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Guard Officer Leadership Development Program

Parks & Rec Photo
Parks & Rec Photo

The Guard Officer Leadership Development (GOLD) Program is a challenging premier leadership program available to Oklahoma Army National Guard Soldiers who attend SWOSU. The program was created on November 8, 2007 as a collaboration between the Oklahoma Army National Guard (OKARNG) and Southwestern Oklahoma State University (SWOSU). This program was instituted in order to develop future federally commissioned officers for the OKARNG.

SWOSU’s GOLD Program is not just an Army prep course for Officer Candidate School, it is also an organization geared to improve and develop the student’s sense of community. The Army instills the values of Loyalty, Discipline, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity, and Pride. The GOLD Program is geared to further develop these values in our student leaders and teach them how these values can be applied to improve the local community. GOLD Program Soldiers will plan and participate in events like the Relay for Life, cancer awareness, 5K runs, SWOSU blood drives, the Special Olympics, and Veteran’s Day activities at SWOSU.

The academic leadership training the students receive is built into the college curriculum. The focus of this hands-on learning is centered on the Leadership Lab. Students meet for four hours once a week to learn and practice the art and science of Military Leadership. In addition, Soldiers will participate in group physical training 3 days per week before classes and participate in field exercises once a semester. GOLD participants will attend this training in a paid status. Soldiers will learn firsthand what it takes to plan events, lead others, and motivate groups.

*Note: GOLD uses paintball rifles for all field and tactical training. All gear is provided.

Parks & Rec Photo

Upon completion of the GOLD Program and Officer Candidates School, the Soldier will earn the rank of Second Lieutenant and will become a commissioned officer in the Army National Guard.

For more information on the SWOSU GOLD Program, or to speak with someone in person regarding how the Oklahoma Army National Guard can benefit you, see the contact information below.

What You Will Learn by Academic Year

Prior to Freshman Year

  • Complete Basic Training and Advanced Individual Training in an MOS that you choose.

Freshman Year

  • You will learn how to work as a member of team learning team dynamics and event planning. Key topics include: Military Structure, organization of the Army, leadership fundamentals, and 

Sophomore Year

  • You will learn to lead small teams and manage multiple events. 

Key topics include Team level tactical skills, group exercises and fitness, team building with an emphasis on professional leadership competencies and insights.

Junior Year

  • You will be placed in a leadership position in the program. You will learn how to plan and implement Army training. You will oversee the execution of several events conducted throughout the year.

Key topics include Operations orders, general leadership skills, and platoon level tactics.

Senior Year

  • You will run the GOLD Program as a 2nd Lieutenant, Officer-in-Charge.

Key topics include Staff functions (administration and logistics), military laws, rules, and regulations, diversity inclusion, and situational management. 

Summers after the freshman and sophomore years will include a two week Annual Training with a focus on physical conditioning and team leadership. The summer after your junior year will be Officer Candidate School. This 8 week course in hosted in South Dakota and concludes with your commission as a 2nd LT in the OKARNG. After your senior year, you will attend Basic Officer Leadership Course where you will learn your Army Military Occupational Skill (MOS) as an officer.

Life skills are emphasized throughout the program and include: time management, problem solving, and organizational skills that will immediately enhance your academic performance and carry over into your professional competency. Professional skills in effective communication, Power Point presentation, small group leading, team building, and management will set you ahead of your peers in the workforce and in the classroom.

Benefits include

  • Non-deployable status through graduation
  • 100% Oklahoma State Tuition Waiver
  • Federal Tuition Assistance
  • Perform labs on campus instead of going to week-end drills
  • Commission at 90 hours with GOLD versus 124 hours with ROTC
  • Monthly drill pay (ranging from $190/mo to $370/mo)
  • Health and dental insurance
  • Secret Security Clearances (great on the resume)
  • Student Loan Repayment (up to $50k)
  • Blended, IRA type retirement that follows you even if you leave the Guard before 20 years
  • Upward mobility (promotions)
  • Life Insurance
  • VA home loan’s

GOLD Enlistment Options

Eligibility Requirements

  • Meet all current National Guard Enlistment Criteria
  • Be of high moral character
  • Agree to complete basic and individual training
  • Agree to enroll full-time at SWOSU (and remain a full-time student)
  • Attain a 110 GT score or higher by the end of your sophomore year of college
  • Maintain a passing physical fitness score of 180 each year
  • Interview with GOLD personal via telephone or in person 


Applicants/Soldiers accepted in the GOLD Program will not be mobilized for the duration of the time they are in the GOLD Program.  Failure to meet GOLD requirements and maintain full-time student status will end stabilization and return the Soldier to parent unit.


GOLD enlistment applicants are eligible for all current ARNG incentives provided the meet the criteria outlined in the current ARNG Selected Reserve Incentive Program (SRIP).