Members of the military thrive in highly collaborative, purpose-driven environments, which is why it’s so important for you to find meaningful work after—or between—your terms of service. While higher education provides many active and retired service members with valuable direction, skills, and networking opportunities, navigating the search process can be challenging. Here are five tips for finding the college that’s right for you:
1. Look for a school that fits your values. The military forms people of character and the right college should do the same. Review mission and value statements, meet with admissions counselors or professors, and visit campus—in person or virtually—to get to know the heart of the community you want to join.
2. Ask about resources for maximizing your military benefits. When it comes to understanding your benefits and the process of utilizing them, pick a university that offers the help you need. From learning more about benefits eligibility to submitting your paperwork, you shouldn’t have to go it alone.
3. Pay attention to military-friendly certifications. When a college receives a Yellow Ribbon or military-friendly designation, that means it has demonstrated a significant commitment to providing superior services to military students and their families.
4. Search for signs of sustainable support. It’s important to find a university that is committed to serving those who served. Look for an office or department dedicated to supporting the academic, social, and spiritual wellbeing of military-affiliated students.
5. Keep an eye out for special offers to military-affiliated students. Some colleges offer discounted tuition rates, scholarships, and streamlined financial aid processes to students with military experience. Make sure you do your research to find out what’s available to you.
About the Author
John Morris is the executive director of military and veteran services at Bethel University—a designated Yellow Ribbon and military-friendly school in St. Paul, Minnesota—where he supports and challenges military-affiliated students to lead with integrity and serve with purpose. Morris served three tours of duty in the Middle East as a chaplain in the Army National Guard, served at the Pentagon, created Minnesota’s “Beyond the Yellow Ribbon” program, and retired with the rank of colonel.