You might think setting up an appointment with an Army recruiter would be as easy as picking up the phone and calling one up. But if you want to do it right, there's a lot of preparation a person interested in enlisting should do beforehand, according to a variety of military websites and goarmy.com. (See Reference 1.) Considerations regarding how to serve, possible career and job choices, questions about training and length of tours, and general concerns about enlisting should be formulated even before a call is made.

Be prepared

First, make sure you're eligible to serve in the military. Review these points before talking to a recruiter:

You must be a U.S. citizen or resident alien.

You must be at least 17 years old. Those who are 17 are required to get parental consent. You must have a high school diploma to enlist in the Army although the Reserves have a GED waiver.

You must pass a physical medical exam.

Choose in which capacity you'd like to join. Those interested in enlisting might want to decide which way they want to serve-either full time on active duty or part time with the Army Reserve or National Guard before calling for an appointment with a recruiter. The Army Reserve allows you to continue your civilian career, though all soldiers might be deployed if the need arises. Once you enlist, you are committing to serve for a specific amount of time either way.

Contact an Army recruiter. Recruiters seek out qualified candidates and meet with those interested in joining the Army to help them through the enlistment process. While recruiters talk about Army opportunities "in positive but realistic terms," their job is to answer questions potential enlistees might have, according to goarmy.com.

Prepare a list of questions before meeting a recruiter. Some of the questions suggested include:

What does the recruiting process entail?

Why should I join the Army?

Are there any special incentives to join?

What really goes on in basic combat training?

What's the balance of classroom and physical training?

What kind of condition do you have to be in at the start?

What are the physical standards candidates have to meet?

How long does the first term last?

Do you have programs of different lengths?

Get your parents involved. The recruiter might want to talk to the potential enlistee and his parents together. It's advised that parents and child discuss goals and concerns that the recruiter might address before the appointment takes place. Parents might want to write up a list of their own questions to pose to the recruiter.

Get your paperwork together prior to the appointment. Documents include:

Driver's license

Social Security card

Green card (if applicable)

Passport (if you have one)

Birth certificate

Marriage license or divorce papers (if applicable)

Ask yourself why you want to enlist. The website, military.com, says people who are about to meet with recruiters should ask themselves why they want to enlist. College benefits? Patriotism? A career? According to the website, there are no wrong answers as long as you have weighed benefits and obligations before starting the recruitment process. (See Reference 2.)