Many people join the military to help fund their education. But a number of these people wait too long before planning their education and then find themselves at the end of their military service with a number of missed opportunities and programs that they could have participated in. Waiting too long before setting up a plan for your education is not something that a prudent enlisted person should do.
Don’t put off your education plans till you leave the military. Plan now and take steps to get the most of your military service but also the most of your educational opportunities. There are not very many employers or jobs that offer the kind of financial and program support for education that the military does. The Ops Tempo that is set by necessity during a time of war makes working toward your education at times more difficult, but not impossible. So take steps now to address the issue. Here are some tips to finding and pursuing your educational goals:
Strength in Numbers- It is often easier to start and finish a program of study if you begin it with another person. Not only will you have a ready study partner but you will also have someone to take notes or cover for you if you have to miss a class because of an unexpected duty assignment. Enroll in a class with a friend, buddy or even your spouse, and you will find it is easier and can even be more enjoyable. Education Services Support Office- Talk to your command, and visit the support education officer or take a moment to schedule an appointment with the education support office. No matter what branch of the service you serve in, they have an education counselor that you can talk to and learn about new options, or options that you have had already but are not taking part in.
Credit for Military Service- Investigate if you have current experience or past job performance and on the job time that can serve you in a civilian setting. In addition to job apprenticeship options, some of your military service and training may directly have college credit, you wont know till you look and see.
Use your Tools- Testing and credit by exam are two options many Servicemembers do not take full advantage of. Many enlisted Servicemembers believe-falsely- that they do not have any knowledge that they can test and receive credit for. You may be surprised, check out with your command the options available through CLEP and DANTES programs, you may find you have knowledge that is directly applicable toward college credit.