Walking onto a college campus after leaving the military can be a disorienting experience for student veterans. While the environment is clearly new, navigating the world of higher education doesn’t have to be daunting. With a bit of preliminary homework, you’ll be surprised how easily you can find the place that’s the right fit for your educational goals.
In the spirit of Veterans Day, Fisher College thanks you for your service and sacrifice. We’d like to offer the following tips to help you get started on your journey toward a college degree:
1. You’ve Earned Your College Education, Take Advantage of the Benefit
A college education can be costly. It probably goes without saying, but you have your GI Bill available to you, don’t ignore it. There are also Yellow Ribbon supplemental funding. Work with your VA to determine exactly what benefits you qualify for before you start your college search. This will help you narrow your choices based on price. If your benefits don’t cover all of your chosen program costs, then don’t forget to complete your FAFSA to determine what other grant and loan programs will cover you.
2. Choose a Military Friendly Institution
Some schools are better for military veterans than others. With that said, seek out a few schools that have a reputation for being extra helpful to active-duty service members and veterans. Military friendly schools will make it no secret that they offer additional benefits, flexibility, and special programs for current military personnel or recent veterans. Also, find out if there is a Student Veterans of America chapter on campus and if there is a student veteran center or lounge. It’s important to veterans to have a place to gather, connect with other veterans, and ease into college life. Which brings me to our next point –
3. Take Your Time
While it’s often tempting to take on a full credit-load of classes right away, for many it becomes overwhelming. The main reason, it’s a complete change of life, of mindset, and of priority. Even most civilians have issues adapting to the increased workload, the new schedule and the expectations that come with higher education. It’s not necessarily that the workload and schedule are more challenging ... it’s different. Very different. You owe it to yourself to take your time, navigate the waters, and gauge your own comfort level as you proceed.
4. The VA is there for You, Use It!
The VA should be able to provide you with access to whatever resources you’ll need to get the college ball rolling. Especially when it comes to figuring out the right programs for you, pinning down a military friendly school, and even receiving benefits, your VA is key. As you go through your college search process, be sure to locate the Veterans Representative of campus as well.
5. Finally, Start Applying
Your paperwork is in order, your funding is in place, it’s now time to start sending those applications. Many offer online applications, like Fisher College, www.fisher.edu/applynow, and will waive the application fee.
Thank you for your service, once again. Fisher College has proudly carried the Military Friendly Institution designation for the past seven years. It’s our pleasure to share this information with you.
Also, don’t forget that after you’ve been accepted and you sit down with the registrar, you might have already earned a whole bunch of DD-214 credits, which could save you a little extra time and money, speeding you forward toward graduation even faster.