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Military and College

thatracistsyedthatracistsyed 0 replies1 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1 New Member
Hi!

I will be a junior in high school starting this fall. Currently, my ACT is a 29 (on my first try), and I am still waiting until June 8 to get my first SAT score back. my GPA is decent, freshman year I got a straight 4 with no honors/AP, and this year was a bit rough at home, so my cumulative weighted GPA for my sophomore year is hovering around 3.55-3.6, but I have taken and gotten B's and C's in classes such as AP Calculus AB, and AP United States History. This year, I plan on taking all AP classes, hopefully causing my GPA to go up. I do not have many extracurricular, I do volunteer with the homeless here and there, but I plan to step up my game this year. I am also planning on taking some college classes either at my local community college or online. One of my dreams is to join the United States Marine Corps and hopefully become a Recon Scout Sniper, and serve my country. If I do become a Scout Sniper, or even a Marine, I would not be able to devout nearly enough time to school to properly commit to both school and the military. So, here is my question, should I join the military after graduating high school with hopefully a solid GPA (if everything goes well it should turn out to around 4.2-4.4), and hopefully decent test scores? Would joining the military and taking 4-5 years off from school inhibit my chances at getting accepted into colleges that I want to go to such as UC Berkley, Stanford or UCLA? Also, how could I use the military in lieu of my lack of extracurricular?

Thank you so much!
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Replies to: Military and College

  • happy1happy1 22407 replies2183 discussionsForum Champion Parents, Forum Champion Admissions Posts: 24,590 Forum Champion
    I think you should sit down with your parents, guidance counselor, and talk to a marine recruiter before making any decisions. Nobody here should answer this for you except to say that you should not make any rash choices. You might also want to look into the possibility of going to college with a ROTC program and then you can begin your military career as an officer. I wish you all the best.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 76097 replies663 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 76,760 Senior Member
    Some pathways include doing ROTC in college to become an officer, attending college at a military service academy to become an officer, and doing enlisted service followed by going to college on veterans' benefits (GI Bill money).
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  • NEPatsGirlNEPatsGirl 2844 replies106 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 2,950 Senior Member
    If you are "college material" in that you don't mind studying and the academic life and you/your family can afford it, I'd go to college first. I'm not sure if those three colleges though are realistic for you. If they aren't realistic now, they most likely won't be realistic after 4 - 6 years in the military. If, like my son, you really dislike all that bookwork and such (you don't seem to fit this mold) immediate entry into the military is a good idea. He has done quite well for himself, has been able to fulfill three years of college during his 8 years, and is finishing up his engineering degree while working with a government contractor, which the military pays for. Good luck whatever you decide.
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  • CrewDadCrewDad 1697 replies24 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,721 Senior Member
    Would joining the military and taking 4-5 years off from school inhibit my chances at getting accepted into colleges that I want to go to such as UC Berkley, Stanford or UCLA?
    I can't speak for Berkeley, Stanford or UCLA, however, the Posse Program may be of interest. Having said that, I believe that you should seriously consider the route NEPatsGirl and Ucbalumnus suggest.
    The Posse Foundation launched its veterans initiative in 2012 in an effort to increase the rates at which veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces attend and graduate from selective colleges and universities.
    The Posse Veterans Program began in partnership with Vassar College and now also counts Wesleyan University and Dartmouth College as partners.
    The Posse Foundation plans to expand it Veterans Program to include a total of 12 top colleges and universities as partners over the next five years.
    https://www.possefoundation.org/veterans-posse-program
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  • 50N40W50N40W 960 replies3 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 963 Member
    If you see military service as a sort of obligation, consider that we need good officers. If you have the raw material to be an officer, you alone will have to wrestle with what that means.

    It used to be that the Marine Corps ROTC option was offered at schools with Naval ROTC, which is somewhat rarer than Army or Air Force.

    A recruiter will not likely know much useful about NROTC, as their job is primarily to recruit enlisted personnel. Nothing wrong with that, just know it up front.
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  • roethlisburgerroethlisburger 2644 replies137 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 2,781 Senior Member
    First, you should think long and hard about what you want out of life. What's your end goal after you graduate from Stanford? If that's what's most important to you, you may be better off skipping the military and going to the best school which will admit you. If you want to serve in the military, being an officer is infinitely better than being enlisted. If your goal is special ops, you're more likely to get that as enlisted. There aren't that many SOCOM billets for officers.
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  • simba9simba9 3241 replies20 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 3,261 Senior Member
    I went to college for two years, then four years in the Air Force, then two more years at college to finish my degree. I can't imagine being in the military would hurt you in applying to top schools. A lot of schools love veterans because they tend to be more mature and disciplined in their studies.

