Gap Year or Uni with Army Sixth form scholarship

Discussion in 'Officers' started by WinterWolf, May 29, 2012.

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  1. So this is a slight twist on a frequently asked topic. I was lucky enough to be awarded an Army sixth form scholarship in October 2011 with the initial proviso to continue through sixth form and then university. I am now having definite second thoughts about university and see it as more of an unnecessary detour from heading to Sandhurst.

    I have a few questions really:

    1. What are the advantages of a degree in the army?
    2. I am well and truly aware of RMAS's reluctance to expect 18 year olds and that they would want a gap year, do they offer any ideas for what you can do in the gap year (money is tight so can't disappear travelling like I'd want to!)?
    3. Would joining the TA be a good idea in a gap year before Sandhurst?
    4. Is it just REME that require a degree to get into (I would be looking at doing an engineering degree if I did go to university)?
    5. To finish, quite a particular one, are the army funny about sixth form scholars not going to university, I know it can be done but the assumption for it being awarded is that you will continue to university?

    All and any replies will be greatly appreciated!
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  2. Thought I'd get that sort of response, that sort of attitude gap yah attitude is one of my reasons for disliking the idea of university!
  3. Go to uni, it's fun and you'll have a degree to fall back on after the army/if you decide you don't like the army/if you get injured and medically discharged.
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  4. And you think you won't encounter that at RMAS? Go to Uni, enjoy it, get a degree and then go to RMAS. However, you might find you're directed to UOTC and if that was a requirement of your scholarship then you might want to rethink things - why play soldier when you could actually train to be one?

    My mate had a scholarship from the Army in his final year at Uni and wasn't required to do UOTC. However, you WILL bump into some of the posh boy types at Uni/RMAS and if you really can't stand them, then join as a Tom!

    What you thinking of studying and where?
  5. Valid point, I guess I will have to live with them!

    I'm thinking of dong mechanical or aeronautical engineering at Sheffield / Nottingham or Loughborough not really narrowed it down yet.
  6. 1.It appears that 80% of all officers are graduates, so that would suggest there is a wee bit of a bias.
    2.I would go for the degree route and make the most of the Army scholarship to do all the things you want.
    3.HM Forces is very unpredictable at the moment with the draw down from BAOR, trim back from Afghan and a rather cronic shortage of dosh. So put your own plans in place as I don't think you can trust what is going on around you.
    4.My son did all he was told by the ACO the gap year, degree, join the OTC and after RCB was told to come back in 2 years he has since joined up as a Trooper and is having an absolute ball.
  7. All excellent Uni choices and very good degree. Just a thought, you may find that with a high calibre degree from a good uni, that the job offers in civvy street would be very attractive compared to the salary of a junior officer. However, those type of degrees would be highly valued in the REME or AAC.

    Might I also suggest a look at Coventry University? Ex-poly, but flying through the league tables and some excellent Mech/Aero engineering courses. You could also join Birmingham UOTC from Cov, know plenty who have. (Biased, but it's where I went).

    I'm gonna be a tom with a degree and don't think it will hurt at all. The current education system means that a lot of lads have A-Levels and lots have degrees now. With those born in 1995 now having to stay in Education or Training until 18 it could be the norm to see Soldiers with equal quals to officers, especially in regiments such as the AAC, REME, RE, Sigs, to name just a few.
  8. Of the 15 that passed out with my son from Basingbourne last year 4 had degrees. Police recruits, if the plans go through will soon have to have 2 A levels to meet the minimum entry criteria.
  9. If they let you have a Gap Year, take one! You don't have to be a fool, one guy I know did a ski season in Austria and took German lessons at the same time to give him some quals/experience. There are a million things worth doing that aren't just getting high on a beach in Thailand with a bunch of rah *****. If I had done one, Id've done a ski season and then worked through the summer to get my skydiving quals. Would've been a good giggle.

