Thinking about joining the Air Force..

I always wanted to go to college for computers, however I am slowly realizing that this will be nearly impossible. I didn't try in high school at all and only graduated with a 3.1 GPA, however I did apply for over 30 scholarships. I didn't receive any. I am a white kid that doesn't have any help from their parents and they make enough not to get financial aid. I work full time during school and I will fall short financially paying for college. Even if I did spend two years going to community college (I can't stand living at home) that doesn't pay for another two years at a university or guarantee me a job after graduating. If I joined the Air Force I POTENTIALLY work with computers, live a "paid for" life style, retire younger than most people (If I was lucky enough not to get deployed and killed). That doesn't bother me as weird as that sounds. What should I do? I understand posting on a forum is not something you should do when discussing life changing paths, but I just want some input.

TL;DR version

-I like computers
-I am poor and can't afford college
-Should I join the Air Force?
15 answers Last reply
More about thinking joining force
  1. The USAF would be a great way to pay for college, unfortunately we are over our enlistment quotas (by over 18,000). If you do happen to join, don't use DEP (delayed enlistment program). Right now congress is thinking about cutting DoD's tuition assistance as well (we still have the CCAF program, and the GI Bill btw). If you do manage to get in, try for the 3DXXX fields (this is the comm prefix to the AFSC, or job title), I am a 3D0X2 myself (used to be 3COX1). You need to score well on the Electrical, and Mechanical portions of the ASVAB.

    Retired Cheif, may be able to give you some more info. I've only been in 12 years (SSgt btw), a CMSgt is usually 22+ years in service.
  2. Joining the military is a great choice- I almost made it myself at your age. I only applied to one college program and I happened to get in. Sometimes, I wish I had gone the other route. That said, I kinda feel that doing community college and then going to a university, even if it's not a private school, somehow you'll find a way to get it paid off, especially if you apply yourself.

    IMO, you don't learn a job in university as much as learn how to think, evaluate your situation, come up with solutions, and apply them. Basically you grow up, learn how to make decisions. If you can successfully apply that knowledge to life and career, you'll do fine. In my case, I graduated with a degree in Psychology but I now do engineering work for one of the largest internet companies on the planet, my work affects literally a hundred million people and I earn a nice six figure income. Without ever taking a formal CS class in college. Heck I've never even took a physics class in my life. There are developers I work with who have maybe a year or two experience who can lay claim to the same income (or more) and environment (they tend to be CS degree holders though). The common thing I notice in my industry though is that not very many people went to private ivy league schools- mostly public polytechnic schools.

    I think the military also offers the opportunity to learn how to make decisions which is why i'm supportive of that choice, but I'm just saying if you think you can apply yourself and self motivate, community college and then a junior transfer is a good option too. BTW, 3.1GPA is not a bad grade. you made it sound like you squeezed by with a 1.1 or something.
  3. You're not a mercenary and I don't believe it's ethical to fight for financial purposes. Our system is unfair, but if you struggle until age 24 then your parents do not have an effect on your ability to get financial assistance. This may occur faster if you have a child, get married, or claim yourself on your taxes (not living at your parent's house).

    I'm struggling getting through college right now with the number 1 reason being financial problems. It's a horrible system, but I'm not willing to move out of the USA to get a college education so I'm stuck with it.

    Good luck on your decision!
  4. Go to School part time as your finances allow. No disrespect to the Serviceman posting previous but personally I would not join the military of a country that conducts and forces Servicemen to fight in illegal wars and does not care for the troops at all. Let me clarify. The population does care. The Government does not. Don't kid yourself otherwise, because precedent abounds for the disregard the Govt. has for the troops. Especially those suffering medical issues because of deployment.

    Find another way.
  5. Swallow your pride and live at home. If you have issues with the 'rents, you will have bigger issues with your CO.

    2-yr community college to 2-yr university. Save up some cash working during your 'general college' prior to leaving for university.

    You may be eligible for some AFROTC cash at both CC & university in exchange for a future commitment. The woods are full of AFROTC detachments in North Carolina at both the CC and university level.

    The length of your financial assistance generally equals the length of you future commitment. IIRC, there are 2-, 3- and 4-yr financial packages available.

    Lookee here for a simple explanation at the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps wiki

    After your schooling and commitment duty, you will be eligible for additional funds under the GI Bill to attend graduate school. You need that on your resume.

    DO NOT crap around with a private 'for profit' institution
  6. Have you applied for FAFSA? They usually tell you what you can actually get, if I am not mistaken.

