[November 20, 2013] Today I’m speaking to veterans who are beginning their college experience. The message is simple – with passion, adaptability, and some basic college skills, they will succeed. Senior leaders have the responsibility to help improve the success rate of our veterans; we owe them at least this much.
The success rate of veterans in college is a subject of debate. But what is known is that the success rate is very poor. Why it is so, is less clear.
The Post 9/11 GI Bill is a source of assistance that provides a tremendous advantage to the military veteran. In recognition of the poor success rate of veterans, colleges have established many additional resources like Veteran Centers and counseling services.
Not unexpectedly, military veterans also possess skill sets that make them more likely to succeed: good work habits, positive attitudes, maturity, experience, mentally strength, etc.
So, the big question has been, “What makes the veteran fail at college?” There are two basic schools of thought. First, that it is the transition itself – veterans are unable to make the move from military to college environment. Second, veterans encounter social barriers that prevent them from succeeding.
While much of this may or may not be true, most research concludes that veterans have what it takes to succeed in college. Military veterans for the most part have the passion and adaptability to succeed. What they frequently lack are up-to-date college skills.
The military environment is very structured while the academic environment is highly unstructured. Veterans can beat the unstructured environment by creating their own structure with an action plan. This plan would allow them to pick up the necessary college skills, those proven skills associated with completion of a college degree.
Such skills are premised on the ability of the veteran to create structure in their life while attending college. With a few simple college skills, they can be more successful than the average student.
The slideshow that I put together is here at this link: http://www.slideshare.net/douglasrsatterfield/transition-military-to-college
The Veterans Administration link for information on the GI Bill is here: http://www.gibill.va.gov/