I have a GED and I'm ready for the Military - but I'm told I need either 15 college credits or do a High School Equivalency (HSE). Which is best?
February 16, 2004 8:51 PM   Subscribe

Update: I am now close to my weight requirements for joining the military, and I am very near getting 95 percent on my GED. I called the Air Force recruitment office and was told I need 15 college credits or a High School diploma without the GED. I have all summer to do this, so should I take the classes or do a HSE at PCC (High School Equivalency)? Sorry for the dumb question.
posted by Keyser Soze to Education (19 answers total)
Perhaps some more detail on your situation, and especially on how competent you feel with core high-school level academics? I mean - do you feel that you could walk into your local public high school and pass an average history or algebra class exam? Why did you go the GED route in the first place?
posted by kickingtheground at 9:00 PM on February 16, 2004

college, Keyser, college! (didn't we settle this and plan your life already?) The classes might be more interesting, and give you a chance to get back in the groove of school for college : >
posted by amberglow at 9:13 PM on February 16, 2004

college, no doubt. hell, if they'll take any credits enroll in something you're really interested in. take an art class or something, it'll suit you far better than the equivalency.
posted by yangwar at 9:18 PM on February 16, 2004

Ahha, I found the old thread now.

Yeah, college is definitely the way to go.
posted by kickingtheground at 9:22 PM on February 16, 2004

Cuz, y'know, like a very wealthy acquaintance of mine said to me once, "I thought since Clinton and all everybody could afford to go to college now."

posted by IshmaelGraves at 9:32 PM on February 16, 2004

Keyser, like they said, do college. Its worlds better than highschool. But how can you be "near 95 %" on GED? I walked in and took it (having only completed the 8th grade). In 1974 (new, all volunteer Navy) the recruiters nearly kissed my feet, my scores were so high. I had my GED a year before I would have graduated highschool, had I done it like the commoners.
posted by Goofyy at 11:05 PM on February 16, 2004

Response by poster: Thanks for the advice. When I said "near 95 percent", I meant it in the way that I have passed every "half test" (real questions, half) with over 95 percent correct on everything except mathematics. I am in algebra right now, and confident that I can succeed.

I was told by the recruitment office that even with a very high score, less than 3 percent of the applicants are GED graduates, and they are very selective. I took time to think about why I want to join, and here are my (uneducated, naive) reasons:

1. Discipline
2. To gain security level education in computers, which the air force is a very good choice for.
3. Serving my country. Yes, cheesy in the post 9/11 America.

The reason I am debating between getting my HSE or taking college courses is the time limit I have. I guess 15 credits wouldn't be hard to do over the summer.
posted by Keyser Soze at 11:26 PM on February 16, 2004

Response by poster: And please dont get me wrong, I will absolutely be going straight to college after my 4 year stint.
posted by Keyser Soze at 11:28 PM on February 16, 2004

Try some college, see how it fits. If college and you are ready for each other now than good for you. If you realize that you aren't ready for higher learning yet than pursue the military. They will recognize and reward you for the college experience.

Your reasons for choosing the military are very admirable and you should be commended for your self-awareness.

All branches can provide you with the training you desire if you score well enough. You can be certain that they want to put you to good use. Your test scores are a guide to your strengths. Often when we are young what we want to do isn't necessarily what we might most excel at, get the most satisfaction from or better yet both. The military is an excellent choice in this regard.

When I joined the Marine Corps I went in open contract - no guarantees. I had excellent ASVAB scores and was rewarded with great opportunities. I have been out nearly 15 years and I am able to appreciate the lessons I learned every day. I am a better man for it.

Semper Fi and good luck with your decision.
posted by geekyguy at 12:09 AM on February 17, 2004

While I might say a great deal about joining the military, I'm old enough to be horribly out of date on a lot of things, and wise enough to realize the fact (or just old enough to have acquired said wisdom).

However, I will caution you specifically against my own mistake. Do not join the military with an expectation of finding something well organized. (And don't confuse this point with the discipline you seek, because you are valid on that score). The military is inefficient and screwy. If that's something that drives you mad, find something else to do. (think about this seriously).

You MUST learn the Zen of "Hurry up and wait!".
posted by Goofyy at 1:56 AM on February 17, 2004

Keyser, I applaud your decision to serve. E-mail me if there is any information about Air Force life that I can provide.

posted by davidmsc at 3:01 AM on February 17, 2004

15 Credits would be *very* hard to do over a summer. I had trouble w/ 15 credits during the fall/spring. It sounds like you'll go to college after the air force, so I would say go the other route. Could you do the High School Equivalency as well as a college course or two?
posted by drobot at 7:27 AM on February 17, 2004

I'd check into what sort of courses are available at a local community college. They're a lot different from "real" college, but they also tend to cater for situations like your own. However, summer courses tend to be on a shortened schedule, with some schools even packing in two overlapping terms. Depending on the course selection and other work you may have to do, it might be tricky to fit in 15 hours.

That said, good luck.
posted by mikeh at 7:38 AM on February 17, 2004

And please dont get me wrong, I will absolutely be going straight to college after my 4 year stint.

As long as the Air Force doesn't decide it needs you in a war zone somewhere.
posted by terrapin at 10:02 AM on February 17, 2004

what terrapin said....please please reconsider and do college first.
posted by amberglow at 10:33 AM on February 17, 2004

I'm basically a wimp who knows nothing about the military, but I think that people are beintg a little overly stark in separating the Air Force from "higher education." It sounds like, given your interests, the Air Force may even be one of the best ways to get the education you seek (and I don't mean by going to college afterwards). If you want an art history degree or something, than the dichotomy between military and education would seem more valid.

You're a smart guy in the Air Force. Am I right?
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 2:08 PM on February 17, 2004

Keyser -- Go for it, buddy. Do what you want to do and do what feels right; at least you won't regret it later in life.

One thing though ... READ anything before you sign it. Remember that as much as the recruiters are good at becoming your friend, Uncle Sam ISN'T your friend...!
posted by SpecialK at 3:51 PM on February 17, 2004

Response by poster: Thanks everybody. Just got 24 out of 25 right on my half math test. Heres to the future!
posted by Keyser Soze at 7:44 PM on February 17, 2004

College Credit in the summer:
For myself, summer was where I did best. Cramming an 16 week course into 8 weeks was fine, because I only did 2 such classes at once. And I did 2 sessions in a summer. Trying to do 4 classes in 16 weeks screwed me up.
posted by Goofyy at 12:06 AM on February 18, 2004

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