There are many reasons people consider joining the military. You may be thinking about money for college, job training or the physical challenge. You may just need to get out of the house, out of the neighborhood, out on your own. You may want to travel, serve your country, or do something meaningful with your life.
Before you consider enlistment, it is important to know of the hundreds of other options available for you.
The government provides financial aid to help students pay for college. There are also millions of dollars available in scholarships and grants.
FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). Apply for student financial aid from the federal government, including grants, loans, & work-study. Its free. You can download FAFSA forms in English or Spanish, get help filling out the forms and track the status of your application. www.fafsa.ed.gov.
Federal Student Aid Information Center 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243)
Scholarship Search Tools. There are several web tools that help you search for scholarships.
Various National Scholarships and Grants
Free SAT/ACT Test Prep:
A Web-based Course to Help Students Prepare for College.
Want to become a culinary artist or learn cosmetology? Maybe, you want to learn a skilled trade that will provide you with a good living. If this type of future is where you see yourself heading, but you don’t have the necessary skills, you can get job training from a variety of sources. Non-profits, community colleges, large corporations and vocational schools provide the necessary skills training to do a variety of jobs and skilled trades. Unfortunately, the unemployment rate among military veterans age 20-24 is three times higher than the national average. Before you think about the military, check out these options.
Directories and Databases
Be sure to do a background check on a school before signing up. Many of them are completely legit, but some are a rip-off. Here are some tips on how to do this.
Finding a job is a lot of work. Start by checking out your local newspapers to get an idea of what is out there and what you are qualified for.
Job Search Sites:
“Traveling” with the military doesn’t exactly mean traveling. If you are lucky enough not to get sent to a war zone, you’ll spend most of your time on a US military base, oftentimes to a country that doesn’t welcome the US Army. “Traveling” with the Navy can mean 6 months confined to a ship, without ever going ashore. If this is not what you have in mind, there are many other options.
There are many useful books and websites on cheap travel. You can get them at your local library or buy them used on amazon.com for very little money.
There are many ways to challenge yourself physically & mentally. There are other careers that command respect. Here are some things to check out:
Many young people feel that the only way they can serve their country and community is to join the military. That is not true! There are many opportunities to become a hero, build communities, and promote peace and justice without risking your life or taking another.
An excellent book of alternatives called “It’s My Life” is available FREE to youth. Websites that can give you some ideas, tips, next steps, and local, national, and international professional and volunteer opportunities:
For more information:
American Friends Service Committee (AFSC)
War Resisters League
212-288-6193 / 212-288-0450
Central Committee for Conscience Objectors (CCCO)
New York Civil Liberties Union
*The Ya-Ya Network compiled this document.
Learning the Issues about Youth Demilitarization
The NNOMY Reader is a useful primer to learn about the realities of military recruitment, the militarism effecting our youth in schools and our opportunities for peaceful coexistance. This collection of articles represents a historical overview of the U.S. based counter-recruitment movement's strategies to inform and intervene in schools and the community about the Pentagon's multi-billion dollar programs to recruit America's youth into escalating wars. The NNOMY Reader also includes some information on alternatives to enlistment, as well as research presented by activists and investigators on the nature and risks of cultural militarization and how it threatens our democracy. Learn more