Student Spotlight: Ben Eldredge, ROTC Cadet

Ben Eldredge, senior at SLU

Here on the military student resources blog, we plan to spotlight students and faculty from time to time to give you their SLU perspective.

I recently interviewed Ben Eldredge, ROTC cadet and outstanding SLU student. Read on to learn a little bit about his experience with SLU and ROTC.

Q. Why did you choose SLU?

A. I chose SLU for two reasons: it’s a Jesuit institution, and it was affordable, thanks to the financial package that they offered me.

Q. Are you considering going to law school with the intention of getting into the Army’s Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps?

A. I was considering that but a couple of friends who just graduated and wanted to go JAG learned that the acceptance rate into JAG was 6 percent and that ROTC graduates did not have an advantage. They advised me to hold off. With that in mind, I have requested the Military Intelligence Branch. Outside of the Army, I don’t know what I will do, maybe go into politics.

Q. What are your interests and hobbies?

A. I like to work out a lot – lifting, running, swimming – but the thing I like to do most is rock climbing down at Upper Limits downtown. I just went to the Army’s basic mountaineering course and it really helped me fall in love with rock climbing. I got all my gear and a membership in Upper Limits and have been going at it about 3 times a week.

Q. How did you become interested in Army ROTC?

A. I really didn’t have any interest when I was applying to college. So I came to college and in the first semester something started appealing to me about it. It was the job security, the structure, most of all it was probably the feeling of doing something bigger than me and doing something important. I did not just want to get out of college and get an entry level job or unpaid internship and feel that I was not really contributing to anything.

Q. Would you recommend Army ROTC to incoming college freshmen and high school seniors? If so, Why?

A. Conditionally, yes. I am not going to lie, it is not for everyone. It’s tough and at times it definitely sucks. But if you’re the type of person that likes doing things that will make you better physically, mentally and socially, I would definitely recommend that you try it. You push yourself. What you get out of it is exponentially greater than what you put into it. It is a fantastic experience and I would recommend it to just about anyone who wants to do it. I would not tell anyone they can’t do it.

Q. Anything else you would like to add?

A. In terms of advice to prospective ROTC cadets, you can give it a trial run and see if it is for you. Your MS I (freshman) year the ROTC is not going to be overly challenging, especially if you are non-contracted cadet. It is a good way to see if it is for you. A lot of the cadets coming in for the next few years are not going to be scholarship cadets as the funding is shrinking so it gives more incentive for students to just give it a try.

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