Those in the military can find it challenging to transition from life in the military to a career in the civilian world. As a result, many from the military are wary of pursuing an education. Still, a college degree brings many benefits, such as higher pay, increased job choice, and overall satisfaction. As a result, there is a lot of anxiety for those in the military to switch over to pursuing further education. Still, there are steps they can take to make the change simpler.
Have a Support System
Before starting to search for potential colleges, the first tip would be to build a support system that can help them through the process. This group can consist of anyone from family, friends, colleagues, or a mix of all three. Having a group to turn to while pursuing further education can help in ways that may be unexpected.
In any major life decision, it is always good to set specific goals. Especially with the college application process, goals can help show the best choice regarding education. However, it is best to decide on goals before applying to different schools and before getting too far into the process.
Understand the Military Benefits
As a veteran, there are benefits that each military member should receive. The Post-9/11 Bill and the Yellow Ribbon Program enable veterans to obtain educational benefits as part of their service to the United States. The amount of funding available depends on when a person served in the military and how long they served. If unsure, reach out to a Veteran Service Officer or a student financial aid advisor who will help determine their allotted amount.
Pursue Military-Friendly Schools
It is already overwhelming for a veteran to switch back to civilian life. Finding a college to enroll in adds another layer to that. It may be beneficial to look into schools that have shown they are military and veteran-friendly, so the chances of success are higher. There are specific things to look for to know if a school is military-friend such as if they have a transparent financial support system for their military students. They may also have an active veteran community on their campus or specific military academic assistance. There would also be career resources that are specific to those in the military service so they can be prepared for life after they graduate.
Consider Learning Online
If the idea of enrolling in college and being fully immersed in civilian life is too overwhelming, there is always the option of learning and completing a degree entirely online. Nowadays, anyone can find a great option to earn their degree online or through a hybrid program that is half online and half in-person.
Apply for Financial Aid
Even though there is funding available to veterans looking to further their education, there are limits. Because of this, there is a chance that a person will need to take out private student loans in order to afford their education. Therefore, it is essential to know and understand the options available so they can afford to go to college. It would also be a good idea to submit a FAFSA application so they can fully know if they may also be entitled to federal or state financial aid.
Know Rejection is Possible
There may be times when all the steps were followed, the goals were set, the research was done, and then a letter comes in the mail, and it is a rejection letter. It is essential not to take rejection too personally. It happens and even if a veteran has their heart set on a specific school, make sure to have alternatives in case of rejection.
The transition back to civilian life can be overwhelming when someone leaves the military. This is because there are many uncertainties and worries, especially regarding returning to school. However, taking one step at a time and following these tips will aid in easing the process of going back to school after serving in the military.
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