    It's always worth getting a degree too, engineering will be four years of hard work but one day you will leave the Army and do something else. A recent leaver I know is struggling to find a decent job due to the reluctance of Civvy Street employers to recognise or credit service in the Forces of any kind. Finally, I'd choose Shef. Really friendly and cheap living. Notts is fun, I've spent a bit of time there but it can be rough and isn't as cheap as up North. Good luck!
  10. Not wishing to divert the direction of the thread. But that almost seems a good(ish) idea. Lots of forces (or more correctly, ''Departments'') in the US require either military experience or atleast 80 credits from a College (equates to having done atleast one year at Uni, but failed one module). Much better than having an NVQ in Anti Bullying and exceptional conflict negotiation skills that the current plod seem to require. If I'm having my head stamped on outside a kebab shop at 4am I want some 18stone ex squaddie to rock up, not a 5ft 2" 10 stone skirt who can ''identify and counsel victims''.
  11. Perhaps I can offer a view as a serving officer. The reason that most Army Officers are graduates is because many 18 year olds lack the maturity required (or desired) by the Army/Sandhurst. I certainly fell into this category, however I know a number of officers who joined at 18 or 19 and have been exceptional, so it is more of an individual thing.

    Some questions you might like to consider: Which part of the army do you see yourself going into (only the REME really need you to have a degree)? How long are you planning to stay, therefore how important is having a degree to you in terms of post army employment?

    You would also do well to ask about the opportunities for doing an in service degree (i.e. sometime after Sandhurst). I believe the REME may offer this and would enable you to do a degree while being paid in full.
  12. I was in this position 3 years ago. My parents convinced me to go to uni and I have never been more glad I listened to their advice! I'm now going into my final year and over the past 2 years I've grown up considerably, made friends that I know I'll always remain close too, learned how to drink properly and had a load of fun, as well as doing a degree which is both interesting and will be useful in the future.

    Had I gone straight to RMAS I would have missed out on what have been the best years of my life so far. I know that in just over a year from now when I'm soaked through lying in a puddle in the bottom of a hole in Thetford forest I will be far better prepared than I would have been at 18 straight from school.

    Go to uni, get a degree, have fun, make some friends, play sport, chase girls and do all the things you won't be free to do once you're in the army. If you are a bursar (as I am) you are expected to attend UOTC. There is a load of threads on this but personally it wasn't for me so I transferred from a training bursar to an admin bursar as I'm quite into my rugby, I have a ton of coursework and wanted some time off from 'green stuff' before doing it for real at RMAS.
  13. If you absolutely must bin going to University, and I strongly recommend you don't, the look at going on a Raleigh International programme.
  14. Advantages of a degree in the army; outside of a technical corps, very little. Advantages of three years at university before a year at RMAS and three years in a regiment; huge. As has been mentioned you learn essential life skills, such as how to blag and cuff at the last minute, drink a skin-full and make it home in one piece, dress up as a nun using nothing but black nasty and your imagination, etc.

    Most importantly, you have the rest of your life to work hard and get fucked about, there is (usually) little harm in having 3/4 years to square yourself away and do all the things you’ve watched on the internet. If you’re having doubts about uni I would recommend choosing a degree that really appeals to you, rather than one that you ‘feel’ you should do. There is nothing worse than spending 3 years slaving away at something that bores you.

    With regards to gap years; if money is tight then get a day job, an evening bar shift and work your tits off for 6 months, then spend the proceeds chasing Swedish girls in exotic parts of the globe. South America is a good launching pad, and whilst it does have quite a few of the SE Asia ‘gap yah’ crowd, you can escape them easily and there’s a lot to see.

    UOTC/TA: Take the OTC for what it is, it can be a really good laugh and you’ll gain an insight that will help you in the 1st term at RMAS. There is also a very eclectic crowd of people, not just chinless wonders. From what I understand, only a 2nd hand perspective, the TA won’t have as a good a social life as the OTC, which realistically the main draw whilst at uni.

    Most importantly you will be more mature and have a greater degree of life experience post uni. As has been mentioned, how can you be expected to deal with the numerous and varied dramas that your soldiers will bring to you if you don’t even know how to set up a utility bill and dodge paying your tv licence?