Please keep in mind that I’m not a recruiter, and the process has probably changed in the 15 years since I went through it, but it’s in the Navy’s best interest to make it easy.
The first step is to talk to a recruiter. I would recommend visiting his/her office. That way you will actually be able to look over the material they have. To the best of my knowledge, they’re not allowed to lock you in until you sign up. 🙂 The major prerequisite is the ASVAB. If you didn’t take it in high school, the recruiter should be able to set it up for you. It is in your best interest to do well since higher scores open up more jobs.
I will give you 3 pieces of advice. First, do your own research on the outside. Recruiters have a very specific job, and it’s always good to get information from a lot of different sources.
Second, make sure that you have a guaranteed rate (job) prior to boot camp. Otherwise, you will end up as an undesignated seaman, and you’ll have to work hard to find a job that fits you.
Third, if you have any intentions of ever going to college and are offered the choice between an enlistment bonus and the Navy College Fund, take the College Fund. That bonus can look really attractive, especially to an 18 or 19 year old just starting out in life, but trust me when I say that it will be gone in a couple months. That college fund, on the other hand, will be a lifesaver if you ever step on to a campus.
If you have any specific questions or concerns, feel free to e-mail me: militarydadblog(at)yahoo(dot)com. I promise that I’ll answer it within 24 hours. Either way, best of luck, and remember that in the end, it’s your decision.