26, non-grad, wanna go to Sandhurst....madness?

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#1
Hello....

Been lurking here and reading up for a while now. Found a fair amount of interesting comments that apply to my situation, but wondered if I could be so bold as to start a new debate on the issue, a bit more specific to me and other 'oldies' at Sandhurst. Correct me if I'm wrong but I have not seen a specific thread about it anywhere, but I apologise if it's old news!

Why have I left it so late, you ask? Well, dad was in 3 Para, parents divorced when I was 2, dad's side of family very military orientated, mum's side the opposite, raised by mum's side, hence pushed away from it. However, it is definitely in my blood and I have been interested in it seriously for many years now.

Long story but, started degree, didn't finish, and my response to that is "I showed more conviction LEAVING than most students do in STAYING and getting their pony 3 year 3-hour-per-week degrees.....sir...."

I've been working various 'normal' jobs for 6 years now, and I am convinced that becoming an army officer offers me 99% of what I'm looking for in a career and a life...but....

I'm 26, and a non-grad....after speaking to an Army Officer careers advisor (middle aged snooty nosed **** female) I was politely informed that I didn't stand a chance of getting taken by any of my preferences, either Intelligence due to lack of degree, or any teeth arms due to my age. Which left me with Logistics. Which isn't my bag. After this I was put off, spoke to the Marines, went for Officer trial thouroughly unprepared, fucked it but got bitten by the military bug properly, the experience just confirmed I wanted to do it.

Obviously I'm aware it's all down to the individual, and I've read comments here about 'oldies' and non-grad getting on and loving it, but I'd like some honest and realistic experiences.

Do I risk a whole year at Sandhurst just to end up in a desk job? Or do I just go for it and prove myself? Can I really overcome the obstacles?

For the record I'm not bothered by lower pay as a non-grad and less promotion opportunites, as someone else said also, just means you spend more time as a troop commander, the best bit!

Any thoughts much appreciated! Apologies for the long winded post, but wanted to make myself as clear as possible!

Cheers!

Pete
 
#2
As an Officer you 'Serve To Lead' so they are all desk jobs to a certain extent (reports, reports, mid-term appraisals etc).

You are a figure head who takes decisions that are put to you by an SNCO, who is more experienced in warfare or trade. By the time you are experienced you have moved more to the rear and if ever at the business end should be leaving things to the young guns (that you have trained).

I am not trying to put you off but this is not Casino Royale you know...
 
#3
"I showed more conviction LEAVING than most students do in STAYING and getting their pony 3 year 3-hour-per-week degrees.....sir....
How does that work?

Dosen't bode well for staying power & determination. Every bugge r seems to have a degree these days.
 
#4
hellfyyr said:
As an Officer you 'Serve To Lead' so they are all desk jobs to a certain extent (reports, reports, mid-term appraisals etc).

You are a figure head who takes decisions that are put to you by an SNCO, who is more experienced in warfare or trade. By the time you are experienced you have moved more to the rear and if ever at the business end should be leaving things to the young guns (that you have trained).

I am not trying to put you off but this is not Casino Royale you know...
Ok, perhaps I didn't exaplin clearly enough. In a nutshell, the particular regiments I listed as a preference, as the army asks of an applicant, I was told I couldn't get due to age or degree, hence my overall question. Ignore the desk job comment for now, I'm just looking for 'other' experiences ok. I am quite aware it is not casion royale, but thanks for pointing that out. I'm not sure what gave you the impression I was looking for Mi6???
 
#5
Random_Task said:
"I showed more conviction LEAVING than most students do in STAYING and getting their pony 3 year 3-hour-per-week degrees.....sir....
How does that work?

Dosen't bode well for staying power & determination. Every bugge r seems to have a degree these days.
Exactly my point really..... my point is that rather than taking the easy option and sticking around to finish a degree I had no intention of using I got out into the real world and pursued other things which I wont go into here. In doing so took a lot more courage for me personally, rather than what would have been the easy option that most young students take, not knowing what they want to do so just drink for 3 years, get a degree, and automatic rights to things like more pay in the army....now I am NOT bitter about this, not at all, as I said in my post, all I'm saying is that for me, in MY experience of the many degree students I know, leaving my degree required much more conviction to MY beliefs and desires at the time.

Yes every bugger has got a degree, and I couldn't care less. All I'm saying is that in MY situation, leaving my degree was not due to lack of commitment or ability, just quite the opposite.
 
#6
You sound far too gung-ho and a drop-out to be anything but sneered at if you try to be an orifice.

Even if you succeed, you'll never make serious rank, and you'll always be sneered at, that is, except by the blokes you might command.

Sounds to me like you need to join the ranks and work your nads off; prove yourself as it were.

