Incoming Students

Welcome Aboard RPI Naval ROTC

Welcome aboard, and congratulations on your acceptance into the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Naval ROTC Program! Whether you are joining us as an NROTC Scholarship Recipient or as a College Program Student, this page contains important information that will assist you in preparing to transition to RPI.


All incoming freshman students will attend RPI Student Orientation. Additional information regarding student orientation and registration can be found at: . At Student Orientation, students will also recieve guidance from their major advisor regarding which courses they should register for in their first semester. 

Additionally, all incoming students must register for the following classes through the Registrar:

  • USNA 0010 (Drill/Labratory)
  • USNA 1010 (Introduction to Naval Science)

Why Join NROTC?

If you are starting to consider joining NROTC, see below for a number of reasons why our students say they are glad to be a part of the NROTC program.

  1. Scholarship: By joining NROTC, you become eligible to compete for full tuition scholarship benefits.
  2. Friendship: Members of NROTC often make lifelong friends while participating in the program.
  3. Explore the World: Each summer, NROTC students travel to locations around the world for training.
  4. Unique Training: You will participate in valuable training and have fun learning about Naval Operations.
  5. University Support: As an NROTC student, you receive additional support from RPI, including early registration.
  6. Career Pathways: You will be guaranteed a rewarding Navy or Marine Corps job upon graduation.
  7. Community: You can interact with the community and increase your hands-on skills.
  8. Student Leadership: Early on, you will be placed in  positions of leadership, allowing you to build your confidence.
  9. Networking: RPI NROTC has alumni that are eager to share their connections with students.
  10. Academic Support: You will have an advisor and additional tutoring to support your academic growth.

New Student Indoctrination

students during new student indoctrination


High school recipients of a National Scholarship will attend a mandatory three-week New Student Indoctrination (NSI) at Recruit Training Command in Great Lakes, Illinois in the summer prior to the start of their freshman year.  NSI challenges midshipmen candidates mentally, morally, and physically through instruction in physical fitness, close order drill, swim qualifications, firefighting, line handling, and basic military customs, courtesies, traditions, and organization.  Naval Service Training Command (NSTC) will contact you with details and will determine which NSI cycle you will attend.  Round trip flight arrangements will be made from your home of record. 

College freshmen who are awarded a National Scholarship will attend NSI in the summer prior to their sophomore year.  At the discretion of the Professor of Naval Science, high school graduates who apply for the College Program on or before May 1st may have the option to attend NSI prior to their freshmen year of college.  College Program midshipmen who have not attended NSI should expect to attend after their freshman year.  College Program midshipmen candidates who excel at NSI may have the opportunity to earn a scholarship from Scholarship midshipmen who drop from the program.

Put simply, NSI serves as an introduction to the military instruction, discipline, and physical training to which each Midshipmen will be expected to adhere throughout their four years in the Naval ROTC program and beyond. For an overview of NSI, you can view the official pilot. Additional Information will be sent to students attending NSI, or can be found at: 

Preparing for RPI

The NROTC Unit here at RPI is excited to welcome you into our community. You will be contacted by the Recruiting Officer early in the summer to begin collecting required paperwork and forms to ensure you are ready to begin life as a Midshipman in the fall. Please read all emails thoroughly and carefully.  You will be asked to return certain required forms in a timely manner.  Doing so is indicative of the level of professionalism we will expect of you as future Naval Officers. For further information about specific preparations for life as a Midshipman, see the sections below.

All MIDN should arrive at Rensselaer physically fit and prepared to participate in unit physical activities. A recommended training plan for entry into the program can be found under Resources. The NROTC staff cannot over emphasize the importance of physical fitness and ensuring you arrive at the first day of NSI and NSO within Navy or Marine Corps physical fitness standards. Your scholarship will not be activated (tuition, fees, living stipend, and book stipend) if you are not within the Navy or Marine Corps’ physical fitness standards.  Arriving in shape and ready to go will ensure you don’t have this problem!

All Navy Option students will have to complete a Physical Fitness Assessment (PFA). The minimum and maximum scoring standards for the PFA are listed in the table below. A full scoring table for the PFA can be found in the Resources section of the website.


All Marine Option students will have to complete a Physical Fitness Test (PFT). The minimum overall score to pass is a 200. The individual required event scored are listed in the table below. A full scoring table for the PFT can be found in the Resources section of the website.


All midshipmen must be at least 3rd Class Swimmer qualified by the end of their freshman year and must re-qualify every year following.  Midshipmen achieving qualification as 2nd Class Swimmers will be exempt from further testing. An explanation of each test is noted below. Additionally, a video explaining each swim qualification and showing an example can be found here. 

3rd Class Swimmer

A 3rd Class Swimmer is described as a person who can stay afloat and survive without the use of a Personal Flotation Device (PFD) in open water under optimum conditions long enough to be rescued in a man-over-board situation. The 3rd Class Swimmer qualification is the minimum entry-level requirement for all U.S. Navy personnel. The qualification consists of:

  • Deep Water (Tower) Jump
  • 50-yard Swim (Breaststroke, Sidestroke, Elementary Backstroke or Crawlstroke may be used)
  • Prone Float
  • Shirt and Trouser Inflation

2nd Class Swimmer

A 2nd Class Swimmer is described as a person who can stay afloat and survive without the use of a PFD indefinitely under optimum conditions. The 2nd Class Swimmer qualification is used as an entry-level requirement for Small Boat Operators, Naval Air Crewman and Rescue Swimmers. A second class swim test consists of the following:

  • Deep Water (Tower) Jump
  • 100-yard Swim Test (Swimmer will complete all strokes in order)
    • Crawlstroke
    • Breaststroke
    • Sidestroke
    • Elementary Backstroke
  • Prone and Back Float
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