The Military

Some students may choose to enter into a line of service upon graduating from WHS. We encourage all our students who are considering this route to remember the importance of keeping up your academic performance all four years of high school. Most branches of the military REQUIRE a high school diploma. Options for entering into service post-WHS include:

Direct Enlistment

Direct enlistment is the process by which one essentially joins the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, or the Coast Guard (also known as the Department of Homeland Security). With any of these options, an enlistee is a ‘rank and file’ soldier. The typical enlistment terms can be for two, four or six years. Most contracts have a two or four year extension clause attached to them.

When joining the military, enlistees must take the ASVAB. The ASVAB stands for Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery. This test can be considered the SAT’s for the military. It is a test that the military uses to determine in which specialties a prospective serviceman or woman may have an aptitude.

Study books are available at most bookstores and libraries, and it is highly recommended that one study for the ASVAB. The test is a general knowledge test that has sections in math, science, reading comprehension, and technical and mechanical abilities. Once a score is calculated, a list of all the career paths that match one’s aptitude is provided. The higher the score, the more options a new enlistee will have.

Regardless of branch of service, all enlisted men and women complete basic training, and then a secondary school, called advanced individual training. Once you have received your training, a soldier is assigned to a unit and a duty station on a base. During times of war, soldiers may be deployed to a combat zone. Deployments typically last about a year.


ROTC, or Reserved Officers’ Training Corps, is an elective curriculum studied along with your required college courses. Many colleges have a program; otherwise, students may receive ROTC training at a nearby school. ROTC provides military and leadership training while working on a college degree. Once a student has received his/her degree, the student signs a contract and enters into active service. The length of service varies but four and eight-year enlistments are common. Scholarships are available from the Armed Forces, as well. Upon graduation, ROTC participants attain officer status.

National Guard and Army Reserves

Joining the Army Reserves requires enlistment in the U.S. Army as well as participation in basic training. Reservists attend drills one weekend a month and two to three weeks a year.

The National Guard protects state-side in the case of upheaval or disaster. If there is a civil unrest, natural disaster, or other crisis, reservists are called for assistance. In some cases, reservists are called to active duty abroad.


A military academy or service academy is an educational institution which prepares candidates for service in military officer corps while providing education in a military environment. For admission to private military schools such as Virginia Military Institute and Norwich University, a letter of reference from someone who can speak to your character is required. For admission into the U.S. Military Academy, U.S. Naval Academy, U.S. Air Force Academy, U.S. Coast Guard Academy, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, a nomination by a U.S. Senator or Congressman is required.

Students interested in applying to a military academy should plan to attend the annual Service Academy Night for more information. Click here for details on this year's program.