How Your Military Experience Gives You an Advantage in College

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  • It’s common for members of the military services to struggle a little bit once they decide to rejoin civilian life.

    While this kind of hesitation is only natural after years spent in a highly-structured environment, there are actually many advantages veteran status confers upon prospective college students.

    Military experience not only looks great on a school application, but it also has several distinct benefits that help veterans enter and succeed in academic programs. If you are currently in the military or are a veteran looking into your higher education options, here is what you should consider.

    Education Benefits of the GI Bill

    Many younger American veterans can take advantage of the training and educational benefits offered by the post-9/11 GI Bill. The bill provides financial assistance for a wide range of academic programs, including tuition at approved colleges and universities. Financial aid, even if it only covers part of the costs associated with a planned educational program, can give students more flexibility to focus on their courses rather than dividing attention between school and work.

    Benefits of Mature and Responsible Conduct

    A strict sense of discipline and careful attention to personal conduct are both required to succeed in military life. Fortunately, both of these skills translate very well into college and can provide a lot of small benefits. Consistently treating professors and other students respectfully is a great way to lay the groundwork for a future professional network.

    Developed Organizational and Planning Skills

    Years of service in the military allows for much higher levels of personal organization and planning skills compared to the average college freshman. Heading into a higher education environment as a veteran can be a lot easier than it is for most, especially when it comes to budgeting personal time and meeting schedules. Many veterans also learn how to manage and share domestic living spaces with their peers, which can also be a very useful skill for those seeking roommates during their college years.

    Application of Military Occupational Experience

    Many veterans enter the classroom with a wide range of experience gained from practical and professional assignments during their career, including some technical training and tasks. Understanding the specifications and demands placed on various equipment in different environments, like military cable or logistics software, can be very useful in computer or engineering courses.

    Veterans should always consider all of their options, especially related to financing, when considering going to school. Personal financial security allows students more freedom to explore themselves and take full advantage of their academic experiences. Several years of service are also a good opportunity to explore different fields and potential occupations, allowing you to focus on programs that already hold your interest.

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