Advantage of doing your service early include:
- Being able to retire at 37-38 years old. If you do this, you get your Army retirement benefits IMMEDIATELY after retiring, thus leaving you free to get another job just to pay for expenses through the month, while your retirement check covers your house payment and utilities. The way I have my career mapped out, I PCS out west somewhere, complete my BSEE (finally), retire, collect my retirement benefits, get a job as a DA Civilian, retire from that, and then go work in the private sector for a few years, retiring from that. Three retirement checks and benefits packages by the time I'm 65.
- The Army pays for your college while you're in. If you were doing college first, your schooling would be paid for by you, your parents, scholarships, loans...who knows.
- If you complete your degree, or are really close to completing your degree, the Army can send you to participate in the Green to Gold program, the degree completion program, OCS, and/or be able to promote you as enlisted faster.
- As a young 18-20 year old, it is totally possible that you end up buying a new car that's really nice. There are a few Soldiers in the hangar that own cars like the new Camaro SS, Challenger R/T, so on. Planned another way, how would you like to be able to own your own land by the time you're 23? There are three that I can think of in the hangar that did so.
- Job security. You can't be laid off. You can be fired, sure, but you have to be a total nimrod to get fired from the Army. Reference for chaptering Soldiers from the Army is the UCMJ, Suspension of Favorable Actions, Bars to Reenlistment.
- Steady and predictable income. You will be paid, and you will be able to predict what your pay will be down to the quarter 2-4 weeks in advance.
- The health and life insurance my sister had going through college wasn't [poo] compared to mine.
- IF you decide to marry and start a family (or if that happens whether you planned or not), what civilian job gives you additional money and benefits just for your wife and family?
Those are the benefits that I can think of. The benefits of service after college:
- You get to experience college as a young, single man. HELLO DEBAUCHERY! TOGA!!!
- You get to be an officer as the initial contract. If you start as an officer earlier in your career, it's possible that you can make it to a higher rank sooner than a Mustang (someone who went enlisted to officer).
Disadvantages to service early:
- You won't be able to experience college as your friends will.
Disadvantages to service after school
- The horrible employment environment right now
- Life happens, right? Longer it takes for you to join, the more that could happen to you to disqualify you from ever serving.
What I want to caution you about: even though you'll be missing out on the social scene of being a college student, don't dare think that Soldiers are incapable of partying. I can't tell you how many times we threw a kegger at the barracks, out at a lake, cook outs at the barracks or a buddy's house, so on. The difference being? You have people that truely give a [poo] about you, and are looking out for you. College? They're more likely to let you drive drunk. Soldiers will set up a DD before you ever leave, thus making it impossible for you to be DUI. Those that say the Army is no place for someone right out of high school is letting Fox News and other entertainment outlets cloud the real deal.
So what im getting from this is that i should join after high school and go to college after ive served. And also do all branches pay for your college after service or is it just the army? And whats a DA civillian, OCS, and a BSEE. And just out of pure curiosity if i wanted to be in any sorta special operations unit, how good of a marksman would i need to be ( im guessing very good )??? The reason i ask is because i dont shoot guns everyday and i was thinking if i waited after college that could give me 4 or more years or more to learn how to be a proficient marksman becuase i know that would be one disadvantage i have over alot of other people joining. And then is a private sector like some highly classified government job that you couldnt tell me much about?
If you're having trouble deciding, you should go to college and join the army ROTC program. They will pay for your tuition and in return after you graduate, you serve in the army as a 2nd luitenant. I'm not sure how long you would have to serve, nor if they also pay for your room and board. I'm the same age as you are, so I understand what troubles you're having with deciding. Good luck!
My mom wants me to go to college first and join the ROTC at the college. There are scholarships and stipends available for tuition and housing. Don't rush to go in so you can retire early. Get that degree first. Besides you will come out as a 2nd luitenant leading about thirty men. Not an easy rank to get after high school.
DA Civilian: Department of the Army Civilian. One who gets their pay from the General Services or Senior Executive Service pay scales.
OCS: Officer Candidate School.
BSEE: Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering.
To be an Operator? Depends on which of the units and MOSs you're looking at becoming. Most of the time, they will reteach you marskmanship, so that doesn't matter much. I was shooting about 28/40. When they got done with me, I was shooting about 32/40. That's quite a difference, despite what it sounds like.
Private sector means where you are right now: not government. Motorola, Boeing, stuff like that.
Im in college ROTC right now, and from personal experience I'd like to tell you that college/ROTC is 'better' than initially enlisting after high school. It prepares you physically and it gives you a good mindset. In addition, like the other have said, my college education will ensure that I won't be just an E-1 whenever i come in
I entered the army right out of high school and i will tell you that it isn't easy at first, then again, it's not supposed to be. The Army makes you realize just how much you have to learn and grow still. On the other hand, going after college does give you a chance at becoming an officer, however, most enlisted, E-1 thru E-4, tend to trash talk the officers here at my current post because they didn't go through the levels and 'earned their experience' as most put it. In fact, I've noticed that most of the soldiers respect their NCO's compared to the young officers you see walking around. My personal opinion is, if you want to go to school and make bank go to college or if you want to work your way up the ladder enlist as a private. Either way you will have to go through some form of initial traing. From what I here and other soldiers I have talked to say OCS is hard but worth it.
I am 15 and having the same dilema. I haven't yet decided on whether I want to go to college (possibly WestPoint even) and become an officer, or enlist right after high school. I am extremely excited to serve and I don't know if I can wait until after college, or even if I want to. I don't completely see the point in going to college first if I am going to make the Army as a career anyways, other than the rank.
Don't worry, we have plenty of time to think about it and decide. I'm leaning more towards early enlistment myself.
I'll throw my two cents in for all those considering.
Background: I went to college, graduated and enlisted back in April; I ship out in September.
I enjoyed what I did. What did I take from my experience? I gained an excellent education that further built and promoted sound reasoning, life-style choices, health, knowledge and wisdom. What did I give up? Financial security, many years of my life, a sense of belonging, comradery. Would I change what I did? No.
I think the best option for anyone, barring financial deficiences is to complete their college first and foremost. In the Army you will be busy, very busy. Education will take a backseat to your career. Your education is IMPORTANT. Not for putting useless facts and tidbits into your head, but learning how to think properly and openly.
One of the biggest flaws I see in young recruits (especially in my Future Soldier sessions) is the immaturity and ignorance that runs rampant. Don't be one of those 'kids'. They're not fun to be around, they're embarrassing and they cause many problems, for themselves and more importantly others.
College is expensive, but there are many options to help pay for school, both excluding and including the military. Moreover, you do not have to go to an expensive school to get a great education (trust me, names mean nothing for Baccalaurette degrees). Many small and local schools can provide excellent opportunties and a great education.
And one more food for thought: a degree will allow you to take any path in the military where as you will be stuck as enlisted straight out of highschool.