Join now or later!?

Hi guys,

Firstly I will tell you a bit about myself, I'm 17 years old and have just started at college. I'm also in the middle of my application for the army, I am applying for EWSO in the Royal Signals. The reason for me starting at college was as a back up for me in case my application wasn't successful. But since I started at college it got me really thinking again about whether I should finish college and uni and then apply as an officer or carry on my application and join as a soldier. I have no doubt that I want to be in the army whatsoever, I am just not sure which route to take. I am really worried about what I should do as it is such a big decision for me. I would love to hear your opinions! I also have a couple of other questions I would like to ask:

1. Would my application for the army now hamper my application as an officer after I finish uni?
2. I know a lot of people are applying now for the army because of the current economic climate, and I am guessing it is the same for officer entry. So is there much chance of me getting a degree and then not being able to join down the line? Hopefully by the time I would have finished uni applications will be a lot lower again.

I am aware that the best place to be asking these questions would be at my ACIO but I am worried that if I asked these questions it might somehow jeopardise my application. Any help would be greatly appreciated! :)
I'd get down your AFCO and talk to them about it as it's better to get any questions / doubts out of the way now instead of choosing the wrong path and possibly DAOR'ing, you need to sit down and think about what kind of career you want. Even if you don't get in as an officer or even want to be an officer after a few years of education you will still have a degree, i have one guy on my intake date with a degree and i went to uni for a bit lol, exiting the application now won't have an detrimental effect on an app later on and whats five years eh if you get some quals out of it.
Thank you this is good advice. Isn't it also possible to apply as an officer with just A levels?
I was in the OTC, officer training while at uni and have known a few boys to go in with A-Levels but I would say if you were going oficer, get your degree.. I was thinking officer and was going down that line but decided soldier was the path I wanted to take, it really is up to yourself though,

Good Luck
The bear knows his stuff, go OTC at uni it's a good crack my mate on the uni hockey team did it and gives you an tiny insight into it all. You also get paid less as a non grad officer so why not get a qual under your belt and have a quality time at uni.
Hi Liam. I'd say at least get your A-levels to give yourself the opportunity to go to uni. You're in a good position to start looking into an Army scholarship to put you through a degree. A degree means very little these days to most employers, but it still really counts in the armed forces. If nothing else, the pay benefits for graduate officers are well worth the extra 3 years out. You'll start on literally twice as much as a non-graduate officer.

If you go and get a "proper degree" you'll also be ensuring you have a decent qualification for any civilian jobs you might want to apply for in the future. I'm taking a very vocational course, and though it's one of the best of its kind it is very limiting. I've decided to stick at it anyway, at least until I feel ready for selection.

The first time I went to my AFCO they didn't ask for my name or for any details. I went in with a vague idea of what I wanted to do and a basic level of knowledge about different trades. I really doubt that anything you ask them at this stage will jeopardise your chances of getting in. They'd rather you ask them these questions than not!

Also, remember that 5 years is a long time in economics. Things could well be looking a little brighter by then. In the meantime the safest place you can be is in education (or at least it was until the rah-rahs moved into No. 10...)
yeah, id also say go and get ur degree, and join the uotc if you can. i did it whilst at sheffield, and it gave me the chance to see both sides officer and soldier and what is expected of you. I had a blast and did loads of stuff. going to uni as well will give you a chance to Mature a bit (not that your imature). i certenly wasnt ready at 17 to yoin the army but thats just me :p anyway good luck with what you decide to do.
Another option would be to join the TA. That way you could be at uni and earn money whilst being in the TA at the same time. Also, many students take a year out. Imagine if you took your year out in Afghanistan with the TA............

Just a thought.
Thank you for all the advice everybody I will give this a lot of thought! In the meantime at college is there anything I could do that would really improve my application?
Thank you for all the advice everybody I will give this a lot of thought! In the meantime at college is there anything I could do that would really improve my application?
Pretty sure you can still be in the cadets at college. There were a few at our sixth form that were CCF anyway. Other than that, same as everyone else. Fitness, strength training and all the reading and revision you'll need to do. Don't neglect your college work though. Treat it as part of your training. After all, the results you get will support your application.
Your first question: absolutely not. It shows an early interest plus an eagerness to study and improve yourself, so it's a bonus.
Second one: The great majority of officers these days are graduates, a process that started in the late 70s. The Signals will be more interested in graduates with a technical degree.

My own route in was via the OTC. I thought I'd join for 3 years and stayed for 22.

It depends what you want. There's things you don't consider in your teens that become really important later on, like length of career and pension entitlements. Ask the questions you want to, no risk of jeopardy.

My personal view is that if you can get to university, go for it, taste the Army in the OTC (and get paid for it), you've then got 3 years to consider. There's alot of growing up to do between 18 and 21.
i know so many people that went into basic but their heads were still in their jobs/college/uni ... and nearly all daor'd !
word of advice, get focussed!

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