DOD Updates Enlistment Priority for Certain Education Credentials

DoD News Release:  28 June 2012

DOD Updates Enlistment Priority for Certain Education Credentials

 The Department of Defense announced today that eligible students with diplomas from home schools, virtual/distance learning and adult/alternative schools, who score 50 or above on the Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT), will now receive Tier 1 enlistment priority.

The policy change implements the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act requirement.  Previously, many of these graduates received Tier 2 enlistment priority.

 The purpose of the DoD education credential policy is to predict adaptation to the military and successful completion of military service.  The education credential tiers were initially developed more than 30 years ago, based on first-term attrition rates associated with various education credential types.  Because Tier 1 graduates are more likely to complete their first term of enlistment, department benchmarks require that at least 90 percent of recruits enlisting possess a Tier 1 credential.

While numerous studies have shown education credential source or type as a predictor of first-term attrition, aptitude, as measured by the AFQT, also predicts attrition behavior.  Those with diplomas from home schools, virtual/distance learning and adult/alternative schools who score above 50 on the AFQT have similar attrition to traditional high school graduates.

“It’s important for everyone interested in joining the military to understand that the current competitive recruiting environment, high retention, and force reductions, have impacted the number of positions available to interested applicants,” said Lernes Hebert, acting director of accession policy.  “High demand has also affected the waiting time to enter the military.  On average, a typical recruit is now entering the military eight or nine months after his or her initial visit with a recruiter.”

All applicants for military service, regardless of credential type, must also meet a variety of other enlistment standards – including aptitude, medical, and conduct standards.

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Beyond homeschooling: joining the military

This article tells about some differences between the two largest career paths in the military services, becoming an officer or enlisting.  It also looks at how home education affects those choices.  From the view of the military services, homeschooling has an effect on enlistment more than it does on the commissioning of an officer.

This article includes a look at what it means to be an officer or an enlisted person.  Included are the ways a college student can become an officer, and how a homeschooled graduate can enlist.  Statistics are included from a Navy study that is important to homeschooled graduates who want to enlist, and a complaint, and an answer to the complaint, about the study.

In this article, I propose that the best way to prepare to enlist is to earn a regular high school diploma, but the ‘best’ way does not rule out other ways.  This article is not a step-by-step guide telling homeschooled grads how to join the military, but it does have advice on good ways to prepare to join.

  • To read the full article, please click here.
  • A quick overview of the ways for homeschooled grads to join the military is here
  • A compilation of sections of military recruiting regulations for homeschooled grads is here.

Beyond homeschooling: what to do after graduation

When you think seriously about what your child will do ‘after homeschooling,’ you’re either at the beginning of your child’s ‘high school’ years (the ages from about 14 and up), or are actually contemplating ‘graduating’ near the end-of-homeschooling.  You may wonder what comes next?  How do people who were homeschooled fit themselves into everyday adult life?  The answer, of course, is “just like everyone else.”

Before your child makes the change from at-home dependent to competent-adult, it is usually best to prepare for it, and not just expect the teen to step out onto adulthood’s doorstep looking for the taxi to Grownup Land.  This is only common sense.  The trouble with preparation is, that to make specific plans, the teen must have a goal in mind, sometimes as early as fourteen.  The ‘what do you want to be when you grow up’ question must leave the realm of the wishful thinking of six-year-olds, although fire fighters, dinosaur hunters, and astronauts have to come from somewhere.  Making plans early is useful so that when ‘graduation’ arrives, both you and your teen are as ready as you can be for that next step.

The usual possibilities (or a mix of possibilities) beyond and after homeschooling are:

  • continuing to live as a family
  • a job
  • attending college or specialized schooling
  • joining the military

Since a ‘gap year’ (or more) may not require as much groundwork for entry as the other choices, I won’t discuss it.  And since marriage is such a personal choice, I’ll leave that discussion to the families.

To read the full article, please click here