Becoming an officer in the Army is an excellent way to serve your country, have new experiences, and set a foundation for a future career. A college ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corps) program is a great way for a student to get a head start on their military career. If you're a high school student or college freshman in California and are looking for the perfect Army ROTC program, we've assembled a list of five universities that could have what you're looking for.
|School Name||Institution Type||Location||Tuition (in-state)*||Military-Friendly Programs Offered|
|University of California - Davis||4-year, public||Davis, CA||$14,046||No military obligation for 2 years, cadet leadership summer courses|
|Azusa Pacific University||4-year, private||Azusa, CA||$36,120||Green-to-Gold program member|
|Santa Clara University||4-year, private||Santa Clara, CA||$47,112||Cadet Troop Leader Training|
|California State University - Fullerton||4-year, public||Fullerton, CA||$6,560||ROTC scholarship, Titan Battalion Color Guard|
|University of California - Los Angeles||4-year, public||Los Angeles, CA||$12,920||Military leadership courses, ROTC stipend|
Source: *National Center for Education Statistics
Army ROTC Colleges in California
ROTC programs aren't all exactly the same; many have different programs, expectations for military service, and more. There are many Army ROTC programs in schools throughout California, so a student looking for an Army officer education should be able to tailor their experience how they wish. Here's a compilation of five different California universities with Army ROTC programs, whether you're looking for a private school or public, for expert leadership courses or summer programs.
University of California - Davis
One option for a school with an Army ROTC program is University of California - Davis (UC Davis), a college with about 36,500 students located near the state's capital, Sacramento. UC Davis offers its ROTC cadets a summer leadership course at Fort Knox in Kentucky. The course is 5 weeks long and will help test the leadership skills learned during the school year in a military environment. UC Davis is also generous with its commitment requirements; unlike many schools, there's no military obligation required during the first two years at university. If you join the ROTC as a freshman and find that the program isn't for you, no penalty is accrued.
Azusa Pacific University
Azusa Pacific University (APU) is a private, not-for-profit university with 10,000 students located in Los Angeles County. APU's program focuses on training cadets for the Army or the civilian workforce, focusing on leadership skills, physical fitness, and cooperation with other colleges in the area. If you're currently serving in the Army, APU is also part of the Army's Green-to-Gold Active Duty program. For active duty soldiers in the Green-to-Gold program, you will continue to receive your salary from the Army for up to two years while studying at APU, so you don't have to sacrifice your commitment for your education or vice-versa.
Santa Clara University
Another option for a private, not-for-profit school in California is Santa Clara University (SCU), in the heart of Silicon Valley near San Jose. A small campus with about 8,400 students, SCU hosts the Bronco Battalion, its Army ROTC cadet corps. As a member of the Battalion, a student has a chance to enroll in the school's Cadet Troop Leader Training (CTLT), in which students shadow Second Lieutenants in the Army for three to four weeks over the summer. There, a student will get first-hand experience to the life of an officer in the Army, which will give them a leg up on what to expect in the armed forces.
California State University - Fullerton
California State University - Fullerton (CSUF) is a university in Orange County in southern California with around 40,000 students and an Army ROTC within its military science division. Members of the school's ROTC are eligible for a scholarship that pays for tuition and student fees, as well as $10,000 a year in room and board, likely making one's experience at CSUF free, or at least near-free. CSUF also boasts its Titan Battalion Color Guard, who lead many on-campus ceremonies such as graduation by carrying the state and American flags in procession. Not only will these close-order drill skills be useful in the Army, but as an extracurricular activity Color Guard will look excellent on your resume.
University of California - Los Angeles
Perhaps the most well-known school on this list, University of California - Los Angeles (UCLA) is a public school with a little less than 44,000 students deep in the heart of Los Angeles. The school's Army ROTC program is mostly based around coursework, with several lower and upper division military leadership courses to prepare a cadet for time in the service. In these courses, a student will learn skills like military planning, tactical analysis, ethics, and military law, which will be invaluable in the service and in life after the Army. Since attending classes and ROTC together is a full-time job on its own, UCLA also offers a monthly stipend of up to $500 for contracted cadets.