    It wouldn't hurt to contact the schools you're interested in and ask.

    I knew one guy who went to Berkeley after he got out of the military. Most of the people I knew who left the military didn't go directly to college, if they went at all.

    My main concern with your post was that you want to be a Recon Scout Sniper. That may be harder to do than getting into a top school. What you specifically end up doing in the military is more about what the military needs at the time you're in, and how many other people are competing for the position. Accommodating the wishes of personnel isn't something the military makes a high priority.
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  • HazeGreyHazeGrey 210 replies3 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 213 Junior Member
    My brother went into the USMC straight out of HS,. After he got out, he did two years of community college and then finished up at a good four year school. That path worked out very well for him. I took a different route - went into USN straight out of high school and then got into USNA from the fleet. That happens less frequently although a number of enlisted people do that with a stop at the prep school (NAPS) to strengthen their academics.

    Agree with other posters that the scout sniper MOS is very selective. Do you have rifle experience? You will need to shoot expert to even be in consideration. One of my roommates at USNA was on the rifle team, went USMC after graduation and he couldn't get into that program (billets are much more limited for officers). Plus I think you can't select until you reach E-3 which will take some time unless you manage to graduate boot camp as an E-2/PFC which is hard right out of high school.

    Talk to a recruiter (understanding their bias that they will want you to enlist), research some schools with NROTC to see if their might be a match for you and think hard about what you really want. There is always the OCS option if you decide not to go to an ROTC school.
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  • roethlisburgerroethlisburger 2644 replies137 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 2,781 Senior Member
    You can't get a guaranteed slot at sniper school when you enlist. There are direct pipelines to some special ops: 18x for SF, opt 40 for rangers, and other contracts lead to BUDS.
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  • Sportsman88Sportsman88 1571 replies13 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,584 Senior Member
    edited June 2017
    Lot's of questions built in to yours. I don't have time to answer all nor am I best qualified on all but I can point you in the right direction.

    1. Columbia School of General Studies likes Vets and is GI Bill friendly. You still need the stats but you might have a better change there than Columbia straight out of HS. Penn has a similar program. There may be others.

    2. One of my good friends enlisted out of HS and then went to college on his GI Bill. It worked out great for him on all accounts and he is highly successful decades later.

    3. I reiterate what @50N40W said. If you talk to an enlisted recruiter, you will get enlisted solutions. Know that up front. Recruiting is a tough job so I'm not poking recruiters but I've known folks with college degrees who enlisted because they didn't know options for officer. That is not you right now but you should speak to an enlisted recruiter and an officer recruiter to get both sides.

    4. NROTC: One great thing about USMC ROTC is they don't care about your major. You can major in English or engineering. I know the Navy has quotas geared to STEM and Army at least used to have quotas for majors.

    5. Service Academy vs ROTC: I would say Service Academy is far tougher for many reasons and while it's a great education, the Georgetown example above is true. And I believe great officers can come from many accession points. Lots of pros/cons and if you are interested we can go there. Top hits: ROTC has a commitment very early, either right away or after first year, I forget. USNA you have two years that you can just walk away and say it wasn't for you, no harm no foul. However, a USMC ROTC contract is just that. At USNA (and I expect other SAs), you don't get your assignment until senior year and USMC is competitive.

    6. Why do you want to be a Recon Scout Sniper? That's an important question and has multiple layers. You can be a scout sniper in an infantry battalion as well. The Marines also have MARSOC now which muddies the water on where Recon belongs.

    7. Last response hits all of the above. Talk to as many people as you can starting with your parents but also enlisted and officer recruiter, active duty or recent active duty Marines to get their opinions, vets now in college, etc. The more perspectives you get, the more likely you are to make a good decision.

    There is a thread from a few weeks ago of a Vet who got in to Columbia and Penn and was deciding on which one. Find the thread and PM him.
    edited June 2017
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  • juilletjuillet 12575 replies160 discussionsSuper Moderator Posts: 12,735 Super Moderator
    1. Recon Scout Sniper is an enlisted position in the military, so you don't need a college degree to get that position. You need to advance to lance corporal (third rank up in the USMC), but there are a whole lot of other requirements. It's hard to qualify. If you go ROTC, you may not be able to get an enlisted MOS, because you'd be a commissioned officer. As others said, I'd talk to an officer recruiter or an ROTC coordinator/leader about options.

