The great thing about people coming through an ROTC program here at JMU or anyplace else is that they learn they can do a lot of things they never thought they were capable of. You know, since High School, I always wanted to be in the army but I also wanted to go to college with a bunch of my buddies and ROTC was a way I first heard about from a counselor in High School he told me about it. I applied for a scholarship and got a four-year scholarship. They decided to pay for books, tuition and they were giving me five hundred dollars a month. You just have to apply usually in senior year of high school, you have to be interviewed, and you have to take a physical fitness test and if they like you they offer you a scholarship.
The importance of getting a scholarship is huge. Kids from out of state are paying anywhere from 20 to 50 thousand dollars depending on what college they are going to. I would have had to pay 100 thousand dollars and that's all in my pocket now. So as soon as I go in to the real world, I'm not paying back student loans. All my buddies are struggling working through college right now worrying about paying next year's tuition.
I joined because of the educational benefit and for financial stability. I wanted to graduate with a degree and ROTC was able to help me get my degree and pay my tuition. And I discovered you can get all the benefits, through the Army and not have to do the stringent West Point or Academy-oriented base curriculum and lifestyle.
When you sign up for ROTC they have an agreement with the school where regardless if you are an out-of-state resident, you get in state tuition so that helped a lot. Definitely tried out, pays for tuition, books, gives you about five hundred dollar stipend you don't have to worry about working you just focus on school focus on your physical fitness and that's what I did, you know it was the best deal that I could possibly get and I took it.