What Should Veterans Look for in an Online College?
You’ve served your country well. Thank you! And now you’ve made the great decision to continue your education. But the best way to fit college into your busy life is online. There are many online programs to choose from, but how do you find the one that will best fit your current life, your future goals, and your status as a Vet? Here’s just some of what you’ll want to consider as you explore online colleges as a Veteran:
Reduced Online College Tuition for Military
Some online colleges offer reduced tuition for members of the military, Veterans, and their families. Zero in on those. Does the university participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program and Military Tuition Assistance? Do they have advisors who understand all the ins and outs of the GI Bill and Veteran’s Affairs scholarships? Make sure the university and its staff appreciate what you’ve sacrificed and know how to ensure you get all you deserve.
Transfer Credit for Military Service
A top question to ask is how many credits you can transfer from the extensive training you received in the military, in addition to past courses, certificates and work experience. The more credits you can transfer into a new program, the more quickly and affordably you can complete your degree.
Experience in Serving Members of the Military
Ask about the college’s history of providing higher education opportunities to Veterans. The more familiar they are with your unique demographic, the more likely they will know how to help you succeed. Many colleges have long affiliations with Veterans; some may even have been located on military bases.
Courses Designed for Military Veterans
Another factor you may want to consider is the kind of courses the institution offers. As a Veteran or member of the military, your existing skillset may be well aligned with legal, criminal justice, intelligence, and strategic security courses. Even more appealing would be the opportunity to use your existing skills and knowledge to test out of such courses or transfer in credits on these military-related courses.
Experience in Providing Online Instruction
When the pandemic hit, almost every university switched to online instruction. That doesn’t mean they did it well. Just because a college now offers online programs doesn’t mean they have the experience, resources, staff, knowledge, and training to meet your needs. Search for institutions that have been providing online classes for decades, not months.
Accredited College Programs
There are many online college programs, but you’ll want to choose one that is regionally accredited. That means experts in higher education have evaluated all the program offerings, instructors and administration, and have determined the college meets strict educational standards.
Experienced College Instructors for Veterans
Professors with only academic credentials may not be a good fit for you. Ask about faculty credentials and what real-world experience they have. Find out whether or not the school and its faculty understand the unique challenges members of the military may face. You want knowledgeable instructors who are adept at teaching and helping you develop your skills.
Convenience with Online Classes
The best part of taking classes online is that you can take them whenever it is convenient for you. Look for a program with frequent start dates and the ability to access your classes anytime or anywhere. Find out if the courses you are interested in offer live instruction from a professor or self-paced learning, so you can fit classes into your busy lifestyle.
Ongoing Support from Instructors and Tech Support
If a college program is 100% online, you need to be sure there is tech support available. You’ll also want to choose a college that will provide you with a personal adviser who has experience dealing with the unique consideration of Vets and will help you select the right classes. Be sure to also ask about their library services and what access you will have to eBooks and electronic reference materials.
General Education Classes
Many programs require you to take general education classes such as English, Social Studies and Science, in addition to the core classes in your major. Find out if you can test out of some of these subjects to demonstrate you already have knowledge in these areas. Also ask about the institution’s transfer credit policy. What percentage of existing credits could be potentially applied to your online degree?
Length of College Programs
How long will it take to complete the program you are interested in? Whether you attend full- or part-time, you’ll want to finish in the shortest amount of time possible so you can hit the ground running in a great new career.
National American University has been providing quality higher education for Veterans for nearly 80 years, and we have more than 20 years’ experience providing online learning. We offer a variety of online certifications and Associate, Bachelor’s, and graduate degree programs, as well as discounts on tuition for Veterans. If you already have some work experience or certifications through a trade, professional job, or military training, you may be able to transfer those credits toward your degree program. Call 800-209-0182 to speak to a counselor or fill out the form to request more information.