Military Schools: What Happens After Air Force JROTC?
I think one of the most popular misconceptions about military schools at the high school level is the idea that after you graduate, you are obligated to go into the military. Whether or not there is a particular service branch associated with the school, as R-MA is affiliated with the Air Force, does not seem to make a difference. The idea is somehow out there.
Let me tell you: It’s not true.
Being enrolled in Air Force Junior ROTC during high school does not require you to enroll in Air Force ROTC in college. Nor does it obligate you to enlist in the military after graduation. This is different than the ROTC program in college, which does have a post-graduation service requirement.
That being said, if you complete four years of Air Force JROTC, then choose to enlist in the Air Force, you will receive an extra stripe—in other words, an extra level of rank and more pay—upon graduating from basic training.
But most students do not go into the Air Force after graduating from R-MA or most other military schools, because the majority of military schools are actually college prep—in other words, our goal is to prepare students for college, not the military.
By now you might be wondering what the point of Air Force JROTC is, exactly. Well, the objectives are to:
• Educate and train high school cadets in citizenship
• Promote community service
• Instill responsibility, character, and self-discipline
• Provide instruction in air and space fundamentals
At R-MA, we do have a number of students who apply to a U.S. service academy (or more than one) each year—in fact, for the class of 2012, we have at least nine who are applying. Some of our seniors will go to college but enroll in a Reserve Officer Training Corps, or ROTC, program. The majority will simply go on to college without any military obligation or affiliation—but due to their JROTC experience, they will have a much deeper appreciation for men and women in uniform who are out there defending our freedom.
So if you have had any fears about what comes after your years of Air Force JROTC, worry no longer. The choice is still yours. This is high school, a time to try new things without lifelong obligations to accompany them.
Do you have more questions about Air Force JROTC? Ask in the comments section below. I’ll either answer them here or in a future blog!