Thousands of members of the military enter service with an ultimate goal in mind: higher education. For many of these soldiers, marines, airmen, and sailors, the military has been their only job and those years of extensive training don’t necessarily translate to civilian employment.
Life can be difficult for those trained in the armed forces. They’re confronted with disorientation and identity crisis, due to the loss of peers, alienation, divided friendships, and cognitive challenges.
“For someone in the military that’s so used to other military people being around them, and then dealing with people who are four years or eight years younger than you—it’s definitely a change, and it can be a scary one,” says Paul Szoldra, a former Marine sergeant, founder of advising website CollegeVeteran.com, and University of Tampa graduate.
The pressure of attending classes and taking tests are a change of pace for these mature individuals who’ve been trained to solve complex problems. Many student veterans believe that college will ease their discomfort, and that’s sometimes correct. The key to student veteran success is the involvement of well-meaning professor, college faculty, and staff. There are many important facts you should know about student veterans, including some insights about their commitment to education:
- Since WWII, more student veterans will enroll in institutions of higher education
- The Post-9/11 GI Bill offers the best educational benefits veterans have ever seen
- Likely due to life experience, veteran students tend to have higher retention rates, more successful transfer rates from community colleges to four-year institutions, and greater classroom performance
- As of 2015, over 800,000 student veterans are attending college
- Student veterans are more likely to graduate than peers of the same age. While the success rate for non-traditional students is 50 percent, but student veterans using the GI Bill is 72 percent. Thanks to the GI-Bill, it’s projected that student veterans earn 100,000 more degrees and certificates annually
- Student veterans have a higher GPA than the national average. Nationally, the postsecondary students have an average of 3.11 GPA. However, student veterans maintain a GPA of 3.35. This dispels the notion that student veterans don’t perform well academically
- Student veterans pursue degrees in important subjects, such as psychology, criminal justice, marketing, management, and business. Additionally, they anticipate careers in the STEMs, which includes science, technology, engineering, and math. They’re also prepared to continue to serve the nation as doctors, scientists, research, IT engineers, and business leaders
- Student veterans frequently attend public and nonprofit schools, and these schools improve student outcomes, putting them in position to access paid internships, and career opportunities