Being in the military isn’t easy, but service members often agree that it’s excellent preparation for many other areas of their lives. Education is one of those areas, and it’s not hard to see why.
A military life is a disciplined life, and a disciplined student is a successful student. Especially when taking courses online, you’re responsible for getting all your work done without a teacher holding you accountable on a daily basis. Remote coursework has the advantage of allowing you to set your own schedule, but this can quickly turn into a disadvantage if you don’t have the discipline to enforce your own deadlines.
The military also teaches you to roll with the punches. Many factors are outside your control, such as where you are stationed. You might end up on an international assignment or in a remote part of the U.S. Similarly, challenges will no doubt emerge on your path to earning a degree, and a military background will help you focus on the things you can control that will allow you to reach your goal.
Make the Most of the Military
If one of your goals is continuing your education, you’re in a great position to accomplish it while you’re in the military. Even during deployments, you can enroll in online classes, take proctored exams at educational centers, and even test out of college courses by taking placement exams.
Some institutions such as Concordia University Chicago may offer financial aid for active-duty service members. The university’s Institute of Professional Studies is specifically designed to cater to the flexibility needs of adult students, and it is also a participating institution in the Post-9/11 GI Bill’s Yellow Ribbon Program.
Successfully balancing your education with your military career can be done, but it takes hard work and perseverance. Fortunately, there are a few tips to keep in mind that can make your journey a little easier:
- Stay organized
The military teaches its members to always plan ahead, and this skill will come in handy as you pursue your education. Dealing with the demands of school, work, and life can be a complex balancing act, but keeping all your tasks and assignments organized will help you stay on top of the details and succeed in all areas of your life.
- Connect with other service members
It’s not uncommon to run into other students in your classes who are in the military. Connecting with these individuals will allow you to support one another, and shared service creates a bond of mutual respect and trust. Help your fellow students whenever you can, and you’ll find that they will be happy to return the favor.
- Consider financial aid
If you need help paying for your education, consider using tuition assistance — a military benefit that can help pay the cost of tuition and other additional fees. While each branch of the military determines its own criteria for eligibility, virtually all service members are eligible. Tuition assistance can provide military students with $250 per semester credit hour and $4,500 per fiscal year, easing the burden of student loans and ensuring members of the military have access to continued education.
Continuing your education while in the military isn’t easy — if it were easy, everyone would do it. However, it can be incredibly rewarding to earn a degree while serving, and the military provides a number of advantages and incentives to those who choose to do so. By prioritizing your education, you’re furthering your career both within and outside of the military, as well as demonstrating to your peers and yourself that you have what it takes to overcome a challenge.
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