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The Reserve Officer Training Corps is a program that is offered at many colleges. It provides basic military knowledge over the term of your college years with practical experience provided during full time summer camps.
When you graduate college you are commissioned as an officer in the branch of service that provided your ROTC training thus avoiding the need to go through the active duty Officer Candidate School for a branch of service. These OCS schools run about six months during which you hold the enlisted rank of E-5.
From my exposure to ROTC officers I can tell you that their level of military knowledge seemed to be deeper than OCS officers at the same early point in their careers. If you have the opportunity and hope for a military career, I do recommend that you look closely at what your college ROTC has to offer. I took the OCS route because my school didn't offer ROTC and after commissioning I felt that the ROTC officers had a deeper understanding of strategy, history and procedures than those of us who came up through the enlisted ranks. At the same time, OCS grads felt that they had a better understanding of how the "real" Army worked. After a couple of years both training routes seemed to get us to about the same place with regard to knowledge and ability.