After serving in the military, many veterans look for ways to continue to serve in civilian life. The military provided valuable skills and life experiences, and it’s time to put those assets to good use in this next chapter of your life. That’s why many veterans decide that their next step is going back to school.
More than a million U.S. veterans use the GI Bill and other benefits to earn a college degree. We’ve outlined some of the considerations veterans should take before going back to school.
It’s not uncommon for veterans to pursue a degree that taps into their military experience, like cybersecurity, computer science, or information technology. Many online degree programs can help you earn your bachelor’s or take an accelerated program in the diverse and lucrative world of technology. With online programs, you don’t have to give up your day job while working toward your educational goals.
Earning a degree in computer science or information technology can also launch you toward some of today’s most-needed — and highest paying — careers. For example, IT management, data analytics, or database administration often result in six-figure salaries.
Veterans can use the GI Bill, along with other sources of tuition assistance and scholarships, for their own education, as well as their family’s. Since 2009, the Post-9/11 GI Bill has contributed over $55 billion in educational funding for veterans and their families. You can even take advantage of these funds while still on active duty.
Like most colleges and universities, using the Post-9/11 GI Bill can often cover a percentage of your tuition and fees, as well as provide a monthly housing allowance. For those looking for out-of-state or private tuition, consider the Yellow Ribbon Program. In addition to these two military-specific programs, veterans can make college more affordable with state and federal low-interest loans, grants, and scholarships.
In the military, you learn how to react quickly and live life on a tight schedule. Fortunately, these skills are also the foundation for good study habits. Scheduling how long you study, when to take breaks, and how much to cover will come a lot easier to veterans. Think about the ways you succeeded in the military and how you can transfer these skills to your classes.
How you kept your space clean and clutter-free in the military is also going to come in handy for college. Staying organized not only helps you find all of your study materials when you need them, but it also gets rid of messy distractions.
Most college campuses have an abundance of majors and schedules, but will they be the right fit for you? Before you choose a major, contact an academic advisor to find out more about your options. Get Schooled recommends asking questions like: Is this the best place to get a degree in this field? How do the professors teach and what are the time slots for these classes? If none of these answers suffice right now, consider making a college back-up plan.
Online college consultants at College Info Geek suggest deciding on a back-up major. Choose one similar enough to your current one that you don’t have to retake a bunch of classes, but different enough that you are able to work around your first choice’s challenges. You can also try for some real-world experience in your major, especially if you aren’t sure that it’s the career for you. Taking a part-time course load can help free up your schedule for work experience.
Veteran and First Responder Friendly Businesses of Maryland is all about making connections. We can all benefit when veterans and first responders are better connected to their communities. If your post-military career isn’t fulfilling, going back to school can offer you a new path. Check out resources that help with financial literacy, starting a business, earning a degree, and more!