JROTC for Girls

The JROTC for Girls, Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC), program provides high school girls some benefits of a military school while at a regular public school. The JROTC for girls military program has all the same benefits as JROTC for boys.

The JROTC for girlsis a military-sponsored high school elective that teaches basic military-type skills. It does not require students to enlist in the armed forces upon graduation, nor does it help pay for their further education as the college ROTC program does. If student do choose to enroll in the military, however, they may be able to start at a higher rank because of several years of participation in JROTC.

Each branch of the armed forces sponsors a JROTC, but the Army JROTC is the most common class available.

JROTC classes focus on teaching and practicing many military-related skills:

  • Leadership, with class leadership opportunities for outstanding students
  • Teamwork
  • Discipline
  • Following an honor code
  • Marksmanship
  • Physical fitness
  • Drills
  • Pride in self, family, and country
  • Good citizenship and patriotism
  • Communication skills
  • Military history

JROTC members generally are required to wear their uniforms on campus some days, and are involved in classroom and extracurricular JROTC activities. They compete against each other and as a unit against other schools for awards and honors. The tangible awards they are given to put on their uniforms can be a great motivator for students to try harder to excel. They get opportunities to attend special events and field trips during the year and over the summer, such as military balls and visits to military bases. JROTC for girls also provides role models and a sense of belonging for students.

Though the JROTC does not require military service, about 40% of the students enrolled in the classes go on to the ROTC or other military service. The students who don't go on to military careers usually have a deeper respect for the military, and take the self-discipline and leadership skills they learned in JROTC to their chosen fields. The JROTC for girls strongly encourages students to graduate high school and teaches the benefits of further education or training.

There are also some criticisms of the JROTC for girls programs:

  • It may sway impressionable students into joining the military when they don't know enough about their other options.
  • Its teachers are chosen by the armed forces, not by the school, and the instructors' qualifications may be based on military experience rather than teacher training.
  • It teaches blind obedience rather than critical thinking skills.
  • Some feel that sexism may exist in the program as the teachers favor males for leadership positions. This may depend on the individual teacher or program.
  • There have been some concerns expressed about overly harsh discipline or drill practices in some JROTC programs.

Despite some of these potential drawbacks, JROTC for girls can be helpful to girls who could benefit from learning more self-discipline and motivation to succeed. Individual instructors can make the difference in a program, so parents should check out the program in their school before enrolling their daughter.


United States Army, Junior ROTC [online]
Sonia Nazario, Los Angeles Times, "Activists in Calif. school district crusading against junior ROTC" [online]
Ron Stodghill, Time, "Class Warfare" [online]
Robert C. Johnston, Education Week, "Army To Fall Short of 1997 Target for JROTC" [online]

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