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Going Back to School as a Veteran: Why You Should Do It and Tips for Succeeding

By Lisa Walker

Although it comes with many challenges, going back to school after the military could be one of the best things you do for your career (and life in general). Not only can it help you to transition more smoothly into civilian life, but earning a degree also improves your job prospects and allows you to train and learn in a new industry/field.

However, if you’re thinking about pursuing a college degree as a veteran, it’s important that you prepare and approach it the right way. From knowing your benefits to utilizing resources like effectivelearning.net, here are some practical tips to keep in mind:

Explore your benefits.

As a veteran, you have many more resources to help you in your college endeavors than most civilians do. The Post 9/11 G.I. Bill, for starters, was established to provide funding for veterans pursuing job training and education. If your program of choice is approved under the G.I. Bill, you can receive up to 36 months of benefits. There are also tons of scholarships, grants, and loans available to veterans. Do your research and apply for as many assistance programs as you can.

Turn to online programs.

If you want to save money and add convenience to your life (and who doesn’t?), enroll in an online college. If you pursue an online degree in computer science, for example, you can learn skills that will prove invaluable in the workforce, making you a sought-after professional. Getting a bachelor’s degree in business administration or marketing could also open you up to a wide range of job opportunities.

Think about what you want to do.

Before you settle on the type of degree you will pursue, carefully consider what kind of work you would like to do for the foreseeable future. First, think about the skills you’ve acquired up to this point in your life. While you’ll expand your knowledge and skill set by going back to school, you probably have some natural talents that should be factored into your career choice. Brainstorm ideas, and research fields and niches where your talents would serve you well.

Also, don’t be afraid to try something new. Maybe you went into the military straight from high school. Now, perhaps you have a better idea of what you want to do. Consider your passions, and work toward garnering the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed, whether that means entering a specific industry as an employee or starting your own business.

Start networking immediately.

Networking is critical, no matter what kind of career path you take. And it’s never too early to start. While in school, you’ll have the opportunity to meet a lot of students, professors, professionals, and other people in the community. Make connections, and be intentional about developing relationships. Not only can you learn from others, but having a solid team of people around you can significantly improve your job/business prospects for the rest of your career.

Get help when you need it.

Finally, don’t be afraid to seek help whenever you’re facing challenges. For example, you can find a mentor who can offer guidance and introduce you to people in the industry you’re interested in. SCORE is a free program from the Small Business Administration that connects mentors with new and aspiring small business owners, so it’s a great resource for veterans. They even offer remote sessions via video chat and phone calls, so you can work with someone on your schedule from the safety and comfort of home. It’s also wise to work with a financial advisor if you’re thinking about starting your own business in the future so you can plan and budget for startup costs.

As a veteran, going back to school can help you transition smoothly into civilian life while significantly improving your prospects in the job market. If you decide to go to school, remember to research all of the resources available to you and look into your options with online degrees. Also, factor in your passions, interests, and skills when choosing a career path, prioritize networking, and look for assistance anytime you need it. Following the advice listed here will put you in a better position to succeed — no matter your choice of career.

To find tutoring services or a variety of other educational resources, visit effectivelearning.net today!