Hi, am currently on a gap year from finishing my a-levels. I have a place at uni for september.

I was all set on turning down my uni offer for the army, what i want to do.

But im not sure if i would regret later in life not going, not having a degree to fall back on, not having the experiences of living alone and sharing a house with mates, the nightlife etc.

Do many graduates join the army? Would i feel out of place joining around 22-23? I wouldnt want to join as an officer. I would just like to join the RE doing a basic trade and hopefully progress onto specialising into something etc.

Any body here who went to uni before joining the army? Got any opinions/ advice?

What are you going to study and where? What trade would you be looking to do in the army? The answers to those questions would probably give a decent picture of your options.
IT is pretty useful, and from what I know Hallam is a good place to do it. I ahve a mate on their networking course after all. Congrats on the offer.

If you want to end up in IT then do it, but if you would enjoy something more hands on then its probably not worth the debt. You'll enjoy military service and that trade more if you are a manual work kind of guy. But don't necessarily take the advice of someone on the interweb.
I'm doing exactly the same mate.
Joining the RE after I have finished my degree, as an electrician hopefully.
Although I can't wait to get into the army, I love uni. My course is good and the life is bloody good fun. Going out all the time, mates and just generally the student experience.
Worth the debt? Hmm debateable, I will finish with about 15K in debt. However a degree is a good thing to fall back on in my opinion.
But hey that's just my opinion.
The thing with the debt is, is that you dont have to pay it back until you earn a certain amount of money anyway, and i think its a higher wage than what the army pay.

The degree could be usefull for later on in life, when maybe im not so up for going up laders, lifting heavy weights etc, or even if for some reason i was medicaly discharged.

My main worry is the age at which i would be joining the army, would i be going through training with people say 4-5 years younger than me, or do many people join around 22-23 etc?

Thanks for the advice so far.


War Hero
There are very few sappers with degrees. Soldiers with degrees tend to go to the Int Corps or the R Signals. Neither of whom are anything like as good as the Engineers, as we are better than anybody else.

If I were you I would go to university and see how you feel. You can always do some wood butchering during your long university holidays if you aren't hanging out of the back of some fit student chick with a reefer in one hand and a can of strongbow in the other.

You may not get the trade you want either - so how would you feel if you are in the army, not being a chippy, and not getting a degree.

If you don't like university you can always wrap and join the army. If you don't like the army you can't just leave when you want...... unless you are some websters admin case.
Ok, thanks again for all replies. But, still, would like to know the average age that people join at, would i feel out of place at around 22 years old or would there be others my age there?

M_P - Why not make use of your degree and go for a commission? I am not an officer (I'm a JNCO so I work for a living), but I have known plenty of soldiers with degrees and basically it is a waste of talent. Good luck anyway.
Hi could you explain a bit more about a commission, would this mean using my degree in the army, working with IT?

ALSO would i be alot older than most others joining up?


In terms of age - you won't be at any disadvantage. There will still be very young recruits, but we see far more older entrants than we used to.

You really need to talk to the RE careers people about the various aspects of soldier or officer entry - see the links in the Announcements section above.

Lastly if you are interested in joing the Army after college then seriously look at getting some TA experience whilst you are there as well.
Degree: a useful fall back if you decide subsequently to get out. If, however, you don't want to do IT for a living regardless, then probably not much cop either way. You could always go to uni as a mature student after a few years in;

Commission or not: entirely up to you. I was in the cav not sappers and commissioned but I had at least one soldier in my troop with a degree. He was a Godsend as far as I was concerned... "Hello 30, this is 0A, fetch sunray" to which either he or I would respond depending on what was going on. Long history of it, see: Rudyard Kipling "Gentlemen Rankers" et al. Joining as a trooper was my Plan B;

Age: 22/23 will be no problem either as an officer or soldier.

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