For many active-duty members of the military and veterans who have finished their time of service, college is the next step on the horizon. In fact, many students will choose to go into the military in order to earn the funds to pay for their college education. What many of these students may not realize is that their military service also prepares them very well for the rigorous nature of the modern college experience.
Does military service help you get into college? Sometimes, but the real benefit is in the quality and character you develop during your military experience. By developing the ability to adapt to changing circumstances, building leadership qualities, and teaching yourself to persevere through challenges, you will be ready for the demands of school. Though the battlefield and basic training grounds may seem far different from the classroom and computer lab, life skills learned in the military provide excellent preparation for a college education.
Download your Military Service Member’s Guide to learn everything you need to
know about earning a college degree online.
5 Ways the Military Prepares You for College
If you are wondering what to do after the military, consider applying to college. Many schools now offer programs specifically designed for military service members to transition into an active academic environment. Post University’s Post Eagle Program is one of these. Recently featured on NBC Connecticut, this program helps students earn academic degrees after their military service.
Whether you are entering an undergraduate program or looking to start a graduate degree, programs like the Post Eagle Program can help you make the most out of your military service benefits and experience. From advancing in your military career or transitioning into the civilian workforce, your military experience offers five key advantages to give your education a boost.
1. You Know the Importance of Being Adaptable
You learn how to be adaptable in the military. The whole experience forces you to learn how to adapt. Your work environment is constantly changing. You have to be able to make split-second decisions while in the field because things rarely go exactly as planned.
Though college is a bit more predictable than the battlefield, it can still throw surprises your way. In this way, being adaptable in military service can help you better handle curveballs thrown in your academic studies. When a professor makes a change to the syllabus part-way through the semester, you will be able to adapt and move forward with confidence. Having a “ready for anything” attitude in the military will help you succeed in the classroom, as well.
2. You Value Teamwork
Military service is all about learning to work as a team. From your basic training days to your experiences gained throughout your service, you quickly learn to depend on the members of your unit. Whether you succeed or fail, you do it as a team.
Teamwork is helpful in the college environment as well. Edmund Lizotte, professor and Director of Military Field Enrollment at Post, says he strives to incorporate group learning environments in military learning programs, even in online learning platforms. “The students use their cameras and can still connect with one another,” he said in the NBC CT interview. “If I wanted a classroom discussion and breakouts so each group of students can discuss a topic, I have the ability to do it.”
Group projects can sometimes frustrate college students who are not used to relying on others for their own success. Military service members have a unique advantage in this regard because they are already used to relying on others for their own success. They are also well prepared to hold others accountable.
3. You Have Learned Leadership Skills
A military career trains an individual to be a leader. According to Harvard Business Review, military service members, particularly those in active-duty service, become strong leaders. Several reasons exist that lead to this outcome:
First, military service members go through a progressive, sequential training process. Through their military education and experiences, they naturally develop leadership qualities. Second, military leaders are given high levels of responsibility and authority, particularly if they succeed well in their basic training. Finally, the concepts of duty, service, and self-sacrifice that are common in the military and are part of the military oath naturally turn someone’s mind and thinking toward leadership.
In the military, soldiers must put the well-being of the unit ahead of their personal well-being. They are taught to feel a duty to serve. Over time, those who serve others well rise to positions of leadership within the military. This is servant leadership at its finest, and it transforms the individual from a self-focused person to a true leader.
Once someone builds the character traits found in true leaders, they tend to keep them. Leaders on the battlefield become leaders in the classroom and leaders in the business world. Leadership qualities make the college experience and the transition to civilian life a more positive one.
4. You Have Learned the Importance of Perseverance
Perseverance is something people who succeed in the military must learn. Military life is hard, and that hardness creates a strength of character that is difficult to develop otherwise. In the military, you learn not to quit when the road gets tough and a general is yelling at you to try harder. When you get to the classroom, you will not quit when deadlines loom and a professor is adding more to your workload. You know the value of hard work, and you can apply that to your education just as you did to your military life.
Perseverance plays a role in the classroom in two ways. First, it gives students the skills to overcome hurdles when they face them. Even when studies become difficult, the student is able to keep moving forward to find success.
Second, perseverance teaches a student not to give up if they fail the first time. This helps them continue working in the classroom and later in life. Students who are able to persevere won’t throw in the towel when they face a setback, but rather will push through the setback to find success.
5. You Have Good Time Management Skills
During your military training, you are taught to use your time well. In fact, much of basic training is learning to assess the tasks placed before you and complete them in the specified amount of time. Military service members learn how to prioritize their time in order to accomplish everything they need to do.
In the college classroom, you must be able to do this, as well. College students have to acclimate to varying deadlines and heavy workloads. The time management skills they learn in the military translate well into managing time in the classroom.
Time management is particularly helpful in online learning environments, such as the military-focused study program at Post University. Knowing how to prioritize your responsibilities and manage your schedule will mean success in the classroom just as it did on the battlefield.
Explore Programs for Military Service Members at Post University
If you are ready to put your military experience to work for your education, Post University, with our Post Eagle Program, is an excellent fit. We offer a flexible online learning environment that allows active-duty military members to make the most of their educational benefits, maximize their educational opportunities, and achieve their academic goals. Plus, we cut no corners in the educational quality of our online programs. The programs you take online were specifically designed to give you the education you deserve in a way that helps you succeed.
When speaking to NBC CT, graduate student Jerrod Pass indicates the quality of the professors was a big draw for him when choosing this program after finishing his career in the Army. Pass said, “You need to find a school that can enhance what you learned in the military.” He chose Post because, “They have so many different teachers that come from different backgrounds that are actively working in their fields.”
Post Eagle Program is just one of many ways Post University is assisting military members and veterans achieve their education goals. Learn more about Post University’s military programs and how you can start your education after your military experience.