In our blog series we have presented a number of considerations we feel are important for you when considering on which college to attend, particularly when you are making the making the transition from the military to college.
So far, we have discussed thinking long-term and to determine your life, career, and educational goals. You have also started the process of researching the schools and programs you are interested in and that will help you attain your life and career goals.
We also introduced you the importance of understanding accreditation as it pertains to earning your college degree. You learned the difference between National, Regional, and Programmatic Accreditation.
We provided you with the ammunition you need to maximize your military training and experience by getting the “credit you deserve” and making sure it can be applied to your degree program. Additionally, information on the various military educational benefits available and how to maximize those benefits, was provided to you. Finally, you learned about setting and understanding expectations. What should you expect of your college, and what your college expects from you.
In this segment we will discuss some various support services that are important and should be part of your list of considerations when making the final choice as to which college to attend.
Find out the Academic Support Services that are available to you.
For the majority of servicemembers, going to college was not your first choice after high school, and in all likelihood, it has been some time since you were in an academic classroom. So it stands to reason that you may need some support from time to time in order to succeed.
- What tutoring services are available?
- Are they available if you are studying online?
- Is there an additional student fee for tutoring services?
- What kind of library support services are available? Can you access these online?
- Is there a writing center or lab available? Can it be accessed online as well?
- How accessible are the faculty to discuss issues with?
Understanding the academic support services available to you and how to access them can make all the difference in your academic career and help you to achieve your goals. Remember, you are not alone and there are resources available to you.
Find out what the institution has available for Student Support Services.
In general, student support services covers a very wide-range of services including, but are not limited to: athletics, student government, counseling, clubs and organizations, fraternity and sorority life, student leadership, and spiritual life. All of these support services help to enhance the overall student experience. There are two important aspects to student support services to take into consideration. The first being, are the same support services available to online students. Some very innovative schools have figured out ways for their online students to be involved in all aspects of student-life. The second, and most important to our discussion is; has the institution provided training to their staff and faculty on the challenges facing transitioning veterans? Ancillary to this is how many staff members are themselves veterans? It is important that the people supporting you throughout your college experience understand you as a student. You are not your typical college student attending college right out of high school. So it is important to find out if the school you are going to attend is truly prepared to support you throughout your college career.
Determine the level of Career Support Services that are available.
Career Services is much more than helping students with resume writing. Does the school you are planning on attending have intern and extern opportunities? How do you enroll in one? Are they available to online students? Do they conduct special programs on interviewing and making your elevator pitch? Do they conduct career fairs and invite employers to come to the campus and virtually to help their students find jobs? More important to you, the transitioning veteran, can they translate your military training and experience into civilian terms that then can be put into your resume? The better colleges and university have robust career services programs to help their student obtain the all important job once they finish their degree.
Now we come to the final step in the transition process –
Make your plan and follow it!
Throughout the series we have provided you with information important to the transitioning student veteran population. Information designed to help you make the best possible decision about what degree program you should study and what college to attend, and why. However, information is just information until it is combined with an action plan. So now it is up to you. You need to do your research, analyze the data, and make your plan to help you achieve your educational, career, and life goals. You got this! You are an American Veteran, there is nothing you cannot accomplish! We wish you well along your journey.