The Army has 17 different branches for Cadets to compete for. Being selected into one of the branches is the culmination of an assessment process that begins from the very first day a Cadet enters the ROTC program. Beginning with Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 the U.S. Army has implemented a new system to branch Cadets from its 274 ROTC programs across the country. The Army calls the new system Talent Based Branching.
The prior accessions process ranked all Cadets across the nation based off of factors such as their GPA, physical fitness test score, Advanced Camp performance, volunteer work, Color Guard participation, Ranger Challenge team, etc. During the beginning of their senior year, Cadets ranked in order of preference which of the 17 branches in the Army they want to assess into. The Army’s accessions process then uses the various factors mentioned to help decide which branch they will receive.
With Talent Based Branching, all these prior factors are still considered. The below FY22 chart shows the importance each of these factors has on how Cadets rank in the national Order of Merit List (OML).
Before the OML score is was what largely determined what branch a Cadet received; with Talent Based Branching, Cadets will also have the opportunity to interview with the branches they are interested in. The opportunity to interview each Cadet will allow the branches to learn more about each applicant to better inform branching decisions besides looking at an OML score. After the interview process the branches will then rank order their Cadet preferences.