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ROTC, or the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, is one of three traditional ways in which to earn a commission in the U.S. armed forces—the others being the five service academies (the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York; the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland; the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut; the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, New York; and the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado) and Officer Candidate Schools (called officer training school by the air force).

By the early 21st century, ROTC enrolled roughly 200,000 college students nationwide. The vast majority of these students accepted commissions in the armed services upon graduation. ROTC produces more officers annually than the service academies, does so less ...

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