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  • Guard vs Active Duty vs College

    Hey guys. I'm a current high school senior and I'm stuck trying to decide between enlisting in the Guard, enlisting active duty, or going to college and doing Army ROTC. In-state colleges at ticket price are too expensive for my family, so I will need assistance to attend. I've got good grades and test scores, so I am a runner for an ROTC scholarship, but lately I've been hearing of the Army not paying and families having to take out loans even when they are on scholarship, so I'm reluctant to take that route. Joining the Guard seems like the next best option, and I had been in contact with a Guar recruiter about getting an 11B contract. However, I really want to be active duty and I've heard that once you enlist in the Guard it makes it pretty hard to transfer to AD, especially in today's fiscal climate. Also, I'd have to miss the first semester of college, but I'm willing to do that. Now active duty. I would absolutely LOVE to be active duty infantry, but of course there's always the question of what I'd do when my career was over and I had no college degree and no actual work experience. Other than those issues though, I'd lean active. What do you guys think is my best course of action?
    Last edited by NextElement; November 17th, 2013, 08:51 PM.

  • #2
    I don't know enough about your goals. You're asking for guidance about a tactical decision, but I'm not clear on your strategic goal. Where do you want to go? What is important to you? What are your priorities? Where are you willing to sacrifice?

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    • #3
      Maybe that's the problem, I don't even know my goals. Right now, my goal is to serve in the military. It's all I've really wanted to do since I was a kid, which is why I can't really decide on a college major or anything. My priority is to serve while setting myself up for a decent paying career in the future.

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      • #4
        If you are leaning active duty; then go for it after high school. As an infantryman, you will be in the field a lot and will be more challenged that a support Soldier to do online schooling but in today's environment it is very easy to go to school while serving. You will just have to manage your time well. I finished a masters degree while serving on active and have taken a lot of other courses as well on my last ten years of active duty. It is all up to you. Good luck.

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        • #5
          If you don't know what you want to do, then perhaps you should enlist in the active component. It might not help you figure out what you want to do, but it will help you figure out what you don't want to do.

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          • #6
            I suggest you go to a recruiting office where you can concentrate on a robust question and answer session. If you want money for college and have them pay for rent while attending, you can go on active duty and maximize your Post 9/11 GI Bill benefit. Or you can serve in the Guard and Reserves to receive education assistance. The Guard has programs that (depending on state) can pay for your full tuition as well while drilling. Since you are confused (which we all were at some point), you really need to be patient with your decision. Do not rush it or you will regret it. On active, people get disillusioned about their military experience but they cannot just quit and have to remain for the rest of their years, fulfilling their commitment. At least with the part-time components, you just have to deal with it one weekend a month and two weeks during the summer but then if you are like me that liked it; now playing catch up so I can retire as quick as possible. I am 48 and should have been done with it by now haha.

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            • #7
              Thanks for the replies so far. I'm going to go into the recruiting office and talk to recruiters from the Army and Marines about going active duty. I think at least I'll be able to tell myself that I "did it" (being an infantryman) and won't have any regrets if I decide to get out after 4 years and go to college. The hardest part will be convincing my family of this, they've really been pushing for college since my grades and test scores are so high. But in the end, they won't be the one $80K in debt......

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              • #8
                If your GPA & SAT is high, maybe you should look into applying for an ROTC scholarship now. This way you can appease your family with the college education and upon graduation serve your country as an officer.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by NYGuardRecruiter View Post
                  If your GPA & SAT is high, maybe you should look into applying for an ROTC scholarship now. This way you can appease your family with the college education and upon graduation serve your country as an officer.
                  I have applied and I think I can get it, I just don't know if being an officer is for me! And I really want Infantry, which I've heard is the most competitive (let alone Active Duty).

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                  • #10
                    Which branches are the most competitive can change from cycle to cycle. I'd also suggest you really research all of the different educational benefits. Most of what you "hear" that is negative is based on people not doing research on the benefits. Ie, none of the ed benefits are really designed to support a family.

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                    • #11
                      Just thought I'd let you guys know I was just awarded a 4 year ROTC scholarship today! Not sure what schools it's to yet (hopefully VMI), but should know in about a week!

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