The men and women of America’s armed forces deserve the opportunity to pursue excellence in a post-military service career. The G. I. Bill and military-friendly online universities help make that possible. The flexibility of online degree programs means military personnel can begin pursuing their education while still on active duty.
(Image via Flickr by Army Medicine)
There are nearly 200,000 veterans transitioning from military service every year, according to the Department of Labor (PDF). These men and women are seeking to move on to the next chapter of their lives and achieving a degree at an educational institution is a popular next step.
The choice of institutions ranges in the variety of degrees they offer as well as the type of degree awarded. Individuals should decide whether they want a technical education or a more formal degree, ranging from an associate’s to a master’s degree, before choosing a school. It is important for military and non-military students to consider what their future goals are before diving in.
Once they have a clear vision of their end goals, they can begin searching for a military-friendly university that will give them the best education while addressing their specific needs.
So what should a current service member or veteran look for when furthering his or her education? The most important quality is that the individual should feel comfortable in the program and see that the opportunity will help him or her attain a specific goal. Here are a few other elements that will help military members choose the best university for them.
An abundance of resources - Having a centralized network of resources is important for both veterans and active duty military members who may have specific needs. A one-stop shop where students and family members can access health resources, career services, and lifestyle tips is a boon to those who are making the transition.
Affordable education - Whether this affordability comes in the form of fee waivers, grants, G. I. benefits or tuition assistance, a university should be able to offer reasonable pricing for a quality education. The men and women who so bravely put their lives on hold for the greater good should see some benefits when moving forward with their lives. If they have decided to further their education, they can do so without setting themselves back financially.
Academic counseling services - Whether it is for financial or academic purposes, it is important that the university has a strong counseling service. Ashford University provides every student with advisors to help counsel them from enrollment to commencement, so the entire education journey from start to finish runs smoothly.
Transfer credits - Make sure the university gives credit where credit is due. Before enrolling, ensure that the school accepts military credits and is familiar with evaluating military transcripts so military members do not fall behind.
A strong Web presence - The amount of resources and information reflected on an institution’s website greatly reflects how much it values creating a positive experience for returning veterans and military members. A website with a military-specific section that emphasizes special programs, multiple resources available, and student veteran organizations is a good indicator of a truly military-friendly university, like Ashford. This type of support from the beginning shows that the university is invested in continuing education.
Earning a degree following any type of service can be a large step for military families. But the knowledge and opportunities that are attained through the university can help individuals move forward with their lives and attain their goals. Any school can claim to be military supporter, but only some truly give the support that is necessary.
To learn more about how military-friendly online universities like Ashford can help veterans pursue a degree and future civilian career, visit www.ashford.edu/military.htm.
Miles Young is a freelance writer, designer, and tech/business columnist. When he’s not writing about the latest in technology, he’s windsurfing or walking his dog Max.