Yup, best time to join, if your on a two-three year course you'll gain a wealth of experience and be eligable for lance-jack before your 20 if your not a complete numpty, worked well for my current corporals, good luck with it.
Absolutely - perfect time to join. As well as all the benefits of army training, and the new mates you're about to get, it will be a very nice supplement to your income (and a whole lot better than being a burger mechanic at your local fast food emporium).
I joined while still at school and through University, couldn't have asked for a better deal like abacus said it's a great help on the money side and it cannot help but improve your social life. The flexibility of the TA is good aswell as you're not held to as tight as schedule as you would be with a normal job, so say if you have some coursework to do you can miss a weekend or two and it's no real problem.
I agree with what has been said above. I joined the TA whilst at college - had a cracking time and then went and spoiled it all by getting commissioned. I have subsequently worked with a couple of OTCs which would be your other option and so have seen both sides. It depends on what you want to get out of your time in green. My opinion (a sweeping generalisation) is green with socialising=TA or socialising with an attempt at green=OTC.
I was in the TA for the entirety of my "A" levels and degree course in the 80's/ early 90's. Fcuking brilliant laugh, went to Germany for a few months in the summer break etc. All the other numpties graduated in debt; I got bountied up and graduated over a grand in credit. I also had loads of good stuff to on my CV beyond Working in a Pub and Finding Myself in Thailand. Discuss.
I joined the Kings and Cheshire regiment when i was 17 and at college and then transferred to OTC when i went to university. A company KCR are your nearest infantry unit in liverpool, usefull if you are planning to go to sandhurst which is inf based.
just dont do what i did and decide to miss your A levels to go to Iraq and have to do an extra year at college!
Joined LI while at university, was a good source of income. Found loads of courses to do with my time off, those in turn ensured I'd get promoted - did 3 annual camps in sucession each at a different rank.....
Not sure you'd be able to do that these days, my siggies don't seem to be able to get courses (they all seem to be in term time)
If you're joining a common or garden Independent unit, turn up on a drill night and keep going every week. It could take between 1 - 3 months before the paperwork (and hence pay) catches up, depending on your timing.
As others have said, the income is a big bonus while you're studying but if the income is the only reason why you're joining then don't bother. In the first couple of years, the effort you expend won't seem worth the initially low wages, especially when you find that socialising eats into the pay packet. The major saving over other students results from spending weekends in places that don't have shops.
If you join the TA for the right reasons, there is a further warning - BE AWARE OF YOUR PRIORITIES! It's too easy to become totally absorbed in the Army. I failed my A levels the first time around because I was concentrating on passing a signalling cadre. Similarly, my degree hopes came to a crashing end when Annual Camp ended on the weekend before the exams (somehow, learning ambush drills seemed more important than revising).
It's a great experience, learning both independence and reliance on others (you have to do it before you can understand that these aren't contradictory) hence I'm still here after 30 years. I still haven't learned to prioritise, other than by having switched to a Specialist Unit in order to fit work in.
It's about commitment, not money. When other people would have been on their honeymoon, I was trogging about in Germany in the pouring rain. The wife understood, I had been in the TA long before I met her. Similarly, when work sent me to Hong Kong, I went on the stipulation that I could come home for a TA weekend! (Actually managed to fit in seeing the wife and kids for 2 hours before the flight back on the Sunday night - yippee!)
Good Advice, but you must understand money is a priority, But it is defiantly NOT my only reason. I really do want to join for other reasons. I will have to have a talk with college first to see how it all fits together, and maybe a trip to the recruiting office.
Your advice was very welcomed by the way, made a lot of sense. And I will defiantly be using it.