Alex Stephens received his GED about three years ago and is currently a student at Jefferson Community College.

He says he's ready for a change, so he's enlisting in the Army.

"I was in the classroom for many years. I went through grade school and high school. I just wanted to see different things," he said.

Stephens is not alone.

According to a new study by RAND Corporation, about 50 percent of Army recruits surveyed in 2008 and 2009 joined a few years after high school, in their early to mid-20s.

The study also shows that the majority of people who join the Army have a family member who is in the Army.

James Cox is a recruiter at the Watertown Army Recruitment Center.

"A lot of young men and women are following family tradition, pride of service, following in their mothers' or fathers' or grandfathers' footsteps," said Cox.

Regardless of the reasons for joining, researchers say people who enlist later on in life tend to be more successful and get promoted faster.

"They understand what the alternatives are and have come to the Army after trying those alternatives and they make the Army work," said Bernard Rostker of RAND Corporation.

It's going to be difficult for anybody to join the Army.

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has called for cutting the number of active duty soldiers in the Army from the current 520,000 to as low as 420,000.