Should I join as a private soldier?


Hi everybody, I need some advice.

I have wanted to be in the army for a long time and am currently going through officer selection. I passed AOSB briefing although I was only awarded a CAT3. My group leader said it was more so I would take the feedback more seriously and I was close to a CAT1.

I have come to the decision that if I do not pass main board I will join as a Sapper or possibly Marine. My dad served for 16 in the infantry and has some concerns about this. Mainly that I will do however many years as a private soldier, maybe climb the ladder a bit but essentially I will come out of the army with very little. He says that when he came out as a sgt he found it very hard to get used to being in civvie street again. Does anybody have any experience with this? Has the army changed (he was in during the late 80s/90s) in that it offers more chance for enlisted men to earn qualifications?

Both of my parents say that while I am young the army lifestyle may suit me and I will probably enjoy but both my parents say that army life gets tiring when you want to have a family and being in the army makes it very hard to do so. My parents know a lot of army couples that divorced. However, they are still married so maybe it takes a certain type of person?

For me, being in the army is like an itch that needs to be scratched and whilst I am confident I can pass main board I am seriously thinking about this as a back up as I think it is something I will regret if I don't at least try it, as cheesy as that sounds.

Thanks for any advice.


Book Reviewer
Why are you even asking? For ****'s sake, go back to AOSB and have another crack.


mate if your going the officer route...then go the officer route. Your to qualified for the infantry and you may struggle to get the mental challenge from the Royal Engineer's. There are trades asking for soldiers with A levels and degree's ( you don't say what you have and most people who pass at AOSB have degree hence the CAT3) such as Royal Signals, Int Corps etc but seriously concentrate on Officer route. If your hearts not in it for officer because your looking else where then have the balls to say so and not look for a get out clause.

don't be daft lad - join as a Serjeant - that's the best rank, just make sure you tell Capita that's what you want to join as and you'll get 3 nice stripes, extra pay and your own platoon in training.


War Hero
I'm only an applicant but I've just done the business with a pretty looking lass and feeling bold so here it goes:

I disagree with you entirely.

Being 'over-qualified' to be a soldier is something I get offended at as somebody who is qualified to be an officer and chose the soldier route. Being an officer isn't about where or what you studied - It's about leadership ability. There are guys serving in the other ranks with higher degrees. Sure, you'll be a minority in some regiments but in others - as you mentioned - it'll be pretty normal for soldiers to be equally if not more so academically qualified as their officers.
Some people, like myself, just don't want to be an officer. I'd rather do the work than organize it - it's just my nature. Deciding your role in the army shouldn't be on your quals but what you have the aptitude for.

Certainly give it another crack if you want to be an officer, OP, not because you're "over-qualified" to be a soldier but rather because you want to be a leader.

Agree with this. Resurrecting this thread as this is something that would have supported my own naivety pre-application process and hopefully will help others in making that all important soldier v officer decision.

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