    2. I'm sure it's true that there are a lot of people with college degrees in the enlisted ranks because they were unaware there were other options, but I also know it's true there are a lot of enlisted personnel with college degrees by choice. Sometimes it's because the job they wanted was an enlisted-only job. Other times, it's because they finished their degree in the service and decided to advance through enlisted leadership rather than go officer.

    As a matter of fact, when my husband was enlisted in the Air Force, I actually learned that MOST of his chain of command in the upper ranks had college degrees or above, and it was actually quite difficult to get promoted up the chain after a certain point if you didn't have one. The current Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force has an MBA. The current Sergeant Major of the Army has a BS in history, and the current Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps has an MA in cybersecurity policy.

    3. There are lots of different ways to join the military. You could do the military first and then leave and attend college full-time; you could serve while you are in college (in the Reserves or National Guard) and activate at graduation; you could do ROTC in college and get commissioned at graduation; you could take a leave of absence after a few years of college, do military service, and then return.

    4. Frankly, the Scout Sniper MOS does not seem like the kind of thing you do for 4-5 years before leaving and returning. First, you have to get to lance corporal, which is E-3 in the USMC. That will take you at least 15 months (6 months to E-2 and then an additional 9 to E-3). Lance corporal is simply the lowest rank at which you can be selected for the Scout Snipers; I have no idea what rank or TIG people are on average. If you are selected, you then have to complete the course. Wikipedia says attrition is usually around 60% and can be much higher. The course is 8.5 weeks. So let's say that you're a fast puppy and you make lance corporal in 15 months, then get selected for the course 6 months later, and finish about 2 months later. Now you're at nearly 2 years in. The USMC puts a LOT of time and effort and money into training snipers. I doubt they want people who will be snipers for 2-3 years and then leave!

    No, joining the military won't prevent you from getting into top schools. My husband, an Air Force veteran, graduated from the Columbia School of General Studies last year. He served four years in the AF enlisted. Many of these universities have programs and special scholarships for veterans. You can combine the GI Bill with the Yellow Ribbon program at many colleges to cover full costs.

    However, you need to think long and hard about what you actually want to do. You can serve in the military after you finish college, and you may find that an officer position is really what you want long-term. (Maybe not, but maybe so.) It is often very hard to leave the perks of working full-time and serving in the military to return to college - my husband struggled with readjusting to the unstructured time and completely different work style of college coming straight from the military, but I have had other students who had few outward problems and even thrived.

    There are lots of different ways to get things done!
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  • Sportsman88Sportsman88 1571 replies13 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,584 Senior Member
    @juillet I didn't mean to imply that some don't choose to enlist with college degrees but I've known some who didn't know there were other options. And the majority of career enlisted earn their bachelor's on Active Duty theses days. Some earn a masters.

    The Marine Corps model is one enlistment and go home for most. For an MOS with a long training pipeline, that may mean a 5 or 6 year contract instead of 4. Most scout snipers I knew left after 6 years (an extension of initial enlistment). A few went on to be instructors.

    I completely agree about the wash out rate for scout sniper and want OP to think through why scout sniper in general. I know some who wanted Marine infantry until they lived the reality of Marine infantry.
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  • moooopmoooop 2202 replies17 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 2,219 Senior Member
    There are lots of opportunities to get a degree while you are in the military. These opportunities will vary depending on where you are stationed, & what your work schedule is, but with all the online courses available, you should be able to get a degree while on active duty, with the government paying for all or most of it.
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  • NEPatsGirlNEPatsGirl 2844 replies106 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 2,950 Senior Member
    ^This. My S was able to complete nearly 3 years of college during an 8 year enlistment, 2 of which were in special trainings with little time for school (and a tour in Iraq as well) all paid for. His Montgomery Bill will fund the last year and his Masters.
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  • 50N40W50N40W 960 replies3 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 963 Member
    I knew several enlisted troops who got a degree while on active duty. It's generally as difficult as getting one part time in any other job. A job with unpredictable short notice travel. It's done, but always difficult.

    One plus of ROTC over Blue Canoe U is the candidate will spend time among people who range from apathetic to openly hostile to the military. Ignoring the shouted insults and occasionally threatening behavior is excellent practice.
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