Serving in the military is an honorable and worthy aspiration, and homeschool students can look forward to this opportunity upon high school graduation if they choose, just as any other student can do. Although there has been some confusion on the enlistment process, several points need to be kept in mind that will allow homeschool graduates to meet the standards as outlined in the June 1, 2007, Department of Defense policy on homeschool students and their ability to earn Tier 1 status. Tier 1 status will open many doors to the homeschool graduate, and with it come many benefits of military enlistment, so keep these things in mind as you work through high school if this path of post-graduate careers is one that you are considering. There are three areas to which you should pay particular attention.
1 – All of the standard enlistment requirements must be met by homeschool students seeking military enlistment, and that includes the physical tests as well. So it is important to be physically active in your homeschool program, participate in sports or athletic training, and to pursue a solid foundation in physical preparation. The challenge for homeschool students is to remember that while a home aerobics video or walking the dog routine is often considered “good enough” for homeschool Physical Education standards, that type of program will not benefit your potential military career or long-term physical fitness and cardiovascular needs. Consider P.E. to be a course worthy of stringent activity and training. Many local gyms are available as well as community-wide sports teams to help facilitate this. P.E., taken seriously, should be included in your high school program in order to be ready for the physical standards of military enlistment.
2 – Additionally, in order to enlist in the military, you must actually be a graduate of a homeschool program, not currently still in high school, and your high school course of study must meet the state and local standards. Be sure that you are following the state guidelines on what is expected for graduation in your area and keep records that can verify your adherence to these codes. Keep accurate records for transcript preparation, because actual transcripts and diplomas will be required for enlistment. Transcripts must include the specific course names, dates of completion, any community college work that you might have done, and be professionally prepared. Spend the time on getting these documents in order as you work through high school. It will really pay off when you graduate.
3 – Finally, you will be expected to take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) exam. Homeschool graduates will be required to achieve a 50 or above on the ASVAB in order to earn Tier 1 status on their enlistment. A higher score, or a strong showing on this test, will also open other doors to possible cash bonuses for some types of enlistments, potential early promotions, and other opportunities for job choices and training, so a strong academic background, test-taking preparation, and being an independent learner will be vital traits to cultivate. Homeschoolers will also be expected to take the Assessment of Individual Motivation (AIM) which, while not impacting the status of your enlistment, will be a required exam of which you should be aware.
If homeschool students think they may be interested in pursuing a military enlistment upon high school graduation, then the best course of action is to engage in a strong high school college preparation program. This will ensure that they are presenting the best possible strengths, both academically and physically to the enlistment officers, and give them more options through the higher scores on the ASVAB exam. There are practice tests that can be taken for this exam, which are highly encouraged, and every high school student should take a solid course in test preparation while in high school as well. Most high school homeschoolers do not have trouble with their military enlistments if they follow these minimum standards during high school. Homeschool graduates have been very successful, not only in enlisting, but in serving their country with honor and pride, and this very respectable post-high school path can be an open door for a life-changing experience of tremendous value to those who prepare well for it.