Texas A&M University

Updated: April 24, 2021

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    Texas A&M opened its doors in 1876 as Texas’ first public university. For the first 100 years, Texas A&M was a military college. The Corps of Cadets created and still carry out the school’s most valued traditions, like University’s Bonfire, Aggie Muster, and Silver Taps. The school boasts producing more military officers than any other school in the U.S. outside of the federal service academies.

    Texas A&M UniversityIf you choose to attend A&M, you’ll be required to take ROTC classes your first two years. Around one third of Aggies select the commissioning path, and the rest are considered Drill and Ceremonies Cadets. If you seek a commission, you’ll continue through ROTC your junior and senior years. If you don’t want to seek the military path, you’ll continue your leadership training as a Drill and Ceremonies cadet.

    The Aggie Corps is referred to as the “Keepers of the Spirit” and “Guardians of Tradition.” Since 1876, Texas A&M has been a major source of commissioned officers for the U.S. military. The Corps includes distinct units like the Calvary Unit and units that train cadets who dream of becoming a Navy Seal or Army Ranger. One of the most prized traditions is the senior honor of putting on their “Senior Boots.” Another tradition you can enjoy is the chance to march onto Kyle field before home football games. As an Aggie cadet, you’ll have your own residence and dining facilities but still get to be part of the entire student body by attending classes together and participating in student organizations.

    Texas A&M Corps Of Cadets By The Numbers

    • Year Established: 1876
    • Number of Cadets: 2,315
    • Approximate Number of Cadets Commissioned Annually: 216
    • ROTC Programs: Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps

    What Kind Of Degree Programs Are Offered At Texas A&M?

    With 17 academic colleges and schools, Texas A&M is one of the most diversified and comprehensive public research universities in the nation. There are tons of paths to pick to make your dream a reality. From Accounting to Zoology, Texas A&M offers more than 130 undergraduate degrees, plus 268 graduate and professional degrees.

    Am I Eligible To Join The Corps Of Cadets?

    Acceptance to Texas A&M University is the only prerequisite for joining their leadership training program.  The majority of incoming cadets are in the freshman class. However, the Corps is open to all Texas A&M students.

    How Do I Apply To Join The Corps Of Cadets?

    Here are the steps you take to join the Corps:

    Step 1 – Contact Corps Recruiting
    Step 2 – Apply to Texas A&M
    Step 3 – Register for a New Student Conference (NSC)
    Step 4 – Apply for Corps Housing
    Step 5 – Attend the Corps Registration & Orientation during NSC
    Step 6 – Attend Freshman Orientation Week


    What Branches Of The Service Have ROTC Programs On Campus?

    Army ROTC

    Army ROTC at Texas A&M is one of the finest leadership courses in the nation, and you can be a part of the proud and long history of Aggies serving in the U.S. Army.  You take part in Army ROTC along with your other college classes. Along with leadership training, Army ROTC can pay for your college tuition, too. Once you graduate, you will be commissioned as an Army second lieutenant.

    Air Force ROTC

    Air Force ROTC Detachment 805 has a long and proud lineage of producing the highest quality officers for the U.S. Air Force. The Detachment focuses on academic excellence, exceptional leadership, and cadet well-being.

    Navy and Marine ROTC

    Navy and Marine ROTC at Texas A&M develops you mentally, morally, and physically while instilling the highest ideals of honor, courage, and commitment. The program prepares you for leadership positions in today’s high-tech Navy and Marine Corps.


    What Scholarships Are Available?

    Army ROTC Scholarship

    You can compete for an Army ROTC scholarship that pays full tuition, book allowance, and a monthly stipend for two, three, or four years. In return, you will earn a commission as an Army officer in either the Active Duty Force, the Army Reserves, or the National Guard.

    Air Force ROTC Scholarship

    You can compete for a two-, three-, three and a half-, and four-year Air Force ROTC scholarships that pay full tuition, book allowance, and a monthly stipend. For four-year scholarships, you must apply to Texas A&M online between June 1st and Dec. 1st of your senior year. If you receive a Type 7 AFROTC scholarship and are not a Texas resident, you will still be able to use it since Texas A&M will consider you an in-state student. In return, you will earn a commission as an Air Force or Space Force officer. Electrical Engineering, Computer Engineering, Meteorology, Nuclear Physics, and Nuclear Engineering are highly desired majors. If you select one of these majors, you might receive priority in the scholarship selection process.

