Why is High School ROTC Important?

JROTC helps prepare high school students for successful futures.

1 What is High School ROTC?

The Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (JROTC) is a high school program offered as an elective or substitute for physical education. It uses a military setting and physical fitness to teach young people a variety of character traits and life skills, such as teamwork. Researchers agree that students, faculty and the surrounding community all benefit from the existence of these programs and create better citizens. While JROTC is for high school students, college students also have the opportunity for training through college ROTC programs. There are not currently any middle school ROTC programs available for students, only high school JROTC and college ROTC.

These ROTC programs allow students to experience Army, Marine, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and other armed forces or Department of Defense training before entering the field and active duty. While some ROTC programs differ and have different names, like Army JROTC, Navy JROTC and JROTC Cadet Training, many are similar. ROTC scholarships and college scholarships are also often available for student participants. The color guard participants can also be considered for JROTC recognitions as well, with certain eligibility. Extracurricular activities can be used to help JROTC students in their training and participation in terms of skill set and future employment opportunities.

2 Why is High School ROTC Important?

3 Character Benefits

According to a 2006 case study performed by Joseph A. Santora Jr. on Passaic High School for his Doctor of Education requirements, students are acquiring many of the advantages the JROTC program seeks to provide. When asked a series of questions regarding the benefits they had received from JROTC, students agreed that they had learned leadership and athletics skills, improved their attendance and gained better self-esteem and self-discipline. Participants are also performing good citizenship with their involvement.

4 Opportunities for All

Unlike other high school programs, JROTC offers opportunities to students at all academic levels, including special education students or those with needed accessibility. In fact, special ed teachers at schools like Passaic High School commonly encourage their students to enroll in JROTC, saying that it provides a positive form of structure and support. JROTC also welcomes students of all nationalities, with 90 percent of participants being students of ethnic minority, according to NavyLeague.org.

5 Positive Role Models

JROTC provides an excellent opportunity for high school students to learn from positive role models, as the programs are run by active and retired military personnel in the JROTC instructors used. This environment of mutual respect can help to reduce discipline problems both in school and at home. Additionally, JROTC programs provide jobs for members of the military who are no longer deployed.

6 Community Support

In a poll published by NavyLeage.org, JROTC programs received 100 percent support from PTAs, school principals and graduates from the schools surveyed. JROTC is also highly supported by the surrounding communities, who benefit from the hundreds of hours of community service the students perform, according to the poll. Furthermore, JROTC events and competitions often serve to bring parents and other members of the community together to support these high school students.

7 Higher Education

Some parents have expressed concern about JROTC, claiming that the U.S. military uses this program to recruit high school students for military branches. While students in JROTC are informed about military opportunities and military history, they are not obligated to participate in any military service after JROTC, and many take advantage of scholarship opportunities or college credit offered through their JROTC program. Without military obligation, students get the chance to weigh their options after completing the program. In actuality, schools with JROTC report lower drop-out rates, better grade point averages and higher SAT scores—benefits that support students as they graduate and enter college. Students who do enter the military after high school do so with a wide variety of advantages, including higher rank or advancement, according to USArmyJRTOC.com.

Tiffany Bennett is a recent graduate from Toccoa Falls College. While earning her degree in counseling and psychology, she discovered that she enjoys various forms of writing. She is currently living in Athens, Ga., and looking forward to beginning a graduate degree program in international affairs at the University of Georgia.