Military Connection: Why Choose Veteran-Friendly Schools? By Joe Silva

American Sentinel University Logo

For Veterans, going back to school can be a daunting experience. The first obstacle is selecting the school where you will be using your GI Bill benefits. With so many choices, the selection process can seem like a considerable undertaking. How are Veterans supposed to know which school is the right one?

Steve Hicks retired from the U.S. Air Force in 2006 as a Command Chief Master Sergeant (E-9). Anyone who served should know that someone in Hicks’ pay grade has been there, done that, and should have a pretty good handle on decision making. But in a recent interview, Hicks admitted that like hundreds of thousands of other Veterans, he found the prospect of going back to school intimidating. The Air Force Chief wasn’t sure about how to use his education benefits, or how to start the application/enrollment process.

The one thing that Hicks did know, for sure, was his area of study. Hicks is now enrolled in the Bachelor of Science Geographic Information Systems at American Sentinel University.

“From my job, I knew I wanted a GIS degree,”  CMSgt. Hicks said. “I looked online and found several schools that offered the program. I chose American Sentinel because their military-friendly aspect caught my attention.”

American Sentinel University prides itself on its military-friendly education programs and distance learning. Their military education programs offer an online format that is ideal for military students from any branch of the military, including the Guard and Reserves. Online courses are flexible, and allow for students to log in to their classrooms anomalous to set location or time as with a traditional program. It is for these reasons that American Sentinel University was selected to receive the final Military Connection Veteran School Salute for 2014.

Veterans should take into consideration factors such as: schedules, availability and ability to complete the course when selecting a school and degree program. The staff at American Sentinel University walked Hicks through every step of the admissions and enrollment process, ensuring that he understood and was comfortable with the decisions that he was making.

Hicks said that the online coursework was ideal for his post-military career as a contractor who still deploys. He also said that he had enrolled in one class while he was deployed in Afghanistan. With each online course offering engaging discussion forums, there are ample opportunities to remain connected with the other students and faculty in the class, regardless of where in the world they are. At the start of one particular class, he logged in and saw a familiar name appear in the class discussion board… it was his co-worker, an Army Veteran, in the very next room.

American Sentinel’s commitment to Veterans doesn’t stop once they are enrolled. Hicks said that there is consistent support at the school, and that he was always able to find the answers to any of his questions regarding benefits or academics. Hicks was happy with the support he received from American Sentinel beginning with the very first phone call.

Retired CMSgt. Hicks is scheduled to graduate from American Sentinel University with a B.S. Geographic Information Systems in October 2015. He offered these words of advice to any Veterans thinking about using their GI Bill benefits to go back to school, but who might be feeling intimidated:

“Just do it! Get it started. There are all kinds of reasons to quit or stall your schooling. But you just got to suck it up– adjust your schedule, do whatever it takes to get your education.”

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit, the go to site.

Military Connection: Why Choose Veteran-Friendly Schools? By Joe Silva