Q: Does joining NJROTC obligate me to serve in the United States military?
A: No, NJROTC has no binding military commitment. It is a class intended to help teach leadership skills that will be useful for your child’s high school years and after. However, JROTC does offer the military as a viable career option, and will provide cadets with valuable experience if they choose to pursue military scholarships or enter the military.
Q: Do the cadets wear uniforms and how much do they cost?
A: Cadets wear uniforms one school day a week and the uniform is mostly free. The Navy pays for our uniform pieces and instructional material. While the unit can help those with financial need, costs for the uniform include: white cotton undershirts, black dress socks, shirt stays for males, any lost items that need replacement, and occasional dry cleaning.
Q: Do the instructors yell at you or get in your face?
A: This is not boot camp. NJROTC is ran like generally any other class and the instructors, called NSI AND SNSI, give lessons and teach much like normal teachers. What sets them apart from normal teachers is that they deeply care about the success of each and every cadet, and will become one of their greatest mentors throughout high school and beyond. NJROTC is stricter than a standard high school class, but there is absolutely no hazing or excessive cruelty.
Q: Are the males and females separated?
A: The classes are a mix of males and females. Physical training exercises are done as a unit or class, but females are paired with females and males with males. On overnight field trips and at camps, females and males have completely separate accommodations. Fraternization (freshmen dating seniors, etc.) is strictly prohibited. Fraternization in uniform can result in loss of points during inspection.
Q: Is the physical training hard?
A: Physical training can be challenging, but it will help cadets get into their best physical shape. Our workouts typically consist of body weight and partner exercises like push-ups, crunches, lunges, and more. Runs are performed as a group, and are always of a reasonable and safe distance. We do a Physical Fitness Test once a semester. A PFT consists of two minutes of push-ups, two minutes of crunches, and one mile. Males and females have different passing standards. Cadets can be exempted from the PFT with a medical exemption from their physician. Accommodations are always readily available for injured and ill cadets.
Q: How many times a week is physical training? What do cadets wear?
A: Physical training is one to two times a week. Cadets wear any clothes that they are comfortable to workout in or they can buy NJROTC PT gear. Cadets are graded on whether or not they chose to dress out, unless they have a signed note from a physical therapist or doctor.
Q: What extracurricular activities are available?
A: NJROTC extracurriculars are completely optional, but are heavily encouraged as they look great on college applications, help cadets make friends, teach leadership, usually emphasize physical fitness, and overall are the most “fun” part of JROTC. Our unit is made up of many different competitive teams. Drill Team is available with unarmed basic, armed basic, armed exhibition and color guard. We also have an Air Rifle Team and Academic Team, which both require try-outs due to limited spots. Our Orienteering Team and Physical Fitness Teams are open to all who want to join. Conditions like asthma may limit participation in PT team and Orienteering, but everything is case by case. Practices for varying teams happen most days after school, with competitions on the weekend.
Q: I have heard of the “Military Ball;” what is it?
A: The Military Ball is an annual event put on by the cadet leaders. It is a formal dance for all cadets and parents to attend and socialize. Guest speakers are invited to share their knowledge, and there are many impressive ceremonies such as a sword detail and a color guard. Finally, cake and dinner are served and the dancing begins!
Q: Does NJROTC go on field trips?
A: Our unit puts on an overnight field trip each semester. This event is optional, and attending is not a grade in any way. The cost covers transportation, food, a t-shirt and events during the field trip. Cadets are taken to sites relating to our Naval Science curriculum (for example, different naval bases and museums). There are typically about 20 spots. Also, throughout the year the unit may have overnight competitions, college visits, and day trips. During the summer, NJROTC offers unique opportunities such as Leadership Academy, Sailing Academy, and more.
Q: What staff positions are available and how are they gained?
A: Staff positions are earned by being a good influencer and role model within the unit. We have our top four staff which includes: Commanding Officer (CO), Executive Officer (XO), Operations Officer (OPS) and Senior Enlisted (SEA). Our other staff positions include Admin, Supply, Public Affairs, Ordnance, and Recruiting Officer. Captains of our teams have immense leadership responsibilities as well. Most staff positions have an assistant team.
Q: How are medals and ribbons earned?
A: Each medal and ribbon has certain requirements. For example, ribbons are awarded for community service, drill team, high GPA, physical fitness, and more. If a cadet earns a ribbon or medal they are given it during class or at the end of year awards ceremony.
Q: What are the benefits of joining NJROTC?
A: If a cadet is in the unit for three semesters, then they do not have to take PE/health. NJROTC participates in community and school service, which looks good on job and college applications, in addition to instilling valuable character traits. Upon completion of three semesters of the program, if a cadet chooses to enlist in the service, they are automatically eligible for promotion to the pay grade E-3 (E-2 in the United States Marine Corps). This puts you a year or two ahead of your peers, and amounts to hundreds of dollars per month in pay. Even if you decide that the military is not the career you desire, the principles and training of the NJROTC program are widely respected on both job and college resumes.