What is JROTC in High School?

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When it comes to high school, you have many options for different programs to check out and other ways to explore the future you want for yourself. One of those options is JROTC. But if you’ve never heard of it before, you likely have a lot of questions.

So, what is JROTC in high school? What are the JROTC requirements? Why would you even want to join? Well, we’re going to take a look at several of these different questions so you can decide whether or not this program is best for you and your plans for the future.

What is JROTC?What is JROTC?

The first thing that we have to take a look at is just what is JROTC. The good news is that part is simple. If you’re wondering what JROTC stands for, it’s the Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps. That means it’s a subset of the U.S. military that’s designed for younger people (under the age of 18) who are currently in high school and meet select other criteria.

Those who are interested in joining the U.S. military after high school are generally the most likely candidates for the program though that’s not a requirement to join. In fact, there is no obligation to the military for students who do choose to join the JROTC. Instead, the program is entirely separate from the military in the way that it’s carried out.

This program is, however, regulated by the military. For those interested in joining after graduation, your performance within the JROTC could help you achieve a higher rank when you do enlist. That means there are plenty of benefits for students who want to join the military, but there are many benefits for those who aren’t interested.

What are the Types of JROTC Programs?

What are the Types of JROTC Programs?

There are JROTC programs available through each of the different branches of the U.S. military. That means the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard each have a program that is run slightly differently because they are dedicated to each specific branch of the military.

For students interested in joining one of these branches after graduation, it’s best to join the JROTC program for that branch, as this could help you in your placement after enlisting. On the other hand, for those who are not interested in joining the military, you can choose which of these programs you would like to join based on your own personal preference.

What is Taught in JROTC?

What is Taught in JROTC?

So, if these programs are not actually about military prep and getting students signed up for the military, then what are they about? The truth is, they are about the military, but they’re about a whole lot more than just signing up to be a soldier or, in any other way, a part of the armed forces.

This program teaches military history and customs and will generally focus on the specific military branch that the program is through. It also requires students to wear uniforms that are reminiscent of the branch that their JROTC is through. Physical fitness and drills are also a very big part of the program, as are academic competitions.

However, the big key to this type of program is not the military training or any of the military aspects, but rather the skills that students will learn through the program. The benefits of ROTC in high school are these skills. These include leadership, discipline, self-confidence, health, nutrition, and even financial management. By learning these skills, alongside responsibility, goal setting, teamwork, and even time organization, students are preparing for their future, no matter what they choose to do.

What are the Benefits of Joining JROTC?

What are the Benefits of Joining JROTC?

There are a number of different benefits associated with joining JROTC, which start with all of the skills that students will learn to guide them in the rest of their lives. We touched on these above, but it definitely bears repeating what students will get out of the program that will make them better people in general.

Skills related to leadership, discipline, self-confidence, responsibility, goal setting, and teamwork will make students better equipped for taking on roles throughout their professional, personal, and educational lives.

Other skills, including health, nutrition, financial management, and time organization, will also allow them to succeed in a number of ways throughout their lives, creating a well-rounded individual who knows how to take care of themselves as well as those around them.

Drill and physical fitness requirements will provide the student with a better understanding of their own body and their own well-being and keeping them in the best shape possible. These parts of the program also encourage teamwork in many ways and allow students to build one another up.

Academic requirements within the program allow students to learn advanced concepts related to the military as well as outside of military education. And more than that, they prepare students for the remainder of their education if they choose to continue on to a college or university after high school.

These programs encourage projects and programs that will get the student involved in the community as well as the school. The idea is to encourage youth to get involved and to work on improving the world around them. Through direct projects and teaching valuable life skills, these programs assist youth with these goals.

What Does JROTC Do in High School?

What Does JROTC Do in High School?

So, just what does this program really do in high school? Besides teaching the skills and abilities we’ve mentioned, it does quite a bit.

