If you’re anything like most of the people who have been throughout the military enlistment process, you’ve have the experience of coming up with question after question at home, only to arrive at the recruiting office not able to remember any of them. Yeah, it happened to me. Granted, it was years ago, and things have long since changed since then, but the principle is still the same and a lot of the primary concerns and main questions haven’t changed at all.

Asking the right questions and getting familiar of the big issues is not only important to get into the military, but also key in smoothing out a lot of things once your military service begins. In no particular order of importance, here are some of the big questions you’ll want answered by your recruiter. Keep in mind that he or she is a small part of an enormous machine, so don’t be too critical if your recruiter can’t answer them right off the bat, or has to consult with someone else. He’s there trying to help, and it’s important to be mindful that you may doing his job someday.

#1 When Can I Take the Armed Service Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) exam?

The ASVAB is one of the most critical components to your pre-military experience, because it will be one of, if not the greatest deciding elements of which jobs you qualify for while you’re in the military. It’s very, very important to score well on the test for that reason. Put another way, if you score high, you have a lot of options and can choose whatever job you want. If you score low, the military will hand you a small list of jobs you’re forced to choose from. There are many ways to prepare for the ASVAB, and taking a few weeks or even months to get ready for it will definitely pay off. This is one situation where a large portion of your future hinges on what you do with the time before actually joining the military. We’ve provided some ASVAB preparation material that may come in handy. Check it out before signing anything and be sure you spend some time getting ready for the ASVAB before taking it. It’s really that important.

#2 When will I leave for boot camp?

The entrance process is a pretty gradual one. The pre-military screening process is a two phase operation, in which the recruiter pulls together all the necessary information for his end, and the second part is getting you to a Military Entrance and Processing Station, for a physical. Once both of these phases are done and you qualify accordingly, you’ll choose your job at MEPS, and you’ll swear in shortly after. This is the military’s way of getting future military personnel excited about joining and solidifying the decision to join on a psychological level. Legally, however, you can still change your mind without anything other than feelings of embarrassment and a black mark on your record should you choose to join the military later on.

Your departure date is usually very different. Once you have worked your way through the first two parts of the process, MEPS should have provided you with a date, or at least a date range¬†as to when you should expect to ship off for basic training. If you’ve qualified for and chosen a competitive job that many other people are trying to sign up for, then you may be waiting several weeks or even months before your cycle starts. If you find yourself in a “delayed entry” situation, your recruiter will probably ask you to keep in touch and show up at the office once or twice a week to ensure you’re preparing for or maintaining physical standards and conduct until your ship date.

#3 What documentation will I need to supply?

It’s pretty common for people to have lost a social security card, birth certificate, etc at some point in time. Generally, recruiters understand this and will be able to help considerably even in spite of these documents’ absence. The more you can provide, of course, the more smoothly the military entrance process will be, so you may come up with a few of the most common legal documents ahead of time.

-Driver’s license
-Social Security card
-adoption documents
-court/legal documents
-High school diploma and college transcripts (also very important)
-marriage certificate
-birth certificate

Depending on who you are and what branch you’re joining, your recruiter may ask for more than just these. As much legal/government documentation relating to your history as you can provide, it’s wise to prepare it all in advance.

 

#4 How much of my medical history do you need?

Your recruiter will need as much medical history as you can possibly get your hands on. For a few reasons, the military needs to know allergies, what may need to be done in the future to ensure your physical well-being (remember, you’ll regarded as an asset once you join), what has been done, etc.

#5 Do I need to provide court/legal information

Yes. The more information you provide your recruiter, the better off you’ll be. Many times, your recruiter’s boss can supply a waiver for past criminal offenses, depending on a number of considerations. The more information you supply them, the better. It’s important to remember that your recruiter has a vested interest in getting you into the military smoothly and successfully, so the more information he/she has, the more they’re able to help you. Read this for more in depth information about joining the military with a criminal history.

 

Feel free to add to this list. It may serve you well to view the time spent working with your recruiter as a long job interview, so it’s not only important that your recruiter be informed, but also that you are as well, to ensure that your joining the armed forces is an adequate fit. The more you know about joining the service and what’s expected of you once you’re in, the better off you’ll be. Keep track of questions that you come up with for your next visit to the recruiter’s office and add to this list as necessary!

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