Enlisting in the Indiana National Guard and signing up for ROTC at the University of Southern Indiana was a compromise that Matthew Jost made for his parents.
Jost wanted to become an active duty soldier after graduating from Noblesville High School, but his parents wanted him to go to college. He found the best of both worlds, but he did have to skip his own high school graduation in 2017 to start army basic training for the National Guard at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.
Looking back at the missed ceremony, “it was OK,” Jost said. “I felt like I was doing something greater.”
Why he joined: “I just always wanted to serve my country. I liked the idea of wearing the uniform, and of being the 1 percent of our country’s citizens who support this nation through military service.”
Benefits: “I like knowing I am going to have a job when I graduate from college, if I want to go active as an officer [through ROTC]. Or, I could get a civilian job and be active duty Indiana National Guard. The Indiana National Guard pays 100 percent of my tuition, and ROTC pays for room and board and books, so college is completely paid for. My parents have three kids in college, so it’s really nice.”
College choice: Jost visited at least a half-dozen colleges and military academies before choosing the University of Southern Indiana. “The ROTC program was added to USI fairly recently, so one reason I chose to come here was because I wanted to be part of something new and help build it. Plus, USI is great. I love it. There are about 11,000 students, but it feels a lot smaller, and we have a lot of woods and trails on campus, so you can enjoy being outside.”
Advice: Taking ROTC as a class is a good way to explore the idea of serving in the military without sacrificing college after high school. But no matter what, Jost says: “Look for a college campus that makes you feel at home.”
Indiana Colleges with ROTC Programs
- Ball State University
- Indiana University
- Purdue University
- Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology
- University of Notre Dame
- University of Southern Indiana
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