Military-Friendly Online College Programs

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Serving our country is perhaps one of the noblest careers. However, for veterans or active-duty personnel getting ready to transition into another career post-service, college can be the bridge they need to learn new skills. Online colleges offer a unique and flexible opportunity to learn, especially for someone still in the service. Military-friendly programs are those that offer credit for time served, a chance to connect with veterans, and offer benefits through the GI Bill. Let’s explore the criteria for a military-friendly online program, benefits to veterans and active duty men and women, and tips to succeed.

What Makes a School Military-Friendly?: There are five key points that signal whether a school is right for a veteran or active-duty personnel. First is credit towards your degree for the training you received in the military, especially Military Occupation Specialties (MOS). Each school’s credit qualifications may vary, with schools that cater to military personnel being most generous. Like with federal financial aid, for the GI Bill to apply, the institution must be accredited and VA approved. A Veteran’s Office with comprehensive services is another quality to look for, as well as the Principles of Excellence participant designation for schools that receive VA funding. These principles ensure the school provides enrolled military personnel and veterans with the necessary support and guidance they need to thrive in their continued education.

Benefits of Online Programs for Veterans: For someone readjusting to civilian life, flexibility is important. Online classes allow you to choose the time and place in which you take the course. This can be a critical factor for someone who has been deployed and away from his or her family for a long period and wants to maximize time spent with loved ones. Online programs are also budget friendly as well. While the tuition portion of your education might be paid for via the GI Bill or other branch-oriented programs, on-campus expenses can add up fast with costs for gas (for commuters), meals, and other incidental items that you might need. 

Benefits of Online Programs for Active Duty Personnel: If you are deployed and want to continue your studies, or if you’re ready to get a jumpstart on your degree before you are discharged, an online program might be just what you need. First, there are no geographical constraints. All you need is a computer and an internet connection and you’re good to learn anywhere in the world. Since classes are posted online, you don’t have to be at a certain place at a certain time. In fact, you can likely make up a class you missed should you need to be away. Overall, if you want to earn your degree while in the service, this can be a great way to do it.

The Transition to College Life: After the structure of the military, the change to online colleges (or any education) can require some adjustment. To ease this transition, consider connecting with student veteran groups who will understand your current situation. Create your own structure by applying your time management skills and deadlines to complete your work in a way that works best for you. If you’re new to some of the technology used, don’t be shy! Ask for help from the school or other students who might have more exposure to the programs used.

Your service to this country is most appreciated. Now it’s time for you to take your experience and learning even further with the right college opportunities to meet your needs, whether you’re still in the service or a veteran ready to launch a new career. Good luck!