Vets prep for going back to school

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Vets prep for going back to school

by: Kim Suchek | .
. | .
published: September 11, 2013

Hello military community,

September is not only a time for our children to transition back to school, but also for service members and veterans, many with rusty academic skills and/or who have not been to school in many years. In reality, many have not been to school in over 4 years. For some, it’s been even longer since they’ve taken classes in a civilian academic setting.

As with most things, academic skills and good study habits fade when we don’t use them. And veteran students, like others, have been known to drop out of college because they feel overwhelmed, or in many cases, because the picked the wrong college.

Today, it is easier for veterans not to make that or other mistakes by using the resources that are available. The Department of Defense, Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Education are offering several college prep programs. These programs can help service members and veterans brush up on their academic skills, prepare for placement exams, and assess their skills and aptitudes. They can even comparison shop for schools before they enroll.

The Online Academic Skills Course allows service members and their families to access tools that can help build academic skills and prepare for post-graduate placement exams like LSAT, GRE and GMAT.

Active duty service members can access the online Academic Skills Course through their service portals (AKO, NKO, AF-Portal and Coast Guard Institute). But what is even better is that ALL branches of service, even the Guard and Reserves, regardless of activation status (including retiree, contractor or civilian) and their families are eligible for this service.

In addition, the DOD MWR Library website provides study guides, printable sample tests, resources, articles and related links for various examinations, as well as links to the Online Academic Skills Course.

The Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support website (www.dantes.kuder.com) features a resource by Kuder that offers a Career and Transition System specifically designed for the U.S. Military. This is a comprehensive online resource to help veterans and service members learn skills and work values to build a career plan.

CareerScope is a new resource which is featured on the VA’s GI Bill website and measures a student’s aptitude and interests through a self-administered online testing to identify potential career paths. This resource is designed to be easy to complete, administer and score. It can be completed in 60 minutes or less. The system incorporates physical performance scores, including motor coordination and dexterity. It is effective for diverse audiences. Options include audio delivery, English with Spanish text and untimed delivery. CareerScope is widely used in schools, job training programs, and in rehabilitation agencies and has been validated against widely recognized criteria.

The VAforVETS.va.gov website offers service members and veterans several career planning and counseling tools which include a state-of-the-art Military Skills Translator, resume writing, and 24-7 personalized counseling services.

Free Educational and Vocational Counseling Programs are offered through the VA. These – unfortunately, underused VA programs – provide several services for transitioning service members who are:

  • Within six months of discharge from active duty
  • Within one year after discharge from active duty
  • Current beneficiaries of educational assistance under Chapters 30-33, 35, 1606, 1607
  • Veterans and qualified dependents eligible for education assistance under Chapters 30-33, 35, 1606, 1607

Chapter 36 services include counseling to facilitate career decision making for civilian or military occupations, educational and vocational counseling to choose an appropriate civilian occupation and develop a training program, and academic and adjustment counseling to resolve barriers that could impede success in training or employment.

The Department of Education provides several programs that can help veterans prepare for and select a college. One program that has been gaining a lot of attention is Veterans Upward Bound (VUB). VUB is a FREE U.S. Department of Education program designed to help service members and veterans refresh their academic skills.

The VUB program services include basic skills development to help veterans successfully complete a high school equivalency program and gain admission to college education programs. The program also offers short-term remedial or refresher classes for high school graduates that have put off pursuing a degree.

Choosing the right school is as big a key to veteran and dependent-student success as being academically ready. Although all schools with GI Bill-approved degree programs must be regionally or nationally accredited, many don’t have the specific programmatic accreditation needed for many career fields, like nursing, health care, etc. This can render a college degree virtually useless. Be proactive! See next week’s article for resources designed to help make wise college choices.

Blessings from my family to yours,

Kim Suchek

If you have any questions or concerns or would like to share a story or situation, contact me at Kim@MilitaryResourceBooks.com and visit my website at MilitaryResourceBooks.com for updated information and other resources not listed in my book.

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