Many military students experience similar challenges when transitioning back to civilian life, whether it’s trying to decide which career to pursue or simply adjusting to being back in the real world. For students who want to go back to school, one way to make the transition easier is by picking a military-friendly college.
What is a military-friendly school?
Military-friendly schools have significant support systems in place for military personnel. While academic support is a key feature among military-friendly colleges, the best schools for former service members also offer other advantages such as offering college credit for military training, having student veteran organizations, and participating in tuition assistance programs such as the Yellow Ribbon Program.
How do you find a military-friendly school?
It’s not always easy to determine whether a school is supportive of veterans, but there are some things to look for when you’re looking at schools or training programs.
First off, ensure they have academic support services for active-duty service members and military veterans. Student veterans often experience hurdles when attending college, such as juggling childcare or healing from injuries sustained during active duty. Academic support can be crucial for choosing your major and navigating financial aid and your GI Bill.
What is the difference between a military-friendly school and a military school?
Military schools or academies are designed to prepare students for service in the U.S. Military officer corps. Students are educated in a military environment, following similar rules and protocols used in the armed forces.
Military-friendly schools are not affiliated with the military, but they do have support programs to help students transition out of their active-duty military experience. A military-friendly school will help students with education benefits and connect them to social programs and student groups to help veterans acclimate to the traditional university environment.
What are the most military-friendly colleges?
According to BestColleges.com, the top three most military-friendly colleges are the University of Florida, American University in Washington D.C., and California State University, Bakersfield.
The University of Florida is highly ranked because it hosts several military support services, including the Collegiate Veterans Success Center, Office of Student Veteran Services, and Collegiate Veterans Society. The school offers military benefits such as the Yellow Ribbon Program, tuition assistance, GI Bill benefits, and other veterans’ financial aid and educational benefits. Tuition rates are average at the University of Florida compared to other universities.
American University is located just a few miles away from the Department of Veterans Affairs headquarters, and student veterans often benefit from the school’s extensive professional networks and career opportunities in Washington D.C.
AU also has a work-study program in its Veterans Service Office, which provides stipends to veterans and other former military service members who work at the university.
California State University is highly rated because it hosts several events and programs for veterans and service members, including workshops, clubs, military-related holiday gatherings, and even a veterans recognition ceremony.
Eleven Fifty Academy in Indiana is also a great option for former service members. Enrollment in immersive bootcamps is often perfect for returning military personnel: It’s fast-paced, challenging, and can land graduates in jobs within months of starting the program.
Eleven Fifty also has veteran resources to help student veterans transition into their new training program, including a downloadable Civilian Tech Career Transition Checklist and a presentation on 5 Reasons Why Veterans Are a Great Fit For Cybersecurity.
What college offers the most military credit?
Some colleges offer military students academic credit for their training, helping veterans reach their higher education goals and graduate with either a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree more quickly. According to Study.com, some of the best colleges for military credit include Northwestern Health Sciences University (Bloomington, Minn.), Cuyahoga Community College (Cleveland), and CUNY College of Staten Island (New York City).
Northwestern Health Sciences University accepts military training for college credit as long as it is relevant to the student veteran’s major. Cuyahoga Community College also recognizes military training for veterans and has four scholarship opportunities specifically for veterans who want to get their associate degree.
CUNY College of Staten Island offers veterans in-state tuition benefits without residency requirements, and may accept up to 18 college credits for military training, depending on eligibility.
What are the best online colleges for veterans?
Online college is often the perfect way for student veterans to pursue higher education. Obtaining an online degree is flexible yet still allows veterans to dive into a new field of study and find a career.
Some of the best online colleges for veterans include tech programs such as Eleven Fifty Academy. It’s a relatively quick program, with full-time courses only taking 12 to 14 weeks to complete. Students can choose between in-person and online programs, depending on location and personal preference.
If you’re trying to decide between a college vs. coding bootcamp, it’s important to determine your preferred style of learning. Think about whether you want to finish school quickly or if you’d rather take your time and spend two to four years studying in a degree program. One of the advantages of a university is that you can change your major later on if you’re not excited two years into a degree that bores you.