So your homeschool student wants to join the military after high school.
In recent years, it’s become much easier to join the armed services after graduating from a homeschool program. In this blog post, we’ll explore the steps your student needs to take to start the enlistment process.
Ready to dive in? Let’s go!
Discriminated against no more: The military loves homeschool graduates!
Homeschool graduates can enlist in any branch of the armed services, including the Army, Navy, Air Force, National Guard, Marines, or Coast Guard. In 2012 and 2014, Congress amended the National Defense Authorization Act, which makes it clear that homeschoolers may enlist in the military just like any graduate from a public or private school.
In fact, homeschool graduates are eligible to receive up to $40,000 in incentives for joining the military, just like any other student.
Occasionally, military recruiters may be unclear as to the Department of Defense’s (DoD) policies regarding homeschool graduates. But most of the time, homeschoolers don’t face issues with enlisting.
The DoD’s most recent 2014 policy, alongside Congress’s legislation, cleared away previous hurdles that homeschool graduates faced when attempting to enlist. Now, homeschoolers may enlist without facing discrimination for being homeschooled.
Here are some tips if your student wants to take the next steps:
1. Your student will need to take special care of his or her health and physical fitness
It’s no secret that the armed services recruit individuals who live up to a high standard in more than one area, including health, character, and fitness level. The process of joining a branch of the armed services is specially created to help eliminate those who do not fit well within these standards. Each branch of the military has its own rigorous physical fitness test (PFT) and specific standards of physical performance your student must meet in order to enlist.
2. Your student must take the ASVAB and the AIM
Every high school graduate, including homeschoolers, who enlists in the military is required to take two standardized tests called the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) and the Assessment of Individual Motivation (AIM).
The requirements to pass the ASVAB differ by branch, but all students must score in the 35th percentile or above to pass in most branches.
Your student’s score on the AIM, on the other hand, does not affect their eligibility to enlist, but is used to collect information about your student.
3. Make sure your student pursues a homeschool diploma, not a GED
If your homeschool student wants to enlist in the military after graduation, it’s important that he or she receives a high school diploma from your homeschool that has been issued by you and is compliant with any state laws regarding diplomas. Choosing a service that issues professional-quality diplomas for homeschool graduates is a good idea. Or check out our how-to guide here.
The armed services are seeking graduates who have earned high school diplomas and increasingly turning away those who have earned a GED. It’s important that your student does not pursue a GED prior to enlisting, as this could complicate the process.
If your homeschool student wants to enlist before he or she graduates, the Delayed Entry Program may provide a pathway as long as your student meets the qualifications. These qualifications include the ability to present any required paperwork and proof of approaching graduation.
4. Create a high-quality transcript for your student
Your student must submit a complete, carefully detailed homeschool transcript when they enlist. Using a transcript service like Transcript Maker will help simplify the process. Your student’s transcript must contain the same credits per subject that a traditional high school would use on its transcripts.
5. Join the Future Soldiers Program as a high school senior
Your homeschool senior may join the U.S. Army’s Future Soldiers Program if he or she is interested in enlisting in the Army after graduation. Students will be able to access tutorials and information that will help prepare them for what to expect from life in the military.
6. Complete senior year as a homeschooler
Your student must complete the entire nine months of the senior year of high school in a homeschool setting, at a minimum.
7. Be able to prove that you directed and supervised your student’s homeschooling
The recruiter must be able to easily assess that you oversaw your student’s education. If a homeschool co-op has been part of your student’s education, don’t worry—the armed services understand that co-ops often supplement a homeschooling regimen.
The military will want to see that you oversaw any Internet-based classes for your student and that you were incorporating them into your curriculum. There may be some confusion during the enlistment process if it’s unclear whether your student graduated from an online school or was truly homeschooled.
Even if homeschooling is recognized in your state as the equivalent to private school, the recruiter will still need to know your student was homeschooled.
The bottom line
Your student should be able to navigate the enlistment process with ease! Because of Congress and the DoD’s proactive stance on homeschoolers’ enlistment in the military, it’s now easier than ever for homeschool students to serve our country. With a little guidance, your student should be able to navigate the process in a fairly painless way, and without fear of being discriminated against in the process.