Here at Accelerations Academies, we understand that post-high school plans don’t look the same for everyone. While many of our graduates use their diploma to go on to college or to focus on their jobs, we also have several Graduation Candidates interested in pursuing life in the military.
Ashley Gilmore is the Military/Workforce Recruiter at Trident Technical College in Charleston, SC. She enrolls veterans, military service members and their dependents into college and sums up her position as having “great organizational skills to adapt to numerous changes.” We asked her a few questions about schooling and the military, and what advice she has for young adults like our Graduation Candidates.
What traits and/or qualities do you (and the military) look for in an individual who is considering enlisting?
What I look for in a student that wants to go back to school is someone that understands how to communicate when issues arise because being in school is very challenging to some. I also look for the student that is not afraid to better themselves. Being in school is a demanding obligation, so it requires you to focus and commit. These values are the same ones the military would seek. It is a privilege to serve in the military and whether you choose to because of school, medical, or the traveling opportunities, your values help you succeed.
How important is earning your diploma before enlisting?
It is important to earn your diploma before you enlist because during your military career, you will have opportunities to further your education and your diploma helps prove you can learn and that you value education.
What benefits can the military provide to an individual outside a traditional career?
The military pays you a housing allowance on top of your base pay and provides you with medical coverage. Medical coverage is a great benefit because many people have to pay a minimum of $350 dollars a month for it, so this is a perk. Benefits that the military shares with traditional careers are tuition assistance, traveling opportunities and competitive pay.
How would someone go about applying to college after serving?
The best way to go about applying after serving is to reach out to your education department in the branch you serve in because you want to see which educational benefit is best to use. Many service members will use tuition assistance versus their GI Bill because tuition assistance is only available while the service member is serving. The GI Bill will allow you to use it once you’ve completed your military commitment and some GI Bills pay your housing.
What advice would you give to someone who is finishing their high school diploma to join the military?
The best advice I would give is to study hard for their ASVAB. Recruiters use it to help you select the job you will do throughout the military, so it is important that you study hard. Second, stay physically fit because you want to ensure that you are preparing yourself for basic training. Last, ensure that you make wise decisions because once you enlist into the military; you are representing more than just yourself. Putting on that uniform regardless of the branch symbolizes people who made the ultimate sacrifice before and the times you will be called to serve. Wear it with pride!