The answer to this question is difficult to identify, in part because of the unique reasons each person decides to enter military service. When veterans enter the academic world, they travel along a non-traditional path. Many veterans joined the military precisely because they did not want to work in the civilian workforce or pursue higher education. Some lacked appropriate funding for college, while others chose to serve out of tradition or desire to improve themselves and mature.
Many choose to enroll in college to use their benefits. The GI Bill and its many benefits appeal to many who plan to begin their studies after service. However, going from military service into college is a complicated transition.
Veterans often do well in higher education, and in some respects, they perform equally well in relation to their peers or surpass them in academic achievement. Many veterans who go through college using their GI Bill benefits can leave with less debt than their peers.
It is important to note that veterans are not monolithic. The population is comprised of every gender, race, religion, political affiliation, and age group. They share similar traits with non-traditional students, a population that most colleges are familiar with.
In most cases, veterans come to college for similar reasons as their non-veteran peers. They are in pursuit of a specific career, they see it as an opportunity for advancement, and it is a personal goal they want to achieve. More importantly, to the colleges that open their doors to veterans: you have a duty to support them.