Navy ROTC Finds Gained Interest from This Year’s Freshman Class

By Tatiana Kish ‘11, Midshipman 2/c, Navy ROTC

Navy ROTCWith over a thousand undergraduate students admitted to MIT every year, only a small percentage choose to begin to pursue a career in the military while still in college. While the ROTC programs at MIT have been in existence for decades, the number of students enrolled in each program –Navy, Army, and Air Force – is significantly smaller than it was years ago, despite the fact that the battalions at MIT also include students from neighboring colleges.

The Navy ROTC program has seen a recent increase in its numbers with this year’s freshman class being 40% larger than both the sophomore and junior classes. This number may be getting larger in the near future as several students from MIT, Harvard, and Tufts have taken interest in the program and are considering joining. While this year’s new midshipmen became interested in the Navy for a wide range of reasons, from following family traditions to being lured to the Navy lifestyle, all the midshipmen seem to relish in the fact that they can pursue a commission in the United States Navy or Marine Corps while still gaining an outstanding education at MIT.

Experiences have varied from student to student in the freshman class, but the midshipmen, in general, seem pleased with their decisions to follow this path and have found the experience to be beyond their expectations

Midshipman 4/c Christian Yoo, a student at Harvard University, explained that what really drew him to the MIT unit was its emphasis on academics, despite the physical demands of the program. While he certainly could have gotten the “military experience” elsewhere, either through an ROTC program at another school or at the United States Naval Academy, he was impressed by the fact that the program at MIT placed equal emphasis on academics and time management as it did on other military and leadership skills.

Midshipman 4/c Fiona McCoy, at MIT, has also been impressed by the support network that the program offers as midshipmen also work with a class advisor that helps with goal setting, career planning, and time management in addition to the advisor provided by the school.

While the Navy ROTC program at MIT is still small, the fact that a greater number of students are taking an interest in it makes the future for this battalion more promising.