Officer commission without A Levels or UCAS points (Soldier entry to Sandhurst)

Instead, should I just do Sixth Form and attempt to become an Officer?

  • Yes

    Votes: 10 62.5%
  • No

    Votes: 2 12.5%
  • Consider more options

    Votes: 4 25.0%

  • Total voters
    16
#1
Although the Army has been very helpful in attempting to give me an answer, I’m still not entirely certain. I’ve always wanted to join the Army since I was a child, there was always a feeling I had to become a soldier to see what I’m capable of. However, obviously, as I got older it became much more complicated than a five year old could understand. I want to join the Army as a Junior Soldier and attend AFC Harrogate (I’m 16) but the benefits of being an Officer are good, I believe I have the academic ability to become one but I want to experience the Army from the bottom and work and earn my place. I fear I’ll not make ‘leader material’ at least not from the age of 18. It makes sense that experience outweighs qualifications. I’ve been told that if you excel in your Soldier selection and basic training - both physically and academically, you could be recommended for an Officer commission to Sandhurst and receive training. However, do you need the qualifications (A levels/degree etc) to be a candidate or just need to performe extremely well to be recommended?
 
#2
Although the Army has been very helpful in attempting to give me an answer, I’m still not entirely certain. I’ve always wanted to join the Army since I was a child, there was always a feeling I had to become a soldier to see what I’m capable of. However, obviously, as I got older it became much more complicated than a five year old could understand. I want to join the Army as a Junior Soldier and attend AFC Harrogate (I’m 16) but the benefits of being an Officer are good, I believe I have the academic ability to become one but I want to experience the Army from the bottom and work and earn my place. I fear I’ll not make ‘leader material’ at least not from the age of 18. It makes sense that experience outweighs qualifications. I’ve been told that if you excel in your Soldier selection and basic training - both physically and academically, you could be recommended for an Officer commission to Sandhurst and receive training. However, do you need the qualifications (A levels/degree etc) to be a candidate or just need to performe extremely well to be recommended?
Trust me when I say this pal. Afc isn’t all good you get the chance to receive some under rated quals treated as a child it’s pretty shit but you should go it’s prepared me a lot more for when you pass out and go to phase 2 & 3
 
#3
Serving soldiers need 5 GCSEs or, if the don't have them, can sit an assessment at the Army School of Eduaction at Worthy Down. Any application from the ranks would of course need to be supported by the Chain of Command. Details are on the Army wesite: Qualifications - British Army

(Edited to add link)
Halloumikid.
 
#4
Serving soldiers need 5 GCSEs or, if the don't have them, can sit an assessment at the Army School of Eduaction at Worthy Down. Any application from the ranks would of course need to be supported by the Chain of Command.
Halloumikid.
That’s bullshit you need nothing to join but to go through the ranks you need your level 2s in maths and English (up to WO)
 
#5
I joined with no GCSEs got my level 2s for maths English and my quals in ict and public services at Harrogate but I’ve known lads only get there maths and English and still rank
 
#6
That’s bullshit you need nothing to join but to go through the ranks you need your level 2s in maths and English (up to WO)
I think he meant to go for officer, not for joining up in the first place.
OP, be aware, There will be loads and loads of really good people going soldier at AFC and you will be competing against them for the very limited number of slots available. Loads of them will have good edn quals to start with and, later on, you will also be competing against regs who have A levels and degrees.
You're only 16. Go to 6th form college and get the quals. You may find something you like and go on to a degree after. It's no good saying "I believe I have the academic ability" if you have nothing to prove it.
 
#7
I think he meant to go for officer, not for joining up in the first place.
OP, be aware, There will be loads and loads of really good people going soldier at AFC and you will be competing against them for the very limited number of slots available. Loads of them will have good edn quals to start with and, later on, you will also be competing against regs who have A levels and degrees.
You're only 16. Go to 6th form college and get the quals. You may find something you like and go on to a degree after. It's no good saying "I believe I have the academic ability" if you have nothing to prove it.
Ah right I see as for getting into the afc it all really depends on the time of you assessment and the grade you get mate. I did assessment in June got an A grade went to Harrogate the same year in October also it depends on your job role some will have plenty of spaces eg. The Rifles and some will be limited eg. REME
 
#8
I think he meant to go for officer, not for joining up in the first place.
OP, be aware, There will be loads and loads of really good people going soldier at AFC and you will be competing against them for the very limited number of slots available. Loads of them will have good edn quals to start with and, later on, you will also be competing against regs who have A levels and degrees.
You're only 16. Go to 6th form college and get the quals. You may find something you like and go on to a degree after. It's no good saying "I believe I have the academic ability" if you have nothing to prove it.
You make a good case. I want to start my Army life as soon as possible (hence why I want to go to Harrogate) so going to Sixth Form/College would mean no AFC. Another reason is because I want to get a trade for when I leave the Army (I hope to become a Comms System Engineer) so I just wanted to know if an Officer recommendation was possible without A Levels.
 
