A question about starting a career as an Army Officer

I am currently finishing my A-levels and I already have almost the required amount of academic points needed to apply for Officer selection (having already finshed a round of A-levels in different subjects before I switched to my current ones).
I was hoping to start the selection process as soon as I am physically fit enough, meaning that I would not go to university. How far would this affect my chances of selection, being that 90% of those selected are graduates?

One plan I had was to volunteer for overseas service in a charity or humanitarian organisation to gain some 'life experience'. Would this positively affect my selection chances or possibly bring me on par with someone who has been to university?

Any help with these issues would be greatly appreciated since it is my dream to become an Officer and I don't want anything to hold me back or hurt my chances.
(I was also wondering about the 90% figure; does that reflect the fact that more people who have been to uni apply than those who have not? or is there an equal number and they actively recruit more graduates?)

Take this advice with a pinch of salt as i am not a. a serving member of the army. b. an officer. or c. a graduate. I am however going through the motions to become an officer as a non grad.

If you get the grades to go uni, and your not going to financially cripple yourself or your family, go to university and do a worthwhile degree, shag your way through the halls of residence and enjoy your time there. In all honesty i regret not going, but i wouldn't change how it's all panned out. You could do some overseas work in a gap year. I think doing overseas or charitable work for the sake of getting 'life experience' is missing the point. You get 'life experience' it by living your life and it can't be rushed. In all honesty since leaving sixth form some 6 years ago i've not done anything major with my life apart from working all over the place, living my life, going out, blah blah etc. But i am a much wiser and well rounded person which i believe is down to the culmination of all my experiences in the past 6 years.
If you really don't want to go uni why not work for a couple of years, do abit of travelling, then jump into officer selection. But remember grads get paid near enough twice as much as non grads during the CC course, and are promoted at a quicker rate.

Most of the young lads on my briefing where almost all given cat 2's with 24 month delays to go away and 'mature' so to speak. Just don't do anything stupid like trying to smuggle smack into the country and i'm sure you'll be welcomed back for main board!

Thats my 2 pence anyway.
Flobblem said:
Thanks for the advice.
It is just such a hard decision because I want to get 'stuck in' as fast as possible :)
As a 55 yr old non grad, who - aged 19 - felt as you do now, and avoided Uni in favour of RMAS, let me simply say that the advice i_love_torres is giving makes perfect sense to me, with the benefit of loads of hindsight.

A couple of years may seem like a lifetime to you now: be patient - It's the blink of an eye, and you'll be better off for the interval.
Please also consider that you may be made redundant from the army, lose a limb or worse, so you will need something to fall back on. I would advise you to get a degree at university. You might even be able to squeeze in a handy language course along with your main subject. The Chinese say "the wise rabbit has more than one home", if you get my drift. Wishing you good luck for the future whatever you choose.
Delron i can only speak from my personal experience from the 18's and under i spoke to on my briefing- (that last sentence makes me sound like abit of a nonce!! :) ) which i am well aware is just one of many run every year- and thats what i heard. So while i'm not stating if your under 18, your going to get a cat 2 with a time delay to go away and 'mature', i thought it was quite a common category to be awarded to you young whipersnappers.
I sat my first attempt at my mainboard at the tender age of 19, and was told to come back when I was a bit more mature, i.e when I'd finished uni. I did, and passed second time, and am glad I went off to uni for 4 years. I was utterly gutted about being turned down at the time but although I thought I was ready then, I can recognise now that I wasn't.
Bearing in mind all the stuff about any possible future outside the Army (although personally I believe that after a certain point experience and accredited courses count just as much as a degree), lets do a quick timeline comparing you and a mate from your school who also wants to join the army but goes to uni 1st.

Day 1 - You start at RMAS and start getting paid. Your mate starts at uni and starts getting into debt.

1 year passes - You Commission. Your mate is no longer a fresher.

3 years pass - You get promoted to Lieutenant. your mate graduates.

4 years pass - You are Lieutenant 1 year seniority. Your mate Commissions.

5 years pass - Your are Lieutenant 2 years seniority. Your mate gets promoted to Lieutenant.

6 years pass - You get promoted to Captain.

6.5 years pass - Your mate gets promoted to Captain.

I get a little rusty on possible promotion dates after that, I think your 1st look at Major would be at 10 years served and your mates at 9 years served, 2 years after you.

Of course you will promote slower and get paid less than your peers at RMAS.
Pretty much in the same boat as you Flobblem, but im a year above you! Was under the impression there wouldnt be many under 20s on the Briefing but i guess not...
I'd go to Uni. Experience life a bit more. I spent 4 years at Uni and loved every minute of it. I also did my Briefing at 18 and got a Cat1, decided to wait and see what I wanted from life and not go to Main Board.

I should have done the Main Board and got a sponsorship through University. I'd do the selection process, take sponsorship and then go to the Army!


Book Reviewer
And if you get a fcuk off tablet from main board?
pros and cons to both paths and only you will know what is best. I did main board at 17 before going to uni and passed so you can pass regardless of age. Its good to be at uni knowing I have a guaranteed job at the end of it. University is worth getting into the debt for even if it just for the lifestyle. It is difficult to get into Sandhurst as a young non grad but if your good enough you will be selected. I would advise you to go to uni. Enjoy three years on the lash and come out with a degree for your efforts.
Sorry Mate Cannot Help you I used to work for a living.

Also I can map read and do drill.

I suggest you go to uni and do a useful degree for all of the reasons above. If you stay in for any length of time (10 yrs +) you may go onto a modular masters programme to enhance your promotion prospects and employability (and civvy career options) and having a bachelors already will put you in a good position. Equally there is an advantage to being a bit older as a junior officer and you'll add value by having a wider perspective. You can still do voluntary work etc in the summer holidays. As a couple of arrsers have said you don't need to rush it.

On the converse however your time as a Troop/Platoon commander will most probably be the most rewarding of your early career and as a non-grad you typically get longer at it. You may also be better prepared for Adjt/Ops O and OC.
If you are young without a degree go for it.
your promotion will balance out and youll not notice the people promoting ahead of you on considerably increased wage.

If you are older then i recommend you get a degree because marking time waiting to get to the rank of captain as a civi is more comfortable than marking time stood in greens waiting to promote.
Ok, I will most probably be shot at dawn for this as I have never been in the military, however, I'm in agreement with whingeingpom and the others who suggest you go to Uni and study for a degree that is purposeful.

If you want to volunteer for an organization that will give you life skills, do so after Uni. Be careful of your choice, as these organizations are a dime a dozen, and most do not deliver! As you are in the UK, try Raleigh. They are a good organization, and have a strong ethos when it comes to leadership skills! I also believe that these skills will be fully accredited in the near future (insider info). In addition you will benefit from an off shore expedition, no close to home nonsense :)

The military, like any other employer likes people who accept a challenge. If you take note of the above you will have positioned yourself well.

I wish you well :)
All this advice has been incredibly useful, thanks chaps ^^
I think on reflection that it would probably be wisest for me to attend university, especially as it would give me a huge amount of time to get uber-fit :)
Ideally I would want to be in the top 5% as far as fitness is concerned, and at the moment I would probably place myself in the bottom 10 x(

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