Combat to Community

Five Tips for Student Veterans to Succeed in Higher Ed

January 5, 2018

With the start of another school semester quickly approaching and Student Veterans of America (SVA) National Conference currently underway, we have compiled a short list of five things student veterans can do to help themselves succeed in higher education. Good luck to all the student veterans in the coming semester!

  1. Locate your veterans’ office, sometimes known as a Veteran Resource Center (VRC), or your veteran certifying official. Go beyond just contacting them by phone or email and visit their location on campus. If you are new to campus, this should be your first step for establishing your education benefits, and it will be your best source for resources both on campus and in your local community. Visiting the campus prior to the start of your first semester is best, but if that is not possible, visit as soon as possible.
  2. Reach out to your institution’s student veteran chapter.  Find a way to get involved. You do not have to run for leadership or be completely active in the group, but participation in the group is an excellent way to meet other veterans and dependents, seek feedback about your institution from your peers, and find out what other resources might be available to you in the community. If there isn’t one, look at Student Veterans of America (SVA) chapter success manual.
  3. Identify and locate other veteran groups that may be in your area, whether it is the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), Disabled American Veterans (DAV), AMVETS, Team Red, White, and Blue (Team RWB), Team Rubicon, The Mission Continues, or another local veteran service organization. These groups might not be able to help you with your studies, but they are here to assist you with many other things like benefits claims, connecting you with community resources for social services, getting back into fitness or staying in shape, and providing social activities and volunteer opportunities in your community. When you connect with groups like these, you will take a critical step toward becoming more informed and engaged with the veteran community, which ultimately helps keep you focused on achieving your educational goals.
  4. Join up with your classmates and find a study group. Just like in the military, no one accomplishes a mission by themselves. Finding others to study with is an excellent way to engage with your peers and meet people outside of your veteran community. Pursuing your academic goals can be challenging, but you do not have to do this alone.
  5. Don’t be afraid to engage with your professors, academic advisors, and other resources like the career center on campus. These people are there to help you succeed, so seek them out and ask any question you may have regarding your academics or career choices. You’ll get more out of your studies if you can engage in the content, and stopping into office hours is a great way to make a greater connection with your studies and your instructors.