You will also find it far more enjoyable in terms of getting some action; that's fanny AND guns. You don't sounds anywhere toffee-nosed enough to succeed in a world of silverware-on-tables, though it does sound like you could rise through the ranks fairly rapidly if you get your face and boots dirty!

If the careers office don't offer you anything better than washing pans, tell 'em to fcuk off.

Another option is to join the TA (you choice of units), prove yourself there, get some experience, sign up for an active tour with the regs, or an 's' type engagement and then make it real. It's another good way to get in the door quicker.
 
#7
I was in a similar situation aged 27 going to Sandhurst. I found that you have a little more life experience than other people, you know when to shut up and listen, when to relax and enjoy and have a better intution of how the game is played.

These days, with LTOS being the norm, there's no career penalty for being a little older, you're on the same level as a 19 year old non grad, but with a little more wisdom. Of course, you'll be less senior than the graduates, but that all levels out after a few years. Career wise, the R Signals, the RE and the RLC were happy to take me on and Infantry wise, there was a 28 year old in my platoon who was snapped up by the RRF.

Go for it, you have noting to lose. If you need any more, feel free to PM.

TCS
 
#8
Ok, I'm really not sure how I've given the impression of being 'gung-ho' but I can assure you, that is not the case!

I don't want to go into detail about my background, so you will just have to trust my reasoning! I am fully aware of the roles of an army officer. I KNOW it's not "WANTED: James Bond"... I am NOT a uni drop out, I chose a significant career move over study, and I have excelled in my career since leaving uni. I have and do continue to hold very significant levels of responsibility and have led and managed to a high standard, now I want to push that further AND get some action and adventure. No action and adventure in the army? Hmmmmmm.....

My point of the post was, how, in reality, do older non-grads get on at Sandhurst and in further army careers? Are there any similar people out there who did it and do/don't regret it?

Please don't judge me and my past from the minor details I have put here, as you are in no position to do so with so little info. I'm simply giving a little bit of background to explain why I left it late, but now I'm looking to the future and I don't want an analysis of my past thank you!

So please, do you have real experience of this, and if so, what is it?

Thanks

Pete
 
#9
TheCheerfulSubbie said:
I was in a similar situation aged 27 going to Sandhurst. I found that you have a little more life experience than other people, you know when to shut up and listen, when to relax and enjoy and have a better intution of how the game is played.

These days, with LTOS being the norm, there's no career penalty for being a little older, you're on the same level as a 19 year old non grad, but with a little more wisdom. Of course, you'll be less senior than the graduates, but that all levels out after a few years. Career wise, the R Signals, the RE and the RLC were happy to take me on and Infantry wise, there was a 28 year old in my platoon who was snapped up by the RRF.

Go for it, you have noting to lose. If you need any more, feel free to PM.

TCS
Thank you, just the kind of insight I was looking for. I will probably take you up on that PM offer.

Many thanks.
 
M

Mr_Logic

Guest
#10
Intro2pete

If you want a commission my advice is to go for it wholeheartedly. Make the decision and commit. You will need a cap-badge to sponsor you. Your age is likely to discourage teeth arms units but it is not a show-stopper if your personal qualities are what they want. You may not want to end up in a Corps but you need to get sponsorship to get to RMAS. So it is worth being polite and playing the game to get to RMAS as quickly as possible. Yoy are not then commited to joining that cap-badge so can look around and try for something that floats your boat.

You sound as though you will regret not joining if you don't serve in the Army in some capacity. I think the advice to join the TA may not be for you. Why be a STAB if you can do it for real as a full-time job?

PM me if you want further advice.

Mr_Logic
 
#11
Intro,

Just out of curiosity, what degree were you studying before you dropped out?
 
M

Mr_Logic

Guest
#12
TheCheerfulSubbie said:
I was in a similar situation aged 27 going to Sandhurst. I found that you have a little more life experience than other people, you know when to shut up and listen, when to relax and enjoy and have a better intution of how the game is played.

These days, with LTOS being the norm, there's no career penalty for being a little older, you're on the same level as a 19 year old non grad, but with a little more wisdom. Of course, you'll be less senior than the graduates, but that all levels out after a few years. Career wise, the R Signals, the RE and the RLC were happy to take me on and Infantry wise, there was a 28 year old in my platoon who was snapped up by the RRF.

Go for it, you have noting to lose. If you need any more, feel free to PM.

TCS
That popped up while I was still typing but I agree completely. You have nothing to lose but regrets.
 
#13
the_matelot said:
Intro,

Just out of curiosity, what degree were you studying before you dropped out?
I was studying Civil Engineering. I didn't drop out in the usual sense, I just had an opportunity I couldnt turn down outside of my degree which I pursued in my 3rd year with every intention of going back to finish the degree. It just so happened that that opportunity blossomed, and has now run its course....

