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Counseling Students on a Military Career

Pros and Cons for Students

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Pros and cons of a military career should be weighed before a student joins the military.

Pros and cons of a military career should be weighed before a student joins the military.

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As a teacher or guidance counselor you can have a huge impact on the future of many of your students. What happens if a student approaches you for guidance on whether to enter the military after high school? How would you counsel them? Following are a list of pros and cons of a military career that you can present to the student to help them make an informed decision.

Pros:
  • The military provides many educational opportunities both during the term of enlistment and after your service is complete.
  • It can expand students horizons. It will help students meet new people and visit places they might never visit outside of the military.
  • Similarly, students will have the opportunity to learn about other cultures and customs through interactions with fellow service members and people they meet around the world.
  • The military provides a way to escape dangerous situations for some students. For example, if they live in a dangerous neighborhood with little opportunity for jobs then the military can provide a way for the student to move past that life.
  • The service provides structure for students who might need direction and discipline before they are ready to face the 'real world' on their own.
  • If a student decides to build a military career, then the retirement pension and benefits are excellent. Further, they will be building a legacy steeped in tradition.
  • Finally, the military provides a way for individuals to serve their country both here and abroad.
Cons:
  • It's a commitment that once agreed to cannot be broken without serious consequences.
  • Once you are in the service, you have no real freedom. Many decisions like your assignment location are made for you without your input.
  • There is the possibility that you could make the supreme sacrifice for your country.
  • You have no real privacy, especially in the beginning.
  • The military decides your clothing and your hair style.
  • There is the possibility that you might be called upon to kill someone or cause someone's death.
All in all, the decision to enter the military has many benefits and also many drawbacks. It's important to help the student realize both. You might find it helps the student if you list out their values and priorities with them and then see if that helps them become clearer on whether the military is a viable option.
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