Out of 194 who applied, only 30 were selected, one is an active duty Marine with 12th Marine Corps District Headquarters. The U.S. Marine Corps awarded the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps scholarship valued at $180,000 to Cpl. Michael Wick, combat correspondent with 12MCD, and a Mundelein, Ill., native, during an award ceremony at 12MCD headquarters, Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, March 24.
The NROTC scholarship is a program to educate and train qualified young men and women as commissioned officers in the Navy or Marine Corps that pays for the full cost of tuition and a stipend of $750 per academic year for textbooks.
There are many factors taken into consideration to be competitive for the award. Everything from test scores, extracurricular activities, letter of recommendation to a physical fitness test are thoroughly examined by a panel of officers on the selection board.
Unlike most applicants, Wick had already been out of high school for nearly two years, but it did not hinder his application process when it came to receiving teacher’s recommendations.
“I had a good reputation when I was in high school, all my teachers liked me,” said Wick. “They all thought highly of me, and because of that they still remembered who I was.”
When Wick first joined the Marine Corps he didn’t anticipate the direction he is currently headed.
“I originally thought I’d do four years,” said Wick.
It was not until about a year and a half into his enlistment that he started thinking about the scholarship when his officer in charge, 1st Lt. Amanda Anderson pushed him toward applying, explained Wick.
“I think as an officer of Marines, you always want to see your Marines meet their full potential, and succeed in whatever goal it is that they have,” said Anderson. “I gave him a very strong recommendation, and it wasn’t because he was my Marine, it wasn’t just because I wanted him to succeed, but I saw in him those characteristics that we look for in a Marine officer.”
Every applicant is judged on the same attributes, and Wick was an all-around good candidate, explained Maj. Todd Miller, contact team officer with 12MCD.
“He was considered on the same level as any other candidate,” said Miller. “He was a cut above the other 164 that weren’t selected.”
Being an active duty service member is not a requirement to apply nor does it guarantee winning the scholarship. However, Wick believes it helped his chances to win.
“Being an active duty Marine definitely helped me, because it shows that I am committed to the Marine Corps,” said Wick. “The other high school students you can’t really tell how they are going to be in the Marine Corps based off of their grades, for me they kind of got to know me a little more than the other applicants, and I think that helped me out in the long run.”
Wick was taken by surprise when the commanding officer for 12th Marine Corps District called a formation to present the award.
“Up until that point I didn’t know for sure what was going to happen,” said Wick. “When he presented me that big check with a backpack full of Marine attire I was pretty excited that the decision had been made and I won the scholarship.”
Wick will be attending Marquette University this fall with plans to major in Public Relations.
“I’m just really excited for these next four years, working hard and studying to pursue a commission,” said Wick. “I’m really excited to see what’s going to come after that, where the Marine Corps will take me and what adventures I will come across.”
Interested applicants can visit http://www.nrotc.navy.mil/index.aspx to apply and for the full list of requirements.