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The ROTC Scholarship Application Process Part III: Fitness Requirements

The chief worry of most ROTC scholarship candidates is fitness. In most cases, this should not be a concern as long as you have some self-discipline. If you are not an athlete, then a little preparation prior to taking the initial test will be required. Sustaining the military’s required level of fitness requires a few hours a week.


There are three “events” the Army, Navy, and Air Force require you to pass to be scholarship eligible. The events are designed to measure muscular endurance and cardiorespiratory fitness. Active duty Army must pass the same test. The Air Force and Navy scholarship candidates have almost identical requirements. The Marines require a longer run, three miles, and instead of pushups, you must pass a pull-up requirement.

The tests, and the requirements, are the same whether you are in ROTC or on active duty. Both active duty and ROTC require you to pass the test twice a year. The test really is not very difficult. The scoring is based on age, so the older you are, the fewer repetitions you need to complete. You also get a slightly longer time to complete the mandatory runs.

ROTC Scholarship Fitness Requirement for Females

Females have slightly different requirements and minimum standards. For example, the Army requires men to do a minimum of 42 pushups in two minutes. Women only need do 19 pushups. The sit-up requirements for men and women are the same. Women get three more minutes than men do to complete the 2-mile run and achieve the minimum passing score.
In the Marines, men must complete three pull-ups (not very many really!). Women must hang by their arms from the pull-up bar for 15 seconds. The Marines, by the way, were supposed to delete the flexed-arm hang and replace it with chin-ups in January, 2014. The flexed-arm hang, however, is still a requirement as the Marine Corps says it needs more data to set appropriate female standards.

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Here are the minimum fitness requirements for Army ROTC scholarship applicants and active duty officers and enlisted. For exemplification purposes, the requirements below are for the youngest age group, 17-21:

Push-ups (2-minute time limit)

Men: 42
Women: 19

Sit-ups (2-minute time limit)

Men: 53
Women: 53

Two-Mile Run

Men: 15 minutes, 54 seconds
Women: 18 minutes, 54 seconds

Final Remarks

ROTC tests all cadets on this multiple times during the year, and twice a year for an “official” score. ROTC instructors, all reserve or active duty officers or enlisted, administer the test. For scholarship candidates, you can have a coach at your High School conduct the test and sign off as a certifying officer.
Elite units, like Army Rangers, Navy SEALS, etc. have different requirements. Some ROTC cadets will be given opportunities to attend some elite training schools during summers or holiday break time.

Each college has different Physical Training (PT) requirements. Typically, cadets are required to do PT three times a week, but it depends on the ROTC battalion. ROTC students that play sports in college usually do not participate when in training for their sport except during mandatory PT test sessions.

The standards are not that arduous. You don’t have to be a super-athlete, just in reasonable shape. If you join ROTC in college and are out of shape, the cadre will help you get in shape by working with you remedially.

Next Week, ROTC Application Process, Part IV: Other Criteria

Disclaimer: The content of this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical


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