Featured Image Caption: Army Man Sitting on Chair
New students coming into universities from the military, or existing students straddling the two worlds, face an array of unique challenges. Fortunately, universities are increasingly aware of these types of issues faced by military members enrolled as students and, accordingly, have taken more steps in recent times to help them cope. Here are the top ways that universities are stepping up to help their students in the military.
Flexible Housing Options
Many schools, for good reason, require incoming freshmen to live on campus in school housing for at least the first year of school. These students are typically fresh, high school graduates in the 17-19 age range, and college are often the first time they’ve been away from home for an extended period of time. However, many military members have their own reasons for wanting to live off-campus.
For example, military members are much more likely to already have families, or they may be more mature, due to higher ages and greater life experience, than the average incoming freshmen. Accordingly, more and more schools are willing to waive these on-campus requirements for military members who become students.
Fostering New Community
Military life, by its very nature, is highly regimented. Members are given the food they eat, the clothes they wear, and the activities they engage in on a daily basis. The military does this to break down individual identity and rebuild a cohesive, single identity to build a military unit’s togetherness.
The transition to university life, where individuals have far greater control over how they see their place in the world, can be a challenge. Many universities, to address these challenges, are engaging military members in social activities called “extramural” to help them reshape their place in the world after leaving service.
Student Veteran Outreach
Several universities have created outreach programs specifically geared toward military members, often with staff whose sole responsibility is connecting with student veterans and addressing their unique issues and concerns.
While the culture of veterans often includes a hesitancy to reach out for help, the student outreach coordinator focusing on veterans often does the initial outreach on their end to make the process easier.
Financial Aid Assistance
The GI Bill and other programs specifically benefiting veterans can be hard to navigate for service members. Many universities have specially trained staff now to help students coming from the military apply and receive all the financial awards they are entitled to for their service.
Sometimes, on-campus classes just aren’t the most convenient, especially for those in the military or those who have been. Military members may need to move abruptly due to their assignments. Veterans may also need to start working full- or part-time, or they may be returning home to their families that need them. In any case, college isn’t out of the question. Instead of going on campus, you can look at online colleges for military members. Online school allows you to work around your schedule and time constraints.
These are just a few ways that schools are making themselves more welcoming environments for veterans. Even more, programs are on their way as these institutions learn more about the needs of these types of students.
By Anita Ginsburg
who is a freelance writer and residing in Denver, CO. She studied at Colorado State University, and now writes articles about health, business, family and finance. A mother of two, she enjoys traveling with her family whenever she isn’t writing. She recommends looking at online colleges for military members when you’re ready to go back to school.