This article is an excerpt from my report on How to get into Army flight school the through WOFT Program.
How do you become an Army pilot with little or no college experience? Don’t fret, I’m here to give my views on how you can show that you’re committed, dedicated, and just the right person for that flight school slot without significant college experience.
Thankfully, there are many people that go “High School to Flight School”.
First of all, I want to stress two things before we even begin this discussion:
One – College has, by the 21st century, replaced high school as the minimum education level necessary to have a fighting chance in hell to do well in most careers. No matter if want to fly, write for a magazine, start a business, work in the non-profit world, or code applications in LISP, college is a necessary step to complete before you really begin your adult life.
We haven’t even begun to see the fallout of Globalization where 3 million over-educated Eastern Europeans and Asians suddenly have their talents within reach of the marketplace. Without at least a college education, you stand a very solid chance of ending up way behind the curve.
I am not saying that without college you will fail, however if you want to stack the most chips in your corner, live a life full of once-in-a-lifetime experiences, and test the boundaries of your existence, college is the best way to achieve all of these goals.
Two – Are you worried about waiting 4 or more years before you join? Don’t be. The US Army will be there. Global conflict will be there. In fact, the US Army will always be there. If you traveled to Alpha Centauri, when you got back, the US Army would still be there. If the US Army wasn’t there, you’d have much worse problems in your life than “damn, I sure wish I could be an Army pilot”…
In a less dramatic fashion, if you take 5 years off to go to college and tour Europe or Asia for a year building your worldliness and cultural skills, the Army will be there when you get back and very happy to see the knowledge and skills that you have learned. They will need pilots then too. And you will be significantly more valuable to your country if you have a stronger education and time overseas.
With those two caveats in mind, if you choose to skip college or leave your college program, the Army selection board is going to want to hear a very compelling reason as to why ‘now’ is the best time to grant you a flight school slot. Personally, it’d be hard to convince me why a 19 year old absolutely must fly now, instead of taking advantage of the only time to go to college without kids, obligations, and bills.
Don’t forget that when you’re sitting there at the selection board, there was a good candidate 4 years ago who also applied out of high school. This person went to the Army and the selection board said, “Why not get your degree first?” and she did. Now she’s back today, competing with you for that last slot, and the only way you will win is if your reason for skipping college is better than her reason for going to college. Do you think that’s likely?
If I haven’t changed your mind and you still want to go High School to Flight School, I would recommend composing a separate essay addressing why the Army is the right choice for you today, why you are the right soldier for the Army right now, and maybe even your plans to use the GI Bill to get your degree after you are in the service.
Show them your conviction to the mission, your dedication by joining now in a time of war, and how you’ll make up for your lack of degree as soon as possible so you can be the best soldier you can be.
Here is the important part, during your application, you need to find ways to show that you are :
These can be done by highlighting organizations you lead, disciplines you’ve learned, competitions you succeeded in, and jobs you’ve held. Highlight these in your essays, during your board interview, and in your resume. You absolutely must show them that you are a superior candidate even though you don’t have a college or associates degree.
Don’t forget that you goal isn’t to tell then only how outstanding you are, but to demonstrate convincingly why the Army absolutely can not survive without you as their next pilot candidate. (Obviously they can, but it may help to think like that!) Talk less about how the Army can help you go to college after you enlist, but more about how you can benefit the Army, the country, and your society.
This is selfless service and the American individualism that you’ve grown up with is not necessarily the trait they are looking for in their recruits. Put yourself in their shoes, and then describe to them why you will benefit your country…and be proud of the fact that you are coming to them first before college!
To increase your chances of going “High School to Flight School”, you should have some experience with a project or discipline that shows long commitment, sacrifice, and ambition. If you don’t, there’s no better time to run for Student Government, start taking flying lessons, or starting a non-profit that benefits solders and Marines overseas. These projects can significantly help raise your application to the top of the pile.
In order to go “High School to Flight School”, you’re going to need a background that is very solid and deserving of the significant investment the Army will put into you. Many high school students have this background. If you feel you need to augment your application, find something you love to do and do it until you stand out.
There are many pilots today that came into the program before they went to college. Believe me, you can do it too, if you want. Although I recommend college first, then Army, if you want to do the Army right away, make sure you concentrate on building a solid application by committing to valuable projects in your high school days.
This article is an excerpt from my report on How to get into Army flight school the through WOFT Program.-->