Richmond, Va -- More than 20 high school seniors from across Virginia travelled to Recruiting Station Richmond Jan. 30, to compete for their chance to earn a $150,000 Marine Option, Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps Scholarship.
The young men and women submitted transcripts, teacher recommendations, completed a demanding physical fitness test, and were interviewed by two commissioned Marine Corps officers as part of the process before their packages went to a selection board.
“I have worked extremely hard to prepare myself both mentally and physically for this application process,” said Olivia Blanks, a 17-year-old senior at E.C. Glass High School in Lynchburg, Va. “I want to do something for my country. The Marine Corps is said to be the toughest branch, and I want to challenge myself.”
One thing common to the majority of the applicants is more than their desire to earn money for college, but also their desire to be a Marine, one way or the other.
“The Marine Corps lifestyle, the way it is run, the fact that it is an elite machine all appeal to me,” said David Murphy, an 18-year-old senior at Cave Spring High School in Roanoke, Va. “I want to go to recon or the Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command. The fact that getting this scholarship will pay for a lot of my college education is great, but the fact I would get to be a Marine after college is better.”
Applicants must be projected to graduate high school and must meet Marine Corps standards of outstanding moral character. They must also possess the physical and mental fortitude to complete the challenges of Officer Candidates School.
Applicants must be between 17 and 23 years old when applying and must score 74 or higher on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, a 22 or higher on the American College Test or a 1000 combined score on the Scholastic Aptitude Test. The individual’s most recent score on any of these tests will be used to evaluate his or her application.
Each year, the application deadline through the NROTC website is Jan. 31 for the four-year scholarship. The deadline through school submissions is July 15 for the two and three year scholarships. Applicants who apply early will have more time to work with their recruiting station executive officer, ideally offering them a better chance of being awarded the scholarship.
A board of Marines evaluates all the applications and grants the scholarships to the most qualified individuals. The number of scholarships awarded varies every board, largely due to changes in the Marine Corps’ manpower requirements from year to year.