Degree...or not degree?

Hi all, not sure if this qualifies to be a standalone thread but here goes...

Darling son is keen on joining the Int Corps as an officer post A-levels at age 18/19. He is a bright lad in the ACF, but doesn't really go in for school sport, captain of first Eleven, committee positions and all the gucci things that AOSB like to see.

I am of the impression that in this day and age, in a shrinking Army that can be choosy, that a DE officer cadet without a degree needs to be all over the sport/positions of responsibility/outward bound stuff...like a mini-Ray Mears.

Am I right to tell him to be prepared for a shock if his chooses to apply without rectifying these issues??

Thanks (mods please move as required).
 
AOSB are looking for potential. The most important thing is personality, critical thinking and the ability to work as part of and leading a team.

A-Levels get you to AOSB. The individual gets to Sandhurst.

Personally, I think unless the degree is from Oxbridge and is in a subject relevant to Cap Badge, then don't bother. You can get degrees through the Army for free.

With regards to extra curricular stuff, it doesn't hurt, but is a very distant second to how he comes across in person at AOSB. Potential is everything.
 
His first step is AOSB rather than Int Corps (that selection happens at RMAS, both the formal selection process and then the Regimental Selection Board if they pass the Int selection part).

I'd recommend doing AOSB Briefing early, it allows more "time" for potential and will give you some good feedback as to what they think the candidate needs to develop before AOSB Main Board.
 

green_slime

War Hero
No need for a degree to get through AOSB or Int Corps, but when trying to compete for the Int Corps at RMAS then you would be up against those who can demonstrate and be trained in critical thinking.

The Int Corps is quite a strange Corps so I would advise he understand what he wants from an Army career/ experience.
 
I would offer a slightly different perspective and ask your son to consider getting some life experience first before applying to AOSB. What are his A-Levels like? Good enough to get into university? What about doing a modern apprenticeship instead? Has he considered joining the AR? He might not like team sports, but he have any other hobbies? Did he do DofE?
 

Wee Hawken

War Hero
Hi all, not sure if this qualifies to be a standalone thread but here goes...

Darling son is keen on joining the Int Corps as an officer post A-levels at age 18/19. He is a bright lad in the ACF, but doesn't really go in for school sport, captain of first Eleven, committee positions and all the gucci things that AOSB like to see.

I am of the impression that in this day and age, in a shrinking Army that can be choosy, that a DE officer cadet without a degree needs to be all over the sport/positions of responsibility/outward bound stuff...like a mini-Ray Mears.

Am I right to tell him to be prepared for a shock if his chooses to apply without rectifying these issues??

Thanks (mods please move as required).
If still at school (and not in final year) he might take a look at AOSS - Army Officer Scholarship Scheme. It's a "free hit" at AOSB (doesn't count as one of his two attempts) and if he passes, it gives him some money towards final year at school and then Uni. And then a place at RMAS afterwards.

Not sure if you can do this and skip the Uni bit however - it's probably not encouraged.
 
Thanks all, much obliged.

I suppose I am biased by my own experiences at Cranwell in the 90s: like my son, I applied to be an (RAF) officer straight out of 6th form, but got a 2 year wait and feedback indicating that I needed to expand my horizons by either going to university or working/travelling/growing up etc.

I chose the latter (including 2 years in the TA prior to SDR 98!), reapplied at age 21 and got in; left 5 years ago.

This was soon after the cutbacks of Options for Change...but I see the Forces in a similar position now: limited spaces with high standards.

NB: Son has done bronze DofE and is keen on doing the rest. He shoots .177 target air rifles in his spare time and does every cadet activity going. I just had a picture in my mind of the non-Grad prime pick at AOSB being entirely composed of 6th formers from independent schools who were Capt of the first XI, leading the Raleigh exped up the Amazon, feeding 3rd world kiddies in Africa, before pitching up at Westbury and aceing the selection course...looks like I may be wrong!

We'll still steer him towards University, which opens up more doors and gives him a taste of OTC, extra maturity etc...but at the end of the day it's his choice!
 
Last edited:
Encourage him to do the degree, not only will it help him for an army career as an officer, it will give him something to fall back on if it doesn't work out. He can do a Masters while in the army.
 

Countryboy

Old-Salt
When I did
Hi all, not sure if this qualifies to be a standalone thread but here goes...

Darling son is keen on joining the Int Corps as an officer post A-levels at age 18/19. He is a bright lad in the ACF, but doesn't really go in for school sport, captain of first Eleven, committee positions and all the gucci things that AOSB like to see.

