You’ve spoken to a recruiter and have made the decision: You are going to enlist. After you have made this commitment, you will need to set a date to finish the process and to visit a Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS). The entire process may take as long as two days; food and lodging are generally provided.
The MEPS decides an enlistee’s physical abilities, aptitude, as well as moral standards. MEPS are located all over the country. When you go, there are some things you should keep in mind:
- Bring ID in the form of a driver’s license, social security card, and birth certificate.
- Do not wear piercings or clothing with obscene words or images.
- Bring your eyeglasses or wear contact lenses; bring lens case and solution.
- Arrive early—and well rested.
One of the first thing new recruits will have to do after military enlistment is to take the ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery). This multiple-choice test will help in placing you into a military career for which you are best suited. The text takes about three hours and includes subject areas such as English, math, and science. Each branch of the service uses test results to determine different careers.
Next, recruits will have to take a physical exam, similar to what you might receive from your family doctor. You’ll be given height and weight measurements, heaving and vision texts, urine and blood tests, drug and alcohol tests, as well as muscle group and joint maneuver tests. Other tests that might be required include pregnancy tests for women, body fat measurement for those who are overweight, and tests for any uncommon medical history.
Afterward, enlistees will meet with a counselor to help determine appropriate career selection. There are several factors that go into this, including service branch needs, availability of military jobs, ASVAB score, any physical requirements, and the preference of the recruit.
You will also go over the military enlistment agreement with the counselor to ensure you fully understand what this agreement means. This is a serious commitment to service and recruits must
know what they are signing.
At this time, you will also be fingerprinted as this is required not only to be on record, but for background checks and security clearances.
Once these items have been completed, you are ready to take the oath of enlistment. Your family can come to watch and commemorate the occasion with photographs.
What is the next step after MEPS? Well, it depends on the recruit: Some will report to basic training within a couple of days or a couple of months; others will report in the future, usually within about a year (common for high school students, for instance, who enlist before the end of the school year).
When it comes to military enlistment, be sure to ask your recruiter as many questions as you need to in order to fully understand the process and the agreement.
Remember, a recruiter can answer any additional questions a recruit has about the enlistment process.