When returning from the service, the decision to go back to school can become a difficult choice for many service men and women.

“When deciding to go back to school, servicemen and women should do three things — take a good assessment of their skills and interests, research funding available to them and ensure that they have a support system for the transition to academia,” said Juele Blankenburg, director of academic support of Argosy University’s Schaumburg, Ill. campus.

According to Blankenburg, military personnel should assess their interests and determine how they complement their military training and experience. They should also evaluate how the school will prepare them for their career goals either in or outside of the military.

David Forristal, Chair of Criminal Justice and Paralegal programs at Brown Mackie College — Salina said “you should consider exactly what you want to do in the future. Take the time to think things through thoroughly and look at all of the options available.”

Military personnel should also consider the idea of online classes. As another viable option, this may provide additional flexibility to work around duty schedules, drill or deployment. Since much of the learning process in the military is online, previous online learning experiences reveal how well military personnel use self-management and time-management skills that are necessary to be successful when completing your degree online, explains Blankenburg.

“One of the most important things that they can do is to prepare themselves mentally for the transition of having homework. Often times, it becomes an issue of time-management with the demands of military life, family and education,” says Blankenburg.

Patience and motivation are important skills to have when going back to school. To be successful in school, Blankenburg suggests that military members do a serious self assessment before going back to school.

“I would advise military personnel to stay on a positive track and develop a plan,” said Forristal. “Develop goals, visit campuses and try to see what fits.”

Once a plan is developed, Forristal suggests using military training and experience. “The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs is one source that can be used,” explains Forristal. “Most military bases also have education liaison offices to offer guidance. Look at the job market in light of what you just spent 3 or 4 years doing in the military.”

If you are just returning from military service or have served in the past, the adjustment can be challenging. Consider group or individual therapy to ease the adjustment.

“You can’t go back to where you were when you left for service,” Forristal said. “You can start a new life with education, and this can be the best move that ever happened.”

Courtesy of ARAcontent