In today’s post, I want to take a few moments and share my top 10 questions you should ask your Army recruiter before you enlist in the Army. This is by no means a comprehensive list, but it is a good starting point. The questions are listed in no particular order.
# 1 Which jobs (MOS) am I eligible for?
Assuming you’ve already taken your ASVAB test and know your line scores, ask your recruiter what jobs you qualify for based upon your ASVAB score. Don’t just take their word for it. Do your own diligence as well. Make a list of potential MOS’s that interest you and find out what the requirements are for each job, before you visit your recruiter.
# 2 Do any of these jobs offer an enlistment bonus?
Bonuses in the Army can fluctuate from month to month. See if any of the MOS’s that interest you are eligible for an enlistment bonus AND see if there are any MOS’s you haven’t considered yet that would qualify you for a bonus. You never know if you don’t ask.
# 3 What education benefits do I qualify for?
Sometimes, the Army can change its education benefits. In addition, it can vary between the Army Reserve, National Guard and Active Duty. Ask about the GI Bill and Tuition Assistance at a minimum, and find out if there is anything else you need to know about. You might also want to ask if you are eligible for the College Loan Repayment Program.
# 4 What are my different enlistment options?
Ask about whether you can enlist for two years, three years, four years, or more. Find out what options are available before you sign your name to the dotted line. Everyone owes eight years, but you can spend some/most of your time in the IRR after you complete your initial service obligation.
# 5 Am I eligible to become a commissioned officer?
If you have your four year degree, or are close to it, and have the aspirations to serve as a commissioned officer, ask your recruiter about OCS and if there is some kind of program where you can go straight from Basic Training to OCS. You should also ask what the requirements are to do so. This won’t pertain to everyone, but it will some of you.
# 6 Should I retake my ASVAB?
Ask your recruiter what they think about you retaking the ASVAB test. If you are set on a certain MOS, but don’t have the line scores, you should do this. If you decide to retake the test, make sure you take some ASVAB study courses to guide you through the process.
# 7 Can you tell me about the differences between Active Duty, the National Guard and Army Reserve?
Even if you have your heart set on going Active Duty, at least take some time an educate yourself about what the National Guard and Army Reserve have to offer. You don’t know what you don’t know. You might discover that there are opportunities that the National Guard and Army Reserve offer, that the Active Duty doesn’t (and vice versa).
# 8 Am I eligible for the delayed entry program?
At a minimum, ask about the delayed entry program to see what it is, how it works, and if you are eligible for it. I definitely recommend this advice for anyone still in high school who wants to enlist.
# 9 How long do I have to wait until I ship out to Basic Training?
Ask if you have to ship out right away. Ask if you can delay it a little bit. See what the average ship out time is. If yo have your heart set on shipping out right away (or in a few months) let your recruiter know and see if that is an option.
# 10 Can I pick my duty station?
To the best of my knowledge, you can’t pick your initial duty assignment. It’s based upon the needs of the Army. That being said, ask your recruiter if you can and see what they say. Maybe things in the Army have changed since I enlisted in 1995.
In summary, these are my top 10 questions to ask your Army Recruiter before you enlist in the Army. By no means do you have to ask your recruiter all of these questions. Some might not pertain to you. But pick the ones that do and get the answers you need to make a smart decision. I would also ask you to do your leg work ahead of time and find whatever information you can online BEFORE you talk with a recruiter.
What are your thoughts? What questions do you think enlistees should ask their recruiter before they join the Army? Leave a comment below to let me know what you think. I look forward to hearing from you.
Former Army Major (resigned)
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2 thoughts on “Top 10 Questions to Ask Your Army Recruiter Before You Enlist”
Great post! My favorite on the list? “Class 1 download” for sure, with “Command Private Major” as a close second. Don’t forget “BC Glasses,” for those stylish military-issue glasses that serve as the ultimate birth control device. And counting time by saying “three days a wake-up.” Is “hurry up and wait” still considered jargon? I don’t know. It’s “above my pay grade.”
Chuck, you mention that the delayed entry program can be advantageous to someone in high school who wants to enlist. What are some of the advantages of the program? I only ask because when I was in high school, I had a buddy who signed up for the DEP, and then he changed his mind. Of course, he was threatened with arrest and imprisonment, but eventually the Army relented. The guy was a morbidly obese drunk/pot smoker, so not really a good fit as a professional soldier. In his case, I think his parents were trying to “fix” him by sending him to the military. But in the case of a serious young person who really does want a military career, why would they benefit from DEP as opposed to waiting to join?