I recently attended a military Family Day event as an education provider and I was – and still am – a little stumped. Why were so many people overlooking an opportunity to accelerate their careers?
There were more than 1,000 people in attendance, and an estimated 50 tables displaying service providers. Most of the attendees concentrated on the “freebies”– not the information.
I get it – “freebies” are neat. But, education isn’t a “freebie.” It’s actually better. It’s an investment that can pay off throughout your life.
Build on Your Military Experience
Think about the life lessons and numerous technical skills you’ve learned in the service. Better than anyone, you know that what you’ve learned is invaluable because it determines your future success.
Fortunately, some colleges and universities are making possible to build on your military experience so you can attain a degree that will help prepare you to reach that next military rank or to enter a new career when your service ends. Some universities will even accept training programs that you completed in the military and transfer them so they become college credits.
The Best Education “Freebies” For Military Personnel
If you are serving in the military, you qualify for education benefits that pay for your tuition. Personnel in most services can obtain between $4,000 and $4,500 a year (renewed every year) to attend an institution of higher education. There are bypass tests like CLEP (College Level Examination Program) and DSST that are funded by the Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) that give you the opportunity to earn college credit for what you already know by taking an introductory college subject exam.
The Typical Barriers Resolved
With all this in mind, why isn’t there a line of people in front of every college and university table at Family Day events?
Some of the answers I received from attendees at the event I mentioned above were:
“My job takes too much of my time.”
“I go TDY a lot.”
“I have a family.”
“It’s been a while since college.”
Do any of these sound familiar? Military-friendly universities have tackled these roadblocks for you. You can do a program online for the convenience of fitting your schedule. And, at the same time, you enjoy opportunities to interact with faculty and peers in your courses.
Roadblocks to Earning a Degree
What else is keeping you from finishing a degree? For many, it’s a matter of motivation, or not knowing what to do or who to ask about the next step. If this is you, check out the Military Veteran Service Centers that some universities have. These centers offer resources ranging from support staff that has been where you are now to no-cost academic tutoring.
Steps to Accelerate Your Career with Education
So, here’s a plan to get you started:
Pick three universities/colleges that have a degree program that interests you. If you’re not sure exactly what interests you, choose a degree like Management or Business. Ask those schools for a free evaluation of your credits (military and civilian). You’ll have to do a little work to get them copies of your previous academic transcripts.
When you get the evaluations back, review them for how many credits they’ll accept, and how many credits you need to take to finish your degree. The more credit accepted, the more affordable the pathway can be to completing your degree.
Find out if the schools will accept CLEP/DSST exams for credit you need.
Talk to your Education Office representative about how to schedule an exam to fulfill those gaps.
When you are done with these three steps, you will have picked a university, received a no-obligation evaluation (so you are aware of what it takes to finish a degree) and you will have signed up for free testing to start on your Education Roadmap path.
Oh and one more thing. Many institutions waive application fees for veterans and for active duty service people. Frankly, that is something all of us can appreciate.
Take your next step to an investment in yourself and your family that can make a difference in your future!