#9
Ah right I see as for getting into the afc it all really depends on the time of you assessment and the grade you get mate. I did assessment in June got an A grade went to Harrogate the same year in October also it depends on your job role some will have plenty of spaces eg. The Rifles and some will be limited eg. REME
Originally I wanted to become an Armourer in the REME (It’s still a consideration) I know the application process takes what feels likes decades so in the mean time, I’ll have to attend Sixth Form until it is complete. I do plan to go to Harrogate with GCSEs at least (I’ll need to for the role I want)
 
#10
You make a good case. I want to start my Army life as soon as possible (hence why I want to go to Harrogate) so going to Sixth Form/College would mean no AFC. Another reason is because I want to get a trade for when I leave the Army (I hope to become a Comms System Engineer) so I just wanted to know if an Officer recommendation was possible without A Levels.
Well, looking at the requirements for commissioning, everyone except an LE (that's an old and bold guy who's gone right through to (normally) Warrant Officer and then being offered a commission) will require 35 ALIS points
In addition a score of 180 UCAS Tariff points acquired in separate subjects at AS and A level, or equivalent. These must include a minimum of two passes at A level, or equivalent, at grades A-E. Note that the General Studies paper does not qualify for UCAS Tariff points.

The attainment of a degree will normally override the requirement for UCAS Tariff points.
 
#12
Well, looking at the requirements for commissioning, everyone except an LE (that's an old and bold guy who's gone right through to (normally) Warrant Officer and then being offered a commission) will require 35 ALIS points
In addition a score of 180 UCAS Tariff points acquired in separate subjects at AS and A level, or equivalent. These must include a minimum of two passes at A level, or equivalent, at grades A-E. Note that the General Studies paper does not qualify for UCAS Tariff points.

The attainment of a degree will normally override the requirement for UCAS Tariff points.
Now 72 UCAS points on the new UCAS Tariffs, post 2017. 180 UCAS points is so last year! It makes a difference because AS levels which can count towards the total are now assessed as only worth 40% of a A Level. Halloumikid.

Halloumikid.
 
#14
So I can be recommended (not a guarantee obviously) when joining as a Soldier if I have good GCSEs?
As I explained, you only need 5 GCSEs or an assement at Worthy Down. The educational requirements are not high. Securing the support of your superiors may be more difficult, particularly at AFC. Undoubtably, the Army will want to see how you perform in the ranks after arriving in your first, or second, or even third proper unit.

Halloumikid.
 
#17
My recommendations:

Stay on and do A-levels in the school / college environment if that is at all open to you. You'll be surrounded by like minded people (50% female........) in a learning-supportive environment, and it is the best time of your life to do so. If you walk away with 4 A-grades, then crack on with an Oxbridge application; if you flunk them all, then at least you've tried.

That then opens up a number of options when you've completed said A-levels;

One, apply for Direct Entry as an Officer (and it's nowhere near as impossible as I sense you think it is - the Army / RAF / RN take on hundreds of 18-yr-olds-with-A-levels each year, some of whom end up Typhoon pilots, submarine commanders or SAS officers), or

Two, apply for entry as an adult soldier (or whatever it's called this week). You'll be surprised how many of your compatriots have the same quals as you do.
 
#18
My only worries with being an Army Officer at 18 is the amount of responsibility you receive. When you complete your training, you receive a rank with more authority than most soldiers who have served years/decades. Sure, the pay and benefits are much more satisfying, but I don't feel it's right to have someone with little to no actual experience (obviously the training is there to help but still) lead men and women. It just rubs me the wrong way, I don't know why. Plus, the amount of guilt I'll have if I **** up with possible lives on the line. I'd rather earn my place through years of hard work, training and personal experience to attain an Officer-level role.
 
#19
About the ******* up part. Evidently, there'll be pressure on me, even as a Soldier, but the consequences are more severe. Having the ability to learn from mistakes through years of service seems better suited to me personally.
 
#20
My only worries with being an Army Officer at 18 is the amount of responsibility you receive. When you complete your training, you receive a rank with more authority than most soldiers who have served years/decades. Sure, the pay and benefits are much more satisfying, but I don't feel it's right to have someone with little to no actual experience (obviously the training is there to help but still) lead men and women. It just rubs me the wrong way, I don't know why. Plus, the amount of guilt I'll have if I **** up with possible lives on the line. I'd rather earn my place through years of hard work, training and personal experience to attain an Officer-level role.
Up to you, mucker. Just bear in mind that you won't be put in said position at 18 (realistically closer to 19 or 20) unless many, many very well qualified people (selection boards / officer trg / Phase 2 trg staff) think you're up to it, and whilst you are in said junior leadership post in your late teens / early 20s you will be EXTREMELY closely mentored by elder / better / more experienced people than you, namely WOs, Coy / Sqn Cdrs and COs. It's the way the system has been for generations, it's probably right.

Ultimately though, if your outlook is that "people-shouldn't-be-officers-at-18-because-soldiers-are-older-than-them", then don't look to join as an officer at that age. You've got to be true to yourself.
 

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