Seniors choose military as next step after high school


Photo submitted by Javier Rodriguez

Senior Javier Rodriguez swears in at the Military Entrance Processing Station. This is just one of many big steps towards becoming a future Marine Rodriguez will take.

Jenna Maddux, Business Editor

The class of 2021 school year is coming to an end and many have decided on their future after high school. For some their plans are going straight into the workforce or to college, but for others in this year’s graduating class that future is in the military. There are six branches in the military which include the Army, Marine Corps., Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and the newest branch, established in 2019, the Space Force. It is also known that going into the military also comes with many benefits.

When joining the military, citizens can either enlist as a full-time active member or a part-time non-active member. If members enlist in the military part-time they can secure their civilian job and still serve for their country.

“The military is a good option even if you don’t want to be active. I chose to be active and to not go to school yet, but they also offer financial support for school,” senior Javier Rodriguez said.

The military offers financial support for college. The Armed Forces tuition assistance offers up to $4,500 to both enlisted and officer military members. Another financial support opportunity is a program called Top-Up. 

According to, “Top-Up is a program that allows GI Bill participants to use the GI Bill to supplement the tuition and fees not covered by tuition assistance.” With Top-Up and tuition assistance combined the total cost of college could be paid for by the military.

There are also many careers to choose from in the military. Senior Alexis Brainard has a passion for photojournalism and also knew that she wanted to serve in the military. When she met with a recruiter she was given a sheet of paper with job options and when she saw photojournalism on the list she knew that the Air Force was the right branch for her.

“One of the things I’m really excited for is to just travel and to show my skill for photography. I’ve always loved taking photos and I’ve always loved writing,” Brainard said. 

Besides financial support with college, the military offers many many other benefits. This includes: 30 days paid vacation annually, travel, health and dental care, tax-free room and board, and allowances, home loans and discounts and many more great benefits. 

Senior Megan Brown explained some benefits to joining the military. For example, the GI Bill is not only to help members pay for their college tuition but they also provide them with a monthly housing allowance while they are going to school, whether that be on or off campus. Additionally, when members are active and married their spouse can go with them and live off base.

Another step potential members have to take to join the military is to pass mental health and physical strength tests. The physical fitness and mental health tests look different for each branch. For many of the physical fitness tests, potential members have to run a 1-2 mile and complete other various upper body strength exercises. As for the mental health tests, many branches require future members to take the ASVAB, an aptitude test designed to measure a person’s strengths and potential success in the military. Additionally, many members need to complete medical screening forms and receive an acceptable score on the AFQT, an academic exam. <iframe frameborder=”0″ class=”juxtapose” width=”100%” height=”640″ src=”″></iframe>

Right now Brainard is working on practicing for her ASVAB test to see which jobs she qualifies for. She then will need to go to: “MEPS, which is a physical training test where they see if [the potential members] body and mindset are ready,” before she heads off to basic training.

Many new members of the military also have family members that are part of the military. 79 percent of Army recruits reported having a family member who served and for 30 percent of it is a parent.

“I have a ton of cousins and a ton of family that’s been in all the different branches of the military and they all said to go with the Air Force,” Brainard said.

Brown added, “I have a few family members and friends that have joined and it has really helped them in life.”

“I look forward to challenging myself to be better than I was before,” Rodriguez said.