A Project for Better Journalism chapter

Military programs provide post-high school options for students

After high school, there’s always the burning question most seniors are asked: what are your plans after high school?

Some go to straight college, whether it’s a four-year or a two-year college, or a trade school. Others may plan to take a year gap to figure out what to do with their future and save up some money. Others plan to go straight into the workforce and get their career started right away.  And then there’s others, who stay in their parents home and do nothing.

The remaining group of students who don’t fall under any of those categories are those who plan to enlist in the military.

At Parkdale, there is a special program, called the (Delayed Entry Program) DEP, for the students who want to enlist in the Marines.  Students in the program will start getting in the enlisting process as a junior or senior.

“Our program gives you structure to complete the most challenging things in boot camp and to be ready physically and mentally for the challenges you will face,” said Sergeant Jacob , the DEP representative at Parkdale. “The program takes you from not knowing anything about our organization into learning how to be physically fit, learning how to eat right, and learning about our organization.”

To get in the Marines, applicants must study for the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB), which is the military entrance exam that includes basic math, science, and english questions. Once the test passed, applicants will be ready to go into boot camp. Other than passing the ASVAB, applicants have to be physically fit, without a criminal record, and be a high school graduate.

“The requirements into going to the Marine are tough because not everyone can join,” said Sergeant Jacob. “We only accept the best and most qualified. You have to pass the ASVAB test and also pass a medical physical examination and our Military Entrance Processing Station. After you must train to be able to pass our initial strength test which requires to do pull ups run a mile in a half and do Marine Corps crunches.”

Since Sergeant Jacob knows all the physical and mental demands of the process, he gives interested students all the information they need to get ready for the Marines and will even train with them to prepare for boot camp.

“Being in our Delayed Entry Program trains you to be physically and mentally ready,” said Sergeant Jacob. “The Marine Corps is the only organization that had this because we have the longest and most challenging boot there is in the world.”

After the Marines, many other opportunities,  like going to college or getting a job, remain. One huge perk of being in the Marines is the opportunity to travel across the world.

“I plan to go to college and achieve a bachelor’s degree in either nursing or computer, as well as, doing little hobbies such as photographer and makeup,” said senior Ashley Vazquez, one of the students in the program and already enlisted in the Marines. “I’d like to be certified to become a makeup artist.”

In all, joining the Marines or any other military branch is a great option to consider after high school, especially for those who don’t know what their next steps may be.

“[The military] really builds your character and makes you more mature and teaches you discipline,” said Vazquez. “The military also benefits you in different ways.”

Some could argue that the Marines provide benefits that cannot be found in any other post-high school situation.

“I high recommend people go to the Marine Corps after high school because of the discipline and ethos they teach that goes into everyday life skills,” said Sergeant Jacob. “It’s something college does not teach and the leadership skills also.”