CollegeCan You Do College While In The Military

Can You Do College While In The Military


The Unique Challenges Of Balancing Military Service And College

Can You Go To College While in The Military? (United States Army)

Everyone has a different experience when balancing military service with college, but Furlong knows first-hand the challenges that are unique to the community.

A lot of have been out of school for so long, jumping back into it can be daunting, he says.

He also recognizes that many of our undergraduate students tend to be non-traditional. They have families, children, and jobs because they have bills to pay, he adds. They are often older than traditional undergraduates, as they are not enrolling in classes right out of high school. These non-traditional students, including those who are taking courses while enlisted, have to learn to juggle their many responsibilities so that neither coursework nor their service duties suffer.

For those who are actively serving while balancing work and school, Furlong offers this tip: Start out with just one or two classes and gauge your course load and time management from there. Communication with advisors and instructors is key to being successful in your program.

Transferring military skills is something that many newly enrolled military students need assistance with, and planning the right educational path can take some time. In the end, he says, your chosen career path may not share the same skills or trades that were used most during your time in the military.

The Benefits Of Furthering Your Education While Serving

Whether you plan to stay in the military after your expiration-term of service or go into civilian life, pursuing an education while you are still serving can make a lot of sense. Here are five reasons to pursue education now.

  • If you stay in the military, you are more likely to get promoted. Taking courses in your MOS can develop your skills faster than just getting military training. That means you will be a more desirable candidate for a promotion within your specialty area.
  • The military gives promotion points for each college credit you earn. So, no matter what you study, you can rank up faster.
  • If you aspire to be an officer, you will most likely need a four-year degree. Just because you didn’t start your career on a track to become an officer doesn’t mean you can’t do so now. The most common way that enlisted service members become officers is to enroll in an officer training program. To get accepted, you need a four-year degree.
  • If you decide to transition to civilian life, you’ll have a head start. It’s easy to feel like you are “behind” when entering the civilian world after serving in the military. You may be surrounded by people your age who already have degrees or are well into their careers. However, when you earn a diploma or degree while you are in the service, you essentially “make up time”– you don’t have to start at square one after leaving the military.
  • What Do I Need To Do To Get Started

    If you would like to see what your options are, start with your installations education center. They should be able to tell you what schools are available, what classes you can take, and what you need to do to get started.

    Make sure you develop a good plan and stay organized through the process of going to school while serving as active duty in the military.

    CollegeRecon is a military education and transition resource. We provide online tools and actionable info to better understand your Post-9/11 GI Bill and military and veteran education benefits programs.

    Find info on top online degree programs for military using their Post-9/11 GI Bill, as well as ways to pay for school such as scholarships for military and veterans. We can also assist you through your transition with certificate, training, and career options after you leave the military.

    CollegeRecon is built exclusively for veterans, active military, the National Guard, Reserves, military spouses and dependents of the US Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and DoD to assist in their education journey.


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    What Obstacles Do Active

    Active duty servicemembers always face the chance of deployment. What if a student starts classes and then gets deployment orders, orders to go to training, or are temporarily assigned elsewhere? Spittler says NU has military-friendly policies in place to help their students navigate such issues.

    Active-duty servicemembers also may have irregular schedules that make even online education difficult to sustain, such as 24-hour shifts, followed by an immediate call back to work.

    Not all military work is from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., which are typical military hours, she says. Advisors are available when these students need options and solutions. Sometimes military students need to drop a class, but again, the four-week monthly start format of National classes provides many opportunities for students to jump back in when they are ready. Other students may need to drop classes for a period of time when their annual Tuition Assistance runs out or when they cant afford the books required for a class.

    Spittler says that advisors will tell students in this situation, Thats OK, well check in with you in a couple of months. You can let me know where youre at.

    Slow And Steady Wins The Race

    How to Make the Most of Military Education Benefits

    Getting a degree in the Army or one of the other branches of the military is particularly hectic during active duty. For this reason, many people choose to wait until theyve finished serving. Nonetheless, higher education is possible as long as you take a slow approach.

    Dont think you have to stress yourself by taking four classes a semester while working full-time. CLEP and DSST exams can get you six or more credits a semester, and you can extend your education through many years without penalty.

    You may also want to enroll with a fellow active duty recruit, a close friend or a spouse. Teaming up can help you stay on track and provide motivation when youre already exhausted from working all day.


