Are you planning to join the military with the goal of attending college after you get out with the help of the G.I. Bill?
If so, you just might have a better option available to you.
I strongly recommend that you consider going to college first and then starting your military service after you graduate.
I know this probably sounds counter-intuitive, but it really isn’t. Here’s why…
If you join the military fresh out of high school you’ll start out as an E-1 enlisted member, the lowest military rank there is.
Don’t get me wrong, there is absolutely no shame in that and I deeply respect every person that agrees to help protect our freedom and way of life by serving in our armed forces.
However, going to college first and participating in the ROTC program while you’re there will allow you to start your military career as an officer O-1 instead of an enlisted E-1.
That means you’ll immediately outrank all of the enlisted members and possibly land in an important leadership position on day one!
And that’s not the only advantage. There’s also the pay differential…
According to the 2019 Military Monthly Basic Pay Table, if you were to join the military as an E-1 you’d start out making $1,554.00 per month.
However, if you begin your military service in the officer ranks as an O-1 you’d start out making $3,188.40 – literally more than double what you’d make as an E-1!
And there’s an even better perk that you could well qualify for…
If you apply for and receive an ROTC scholarship the U.S. Government will pay up to 100% of your college expenses.
Yes, you read that right. Uncle Sam will pay for your books, tuition and fees PLUS give you a small monthly cash subsistence check every month while you’re in college and participating in the ROTC program!
Alternatively, you could also apply for admission to one of the military academies.
These slots are extremely competitive, but if you’re selected you’ll get a completely free education from one of the country’s most elite institutions of higher learning.
Bottom line: Going to college before entering the military could enable you to graduate completely debt-free, start out as an officer on the very first day of your military service and immediately begin earning double what you would earn as an E-1 enlistee!
Disclaimer: As a recipient of an Army ROTC scholarship myself, I’m naturally in favor of the process I described above.
That being said, I truly believe it’s the best way to go for most anyone who has the desire to serve their country AND get a college degree.
To finish up, here’s a short video featuring the Army ROTC program at East Tennessee State University, the very program I participated in during my college days at ETSU.
Note: As always, you can watch the video at full screen by clicking the “square” icon that will pop up in the lower-right corner of the video after it begins playing.