In addition to ROTC, each branch of the military operates programs designed to offer commissions to college students with little to no military experience or background. While each branch has a different name for their specific program, all require the candidate to be currently pursuing, or have already obtained, their degree and to eventually attend training at their Officer Candidate School (OCS).
The purpose of Officer Candidate School is to train, screen and evaluate candidates in the basic principles and skills required by each branch and to instill in them the moral, physical and leadership characteristics required of an officer and to teach the candidate the customs of each branch. Depending on the program, students are able to attend training as early as the summer after their freshman year, although most programs do not require any training until after graduating. Indeed, little to no training or other requirements, except maintaining good academic, physical and community standing, is mandatory during the academic year. Further, some scholarships and financial assistance are available to eligible candidates.
Officer Candidate School is an ideal program for those students who are interested in becoming a commissioned officer in the US military but want to maintain the balance of school and work in their life.