I'm an undergraduate student with two regular semesters left before graduating. I am required to serve in the Military and have two options regarding the timing of my service.

  1. I can go into army before graduating. After serving for two year I would return for one semester, graduate, and then apply for graduate school.
  2. I can graduate first and then go into the army.

The differences between two choices above are:

  1. Applying as a undergrad student or not.
  2. If I choose the latter one, I can audit graduate classes at my university.

And now I have to decide. Is there any difference between applying as an undergraduate and with bachelor's degree if there's some gap year?

  • 2
    I would normally say to avoid a gap if possible, but I'd assume that this is a common issue in your country. In that case your best option would be to talk to the labs you're interested in working with and ask them for their opinion. I'd guess it would be fine since everyone has to do military service, but that's just my guess. You could also apply now and try to defer, but a two-year deferral may be difficult. Also: a gap before grad school is better than a gap between grad school and a postdoc. Jul 6, 2016 at 18:24
  • @lafemmecosmique But I want to apply labs in US as an international applicants.
    – Darae-Uri
    Jul 7, 2016 at 6:03
  • You might want to edit that into to your OP Jul 7, 2016 at 10:10
  • Do you have 3rd option: finish graduate school then go to military service?
    – Nobody
    Jul 7, 2016 at 13:05
  • @scaaahu No. The administrator dosen't allow it.
    – Darae-Uri
    Jul 7, 2016 at 13:07

1 Answer 1


I come from a country with compulsory service, and I saw a few cases like this when serving. The recruitment officers would try to match your skills with your service -- so if you had a higher engineering degree you would be set to tutor army engineering officer students etc. Without a degree, you would more likely serve as an infantryman or sailor. I would say it depends on what you want out of your service. If you want the experience of a common soldier, enter now, if you want to do something more relevant to your education, enter after you graduate. You will likely be able to use your skills, and it will not be a wasted gap of two years, especially if you work with your recruitment officers to find a suitable service. If you decide to enter now, you might also benefit from extra credit when applying for a university program later.

  • Since my major is not practical one, there's no suitable position for me. So I choose alternative service so that I can compesate it by auditing graduate claases.
    – Darae-Uri
    Jul 7, 2016 at 11:49
  • The military needs a vast array of different skills: languages, psychology, politics, medicine, nursing, sports science, IT, engineering, etc. There is a good chance you will find a service that will fit with a higher degree from university. If you can do civilian service instead, I'm sure you will find a suitable role as well...
    – Arnfinn
    Jul 8, 2016 at 0:16
  • You can always count on the army to try and maximise it's constrained resources, do well in basic, keep your head down, and you could go a lot of interesting places
    – Repmat
    Jul 8, 2016 at 5:54

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