30 Pros and Cons of Joining the Military After High School

In this article, we look at some pros and cons of joining the military after high school.

If you are a high school student thinking about whether to serve in the military, this article will help you weigh the positive and negative sides of that decision.

Before we dive right into it, let us look at some facts about the military in the United States and the requirements to join the military.

About 17% of all enlisted members of the United States Military joined after high school; this is according to a 2020 report by the Pew Research Center.

However, this number has been in steady decline as more young people are choosing to go to college instead.

The choice to join the military is a serious one that should be made with all certainty of heart. It is a huge commitment that requires you to consider your individual goals, values, and interests.

Requirements to Join the Military in the USA

Below are some of the general requirements to join the military:

  • The military requires that you have a high school diploma.

  • You must be aged between 17 and 42 to join the military. If you are 17, you need consent from your parents.

  • You must be a citizen or legal permanent resident holding a valid green card.

  • You must be in good health and be physically fit, factors that are considered include your height and weight.

  • You must possess a clean criminal record, only some minor offenses can be waived.

  • You must take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test which decides your eligibility for different military jobs.

  • You must have a stable financial history.

  • You must have a clean history with no drug use.

Pros and Cons of Joining the Military after High School

In this section, we consider the pros and cons of joining the military after high school. We first of all consider the pros before diving into the cons.


  • There are various support programs for veterans including job placement services, healthcare, and education.

  • There are different fields within the military, so it gives room for you to specialize in various fields like engineering, medicine, etc.

  • It gives you a sense of pride when you join the military and can contribute to the nation’s defense and security.

  • Working in the military gives you access to advanced tech that may not be available everywhere. Not just advanced tech, but also cutting-edge training.

  • There are assured retirement benefits for those who serve in the military. Benefits include pensions and other forms of support.

  • Serving in the military affects you personally and causes personal growth while also improving your self-confidence and sense of accomplishment.

  • Working in the military allows you to engage in lots of adventurous activities thus providing you with loads of exciting and fulfilling experiences.

  • Most people who work in the military can improve their leadership skills as they get to play leadership roles often.

  • The close-knit environment of the military fosters stronger bonds between service members and creates a sense of belonging.

  • Working in the military guarantees you a steady monthly paycheck.

  • You can improve and gain skills ranging from tech to leadership.

  • You have access to comprehensive healthcare coverage that covers dental, medical, and mental health services.

  • Serving in the military gives you the opportunity to travel and experience new cultures.

  • The military also offers educational assistance programs that cover your college or vocational training costs.

  • Time management, discipline, and other positive traits are learned in the military.


  • Risk to Life and Safety

  • Deployment Separation

  • Physical and Mental Strain

  • Limited Personal Freedom

  • Possibility of Combat

  • Hierarchical Structure

  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Risk

  • Family and Relationship Strain

  • Irregular Hours and Work-Life Balance

  • Potential for Injuries

  • Limited Control over Assignments

  • Bureaucracy and Red Tape

  • Exposure to Harsh Environments

  • Limited Job Opportunities Post-Service

  • Ethical and Moral Dilemmas


What are the 3 disadvantages of joining the military after high school?

  • It can be a dangerous job. 
  • You can be away from loved ones. 
  • It’s physically demanding. 
  • Military life is highly structured. 
  • It’s a huge commitment.

What are the 3 benefits of serving in the military?

Among all military advantages, leadership, camaraderie, discipline, and determination are possibly the most rewarding.

It’s nevertheless comforting to know that serving in the military has other advantages as well, such as access to education, health and dental insurance, 30 days of paid vacation, and other perks.

How long is a military contract?

The decision to enlist in the military is one that should not be made lightly. The majority of first-term enlistments call for a commitment to two years of inactive service (Individual Ready Reserve, or IRR) and four years of active duty.

However, the services also have programs with active-duty or reserve enlistments of two, three, or six years.

Can you quit the Army?

When you are in active service in the military, unlike many other jobs, you cannot just leave.

If you don’t want to wait or are unable to wait for a contract to expire, you can choose to finish it out and then decide not to renew it or you can request an early discharge.

Who should not join the military?

Before you bother trying to enlist, run through the list to make sure you’re qualified.

You won’t be chosen if you have a history of drug or alcohol abuse. If you have a criminal record, eligibility depends on the nature of your history.

How does the military change a person?

The military can either have a great effect on your perspective and morality, giving you the chance to handle a problem in multiple ways, or it can have a detrimental impact on your mindset, which may cause your personality to change to show weakness, anger, and paranoia.

Does the Army give you a car?

No, a soldier is not provided with a car by the Army or the military in general.

However, when you enlist in the Army as a new soldier, your basic housing allowance (BAH) and basic sustenance allowance (BAS) will be included in your base salary.

What is the oldest you can be to join the military?

The maximum age to join the military is 42, according to federal law. New recruits must be at least 17 years old and have parental permission.

Individuals aged 18 and above no longer need permission from their parents to enlist in the military.

What military has the most benefits?

The military branches with the best benefits are the Marines, Coast Guard, and Space Force. Additionally, they are the military branches with the highest salaries.

New recruits are paid quite similarly across almost all military branches in terms of salary ranges and perk packages.

Is food free in the military?

All service personnel will be fed, and in most situations, meals will be provided gratis.

There are three main ways that the military will feed you: dining halls, basic allowances, and Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs).

What is the biggest problem in the military?

Nearly 50% of military personnel sustain one or more musculoskeletal injuries each year, which can result from both acute (sudden) occurrences and chronic, recurring pressures on the body (overuse).

This makes musculoskeletal injuries the single largest health issue facing the U.S. military.

What happens if you leave the military?

There may be repercussions if you leave the military before your term of service is up. There are typically no repercussions for leaving the military after your service obligation has passed.

The military, however, takes this subject very seriously if your service contract is still in effect.

What happens if you run away from the military?

The harshest penalty for deserting is dishonorable discharge, loss of all pay, and five years in prison. However, the court-martial has the power to impose the death penalty in cases of desertion during a time of war.

Can I join the military and not go to war?

On bases close to conflict zones, noncombat employment like those in equipment maintenance or medical care are common.

Jobs in the fields of information technology, healthcare, engineering, education, human resources, or finance are examples of noncombat military positions that do not include combat.

How does the Army pay you?

Similar to many civilian occupations, Basic Pay is electronically distributed on the first and fifteenth of each month.

Basic Pay for a Soldier is based on both rank (most enlisted Soldiers join the Army as privates) and duration of service. Soldiers on active service who are enlisted and officers are both eligible for Basic Pay.

What does the Army do when there are no wars?

Military operations that don’t entail fighting, conflict, or the threat or use of force are known as military operations other than war (MOOTW).

They typically involve arms control, deterrence, humanitarian relief, disaster response, peacebuilding, military engineering, law enforcement, and multilateralism.

What kind of person becomes a soldier?

Infantry troops typically have an entrepreneurial personality, making them relatively natural leaders who excel in influencing and persuading others.

They also tend to be realistic, which means that they often enjoy working outdoors or applying themselves to a hands-on project.

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