  • Prepare students for the military – We mentioned that this program isn’t just about preparing for the military, but it can be for interested students. For example, it could give an advantage on ranking upon enlistment into the same branch.
  • Prepare students for college – For students who don’t plan to go into the military, this type of program still helps prepare them for their future. That’s because it gives them skills they can use in school and also gives them the academics they need to graduate and move forward with their plans.
  • Prepare students for the workforce – Students who are looking to enter into the workforce immediately can learn a number of great skills from this program as well. Whether they are going to take on a job part-time while going to school or they’re looking to enter full-time out of high school, the skills will make them invaluable to employers.
  • Build character – The idea behind this program is primarily character development. It’s all about encouraging students to become their best both now and into their future, and the program does this through its unique methods of teaching and the unique curriculum that goes along with it.
  • Develops leadership – One of the hallmark skills that students will learn through the JROTC program is leadership, and this will help the student with all areas of their life moving forward. They will learn how to step up and be a good and effective leader as well as how to step back and let others take charge.
  • Encourages participation – Students who enroll in one of these programs are also encouraged to participate in a range of different activities. It’s not just about the program itself but also about getting involved in community service and volunteer projects that make their area and their community a better place.
  • Increases citizenship – Working within the framework of a military program means that students are exposed to a number of the rights and responsibilities that go along with being an American citizen. They are taught about what these rights and responsibilities mean and how to avoid misappropriating them.

How to Join JROTC in High School?

How to Join JROTC in High School?

Those students who are interested in joining JROTC in high school will need to talk with a guidance counselor at their school about their options. You may see JROTC listed in your school coursebook as an option for an elective. If that’s the case, then you can select the program and apply that way.

For students who don’t see the option in their school course offerings, make sure you still talk with a guidance counselor to see what your choices are. You may still be able to enroll in a program either through your own school or through a nearby school, but you will need to work with your school to find out how.

Once you’ve decided that you want to join the program, however, you will need to make sure that you are eligible and will need to apply to the program. Luckily, most of the requirements to get into the program are actually quite simple, so most students who are interested will likely be able to get into the program.


There are certain eligibility criteria for students to even apply to the program and to expect that they will be accepted in. We’ll take a look at the eligibility requirements and which students would be best suited to apply to the program.

  • In order to be eligible to join JROTC, you will need to find a participating school to attend the program through. This might be your own school, or it might be a nearby school that offers its own program. Either way, you should be able to find a program you can participate in.
  • Next, the student must be currently enrolled in high school classes in grades 9 through 12. They are required to be taking regular courses through their high school program in order to be able to take this elective program.
  • The student must also be physically capable of participating in the program, which consists of extensive physical requirements in the form of drills and more. Students who are incapable of following the physical aspects of the program will not be able to enroll.
  • Students must apply to the program and be accepted by the instructor, as well as being approved for admission by the principal of the school that they attend. There may also be another representative who has to approve the student.
  • Students must then continue to meet all of the requirements below in order to remain within the program, or they can be removed.


When students join the JROTC program, they are required to follow certain requirements in order to stay in the program. These requirements are based primarily on standards related to the branch of the military that the student is enrolled through.

  • Students must follow and maintain acceptable academic standing that allows them to progress toward graduation on a normal schedule. If they do not continue to meet the requirements for graduation, they may not be allowed to continue in the program.
  • Students also must follow and meet standards of conduct in order to be allowed to remain within the program. This is because the student is considered a representative of the branch of the military that they are part of the program through.
  • Students must meet personal grooming standards applicable to the program as well as reflecting common sense and good judgment. All of these things are based on the fact that the student is a representative of the branch of the military.

Wrapping Things Up: What is JROTC in High School?

So, just what should you know about JROTC in high school? Well, it’s a great program that’s going to allow students throughout their high school years to learn advanced skills that will help them with the rest of their high school years and beyond.

Students who are interested in joining the military can get even more benefit from the program when it comes time for enlistment, but even students with no interest in the military can reap the benefits of this program.

JROTC will help students learn valuable life skills that they can use for high school, college, the workforce, the military, and just their everyday personal lives.

Professor Conquer
Professor Conquer

Professor Conquer started Conquer Your Exam in 2018 to help students feel more confident and better prepared for their tough tests. Prof excelled in high school, graduating top of his class and receiving admissions into several Ivy League and top 15 schools. He has helped many students through the years tutoring and mentoring K-12, consulting seniors through the college admissions process, and writing extensive how-to guides for school.

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