ROTC is just one part of the overall college experience. For most of a cadet's week, life is very similar to that of any other college student. They attend classes, study, spend time with friends, and participate in a variety of extracurricular activities.
What sets ROTC cadets apart is the addition of a two to four credit Military Science class each semester, a leadership lab every Thursday afternoon, Physical Fitness training on Mondays, Wednesday, and Friday mornings, and a Field Training Exercise each semester (Non-scholarship Freshmen and Sophomores are not required to attend physical fitness training and the FTX.)
Additionally, ROTC cadets are held to higher standards of conduct by their instructors. They are expected to attend all classes, bring all required material and to be on time, and be in the proper uniform for Physical Training events and Lab exercises. They will learn habits which will benefit them in any field or walk of life beyond the military. They will also become familiar with the Army values - Loyalty, Discipline, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity and Personal Courage. They will strive to live by these values, in their conduct within ROTC, on campus, and in their personal lives as well.
Some cadets will also join an ROTC extra-curricular activity, such as the Ranger Challenge, Color Guard, Rifle, Army Ten Miler and Mission Support Teams. These teams are led by other cadets and will train for competitions/events. The Mission Support Team is a premier team within the Battalion and has the distinct honor of handling Mission the NIU live mascot wherever he goes.
Some cadets will choose to live on the ROTC floor in Neptune Hall. Approximately 10% of NIU's cadets live on this floor and benefit from the camaraderie and daily encouragement they gain from their peers. In highly cohesive organizations, people often say that they "Joined for the money, and stayed for the people." Nowhere is this more true than in Army ROTC.
With ROTC, cadets get more than a scholarship and a degree. They get leadership training that will be valuable to them, regardless of whether they pursue a career in the military after graduation, they gain the friendship of people who will support them through any circumstance, and upon graduation, Cadets are guaranteed a job where they will know for certain that their efforts make a difference in the lives of people who genuinely need it.
While there are opportunities to volunteer for special summer training programs, all cadets between the junior and senior year will attend the Cadet Summer Training (CST) at Fort Knox, KY. The course is about 30 days long and is designed to evaluate leadership and potential as a future Army officer.
Lastly, upon graduation, an ROTC cadet will receive a commission as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army. Graduates will go either into the full-time, active duty Army or serve part-time in the United States Army Reserves or National Guard.