A few good tips, that will help you in ROTC and once you commission: Pay attention to detal. John C. Mc Mullen is 100% correct on this. This is what improves every little thing you do from paperwork, to your mission while deployed. Get used to looking at every little detail. My wife is often surprised at the details I notice. There are key ways to drive this mindset: when filling out paperwork pay really close attention to the forms and how they need to be filled out, ensure that your uniforms are always squared away exactly to AR/DA Pam 670-1 (or your services guidance if you are going Navy, Marine, USAF), in class note the subtle differences between the subjects being taught, in the field look for the little things that could trip up your plan, etc. Exercise your integrity at every step. This does not mean to be a rat, or turn people in for minor things (big things you always should). What it means is to hold yourself to a higher standard than you expect of everyone else. You will be taught the Army Standard (or other service). Go above and beyond the standard. An example: The Army APFT standard is to score 60 points in each event for a score of 180. this is the bare minimum to pass. Officers really should be aiming for a 270 or above. This means that you should hold yourself to a higher standard than the bare minimum. By ensuring that you are always maintaining a higher standard and keeping your integrity intact, you will be better prepared for life as an Officer. We are expected to set the example. Many do not, and I find it extremely embarrasing. Be extremely open minded. The military is changing dramatically. If you are extremely conservative (many are), learn to deal with some of the aspects which come from having same-sex couples and homosexual Soldiers. Many of my favorite Soldiers fall in this category and I am happy that they no longer have to choose between serving or being open about who they are (not that they hid it when it wasn't permissible). However, it extends beyond just the new social changes which are taking place across all branches. It is also about dealing with change. The military is constantly changing. New regulations. New initiatives. New this. New that. You have to be ready and resilient to change. By being open-minded to everything coming your way, you will be able to adapt better and help lead in the changing environment. Don't be afraid to fail. This is especially true while in ROTC and at BOLC. This is the time you are being trained. Use it to try new ways to approach problems and learn from the results. Those that were always concerned with being perfect never were very good at adapting to what changes came and never learned how to innovate. This is a consequence-free time to try new things and expand your mind and ideas. Do it. This will serve you well as you move forward. I still try new things to see how they work when I can. When I deployed, having a few non-standard ideas on how to approach problems was more valuable than having a strong understanding of doctrine. Leaders have to be innovators. We can't improve if we all approach problems in the same way. Every position you end up in, you will adapt from what the person who came before you and learn from what they did and what you want to change. Ask questions of your cadre. They have experience. Learn from it. They are there to mentor you and teach you. They really can impact how you are developed as a military leader. Volunteer for any summer training opportunities that you can. This will give you more exposure and experience. Personally, I think experience is vital to leading Soldiers. If you are going Army, don't just target the cool schools like Airborne, Air Assault, etc.....look at going to CULP, mountain warfare, etc....some of the less popular options will give you some amazing training that is hard to get later. You will go to CLC, which is vital, but...go to CIET if you can as well. Read book from leaders you admire and about military history. If you want to read a book about Warren Buffet to see how he leads....do it....but also grab some of the books that talk about key military events or leaders. I think every junior officer should read "Company Commander" by Charles B. MacDonald. "We Were Soldiers....and Young" by LTG Hal Moore and Joe Galloway is another good military leadership read. There are tons of them out there. Don't neglect your studies for it, but find time for these types of books. Almost every CG and branch have a list of books that they "suggest" their leaders read. Be flexible. You may not get the branch or assignment that you want, and you have to be ready to serve with complete dedication to something that was not your first choice. Often, this is a blessing in disguise. I know many who thought they would hate what they got and ended up loving it. Do not let your education slip. Learn what is being taught in class both for ROTC, but in college as well. Officers are expected to earn at least masters degree during their career. If you have a good GPA, good test scores, etc...you might get a chance to do it fully-funded as your duty status as opposed to doing it part-time while serving. I am currently working on my first masters, but I will actually end up with three as I progress through some of the training required and as I pursue a PhD. In my field, I have some lofty goals that this educational path is almost required of me. (consider a STEM field if you are interested in that education....the military and nation are short STEM qualified people)Have fun. It's college. Don't get in trouble, because that can keep you from commissioning....but have fun. There is no other time in your life where you will be exposed to so much and have a chance to see so many different things. Take advantage of it. Go to games. Go to a few parties (remember what I said about integrity). Join some organizations. Be involved with your ROTC BN outside of just the minimum classes. Go on trips sponsored by your university. If you are happy and involved with college, you will do better in both ROTC and in your studies. Consider joining the Reserves or Guard. It can give you extra experience and exposure as well as help you with your educational experience. There are some things that ROTC just does not have the time to teach you, and there is something to be said for having at least some enlisted experience. I know that my enlisted experience really has helped me throughout my career. I understand how my enlisted Soldiers can be impacted by my decisions. I know what they are going through. My NCOs are more apt to be in sync with me and follow me. Learn from your NCOs. In ROTC, you will have a few and then once you get to BOLC and the Army you will have more. They have experience and know how things work within your platoon, etc. Keep an open mind to what they are saying and learn from them. While you "out rank" them and while you may be their boss, think of it in terms of team work. I listened to all of my Soldiers, and every major decision came down to discussions between my Platoon Sergeant and myself. We were a command team and we worked together. The fact that I had this approach helped me learn more, but it also brought us together as a tight team. When I had to make decisions without consulting him, I knew what his opinion would likely be and he knew that I was making a decision that I had to based on what was presented, but that I kept the entire platoon in mind. It says something when your former unit is deploying and many of the NCOs ask about having you come back to go with them because they trust your leadership (probably the biggest honor ever paid to me). Once you know your branch assignment, learn everything you can. If you have some electives remaining, take related courses. Get a feel for what you will be doing. Throw yourself into your branch before BOLC. Trust me, this will all carry you far if you head the advice. If you want more, or have specific questions....let me know.