My closest friends now were on my course, did their 5 years and now are more confused about their futures than me......
 
#14
The point about you signing up with a stab unit first was so that you could pick your regiment, and then from there, join the regular version after basic.

It's another way in the door for a regular regiment of your choice if you think by signing up directly for the reg's you might get shoved in a corps.

If I, for example wanted to join the PWRR at the grand old age of 26, but didn't think they'd have me, I'd join the TA PWRR and then sign up for an 'S' type engagement, or better still, Iraq of Afghan. They would not ship me off to a corpse then, they'd send me with my regular counterpart regiment.

From there, I could stay on in the regs and do all manner of things.

You could even do th TA ossifer training, but as always, you'd drop a couple of ranks when you joined the regs.
 
#15
Giblets said:
The point about you signing up with a stab unit first was so that you could pick your regiment, and then from there, join the regular version after basic.

It's another way in the door for a regular regiment of your choice if you think by signing up directly for the reg's you might get shoved in a corps.

If I, for example wanted to join the PWRR at the grand old age of 26, but didn't think they'd have me, I'd join the TA PWRR and then sign up for an 'S' type engagement, or better still, Iraq of Afghan. They would not ship me off to a corpse then, they'd send me with my regular counterpart regiment.

From there, I could stay on in the regs and do all manner of things.

You could even do th TA ossifer training, but as always, you'd drop a couple of ranks when you joined the regs.
Thanks for that advice, but to be honest if I do it I'd rather commit 100%.

I've looked deeply into joining the TA, but realistically I'd have to have a job I didn't like mon-fri just to get my army kicks at weekends, so I might as well do it properly and be happy every day of the week!
 
M

Mr_Logic

Guest
#16
Giblets mate

Going the TA route should only be a time-filler and something to show willing for AOSB. The Reg RMAS course makes you a proper DE officer with a peer group of, er, well, peers in the same boat. As a DE you can have a full career. The back-door entry via the TA is far less of a guarantee and does carry a slight stigma (for want of a better term).

Mr_Logic
 
#17
Mr_Logic said:
Giblets mate

Going the TA route should only be a time-filler and soemthing to show willing for AOSB. The Reg RMAS course makes you a proper DE officer with a peer group of, er, well, peers in the same boat. As a DE you can have a full career. The back-door entry via the TA is far less of a guarantee and does carry a slight stigma (for want of a better term).

Mr_Logic
It has also been made very clear that the ability to transfer a comission was very very very rare in a number of briefings.

Edit- for clarity
 
#18
There is absolutely nothing wrong with your circumstances if, as you have done, you can justify them clearly and logically. Plenty of older people go through Sandhurst and do perfectly well. One thing I would say is that you will have to accept 22 or 23 year olds with Mickey Mouse degrees earning more than you whilst there and then promoting to Captain faster upon leaving. As long as you can reconcile that with the life choices you have made, then rock on. My main advice to you will be to go on Familiarisation visits to the bigger organisations (RA, RE, RLC) who will give you a two or three day visit, a bit of advice on AOSB and your circumstances and, if they like you, maybe sponsorship to boot. This is a no commitment way to get through selection to RMAS. Once there you will find your natural calling (usually through where your friends are going) and as long as it works for both sides, end up there. The world is your oyster!
 
#19
Don't forget that it may also take 2 years or so from applying to actually getting to Sandhurst. (Even with a mickey mouse degree.)
 
#20
First, I'd watch your attitude. The recruiting officer (gender and accent irrelevant - your problem not hers) was actually telling you a few home truths.

You are old for mainstream recruitment to teeth arms (not sure of the current age limits) and you will have to prove to potential sponsors that they should give you a go.

Given that the profile that you have shared with us isn't exactly impressive, you will have to go along way to beat 18 and 21 year olds who may have already done more and achieved more than you. Her advice is realistic.

My advice:

1. Stop making excuses for your career history to date - it sounds a bit Vicky Pollard frankly. Concentrate on selling yourself on what you have done / achieved in your life to date rather than what you haven't done.

2. Understand the process (getting sponsored by teeth arms now is not essential as once you are at RMAS all bets are off) so get to RMAS asap:

* get sponsored (by anyone including the RLC / AGC etc) to RCB and pass it

* get on to the Commissioning Course asap (you are old, so stop f#cking about, because you are getting older by the day)

* at RMAS, work hard, and if you are a good bet, you will have an excellent opportunity to get sponsored by the regiment or corps of your choice. It is far easier at this stage if you have an unusual profile, as the academy staff will actually be able to see how good you are.

3. get going and good luck.
 
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