Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) programs provide most of the officers who protect the United States in its military branches. ROTC programs also provide benefits for the students and future officers who enroll: leadership training, academic support, physical rigor and discipline. Additionally, ROTC scholarships allow many students to attend college for free. Read on to learn how to sign up for a ROTC program.

Find out if ROTC is available at your college or colleges near you. Most colleges have links to their military science department or ROTC unit if they have one. Some colleges don't have military science departments of their own, but they share one with a neighboring college.

Determine which branch of the military is right for you. The Army has the widest range of officer roles, from infantry leaders to tank commanders to pilots. Naval officers are more likely to spend time on the water on board America's fleet. Naval ROTC, or NROTC, also administers the program for future Marine Corps officers. The Air Force needs officers to fly, but also to provide support for their planes.

Consider the requirements. Prepare to meet the demanding physical and academic standards. Programs also require one or two summers of training and extra courses during the academic year. After graduation ROTC members are committed to serve for periods of time based on their program and scholarships.

Contact the appropriate military science department. Your college or the corresponding military branch can provide the contact for you if you can't find it on their website.

Apply for a scholarship based on your involvement in sports, extra-curricular activities and leadership roles. Application forms are available on the Army, Navy and Air Force websites.