Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Joining the air force reserves vs. borrowing money for college loans

  1. Apr 19, 2008 #1
    I am thinking about joining the air force reserves while continuing to attend college because I am no longer able to borrow money for college. I think the air force would be beneficial for me because I think it would be the perfect opportunity for me to developed my research skills in the Air force and I could put my physics education to use while helping me pay for my college loans. I 'd like a second opinion about joining the air force reserves while attending college. I would like anybody who has worked for the reserves to share their experiences and share some research experiences you might've had while in the airforce reserves
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 19, 2008 #2
    I had an idea to do that, but this was during college and would have interfered with my classes, since I'd need a 13 week break (after boot camp) to get training, really screwing everything up.

    The work is nice, but you have to at some point serve I believe a year or two full time, also.

    So long story short, get ALL of the information available to you, since there might be snags that you don't learn about until after you sign the dotted line.
  4. Apr 19, 2008 #3
    If you plan to do it, find out everything you can. Do not let the recruiter put ideas out there. Make sure he is telling you the whole truth. I learned from my time in the military that you should make agreements with the government on your own terms. They need you for one reason or another. Make sure you know that and make sure you verify everything they say from people who are in the air force and from secondary sources.

    I know plenty fellow marines who were told their college would be free, which is true, but if you do not serve your full length for whatever reason, you end up owing the government money.

    I'm a wounded veteran and it took many phone calls and months of hard work to finally convince them that I still deserved my college money. It's a pain, so make sure you are certain the military is something you can handle.
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2008
  5. Apr 20, 2008 #4
    It may go without saying but be especially careful these days. Even being in the reserve can mean much more than you may expect due to current circumstances in the world.
  6. Apr 20, 2008 #5
    If your interest is a military career, I'd recommend getting your bachelor first and then apply for the Officer School. The majority of AF jobs are technical in nature and don't lend themselves to much research.

    If you just want to join now, you'll be entering as enlisted. Normally, enlisted personnel take a test called the ASVAB. This test measures your Administrative, General, Electrical, and Mechanical skills. The higher you score in each of these categories the "better" the job you can get (and there's little room for research in many of these jobs - you do as you are told).

    Like I mentioned previously, I recommend getting your degree first. This is unfortunate to say, but a degree-holding person has more value to the military than your average HS diploma kid.

    Jordan Joab.
  7. Apr 20, 2008 #6
    I'm not interested in a joining the reserves to have a career in the air forces. I want to join the reserves so they can pay for my college tuition , oh and uh to serve my country .
  8. Apr 20, 2008 #7
    What kind of test is the ASVAB
  9. Apr 20, 2008 #8
    A really easy one. I remember when I took it (I was in the same situation as you, just further along), I was tired and really hungry because the recruiting guy I was with just took me down to the center spontaneously, so I hadn't prepared. He made me wait for a long time because he had some stuff to take care of.

    When he called me later he was like "You got a 99!!!" How much of that was just to make me come down and sign some papers, I don't know, but the test was easy.

    It was basic math and some very basic physics, like "If a screw has more threads per inch, does that mean each turn requires more or less force?" Stuff like that. By that time I had taken some freshman physics, though, so that was more than enough for me on that test.

    Here's a sample:

  10. Apr 20, 2008 #9
    As someone else said, considering the way the world is right now, it is probably not a good idea to join if all you want is money for school. You may end up getting way more than you bargained for.
  11. Apr 20, 2008 #10
    what is the difference between the Airforce reserves and the airforce? Aren't people who are usually in the reserves usually stay in the united states
  12. Apr 20, 2008 #11
    Not anymore. A LOT of people in the reserves have been sent to Iraq. You being in the Air Force, you wouldn't think you'd have to go. I mean, it's not like you'll be on the front lines with the Marines or anything, but if they sent the National Guard over there, I wouldn't bet on you staying here.
  13. Apr 20, 2008 #12
    Well, I strongly recommend not to join. If I'm not mistaken, the USAF Reserve don't offer contracts of less than 4 years. You might also run the risk of not being allowed to go to school your first year due to training requirements (happened to me). More than likely you will be activated and that's a 4-month deployment. You might also not like the work environment; the military is not a democracy - there's no free thinking.

    In any case, if you really want them to pay your college (and keep in mind they'll work double the money out of you) there are a few options:

    1) Apply to Officer Training School. Basically, you enroll in school full time and the military gives you a free ride. Catch: you must serve a 4yr contract.

    2) Join the Air National Guard. The ANG is assigned to States and not to the Federal Gov. However you may end up getting activated. Check with the ANG recruiter.

    3) Sign a 2yrs contract with the Army. You get $40k+ for college. Catch: paid trip to Iraq.

    Those are the 3 I can think of at the moment. You also gotta consider "Stop-Loss." Just remember that until you sign that contract you are under no obligation to the military. Don't let the recruiter sweet-talk you and read, read, read every single piece of paper you are given.

    Once again, I recommend not joining and getting that money elsewhere.

    Jordan Joab.
  14. Apr 20, 2008 #13
    The problem is , The bank that is allowing me to borrow money is not enough to cover the costs of summer ,fall and spring semesters. what are other options besides joining the air force reserves to help pay for college tuition ? I can't just dropped out of school

    I was also told that a person in the air force reserves , after six weeks of training would be only on duty for one weekend a month.
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2008
  15. Apr 21, 2008 #14
    Nothing you maybe told is binding. What is binding is what you sign. Read your contracts *THOROUGHLY*.
  16. Apr 21, 2008 #15
    Is each contract unique for every individual who decides to sign up for the reserves, depending on your location? Or is each contract generic, regardless of your location.
  17. Apr 21, 2008 #16
    Don't take any chances. They may use different forms for different branches, different locations, different jobs you're signing up for, etc.
  18. Apr 21, 2008 #17
    There will probably be an identical set of rules, stipulations, etc for all individuals. What may vary will be length of service, job chosen, rank after basic training, amount of money received after basic training, etc.

    If it's not in writing, the AF will not honor it.

    Jordan Joab.
  19. Apr 21, 2008 #18
    This contract that you sign, would AF offer what would be listed on the contract online or would you yourself have to talk to a recruiter in person and then he will present your contract.

    BTW , thanks for telling me this. I'm still not sure if I will join the AFR or not, but I'm glad some body presented me the other side.I was told that I get free traveling expenses , a salary and my college tuition paid for , simply by doing 6 six weeks of training and reporting for duty every weekend of every month of the year.

    Surely they would not send you to Iraq if your service only spans into the weekend.
  20. Apr 21, 2008 #19
    "There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch."

    I should point out that I've never been in the military... but if you are about to sign a contract that will change your life for the next 4+ years, READ IT CAREFULLY.

    Seriously, do a little google search for "air force reserves iraq" and "stop loss iraq" before you sign.
  21. Apr 21, 2008 #20
    Unless your parents' income is under $50000 and you are automatically offered a grant.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook