Age: 24 | Hometown: Fayetteville | Grade: Senior | Graduation year: 2020 | Serving in the: Air Force | Currently attending: University of Arkansas | Working toward: Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering | End goal: Career as a Civil Engineering Officer
When Rachel Pohl was a senior in high school, her parents suggested she look into the possibility of pursuing an Air Force career through an ROTC scholarship. Both of her parents are Air Force veterans, so Rachel knew about the educational and personal benefits that came with the commitment.
“I have witnessed [my parents’] many friends and connections around the world that have been made through the Air Force," she says. "I have lived in and seen the places they were stationed.”
Rachel is now a senior civil engineering major in AFROTC at the University of Arkansas.
“While [my parents’] history has influenced me, I was drawn to the Air Force because I want to serve,” she says. “I feel like so many people don’t want to serve, or can’t serve, so I want to do what I can.”
Rachel says she is excited to travel the world and live in many places, and she is also looking forward to the camaraderie that the military offers.
Rachel will find out in the fall what her Air Force Special Code, or career field, is. She’s hoping to be picked as a Civil Engineering Officer. She plans to return to school within the first few years after graduating and commissioning to earn her master’s degree.
Her advice to students interested in pursuing a career in the military is this: “Try to learn as much as you can about the military. Don’t be afraid to ask questions!”
(Learn more at Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Joining the Military.)
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
LENGTH OF PROGRAM
Every branch of the military is different. Several Arkansas colleges offer Army and Air Force ROTC classes that can be built into your degree plan. If you enlist first, you can take online college classes, earn college credit through training programs or finish your degree after your service. The length of job training depends on the branch and the job.
Army ROTC programs can pay for tuition in exchange for service as an officer when you finish your degree. The Post-9/11 GI Bill guarantees educational benefits for veterans.
To enlist in the military, every branch has different standards. You can expect physical requirements and a minimum ASVAB test score, but to sign up for ROTC classes, you must meet physical and academic standards.
For ROTC programs, you can expect standard housing options or dorms reserved for ROTC students. If you enlist, you often receive a housing stipend.
You can see the world! With bases all over the globe, the military sends recruits to countries they might never have visited otherwise. The opportunity to travel is an enticing bonus.
*SOURCES: GoArmy.com and AFROTC.com
"There are so, so, so many opportunities! I think people would be surprised by the opportunities for scholarships for college and overall just the opportunities the AF offers."