I am of the impression that in this day and age, in a shrinking Army that can be choosy, that a DE officer cadet without a degree needs to be all over the sport/positions of responsibility/outward bound stuff...like a mini-Ray Mears.

Am I right to tell him to be prepared for a shock if his chooses to apply without rectifying these issues??

Thanks (mods please move as required).
the AOSB Briefing I did was a mixed bag, but the ones that were given a Main Board invitation were the ones that passed stuff on the day (which is tough), not what they had done before.

Fitness, confidence at interview, good plan ex and knowledge of the Army were they key bits. They didn’t seem to care what school tie you were wearing or wheat you did before (but you have to tell them in the ice breaker).
 

Sarastro

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Hi all, not sure if this qualifies to be a standalone thread but here goes...

Darling son is keen on joining the Int Corps as an officer post A-levels at age 18/19. He is a bright lad in the ACF, but doesn't really go in for school sport, captain of first Eleven, committee positions and all the gucci things that AOSB like to see.

I am of the impression that in this day and age, in a shrinking Army that can be choosy, that a DE officer cadet without a degree needs to be all over the sport/positions of responsibility/outward bound stuff...like a mini-Ray Mears.

Am I right to tell him to be prepared for a shock if his chooses to apply without rectifying these issues??

Thanks (mods please move as required).
Um, nobody seems to have yet mentioned that you can count the numbers of DE Int Corps officers without a degree on the fingers of no hands. Not sure how long ago @green_slime was in or if he was an orifice, but it's a shadow requirement these days. The only degreeless DE officers I can think of recently were ex-soldier (and most ex-soldiers had degrees) or ex- other interesting previous experience, both of whom were older and had nearly a decade's previous experience. Some had were fairly rubbishy degrees, but nonetheless they ticked the graduate box. Unless the trend has been broken in the past few years, I'm pretty sure there are no examples of a DE, non-grad school-leaver being taken from Sandhurst for over a decade.

I realise that they say all sorts of things about who is eligible, but follow the data not the PR. Non-grads just don't get selected by Int Corps RSBs. He will also be competing against a handful of highly competitive First-from-Oxford types, particularly as female cadets still tend to see the Int Corps as one of the most desirable options. Not all of those selected are the First-from-Oxford types, but it is nonetheless one of the more competitive RSB pools. In all probability, he is massively handicapping himself by not having a degree.

Source: ~10 years recent direct experience of Int Corps selection processes and who came through the system - it's a small Corps so everyone tends to know everyone after a while.

PS Please never, ever say "darling son" again, even ironically.
 

green_slime

War Hero
Um, nobody seems to have yet mentioned that you can count the numbers of DE Int Corps officers without a degree on the fingers of no hands. Not sure how long ago @green_slime was in or if he was an orifice, but it's a shadow requirement these days. The only degreeless DE officers I can think of recently were ex-soldier (and most ex-soldiers had degrees) or ex- other interesting previous experience, both of whom were older and had nearly a decade's previous experience. Some had were fairly rubbishy degrees, but nonetheless they ticked the graduate box. Unless the trend has been broken in the past few years, I'm pretty sure there are no examples of a DE, non-grad school-leaver being taken from Sandhurst for over a decade.

I realise that they say all sorts of things about who is eligible, but follow the data not the PR. Non-grads just don't get selected by Int Corps RSBs. He will also be competing against a handful of highly competitive First-from-Oxford types, particularly as female cadets still tend to see the Int Corps as one of the most desirable options. Not all of those selected are the First-from-Oxford types, but it is nonetheless one of the more competitive RSB pools. In all probability, he is massively handicapping himself by not having a degree.

Source: ~10 years recent direct experience of Int Corps selection processes and who came through the system - it's a small Corps so everyone tends to know everyone after a while.

PS Please never, ever say "darling son" again, even ironically.
I joined around 20 years ago and have subsequently left. All my peer JOs had degrees. As I tried to present, there is no requirement for a degree but those with one have a distinct advantage.
 

Sarastro

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
I joined around 20 years ago and have subsequently left. All my peer JOs had degrees. As I tried to present, there is no requirement for a degree but those with one have a distinct advantage.
So that's two vaguely recent accounts that saw all JOs selected with degrees. As I said, this was also the case at least up until two or three years ago.

@stab turned crab I would strongly suggest to your son that a degree is an actual requirement, regardless of the theoretical non-requirement they state. It simply doesn't reflect reality.
 

Latest Threads

Top