Meet Will Rolfstad, Future Army Officer
November 19, 2019
While the majority of students plan on going on to higher education and then a career after high school, Senior Will Rolfstad is choosing to embark on a different journey.
Rolfstad will either attend a military academy or participate in a Reserves Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC ) program, training him to be commissioned in the US Army or Navy as an officer.
For students wanting to join the military, there are two main options. To be an enlisted service member, recruits have to graduate high school, take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) and go through Basic Training. For students without a college degree, this is the only path.
However, for students who want to be officers in the armed services, they can attend a military academy like West Point or go through an ROTC program offered at various colleges. After obtaining a bachelor’s degree, students can be commissioned in the armed services as officers.
Rolfstad’s decision of serving stems from several sources. “I’m going into the military to pay for my college and to defend my country and its values,” he said. “I hope to improve on my leadership skills, self-discipline, communication and courage through the military.”
Different training routes offer many benefits as well, a fact that Rolfstad acknowledges. “I will either be attending an academy, which includes a free [paid by the US government] college education at a top-tier school, or participating in ROTC,” he said.
ROTC programs offer up to a four-year college education, room and books, as long as academic and military training standards are maintained.
Although graduates owe nothing in student loans, they do owe their country years of military service. Of these years, five are active duty service and three are devoted toward the Inactive Ready Reserve.
Rolfstad’s experiences at Pleasant Valley have prepared him well for his future. “In high school, I’ve had to push myself physically, mentally and emotionally to achieve goals, regardless of adversity,” he said. “Through these challenges, I’ve developed self-confidence, hard work and leadership, which will help me succeed in the military.”
The US Army believes the best preparation for military service comes from high school experiences. “Currently, the single best predictor of an individual’s likelihood of adapting to the military is a traditional high-school diploma.”