    The military is a good route, but whatever is going on at Capitol Hill, that may be a doozy.
  7. just remember this about the military... YOU arent being paid to go to school. you will have a job there, which will train you on the spot for what you put in for, and the education is extra time put in by you. I have a bro in law that wants to do the same thign but doesnt realize how its basically on the job training. Military people arent integrated as well into the work force as a tech school would do for you either. I have friends at work that used to be in the military and have extensive knowledge about mechanics, engineering and so on, but settled for a production job because they couldnt be placed because of the lack of degree or certificate saying they know how to do the job.
  8. You and I kind of have the same story. Parents were on the poor side and my high school grades were questionable. Did very good in math and science but told the English teacher “not only no but hell no on fourth year English. My senior year, math and science were too easy – they let me take analytical geometry and Trig at the same time. But alas I found drinking more enjoyable – Don’t ask. USAF made for a very simple choice. Enjoyed my career, but it was far from average. Spent 10 years at Chanute AFB (teaching Electronics) with a year’s vacation to Nam in the middle (and even that was a great tour of duty). Had a run in with a Col trying to make General – Short story they fired his ass, and I got shipped to Langley AFB. He never made his star but I made E9. My 2nd boss at Langley was this Major, who I also had a run in with. At one point He told me what he could do to my career (had not made E9 yet), As I left I slammed the door and Said to myself, “Yea fat chance – I’m on better terms with the vice commander than you are, Also It is hard for a Major to give a bad performance report and attached is a letter of evaluation form a Commander. Moral – don’t need to be a Kiss *ss, but need to be VERY good at what you do.
    The Military is not for everyone, if problems at home are authority issue - the military is worse and you have to put up with some BS. - So unless you can adapt - Don't.

    The USAF has changed considerably since I retired (1983). The initial tech school for electronics has drastically decreased the level of training. My initial tech school for meteorological equipment (3 level) was almost a year long (that was 6 Hrs a day/5 days a week). To top that off to make E6 you had to go to a mandatory 7-level school which was also about a year long. Just the Electronic Fundamentals was 17 weeks long. Equipment troubleshooting was taught to the component level, ie resistor, capacitor, transistor and IC. What I was seeing was that this training was being condensed in line with what I referred to as Black box repair – being able to troubleshoot down to a “Card” and replacing the card.

    If you do decide on going into the USAF, Look for the Best career field in electronics (not necessarily computers. Working on computers is easy; it is the understanding of electronic fundamentals that is more challenging. The one big advantage that you will have is practical experience – that cannot be gained from a 2/4 year study program.
    As to college, don’t waste time, if you join the military start taking classes as most bases have on-base classes. Work toward that degree and/or certifications, mine was basket weaving. Only ever took 7 classes (That’s another story LOL). A degree in any field coupled with Practical work can help open the door. My Son had a BS in microbiology and was accepted straight into the Decorate program (bypassing the Masters degree). After two years he told them to shove-it – had a run in w/professor. He is the IT manager at a large firm and has His own Home business (web design and maintaining off-site storage for clients). Programming and computer skills were primarily self taught.

    The hard choice will be staying past 4, or 8, years and getting out or going for a retirement check at the end of 20/30 years. At 20 year point you are generally more hirable than after 30 year point.

    For what it’s worth – Neither of my boys even considered the military. Asa completed two years at a community college then transfer to a local college for his EE (lived at home). Dale spent the first two years @ home, then move to complete his next 6 years. Although we helped, it was required that they also help pay their way.
  9. I like to join air force but I can't because I haven't any qualification with which I can join air force but I want my brother to join air force. My uncle was in air force before 10 years and now may be my brother can join.
  10. I had my 20 years in the Air Force and it was a pretty good time. Didn't take advantage of college, but sometimes its who you know and what you know that does it.

    My experience counts as a bachelor's degree towards my job. Since most of my skills were military related I stayed on as a site maintenance scheduler for 14 different units. I love my job and know that I make a difference by all the thank you EMails I get every week from my site CCs and contarctors.

    To those that can't or won't conform (if you can't abide by rules at home) to the standards the military it is a horrible place and can have some major impacts if you are removed. Some of them are legal and can really mess up any chance you have of future employment.

    I have seen employers hire former military over many civilians because we do tend to show up for work and on time at that.
  11. I like to join air force because it is one of the place where I can do something fro my country. May be I will the air force pilot in next 10 years. So wish me good luck for that.
  12. Just be careful not to romanticize it - you might do something for your country, or you might just do it for the White house.

    Keep in mind a soldier doesn't have the luxury of politics. Make sure you're ready for that.
  13. Buddy, this thread is a year and a half dead....
    Op probably is in the military already....
  14. Now it's almost two :D

    My bad. Hahaha, I guess I'm the awkward one replying to old things.
  15. Good thought.Go ahead.
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