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    What The Recruiter Never Told You

    Excerpts from Rod Powers Articles in Military.Com. What the Recruiter Never Told You

    Rod Powers has covered the US Military for since 1999. He is the author of ASVAB for Dummies, Barrons Officer Candidate School Tests, Veterans Benefits for Dummies, ASVAB AFQT for Dummies, Basic Training for Dummies, and 1,001 ASVAB Practice Questions for Dummies. Rod is wholly familiar with military life, having been stationed or deployed to several bases around the world during his 22 years of service, before retiring as an E-8, First Sergeant. His military decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal with three oak-leaf clusters.

    Use of this article is not an endorsement by the US Department of Defense and its subordinate agencies. Some of the information presented can change or become obsolete without notice. The resource is used solely as a general description of processes found within the public domain dealing with the military services recruiting environment. Excerpts are provided with permission of the author.

    Should I Join the Military?

    If you like to smoke a joint once in a while, dont join. The military uses random, no-notice urinalysis, and if youre found positive, you may very well go to jail . The DOD urinalysis test can find THC in your urine for three weeks after youve smoked a joint.

    Its often a good idea to bring a parent or relative with you for your first visit.

    Common Courtesy

    Getting Down to Basics

    Job Qualifications

    Enlistment Contracts

    What Are Some Of The Ways Family And Friends Can Support Student Veterans During Their Time Of Transition

    Most veterans will need their family and friends as support during their academic journey. In my case, I almost quit my doctoral studies when I was nearly completed. I was so tired and my patience meter was on empty. However, I had my squad of family , friends, and cohorts who I could go and talk to. In the midnight hour, that was a godsend. Specifically, I took a few hours away from studies to rest my mind and talked with my brother. Since he went through the same experience, he put things into perspective with respect to the writing my dissertation.

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    What Are The Best Military

    California State University-SacramentoSacramento, California

    Specifically, we considered factors such as whether colleges had a dedicated point of contact for support services for military personnel, whether colleges were members of the Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges program, whether colleges offered credit for military training, whether colleges had a recognized student veteran organization, and whether colleges participated in the Yellow Ribbon Program.

    Dr. David Grantham, a former officer and special agent for the U.S. Air Force, shared his experience with choosing a military-friendly college. “I had the privilege of attending Texas Christian University and joining the history departments Ph.D. program after separating from military service. TCUs excellent veteran services and financial generosity was the main reason I chose the school. … It was also the staffs treatment of veterans and their willingness to consider my circumstances along with my academic credentials.”

    Our goal is to provide a comprehensive academic resource for military veterans, active service members, reservists, and military dependents across the country.

    At BestColleges, we believe a college education is one of the most important investments you will make. We want to help you navigate the college selection process by offering school rankings that are transparent, inclusive, and relevant for online students.

    What Are Tools You See Veterans Using To Succeed Once They Get To College

    College while in the military

    Writing Center Our veteran students like the writing center. The writing center will connect with students from anywhere in the world. If they are deployed in Iraq, they can still set up a time to get support from the writing center tutors.

    Library Research Support I tell every class that I teach to reach out to the library â librarians love to get research questions and to help students. When students finally do reach out to the library , they are shocked at how true this is. Students always say, âI thought you were kidding! But they really do love answering research questions.â I had a Coast Guard student who was working all day on base and worked in the evening on his school projects. He said his wife was mad that he was having such a good time talking to someone at 11PM he had to convince her it really was the librarian. Helping students become lifelong learners is a passion of mine and it happens by connecting them with a community that is dedicated to learning.

    Veterans Club The veterans club is a great way to connect with other students. They are a dedicated group of students who really want to support one another. I keep encouraging them to just go to the beach, hang out, have some fun â but that’s more difficult for this service-oriented group of students.

    Read Also: How Do I Get Proof Of Military Service

    Online Degrees That Build Work Skills

    Through a college education, active-duty students can enhance their existing job skills and even advance in rank as they apply what theyve learned to their positions. Spittler explains that a few of the more common National programs known to help military students advance in their careers include information technology management, cybersecurity, and leadership programs.

    Some servicemembers choose programs that closely relate to what they are doing on active duty. For instance, many military medics or corpsmen pursue online or on-campus registered nursing programs. While you can serve as a Navy hospital corpsman without being a registered nurse, this educational experience can help you enter the nursing field after active duty.

    Other students decide to pursue degrees that dont relate to their role in the military, opting for something that they might consider to be more marketable when they transition out of service, Spittler says. The variety of programs NU offers, more than 75 in all, gives them a lot of options to choose from and the one-month course format is very attractive to a servicemember who may need to pause for a month and then restart classes again.

