A veteran’s guide to choosing the right school

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With hundreds of colleges and universities to choose from, it can be a daunting task to sift through all of the information at your fingertips. For a veteran, the most important information is not necessarily covered in general pamphlets or ads and it can become unduly stressful to remember everything you should be looking for. To help, we have compiled a list of the three most important things to consider when choosing the right college or university.

  1. GI Benefits. GI benefits will vary from person to person, depending on when and how long you served, so it is important to apply for the right benefit and ensure the schools to which you want to apply can accept those benefits. Understanding how long you have to use your benefits and how far your GI benefits will take you at a college or university is an important step many veterans forget to take. To make it easy, the VA has created a GI Bill Comparison tool which allows you to compare resources at different colleges and see how much of your expenses will be covered by your specific benefit.
  1. Find Veterans Services. Any school you are considering should have, at the very least, a dedicated website for Veterans services. A dedicated center for Veterans services, like the Center for Military and Veterans Education at Tidewater Community College, is even better. This ensures veterans will have dedicated staff ready and able to help sort out issues with benefits and guide you through the process. According to the American Council on Education, the average age of a veteran student is 11 years older than the average student who did not serve in the military. This age gap can create a feeling of isolation, so see if the school has a Student Veterans of America chapter on its campus.
  1. Transfer Credits. Your military experience can translate directly into general education credits at many schools, but this does depend on your major and school. Make sure to request your Joint Services Transcript (JST) so you know what to expect. This will provide your school with all the information about your service they need to evaluate any potential transfer credits that can save you time and money.

From big things like GI benefits to seemingly small things like Veteran Lounges, veterans have much to consider when choosing a school, but the process does not have to be stressful. Just bookmark this page and come back to it whenever you need.

Interested in Veterans Educational Benefits? Are you a veteran looking for job opportunities in Hampton Roads, Virginia? Tidewater Community College can help! Military-related students, including active duty, veterans, transitioning, spouses and dependents, should contact the Center for Military and Veterans Education, which offers specialized support for military-related students, including academic advising and GI Bill assistance.

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