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Veterans considering school have more options than ever before, thanks to the generous educational benefits of the G.I. Bill, which have evolved over the years.
Tens of thousands of new veterans are expected to return to college or the workforce in the next several years as the military downsizes and Pentagon budget is pared back. Enrollment among veterans at for-profit private universities raced past four-year public institutions during the first full academic year education benefits were available under the revised G.I. Bill. With a generally more serious attitude about school and accelerated programs, veterans are opting for schools that will earn them a degree with fewer distractions, in the least amount of time.
Though the worlds of academia and the military are incredibly different, military experience provides a base of discipline and knowledge that can make college after military service easier than you might think. Here are steps every military veteran needs to take before considering earning a college degree.
The 3 Step Guide to College After the Military
Step 1: Get to know the G.I. Bill
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) can provide several benefits to a military veteran—one of which is the G.I. Bill. One of the newer education programs is the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill. With this program the school could receive a tuition and fee payment and the veteran could receive a stipend for books and supplies and may qualify to receive a housing allowance, this is all dependent on eligibility and the location of the school the veteran is attending.
Potentially the GI Bill could pay for your entire college education or make it relatively inexpensive compared to those who finance their education with student loans. So if you’re on the fence about attending college after your military career, you owe it to yourself to read up on the benefits available to you. Please visit www.benefits.va.gov/gibill/ to discover all of the Education Programs available to you and to review the eligibility requirements and to determine which benefit would be best for you.
Step 2: Evaluate Your Readiness
Take a “mental inventory” of yourself after spending some time back in civilian life. If you do decide to enroll in college, it may be helpful to seek out other veterans or a student veterans group at your campus. It’s always good to have a group of people with similar experiences to whom you can relate. There’s a good chance someone else in the group has been in your shoes and can help you deal with whatever difficulties you may face if you are struggling with something. Strength in numbers is a beneficial tactic that can be applied both on and off of the battlefield, so don’t hesitate to seek out other veterans.
Step 3: Apply Your Military Training to Your Education
After years of having someone tell you what, when, where and how to do daily tasks, it can be a bit of a shock to transition to civilian life where the chain of command starts and ends with you.
The discipline you developed while living a highly regimented military life can, however, be useful for a successful academic career.
Keep a steady schedule and maintain the military-standard level attention to detail in your schoolwork. It requires a great deal of discipline to focus on the task at hand when dealing with any multitude of stressful situations a soldier faces in military service. Focusing on studies requires a similar level of discipline to excel, but the stakes are much less disastrous if you slip up—it is simply a matter of regrouping and focusing on the next assignment.
How can postsecondary institutions best support veterans and their unique issues with respect to college and career success?
- Counsel veterans in their adjustment to civilian life.
- Help them fit in and feel “normal” on campus.
- Advise them on an academic course that will be a good fit with their skills, interests, and military training.
- Let them know they have a strong support system to address their fear failure.
- Assist them as they navigate the paperwork and application process as they apply for their VA educational benefits.
Take a look at some of the degree programs available to you at IntelliTec College. We offer industry-demanded programs and want to help you determine which one is right for you. Contact one of our VA certifying officials in the business office who can help assist you in the application process.