What's Next: Jonni Jones on Military Service

By Lydia McAllister on Wednesday, September 13, 2017

University of Arkansas at Little Rock

Degree: Bachelor of Science with an emphasis in management | Hometown: Wimberley, Texas | Age: 23 | Year: Sophomore

Before heading to college, Jonni Jones served in the United States Army as a Dari Linguist (interpreting the dialect of the Persian language spoken by people in Afghanistan). After sustaining an injury to her ankle, she became medically separated and is now seeking a degree at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

Recently, Jonni became a single mom to her baby boy Titus. While it was a struggle to balance schoolwork and become a new mom, Jonni says the discipline she learned through her military service helped set her up for success. “I’ve been able to adjust my life and schedule to fit my son’s,” she says. “It’s taken some work, but being in school with a child requires strict scheduling.”

Why should high school students consider the military route?
“When you join the military before college, you get your school, books and housing paid for after or during your service. If you attend college before the military, you can enter with a degree and become an officer instead of enlisted. It’s higher pay, and they have programs to help with student debt.”

ROTC is a built-in elective, so your studies can take as long as you need. You can try it your first two years without committing to military service, but if you follow through to completion, you’re obligated to eight years of service.

This deal is sweet: Army ROTC offers merit-based (on grades, not financial need) scholarships that could cover your entire tuition. You’re also eligible for a monthly stipend up to $500.

This Option's for You If...
You’re an adventure seeker
You like the idea of not paying for college
You want to serve your country

Unlike the military, ROTC programs don’t require the ASVAB (a pre-enlistment test), but you will need to sign up for ROTC your freshman or sophomore year in college and meet certain physical and GPA requirements.

You’ll have the standard housing options. Some colleges have dorms just for ROTC students.

When you join the military before college, you get your school, books and housing paid for after or during your service.


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