Does Military Experience Help You in College?

service member smiling outside of GCU arena

If you are a veteran, are currently in the military or have a family member in the military, you may have wondered, “Does military experience help you in college?” and “Is a college education worth it?” The answer is a resounding yes, attending college can greatly compliment your experiences.

Military experience is of immense value when it comes to earning a college degree and applying to civilian jobs. Below are a few areas that military members and veterans in college have their experience come in handy.

In this article:

Military Admissions Process

Your military experience can help you during the admissions and acceptance process at some universities. Depending on the college, you may be able to get in contact with a military counselor who is there to guide you through the admissions process and address your specific needs and any application concerns that you may have. They may also have served and know how to handle military matters and additional paperwork you may encounter.

These counselors are also prepared to help calculate and transfer other college credits you may have previously earned during your service or at a different university.

Military Tuition and Aid

Military experience can also help you to pay for college. Military members may be qualified for tuition assistance and scholarships designed for those who have served. Some colleges may participate in the Yellow Ribbon program to help veterans financially as they earn their degree.

Not only can military tuition and aid help you, but your spouse and children may be eligible for rates or scholarships.

What Is a Yellow Ribbon School?

A Yellow Ribbon school participates in the Yellow Ribbon program. This program is designed to help individuals who served in the military pay for college. The Post-9/11 GI Bill can help qualifying individuals pay for college.1 However, if there are still remaining costs after the Post-9/11 GI Bill, a school with the Yellow Ribbon program may be able to cover additional costs.2

Military Education Experience

The skills gained during your time in the military will also help you be successful in your educational journey and outside the classroom. Here are some ways that you are already equipped with the abilities to be successful in college:

1. Putting in the Effort

Your time in the military service has probably shown you the importance of putting your best foot forward. If you do not give your best effort, you are potentially endangering your fellow service members and you can be viewed as acting unprofessional.

Just as critical as this is in the military, this is also significant in earning a college education. In order to make the most of your courses, you need to put your time and determination in learning. Knowing the importance of effort and discipline from the military will set you up for success as a student and beyond as a college graduate.

2. Working With Others

Many military veterans have a good grasp of what it takes to successfully work with others in an effective way on a daily basis.

In college the ability to positively collaborate and network with others can change the whole college experience for the better. Through collaboration and networking, you can form connections that can help after you have completed your studies.

3. Using Your Time Wisely and Forming Routines

If you have been in the military, you have experience with time management and routines. These skills can be applicable in almost any part of life but especially in college.

Most college student can tell you – time management is extremely important in order to manage assignments, classes and other responsibilities.

4. Leading and Listening

Student veterans are very aware of when to allow others to lead and when to lead in both the military and an academic classroom.

In a college setting, there are times to lead and times to follow. At times, you may want to let professors and mentors give you advice and lead you in new materials and concepts. However, there may also be leadership opportunities for you to expand your skills in groups or through classroom participation.

5. Making the Most of the Experience

No matter where you are in life, you can choose to make the most of the experience and soak up as much knowledge as possible. Service members may have already had such learning experiences.

As a college student, it is a solid idea to make the most of the college experience. This relates back to putting effort into education. Get the most out of the courses, encounters with others and campus events.

Flexible Degree Options

Thankfully, due to modern technology, degree programs are now offered online. This gives students an opportunity for flexibility and completing courses at a convenient pace. If you want to earn your degree from anywhere, you may consider online learning.

You can earn degrees in areas from business to humanities and social studies to science engineering and technology to fine arts and production and more – all online. For example, if you want to earn a master’s degree in criminal justice, you can study from anywhere around the globe through online courses designed to give you the knowledge you need to be successful in your field.

However, if you would rather study in person or attend evening classes, many bachelor’s degree programs offer different selections to fit your needs.

Veterans Center and Additional Resources

Some universities may also offer a veterans center to help provide you with additional resources and support during the course of your study. You may consider joining a club or association for veterans to meet others who share similar experiences.

Do you want to learn how to pair your military experience with a college degree? Grand Canyon University is proud to be a military-friendly college. Explore our online degrees, including bachelor’s degrees or master’s degrees, to see some of the programs that we offer that can complement your current skills and knowledge. To learn more, click on the Request Info button at the top of your screen.

Retrieved from:

1U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, Post-9/11 GI Bill (Chapter 33) in August 2021

2U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, Yellow Ribbon Program in August 2021

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.

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