There are so many challenges when transitioning from military service to college, university, or trade programs. The good news is most veterans are very well versed in time management, productivity, and setting a routine. As a veteran you not only walk into a classroom as a student but, as an adult with a different perspective, and set of experiences.
In fact, researchers have demonstrated that student veterans perceive that college professors (63%), administrators (63%), and non-veteran students (70%) have little to no understanding of the rare challenges veterans face when making the transition from military service to a college campus
A Complex and Frustrating System
Navigating a university setting can be frustrating because it often feels disjointed or unstructured. It’s usually just organized in a way that might not make sense to you. The obvious path to success is more ambiguous. More than half of veterans are also first-generation college students. This makes understand the complexities of applying, entering, and enrolling in college a frustrating process.
We see veterans that want to “hit the ground running”. The application process is often too slow for a veteran who is ready to be productive. Pushing past those feelings of frustration for the process is one of the first hurdles you will encounter. It’s best to seek help from organizations that support veterans such a Veterans Upward Bound or Student Veterans of America.
You will find very quickly that college is quite different from military service. You’re trading the highly regimented schedule, rigidly assigned roles, and clearly defined rules of military service for a setting where schedules vary, roles are loosely defined, and everything is up for debate — even some of the rules.
Connecting with VUB will help you manage your expectations of the college, university, or trade school setting and how quickly you can expect the process to unfold. It’s best to take one action at a time and understand that the process can take longer than expected.
Explore Campus Services & Social Connectivity
The goal of a college, university, or trade school campus is to keep you supported and engaged. Many services that students access such as mental, and physical wellness are places that will be responsive to the needs of veterans. Seek veteran supporting events and engage with other veteran on your campus through campus groups, veterans’ organizations, and student government.
Your unique experiences in the service can create a feeling of isolation or loneliness when among your fellow students. Try finding others who understand what you’ve been through and can relate or share their own stories of struggle, transition, and triumph.