Evening all,
before I start I shall give a bit of background. I am currently entering the upper sixth. I wish to fulfil a a dream and gain a commission into the Irish Guards, for the past 8 years I have been involved with the cadet forces and have done rather well, this experience of leadership only entices me more to the idea of being an officer in the Irish Guards. My intentions are pure, I wish to lead men and have what hopefully will be a full and successful career in the British Army. Now my point:

I am aware this is one of those questions that is debated constantly and if you feel the need to tell me to shut up, please do. as I've stated I am coming up to finishing my A levels and all being well I will have a place at Queens University Belfast studying 'International Politics and Conflict Studies'. The question is wether I will take up this place at Queens. It seems that in the current climate a degree is now an extended form of education and nothing else. No longer, in my opinion, does a degree show any further level of achievement. The only advantage I can see from gaining a degree before entering Sandhurst and commissioning is the extra 3 years of maturity. I do however understand that those 3 years are not just your difference between say 27 and 30, those 3 years are in fact 3 years where you have almost total freedom and no longer have mummy and daddy holding your hand. The post 18 years are undoubtably a completely different experience and for one to enter a leadership role without said experience could be quite disastrous. I do believe I am mature enough and have the mental and physical robustness to lead men competently but I shall obviously let the staff at AOSB decide that.

The new degree pathway that non grads have access to while at Sandhurst does attract me and I believe would suit me and the degree itself interest me. I have only one issue, I think it is fair to say the Guards Division expects that one should be a graduate at the point of commissioning therefore I do worry that my Non-graduate status would put me at a disadvantage. I would like to make it known that if I was to follow the Non-graduate route I would after passing ASOB (all being well) get in contact with the regiment and organise some sort of visit, In order to see if I 'fit in'. The advantage of this would be of course making myself known to the regiment early on but also to make sure that this is the regiment I would genuinely feel comfortable in.

To put it bluntly; in regards to gaining a commission in the Irish Guards specifically would I be better attending University and then seeking a cadetship or following this lovely new route for Non-graduates.

Any replies would be greatly appreciated.



War Hero
I'd hazard a guess that things would go a lot more smoothly if you studied for the degree first. You'd be better prepared for whatever interviews and assessments come yor way, and the command tasks during the AOSB that assess both your problem-solving and teamwork skills - you should graduate having developed these.
Also, I'd imagine elements of the training during Sandhurst are academically challenging - again, some academic experience would work in your favour.
You will gain a lot more at university than a solely academic qualification. You, and more likely your family, would be amazed at your maturity on graduation. It could be the best three years thus far and it can also open alternative choices. You should certainly find out what criteria the Irish Guards have for accepting candidates for a commission - wanting and getting are different things - a QUB degree, perhaps some sporting attainment and just about any of the myriad of other extra-curricular activities available will all help - and it is a lot of fun. Good luck.
Go the university route. A university degree still counts for a great deal in terms of career prospects.

As a father of three kids, two whom went to university, I can vouch that it will hugely help your career whether that’s in the army or in a different non military career.

The system is set up to enable those with the best education to succeed a lot more than those who don’t take advantage of educational opportunities.

Do yourself a favour and achieve the best academically that you can and then go forward with your ambitions.
You could always join the Army, train at RMAS and then do your degree.
The Army might pay you while doing it and your gaining seniority at the same time?
Not sure if your degree path would qualify but ask!

I left school before my CSE's (GCSE's these days) It was leave or get expelled.
Did do an NCA in Land Based Industries prior to the military, at least I knew how to dig a hole or trenches!


War Hero
While at university, you might consider the University Officer Training Corps. While a limited in terms of military trading value (not its main objective), they can be very useful to arrange and prepare you for; AOSB briefing, AOSB main board and visits to Regiment.

While also providing a social outlet and some good adventure training opportunities.

If not already done you might consider writing to the Irish Guards honorary Colonel and arranging an interview.