Whether you're currently enlisted, or transitioning from the military to college, here are some helpful tips we've compiled from Veteran comments regarding their higher education experience.
Start with a few courses to ease into the transition
Whenever you can, select a mix of classes that vary in the amount of required reading, assignment styles, and skill sets utilized.
Take detailed notes
Taking detailed notes can help you stay on top of the material, especially if you have trouble focusing.
Reach out to your professors or your school and ask for their help
Professors are there to help you learn and can suggest strategies. Some online schools offer student services advisors to assist with your educational goals and others also provide academic success counselors dedicated to providing supplemental support.
Studying: notes, breaks, and partners
Before you begin studying, select a quiet location that you find comfortable. Plan to take many short breaks– particularly if you find you distract easily when studying a certain subject. Writing down notes as you read can often help students to better retain the information. When applicable, studying with a partner also helps some students.
Take advantage of the school's resources such as academic services, tutoring, and counseling
If it's been awhile since you were in school or you had difficulty learning while in high school, seek out the many academic and counseling resources available at your college. Such resources are designed to help you identify your learning needs and help you succeed in college. A military-friendly college will offer services, centers, and opportunities just for service members and veterans.
Participate in student activities as a way to break down barriers between you and other students
In addition to joining the local student veterans club, you might consider getting involved in online student veteran peer communities and/or on-campus activities. This type of involvement could help you feel more connected to fellow students and the larger campus community.
Realize and accept that others may not agree with you or understand your service in the military.
Agree to disagree – nearly everyone has an opinion about the military and wars. Respectfully decline to answer any question that makes you feel uncomfortable. By choosing a military-friendly online college, you can limit these types of scenarios.
Regular exercise and relaxation techniques can help reduce overall anxiety and improve concentration
Learn to recognize your own signs of physical and mental stress and seek help before you are overwhelmed
Get plenty of rest, exercise, healthy food – these habits can help keep you strong both physically and mentally
Address service-related issues before beginning your first semester
Get the medical care you need from the VA hospital before starting classes so that you will be able to fully succeed at being an online student.
Don't take all of your general education courses first
Make sure to use an advisor or academic counselor to help you choose your classes each session.
Set and keep a consistent time and place to complete your coursework each week
This time and place will serve as your classroom for the remainder of your program, so make sure you are comfortable and productive.
Break your long-term goal of graduation into small short-term goals
For example, work with your academic advisor to set a graduation date for yourself, and then identify how many classes you need to take each session to graduate. Focus your energy on passing each class during the session, and before you know it, you’ll be practicing your walk across the graduation stage.
In an online college setting, discover your preferred learning-style
Any learning preference can be adapted toward an online environment, because YOU have the flexibility to create your own classroom experience.
Communicate! Communicate! Communicate!
Ask your family and friends to help you in attaining your graduation goal when competing priorities or unexpected life situations interfere with you completing your coursework. Communicate these issues with faculty and staff and ask for advice to help you catch up and successfully complete your coursework. You are not alone in completing your degree.