Army Prep School
What is it?
The Army Prep School (APS) is a school that incoming Soldiers can earn their GED certificate before they begin Basic Combat Training (BCT). The course is four weeks long. The Soldiers attend classes throughout the training day in order to prepare themselves for the GED test. Anytime during the four week period, the Soldier can take the GED test. Instructors will facilitate the Soldier’s learning process. Pretesting will allow instructors to focus on the Soldier’s needs. Once the Soldier earns a GED, the Soldier will immediately begin BCT. Failure to pass the GED exam will result in the discharge of the Soldier through a Chapter process. This program is restricted to Soldiers who can not return to High School and have scored in the top fifty percentile on the ASVAB test. Once fully operationally, APS will in process 60 new Soldiers every week. Based upon a similar program used by the National Guard, 85-90 percent of the Soldiers who are recruited for the APS are expected to complete their GEDs within four weeks. It is expect APS will yield nearly 3,000 quality Soldiers for the Army each year.
What has the Army done?
Fort Jackson has modified two barracks as classroom buildings and a third building as a test center. The Soldiers will live in two sets of adjacent relocatable barracks set aside for APS. A company headquarters with 17 cadre personnel has stood up. This cadre will handle the administrative workload associated with this program. The Course material and the support requirements have already been funded for this FY. Instructors are already available. Contracts for the first year are already signed.
What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future?
Evaluations of APS will occur throughout the year. Based upon those results, APS could be expanded to a battalion at Fort Jackson or other APS companies could be established at other Army Training Centers. The next step is to develop a High School diploma producing school in conjunction with APS. This school would allow Soldiers to earn a High School diploma and then move directly into BCT. Several alternative courses of action are available for the High School diploma option. These options are being war gamed at this time.
Why is this important to the Army?
The number of High School graduates eligible for military service continues to decline. APS will produce another quality recruiting resource. Intelligent Americans, those scoring in the upper fifty percent on their ASVAB test, who would otherwise not be eligible for serving the nation only because they lack the required documents could enlist. The individuals would benefit from obtaining their GEDs. The nation would benefit by having a more intelligent Army and citizenry. The cost of training these quality individuals would be limited to the initial four week course, which in many cases will be even less than that as they could test out early. A smarter Army, recruiting from a broader based of individuals, at a relatively low cost benefits everyone involved.