Military experience can translate to academic success at the college level in more ways than one. Whether it’s paying for tuition, scheduling classes or using practical skills to pursue a targeted degree, you have access to a unique set of qualifications you've acquired and assistance you've earned.
As a veteran, you may have faced obstacles in your transition to college and civilian life, US Veterans Magazine advises ways around them. With the right advice, military personnel can gain entry to programs designed specifically for you. In fact, colleges like the University of Maryland Global Campus and Jacksonville University offer programs tailored for students with military backgrounds.
College After the Military: 3 Ways You're Prepared
1. You've Survived Sleepless Nights
Scheduling classes is one aspect of college where military experience can truly come into play. Although universities do whatever they can to accommodate busy professionals, there’s always a chance for a heavy course load to result in late nights and lack of sleep. While CNN confirms irregular sleep results in poorer academic performance, this isn’t necessarily the case for military personnel trained to work in sleep-deprived conditions. Skills honed in the field, like the ability to physically and mentally function on fewer hours, can also be highly useful in the classroom.
2. You've Earned Tuition Assistance
Active duty service members, veterans and their families have access to specialized aid through private and public funds. UMGC and Jacksonville University offer tuition assistance programs for any personnel in the Army, Coast Guard, Air Force, Marines, Navy, National Guard and Reserves. This university helps would-be students coordinate with their branch of the military to secure eligibility for aid. This includes financial benefits reserved for veterans via the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and programs such as the Post 9/11 GI Bill for active duty personnel, which is based on training time.
A number of universities coordinate with the Department of Defense in implementing the Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) for both veterans and service members pursuing higher education. The College-Level Examination Program (CLEP), which is under DANTES, even allows military experience to be translated into college credits via specific college subject exams – at zero cost for military personnel.
3. And You've Acquired a Unique Skill Set
Additionally, the diverse range of skills developed from military experience offers many advantages in terms of completing unique or technical course requirements. For instance, Cornell's Tree Climbing class teaches efficient methods of using ropes and technical climbing gear – an easy A for students with previous rescue operations training. Meanwhile, Michigan State University’s Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse is an online class that uses a multi-disciplinary approach to discover how student “survivor groups” will fare against a digital simulation of a zombie apocalypse – a familiar setup for an experienced service member who knows the fundamentals of outdoor survival. In fact, surviving basic military training guarantees a skillset practical for any classroom, not to mention the tenacity to complete course requirements no matter what it takes.
5 Military-Friendly Universities
1. University of Maryland Global Campus
In FY 2015, UMGC enrolled almost 52,000 active-duty military, reservist, dependent and veteran students. It’s a top-ranked and trusted school for military service members, veterans and their families. Current service members can opt for either purely online or hybrid classes – a combination of online and in-person sessions. The option for a flexible, hybrid schedule allows working professionals, who comprise the majority of UMGC students, to fit higher education more easily into their already busy lives. In fact, UMGC now offers 21 locations in the Maryland region.
Meanwhile, active military personnel who want to pursue their studies wherever they’re stationed in the world, can complete their degree exclusively online or at one of their 140+ locations.
2. Central Texas College
Central Texas College has one of the highest veteran enrollment in the U.S. This is due in part to the maximum credit for military education and training veterans receive. These students are also guaranteed transfer credits at a partner 4-year university, like Texas A&M University Central Texas. For military personal living and working outside of Texas and abroad, access to over 100+ locations worldwide makes getting an education even easier. And like UMGC, their distance learning program is an attractive benefit.
To aid in the often difficult transition to college and civilian life, CTC has partnered with the Department of Veteran Affairs to create an on-campus support program, VetSuccess.
3. Tidewater Community College
93% of the staff at Tidewater’s Center for Military and Veterans Education (CMVE) are veterans or spouses of an active service member. They are connected and dedicated to the needs of military-related students and understand the importance of providing reliable benefits to vets and their families. Certificate programs are available for those who want to supplement or replace their current program. Tidewater has received a number of awards for being a top school for military-related students, including ranking seventh in “Best for Vets: Colleges 2020" released by Military Times.
4. Ivy Tech Community College
With over 1,000 courses online, Ivy Tech offers the flexibility and variety required by so many vets looking to complete a degree. To ensure individuals maximize their benefits and stay on track to transfer to a 4-year university, Ivy Tech’s Veteran Student Services Program is designed to provide the most optimal solutions for every path.
5. Jacksonville University
Jacksonville University has made the "Best for Vets" list four years in a row. With a four-star GI Bill gap coverage rating and 71% military retention rate, this school excels in culture, support and outcomes for veterans and active-duty military. Special Green Zone Training equips faculty and staff with the tools they need to connect with this population of students.
Military training can be of great help to anyone pursuing higher education – and vice versa. Whether it’s specializing in a particular discipline or branching out to other specializations, higher education can pave the way for advancement and various other opportunities in any military institution.
Connect With Vets on Campus
Universities are working to improve veteran career tracks by leveraging the education and workforce outcomes of their own veteran alumni. To help build more meaningful pathways, Steppingblocks isolates veteran insights from a database of over 100 million people in the U.S. to build snapshots of veterans getting hired and the breakdown of their skills, locations, job types and gender by employer. Take a look at this veteran career track for Boeing employees from University X.
For data-powered career exploration, access our free trial below. To learn more about workforce and education outcomes for your institution, let's talk.