Deciding to Join the Military

Joining the military can be a great, respectable option for students who don’t want to go to college, students who wish to postpone college for a few years, or students who are looking to enter the work force after high school. The military offers a unique experience to give back to your country, and many people are attracted to the prestige and benefits the military has to offer.

You may be thinking about the military as part of your future plans, but before you make a definite decision, it is important to ask yourself what your real motivation for enlisting is. The military is not for everyone, and once you enlist, you’re required to serve out your term even if it doesn’t turn out to be the experience you anticipated. Serving can be a very rewarding experience both personally and professionally and allow you to have a very enriching few years. Consider the following potential motives:

• Are you looking for a job?
• Do you not know what else to do?
• Do you want to serve your country?
• Are you looking for a career with the military, or do you just want to serve a term or two?
• Are you interested in the educational benefits and money for college?
• Do you want to see the world?
• Are you looking for a way to mature?
• Does serving in the military run in your family?
• Do you need money for college?
• Are other personal motivations driving you?

Once you determine that—and why—the military is the right choice for you, you will need to determine which branch you’d like to join. The best way to gain a real perspective about what military life will be like in each of the services is to meet with recruiters and ask all the questions you have about enlisting, including how to get started, specific details about deployment and active duty, what job opportunities are available to a new recruit, and whether there are options available primarily in the United States or overseas. There are six main services that make up the military: Marines, Army, Navy, Coast Guard, Air Force, and National Guard/Reserves. Once you research each of these branches and narrow down your decision, speaking to your guidance counselor or looking on the internet will help you find recruiters and recruiting offices in your area.

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