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Pros and Cons of Joining the Military

Learn how joining our country's armed forces can affect your education.

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Joining the military can provide you with an amazing education, from high school to college, even to graduate school. Yet to take advantage of the best educational opportunities, you must enlist, a decision that can’t be made lightly. Let's explore more of the pros and cons of joining the military, as it pertains to your educational opportunities.

The military can provide new educational opportunities to people who may otherwise not be able to afford them, and joining the military can be an extremely rewarding experience.

Pros of Joining the Military:

  • The military GI Bill provides over $40,000 towards a college education, opening up new possibilities for anyone afraid they can’t afford a higher education. Funding may also be available for books and housing. Depending on your circumstances, you can apply for the Post-9/11 GI Bill, the Montgomery GI Bill for Active Duty or Selected Reserve, the Veterans Educational Assistance Program (VEAP), and other beneficial programs.
  • You can apply military benefits to more than just college. The Post-9/11 GI Bill, for example, can also pay for graduate school, vocational/technical training, on-the-job training, flight training, entrepreneurship training, and tutorial assistance.
  • While in the military, you'll probably have the chance to learn extremely useful computer, logistical, and mechanical skills. You may also have the opportunity to travel, allowing you to learn about other countries and cultures.
  • Many programs provide financial assistance to further your education even when you’re no longer in the military. In certain cases, you can even pass those benefits on to your children.
  • The military can help give you a clear direction if you aren’t sure what you want to do with your life, and the discipline it teaches you can help you better survive in the “real world.”

Cons of Joining the Military:

  • Joining the military is a serious commitment that can't easily be broken. Additionally, there's always a chance of physical or emotional damage from service work. This is something you need to consider carefully before enlisting. Are you willing to take those risks? Could you take another person’s life? Answer these questions honestly before you sign your name to the dotted line.
  • The military requires a lot of work, especially in the beginning. Don't hesitate to question recruiters and other soldiers so you know what to expect.
  • Under most circumstances, you have no real choices about where you will be sent or the type of work you may be asked to do. You might find yourself in an office, or on the front lines.

The military can provide new educational opportunities to people who may otherwise not be able to afford them, and joining the military can be an extremely rewarding experience. As long as you know all the facts before you sign up and are willing to do what is asked of you, joining the military can open up a broad range of educational and career opportunities.

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