When I was in high school, I had a GPA of 1.6 and barely graduated. Nonetheless, my mother always believed that I would be the first person in our family to receive my college degree. In 2010, she passed away in a head-on collision car accident, and I became a ward of the state at the age of 16. I was out of options and resources, but knowing that I was going to make my mother’s dream a reality. In 2012, I looked to the United States Army and the GI Bill.
After transition, veterans who want to become students have the option of using the Department of Veterans Affairs education benefits. For some, however, it can be hard to navigate the education system and find post-service success.
Browse through any military publication and you’re sure to get inundated with ads for online degrees from all sorts of schools. For some veterans, going to school online could be the way to go. However, there’s a problem. As noted by the by numerous reports and veterans advocacy groups, many online degrees offered by for-profit schools are leaving veterans with worthless degrees, piles of debt, and few job prospects. Therefore, before you enroll in an online problem, do some research, to protect yourself from predatory schools.
College is the next step for many people leaving the military. As a transition pathway, this makes a lot of sense. Yet somehow a lot of us get lost in the process: going to the wrong school, pursuing the wrong degree, and even failing to graduate. Many veterans fumble during their transition because they view college through a narrow lens, emphasizing a simplistic view of a degree as a "check in the box." These folks miss out of other opportunities that could substantially improve their lives after service.