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Would the military be a good step or should i just go back to school

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Nicole’s Answer

Military is a great step!!!

I had to ask myself this question too... which is better, school or military? Well if you do go military it does have several perks and even includes school fully paid for and then some!

Going military can be intimidating for some. The best thing to do to prepare is ask for the 100% honest truth expectation of how boot camp will be. Ask recruiters, ask active military members, veterans, etc. Veterans are always a tougher one though because even when I went in in 2010 things have changed so much! I didn't have stress cards or phone calls for the full two months of my basic training while now it seems more prevalent so ask first those who currently served or just went through basic.

The service is nothing like basic training, although basic is the most shell shocking experience next to deployment. It's important to always remember that basic training is there to sculpt you into a soldier who takes command and take action without questioning the why. So as long as you listen to what is asked of you and you don't try to sneak one by them you will be fine! It is a certain difficult and trying training with long hours and lots of yelling however it builds you into a strong minded and willed person and the drill sergeants become nicer to you as you near the end of basic. Not to mention the feeling of pride when you finish is surreal!

Benefits wise though, consider that college gives you text book education, however you have to also seek usually unpaid internships in addition to that to get the experience factor. Not to mention, expect a large debt you may need to pay off after it all ends. Military however, if you choose a job (MOS) that is relatable to the industry you wish to make a career out of, gains you years of work experience and additional training that makes you a very appealing candidate for employment after your service even sometimes without school because they train you for whatever job you choose after basic training. You can attend school FULLY paid for while you are in with what we call TA ( Tuition Assistance) and you can request this once you get to your first duty station. Attending school while you are in also gains you points for promotion (at least in the Army I know it does for sure) so you can gain rank faster while you are in which lessens the load and makes military life much more enjoyable when you aren't at the bottom of the totem pole in rank. Then, once you get out, we get the added bonus of post 911 grants and veteran scholarships. Which, post 911 pays for ALL OF YOUR CLASSES and even gives you a quarterly book stipend. All that added in with the additional housing rate payout at an E5 (sergeant in the Army) with benefits rate. This varies depending on what zip code your school is in because housing costs can vary but for instance I went to UW Tacoma and was paid $1500 a month after books and school was paid to live off as well as getting Federal Pell Grant and other grants/scholarships so I never touched student financial aid and I don't have any school debt and barely had to work while in school to pay my bills. I wouldn't have done it any other way! And my experience in the military put me as a hiring preference against others because they teach you some valuable life skills and tact that can help make you a top candidate for hire. Most places get tax cuts for hiring veterans too and when you start getting out you get put through something the Army calls ACAP which helps you look for jobs, prepare a professional resume, and sets you up with all your health and compensation benefit tools so you will continue to keep your benefits long after discharge!

Totally worth it!!! Just make sure you ask about MOS availability per branch and look into how you get promoted in each branch to make sure it suits how you wish to grow in your military career. Air Force when I joined took 6 months after testing out to get your rank vs Army was immediate after you go to the board so this helped persuade me to go Army. Lastly, take the ASVAB seriously so you can place in the job you want! Lots of my comrades went into that exam room hung over or barely awake and tested lower then they wanted and weren't aware the repercussions of that choice limited the jobs that cross over into civilian life for them later.

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Enzo’s Answer

So the Military is all what you make of it. I enlisted in the Air Force as I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and didn't want to go to college and waste money until I had a career in mind. While enlisted I grew up a lot, learned many valuable skills including electronics, leadership, and working together as a team. I spent six years proudly serving my country and also found my way back to school.

I highly recommend it if you are of the right mindset and doing it for the right reasons. Many others have posted excellent advise on here about choosing a job rather than leaving it to chance etc. I would read all these posts as well.

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Michael’s Answer

Your question depends on if you have college paid for or if you want to become an officer. If your school is not paid for then joining and taking classes while on active duty would probably be the right choice. If your school is paid for currently then I would recommend that you complete a degree and then apply for officer canidate school. Being an officer in the military has more leadership and more money than enlisted does in the beginning of a service members career. These options depend on ones goals for the future. The military already gives experiences to help someone succeed in the work force.
School is paid for by the government while on active duty and a service member can use the school benefit when out. Making a decision should always align with your long term goals.

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John’s Answer

Military can be a great option if you are aimless and have not figured out what you want to do in life. It can help you learn responsibility, gain confidence and maturity which are all very important for making the decision of what you want to do in life. Now, if you know exactly what career or education path you want to take, then by all means go directly to school!

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Judith’s Answer

Your path in life can go in many directions. For myself, the military provided me with educational opportunities and a life that I would not have experienced if I had gone from high school right to college. If you are unsure what you would like to study in college, joining the military provides you with guidance, direction, experience, and comradery that you will value for the rest of your life.

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David’s Answer

Having spent 4 years in the Army 40 years ago, If I had to do over again I would do the exact same only better. The military is a very good foundation for any successful career.

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John’s Answer

It really depends on you and the type of life you are trying to live. Are you looking for a traditional life or one that requires you to move every few years?

This is a question that I didn't know until i was in the Navy for a few years. I have been in for 14 years and know that I made the right decision. Once I retire, the pension is amazing, the college (BS/BA) was free, and all of the other perks that come along with being military are just a bonus.

No one can answer this question for you. Just know, the military plays no games and will ask a lot of you.

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Jennifer’s Answer

Hi Again Christopher!

If you want to get a college education without the "student loan" debt the military is a fantastic option.
Select a career you are interested in ling-term. Have the military pay to train you and pay you to gain
invaluable experience. Then take advantage of all educational opportunities available to you in the
military. They will help you with college costs and even some states have state run veteran's programs
to help with education costs.

Good Luck!

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Mike’s Answer

Hi Christopher!

This depends on your motives, aspirations, and finances to name a few.

Ask yourself the following:

1. What are my short term needs? (e.g. Do you NEED to work; can you afford to go to school; do you have time to work & go to school at the same time, if you need?)
2. What are my long term goals? Is it an education (4 yr degree, advanced degree, certification)? Is it to gain experience?
3. Do I have any responsibilities, or demands, that would require I be close to home for long periods of time?

The answers to these questions will help assess what you're able to do now, what you might have to do now, or what responsibilities you have.

One thing to seriously consider, is that as you get older, your responsibilities change, which will greatly influence the answers to the questions above which you give today. In other words, it gets harder to go to school once you start working &/or start a family.

The military is a great way of life, great travel, and you can get an education paid for by the military. My dad was 27 years in the Air Force and went to school while he was in the military. Military life can up-root you from your home and extended family, so consider this before deciding.

Ultimately, the decision is yours, but let us know if we can help!

Hope this helps!

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Kim’s Answer


Lots of people make a career of the military. Or some just go in for 4 years or so. The military is not for everyone. But, if you can adapt to it, and many people can, then it is a wise move.

I say that because you can get trained in a marketable skill that you can use once you leave the service, such as heavy equipment operator or welder or aircraft maintenance. You can also go to college while you are in, or go later using military benefits. It will instill in you a sense of leadership and individual responsibility, as well as self-confidence.

It also allows you the opportunity to travel, without having to pay for it!

The down side, of course, is that they send you where they need you, and you have little control over that, or what hours you work, etc. But, I recommend it, because it gives you a jump start on your career. 22 year old military vets are much more mature than 22 year old civilians. And really, 4 years might seem like a long time, but, it is really just a tiny piece of a lifetime.