What is the ASVAB, and Why Would You Want to Take it?

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“Walking into what I expected to be a small group of students, I was surprised to see a room full of roughly 120 kids. Every student was different but we all had a similar goal. To take the ASVAB and have the military as an option for our future,” said Junior Connor Hajdasz.

The ASVAB, as some may not know, is the Armed Services Vocational Battery that a recruit must get certain scores on, depending on what branch of the military they are interested in, or for certain types of MOS (Military Occupational Specialty) categories–i.e., what kind of “job” you can be trained for.  What was so surprising about the number of students that took the test was that many of them do not have parents or family members in the military.

There are some schools that do not allow students to take the ASVAB in school, so the fact that Indian River gives students this opportunity is beneficial  to their growing career.  Some schools,  especially in other parts of New York State, do not even allow recruiters on their campuses.  But with the High School’s proximity to Fort Drum, most students here have a better idea, a more definite picture of military life, than kids in many other places.

It is high school students that the military gets most of it’s recruits from. According to Charlie Savage of Common Dreams in his article Military Recruiters Target Schools Strategically,   “The Defense Department spends $2.6 billion each year on recruiting, including signing bonuses, college funds, advertising, recruiter pay, and administering the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery. The military pitches the test to schools as a free career exploration program, but which its manual notes is also ‘specifically designed’ to ‘provide the recruiter with concrete and personal information about the student.'”

Recruiters also come to school and talk to students about the different fields and the necessary requirements to join the military.  The ASVAB is a requirement even to join the National Guard.

The armed forces do still offer GI Bill money to service members who have completed certain steps; most soldiers use this benefit after leaving the military.  A few teachers and staff here at IRHS have paid for college degrees using the GI Bill, either for themselves or for family members.

Some schools additionally offer JROTC, or junior reserve officer training, programs in which students have the ability to experience more “hands-on” some of the things they will have to go through if they do decide to join the military.  IRHS offering the ASVAB through the school gives the students another chance to be ahead of the game when they graduate.