By Debbie Gregory.
All too often, veteran students and military students (active duty and reservists) find themselves struggling to succeed in higher education. For some, the pitfalls might be financial, while for others, it might be the challenges of dealing with physical or psychological injuries.
Returning to higher education for veteran and military students can cause added stress to an already stressful transition for those who have been away from academics for many years.
Also, the manner in which GI Bill benefits are processed, arriving well after the semester has started, can be a huge stumbling block.
One huge advantage is having a well-informed veterans’ resource center on campus.
Many veterans are entering higher education after a prolonged break from school. There are programs that can assist in preparing them.
The Wounded Warrior Project’s TRACK program is the first education center in the nation designed specifically for wounded service members. As part of the cohort model, Wounded Warrior Project Alumni join other wounded service members who have shared similar experiences. They enter and complete the program as a team. Through this 12-month program, wounded service men and women take part in a whole-life approach to education, earn college credits that can be applied toward a degree, and gain valuable practical experience through an externship.
The Warrior-Scholar Project is an academic boot camp aimed at veterans who plan on attending or transferring to a 4-year college. Funded by foundations and private donors, the one and two-week programs are immersive and demanding. Veterans run the sessions, which are taught by university professors and graduate students. The curriculum is designed to help participants prepare to tackle the reading lists of rigorous college courses.
Veterans Upward Bound is a federal program run by the U.S. Department of Education that helps veterans prepare to be college students.
Veterans who come to college do so with a certain level of intensity, mission focus, discipline and structure from military life that is different from the mindset of traditional students. Anything that can be done to set these veteran students and military students up for success benefits us all.