Skip to content ↓

Introduction To ROTC At MIT by ROTC

A new guest-author blog in response to a variety of inquiries regarding ROTC programs at MIT.

My name is Evan Karlik, and I graduated from both MIT and Navy ROTC this past spring. In response to a variety of inquiries regarding ROTC, it’s my pleasure to introduce a new guest-author blog that will help you to better understand the ROTC programs here at MIT.
ROTC is more than your average student activity. Its primary purpose is to prepare MIT undergraduates who are US citizens for success as officers in the United States military, but there are opportunities for international students to get involved as well.

What makes military service attractive to us? Some reasons include access to advanced vehicles, systems, and technology, the chance to assume a challenging leadership role early on, and an opportunity to serve our country. A scholarship usually accompanies involvement in ROTC, though there is an application process whether you are in high school or have already started as a student here.
My classmates and I graduated from MIT on a Friday morning in June and received our commissions that evening, making us active duty officers in the US military. From there, we’ll go on to diverse assignments, such as an R&D job in an Air Force laboratory, infantry officer school followed by command of an Army or Marine Corps platoon, flight school for the Navy or Air Force, or the nuclear reactor training required before serving aboard fast-attack or ballistic missile submarines.

In fact, the Institute has quite an established tradition of preparing students to serve as officers in the military; since its founding, more than 12,000 officers have been commissioned from MIT, of whom more than 150 have attained the rank of general or admiral.
Many ROTC students are also active in varsity sports, fraternities and sororities, academic clubs and honor societies, music groups, UROP (undergraduate research)… one great advantage of the ROTC program is you’ll have a chance to live a balanced college lifestyle.
To provide you with a window into the everyday lives of our cadets and midshipmen, this blog will highlight six MIT students: two Air Force cadets, two Army cadets, and two Navy midshipmen. They’ll provide regular accounts of ROTC courses and events, in addition to information about their backgrounds, MIT classes, extracurriculars, and future plans. We hope you enjoy reading!
– Ensign Evan Karlik, MIT ’07

13 responses to “Introduction To ROTC At MIT”

  1. Hawkins '12 says:

    Go Navy! =P I’ve been an enlisted sailor for about three years now, so I’ll be heckling in the comments.

    Of course, the Navy keeps trying to get me to go the officer route… No thanks. I want to use my degree, not get saluted for having it. =)

  2. kim says:

    yes, tell us please.i am dying to be in the marines for a time before using the mit degree in civilian terms, if i get accepted of course.

  3. Intl app says:

    I would love to get involved in a Navy/Air Force ROTC program. Although I’m not an American Citizen (yet..) Where can I find more information?


  4. Hawkins '12 says:

    There are web sites for the Army, Navy, and Air Force ROTC programs at MIT, and there’s some information in the course catalog.

  5. Thomas says:

    Good blog subject!

    I’m out at the Navy Postgraduate School right now on an internship. A good chunk of the students here as well as the provost are MIT alums. NROTC is definately a good route, my parents and grandfather all did it and made careers.

    Good luck Ensign Karlik!
    Maybe we will see you at NPS before to long.

  6. A parent says:

    A couple of questions:
    Can you go to graduate school (including medicine and law)? What is the application deadline for ROTC and how much is the scholarship?

  7. Ben says:

    What are the grad school options, procuedures, etc for an ROTC student? Can duty be “post-poned”?

    Can’t wait to read this blog (I’m considering ROTC myself). Good luck, Ensign, and thank you for all you do for our great country.

  8. Ronny CHEN says:

    Could you please tell us about the opportunities for international students to get involved? Thank you very much.

  9. Thomas says:

    to Parent and Ben:

    My grandfather was a bored member of the NROTC program and he says that every now and then the there are special groups that continue to grad school out of NROTC but it is not standard and is at the militaries discretion. Almost certainly , he says, NROTC grads will go straight to active duty.

    And just in my opinion, with the current military situation, the navy is going to have plenty for its fresh new officers to do.

    hope this helps,

  10. Thomas says:

    Board* member, s’cuse my insightful Freudian slip.

  11. AF Cadre says:

    Many of the ROTC programs offer options to go on to graduate school, including medical school and law school. However you are also correct in pointing out that it is based on the needs of that particular service.

    The current military events going on today have not precluded the need to develop officers with a variety of advanced skills.

    While many new officers do go on to fulfill their service commitment right out of school, there are many opportunities to pursue advanced degrees once on active duty too. In fact, in some services, you will have difficulty getting promoted if you don’t pursue an advance degree! We value well educated officers.

    For those who are international students, you are welcome to participate in many of the ROTC programs. However, you are not eligible to commission as an officer unless you are a US citizen. Please contact the branch you are interested in to find out what opportunities are available.

    Thanks for all the great questions!

  12. Intl again says:

    Thanks for the response!
    I’d love to become a US Citizen and go to flight school in either the Navy or Air Force. Basically that means that I’ll be studying for 5 years, become a US Citizen and then apply for flight school. I’ll check with the branches of service as soon as I get in (somewhere…) smile

  13. I want to be in the sailing school for the new session .I live in jamaica hope i can be given the opportunity to do so.