    Nuclear Propulsion Officer Candidate Program

    If you are interested in being part of one of the top nuclear programs in the world, look into the NUPOC program. It offers:

    • Up to $168,300 while finishing your degree
    • A regular monthly income ranging from $3,280 to $5,610 for up to 30 months prior to your graduation
    • A generous military salary
    • Naval Nuclear Power School Instructor
    • Naval Nuclear Power Training Unit Instructor

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    College While Active Duty In The Air Force

    Going to college while on active duty in the Air Force is a little bit different than if youve served in other military branches. The Air Force and Space Force can issue their own college credits and degrees through their own school, Community College of the Air Force . Typically, active duty recruits who attend the CCAF will have an educational focus in one of their military specialties and combine credits from military training, CCAF and off-duty courses.

    The CCAF is partnered with 112 affiliated Air and Space Force schools, offers 71 different degree programs and has 300 Education Service Offices worldwide. Its basically the largest community college system in the world, and best served for those who want to continue in the military and related careers or use their competitive training once theyre finished serving.

    What Types Of Financial Assistance Are Available To Help Those In The Military Pay For College

    Should I Join the Military After High School?

    There are a variety of financial aid packages available to service members wishing to pursue higher education. The most popular options are administered through the V.A. and include:

    For service members who choose to attend private, foreign, or out of state colleges, the standard benefits may not cover the entire cost of tuition. For those students, the Post-9/11 bill also has a provision in place called the Yellow Ribbon Program.

    Each branch of the military also administers its own tuition assistance programs that may help defray the cost of college courses. To determine your eligibility, you should check with your individual branch.

    Additionally, service members and their families may be eligible for dozens of grants and scholarships to help them defray the cost of higher education.

    Also Check: What Is The Military Life Insurance Benefit

    Enlist Support From Friends And Family

    Eduction and life in general are easier to handle when your family and friends support your goals. Be sure to let them know how important your dream of an education is and do your best to support them in return.

    Remember, each situation, degree plan, unit work load, and other factors are different, so you may need to exercise more flexibility and patience if you want to attend classes while on active duty. I feel very fortunate to have been able to complete my Bachelors Degree while on active duty because it gave me options when it came time to make the decision to reenlist or separate from the military. Ultimately, I chose to separate from the military because I was ready for a new challenge in life. But I am forever grateful for the opportunity I had to achieve my degree and make that decision.

    Do you have any tips for taking classes while on active duty?

    Create Your Own Learning Schedule

    Students taking classes online are able to construct their day-to-day schedules. Otherwise, you will be subject to the in-class schedule for lectures.

    This means more flexibility for students who have jobs during the day, who are running their kids carpool, or who are active duty and balancing getting a career while serving their country.

    Also Check: Which Military Branch Makes The Most Money

    The Active Duty College Student

    For Davila, getting into a college program was one thing, balancing all his responsibilities was quite another. Corporal Davila quickly found that pursuing an education while remaining on active duty was a significant undertaking. Thankfully, his Marine Corps training and his natural talents have allowed him to thrive under the pressure and manage the grueling workload.

    Sure, Im an active duty Marine, explains Eduardo, but our military education center has me going to school all day and I continue to build my skills. Im at work by 7 am every day, working with six other Marines to provide ground support for the aviation wing. Were really busy. But the Marines Corps is giving me the time and flexibility to pursue my classes while doing my job.

    At the same time, Davila has been working diligently on his Bachelor of Science in Information Systems degree at National University. The program links business and technology and focuses on the crucial information systems needs of corporations: data communications, systems analysis, system development, database management system, project management, enterprise architecture, IT infrastructure and IS strategy, management, and acquisition.

    The ability to take classes online and the highly flexible nature of the month-long class schedules available through National University have permitted Corporal Davila to manage his Marine Corps duties, his ongoing technology training, and his educational pursuits.

    Are You Ready To Find Your Fit

    Getting A 4-Year Degree While Active Duty Military | Impossible?!

    Active-duty military personnel can prepare for civilian life by earning a college degree. These learners often face unique challenges, such as establishing residency for tuition purposes, transitioning between military and civilian learning styles, and balancing coursework with other responsibilities.

    Fortunately, the best online colleges for the military offer numerous degrees and extensive support services. According to the Postsecondary National Policy Institute, 75% of student veterans attended college full time in 2018. Nearly half of these learners earned a degree while raising children. Many online programs deliver coursework asynchronously and employ advisors who work solely with service members.

    The federal government promotes higher education with the GI Bill®. This bill provides significant financial assistance to qualifying degree-seekers. In 2017, revisions to the bill included expanded financial aid to Purple Heart recipients and refunds if a learner’s school closes. Service members can also apply for private and institutional funding.

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