2 answers

Military Opportunities?

Asked Buena Park, California

I am a junior in high school and I’m planning on joining the Marines. I want to know what is better, to enlist right away or to go to a ROTC program or if I should go active or join the reserve and if I did go active or reserve which would have better opportunities in the work force after coming out of the Marines? #military #rotc #marines

2 answers

Pete’s Answer

Updated Tampa, Florida

Thanks for your interest in serving our country! To your first question, my personal experience was to attend college first, and then join the Marines as an officer...admittedly, that plan was formed because a) I was going to attend college no matter what, and b) I was lucky enough to get a ROTC scholarship. But several of my college friends joined the Marines as officers without participating in ROTC - they just wanted to serve and knew military experience as a leader is a great way to start a professional career.

As far as whether to enlist first or to go college, either path is excellent. My personal opinion is that attending college first provides more options on how you want to serve in the military - specifically, whether to serve in the officer ranks or the enlisted ranks. To be an officer a college degree is required...so if you have that done, you can choose either the officer route or enlisted. Without the college degree, your only option is to enlist - so I say give yourself more options with the college degree under your belt. You can also try to do both - enlist in the Reserves while attending college full-time. That way, when college is complete you'll not only have the options I referred to but you'll also have real military experience under your belt. The risk there is that if your Reserve Unit gets called to Active status, you'll need to put your college studies on hold.

To your last question, the only difference Active or Reserve will have on your opportunities in the workforce is based on the length of time and what you did during that time. Hope this helps!

Ken’s Answer

Updated Cleveland, Ohio

The first step would be to take interest and aptitude tesst to determine what career fields might be suitable for your interests and aptitude. You could then to talk to the Marine recruiter in your area to see how you might be able to apply these to the Marines and get further training after high school at their expense. They will train you during your tour of duty to do a job for them. You may decide to make the Marines a career and spend 20 years there, or you may choose to leave after your first tour. If you choose to leave, you can go to college on the GI bill to further your career training if necessary. You would only want to go to ROTC if you want to become an officer, but you can enter the Marines and get their training and complete college on the GI bill when you get out. These are things you can discuss with the recruiter. It would also be helpful to go to the alumni officer of your high school to talk with graduates who are in the Marines or have been in the Marines to get information from them. Send thank you notes to helpful people. I would interested in helping further if I can. Good Luck!

Please let me know how you are doing. Was my information helpful? If so, how? What is your next step?