completed some calculus and physics requirements the Navy will be taking less risk of you not being able to complete the courses.

Do you know when I will hear if I received the 4-Year National Scholarship or not?

No. We are not involved in the 4-Year National Scholarship selection process.

If I receive a 4-Year National Scholarship during my freshman year will I be reimbursed for my freshmen year tuition?

No. The 4-Year National Scholarship cannot be used to reimburse the recipient for any money they have already paid to the university.

Why are there so few Nursing Scholarships?

Nursing Scholarships are determined by the manpower needs of the Navy.

How many Marine Corps Scholarships are available?

Marine Corps Scholarships are determined by the manpower needs of the Marine Corps. NROTC units are not typically informed of the number of 4-Year National Scholarships available.

Can I apply for the 3 or 2-Year Scholarship?

Midshipmen can apply for the 3 or 2-Year Scholarship through the NROTC unit. The application process is managed by the NROTC unit staff with submissions at the end of the midshipmen’s freshmen or sophomore years.

Do majors play a part in getting a scholarship for Navy or Marine Corps option?

Your intended major can affect your scholarship application for Navy options applicants, as the Navy has a strong focus on Tier 1 and 2 majors.

Your intended major does not affect your scholarship application for Marine Corps option applicants.

Can I continue to participate in NROTC if I don’t receive a scholarship or Advanced Standing before my junior year?

No. Unfortunately midshipmen are not allowed to continue with NROTC beyond their sophomore year if they do not receive a scholarship or Advanced Standing.

What other options do I have if I do not pick up a scholarship or Advanced Standing before my junior year?

Unfortunately midshipmen who do not receive a scholarship or Advanced Standing at the end of their sophomore year will be disenrolled from NROTC. Those who still wish to commission as a naval officer should speak to a Navy officer recruiter about Navy Officer Candidate School (OCS) or a Marine Corps officer recruiter about the Platoon Leaders Course (PLC).

How to I move in my dorm early?

We make the arrangements for the students to move in the dorm early (check with Dan) and the student will pay $20 a night for 3 nights before they will be allowed to move in.

I missed the deadline for applying to the scholarship but I would still like to participate in NROTC, what are my options?  

You can still participate in NROTC at Penn State if you are accepted to the University Park campus via the college program.  Note that you CANNOT participate in NROTC at a branch campus.  The college program does not come with monetary benefits but will allow your military suitability to be observed by the staff which will help your chances of obtaining the scholarship.  You will be issued uniforms and be considered a midshipman just like students on scholarship.  You need to pick up a scholarship or advanced standing by your junior year or you will be disenrolled from the program.  You need to complete the college program application prior to the following deadlines:  Fall – July 1st,  Spring – prior to Thanksgiving Break.



Regarding the College Program Application

Is there an official form for the sports physical?  No, it can be whatever form the physician uses.

Can I use the DODMERB physical for the College Program Application from when I applied for the National Scholarship or the Academy?  Yes, e will except the letter stating the student is medically qualified.  If the student doesn’t have the letter,  we will ask the student to move the DODMERB to The Penn State NROTC Unit.  If the student has a DODMERB they do not need to fill out the DD2492 form or submit a sports physical as long as they have been medically qualified by DODMERB.

Does the high school transcript have to be official? 
No, it can be an unofficial copy.
Where can I have the NROTC Applicant Fitness Assessment done? 

It can be done by a gym teacher, recruiting office. Contact and ROTC advisor for more information here.


Additional questions may be answered on the official NROTC website.