    Navy and Marine ROTC Scholarships

    The Navy and Marine Corps offer two-, three-, and four-year NROTC scholarships through their NROTC program. Scholarships are awarded each year through the Chief of Naval Education and Training (CNET) and are available if you want to seek a commission in the Navy as an ensign or in the Marines as a second lieutenant. Benefits include tuition, books, required fees, uniforms, and a monthly stipend.

    What Is My Service Commitment After Graduating From The Texas A&M ROTC Program?

    Once you get your degree, your military service begins. You’ll begin military life as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army, Air Force, or Marines, or an Ensign in the U.S. Navy. Most ROTC graduates have a service commitment of four years.

    If you receive an Army ROTC scholarship or enter the Army ROTC Advanced Course, you agree to complete eight-years of service with the Army. If you enroll in the Army ROTC Basic Course, you are not committed to service in the Army unless you are on an Army ROTC scholarship. All scholarship students will be required to serve in the military for eight years. You may fulfill your obligation may by serving three years on active duty and five years in the Inactive Ready Reserve (IRR). If you are on a four-year scholarship, then you’ll serve four years active and four years in the IRR.

    If you are accepted into special programs like as a pilot, your commitment will be longer. After you complete your service obligation, you can leave the military or continue your military career. Many officers stay on for 20 years and retire from the military.


    What Is Life Like As A Texas A&M Cadet?

    Freshman Year

    As freshmen, you’ll be known on campus as “fish.” You’ll begin your Corps experience at Freshman Orientation Week, the week before school. At orientation, you’ll learn about Corps life, receive your uniforms and connect with the other freshmen in your unit. During your first year, you’ll learn about the history and traditions of the corps and the university. You can compete for a spot on the nationally recognized Fish Drill Team and look forward to your first March-In before a home football game.

    Sophomore Year

    As a sophomore in the corps, you are responsible for mentoring the new freshman class. You will be challenged to use what you learn as a “fish” to teach and lead new cadets. You get a chance to lead as a sophomore but still learn from the upper-class cadets. You’ll also get the opportunity to earn the distinctive cords and ribbons that decorate the Corps uniform. At the end of your sophomore year, you must decide if you want to be commissioned into the military or become a Drill and Ceremony cadet. As a Drill and Ceremony cadet, you can earn an Academic Certificate in Leadership Studies. You have earned your white belt and can now apply for a Corps staff position for your junior year.

    Junior Year

    As a junior, you’ll be responsible for leading the sophomores as well as make decisions that affect the entire Corps. There are exciting milestones that happen during your junior year. During football season, you and your dates get to stand on the football field at Midnight Yell, and you’ll get fitted for your senior boots. March to the Brazos is where leadership positions for your senior year and Final Review are announced. You are then officially considered leaders of the Corps. Final Review also takes place at the end of the year and is made up of two military reviews. After the first pass, you’ll put on your boots for the first time and take your place as a Corps leader.

    Senior Year

    Your senior year is all about leadership. You and other senior cadets will set policy and rules for the entire Corps for the upcoming year. Events for seniors include participating in the Boot Line by creating a tunnel for the football players to enter the field. The Elephant Walk is a school-wide tradition that ends with a walk around campus where you and your fellow cadets say goodbye to the school and unofficially step down as the leaders of the school. The year ends with you and your fellow cadets earning your Aggie rings and taking part in the traditional Ring Dance, where all seniors gather to celebrate their time together as an Aggie.


    About The AuthorJim spent 22 years on active duty, climbing the ranks from Airman Basic to a decorated Air Force Major. Stationed all over the world, he held many high-level posts, including Chief of Foreign Military Sales at the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Jim earned his Ph.D. through the Montgomery Era GI Bill and spent 13 years teaching African Studies in Pennsylvania. Jim is also an award-winning travel writer.


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    Written by MilitaryBenefits