For decades now, returning Service Members have turned to their G.I. Bill benefits to sustain themselves while they try to figure what is next for their lives. Taking on higher education following service is an exciting, yet sometimes an uncertain undertaking, however; it is a great way to spark new interests and make new connections. Here is your guide to making the most out of your higher education experience!
Picking Your School:
Many schools across the country accept the G.I. Bill benefits. Not all, however, offer benefits for continued, life-long education. A common misconception is that career or technical trainnning schools offer transferable degrees. While these types of institutions may offer great programs that can propel you straight into a career of your choice, their credits are not transferrable to regionally accredited institutions, i.e. state universities and community colleges.
Whether you're getting started at the community college or university level, take some time to find local assets that can support you during your first school y ear. Organizations like S.E.E.4Vets afford grants to Veterans who place in remedial level courses so, Veterans do not have to spend G.I. Bill funding unnecessarily. Also, Veterans Upward Bound and the East Valley Veterans Education Center offers training in Math, Composition, and Computer Literacy to help Veterans place higher on entry exams. Lastly, the Military Assistance Mission (MAM) offers a financial assistance grant to new Student Veterans who are having difficulties paying bills before their G.I. Bill benefits have been dispersed by the Veterans Administration.
Know Your Professors:
While building your school schedule, be sure to visit www.ratemyprofessor.com to get a glimpse at what your experiece could be with a future professor. Once your schedule is built, take time to email your professors to introduce yourself and ask any questions that may be on your mind related to the curriculum. Building relationships early with your professors can help you gain access to scholarships and letters of recommendation which can position you to be a standout candidate for your next career.
Connect on Campus:
Diving into the campus community can be hugely rewarding. From clubs to volunteering opportunities, working together with your peers offers a new learning experience on its own, and can offer new roles in leadership. Most public community colleges and universities host chapters of the Student Veterans of America (SVA), an organization dedicated to connecting Student Veterans with each other, as well as to unique resources and scholarships. If you're looking for something else, you can check out other on campus clubs that serve your varying interests or particular academic studies, i.e. Engineering Clubs or Health Care Professionals Club, etc. Affording time to attend on-campus activities is another way to learn about scholarships and to have a network of peers who could be an asset when it is time to put yourself out on the job market.
Ask for Help:
If you are having difficulty in class, speak with your professors (especially if you already build rapport with them), attend tutoring sessions/labs, reach out to a fellow classmate, SVA member, or seek out a campus counselor. There are a plethora of campus resources available to help you be a successful student and all of these services are associated with your tuition. You are paying for the services, so make sure you are utilizing them when you need them.