Veterans are a unique category of nontraditional students who often return to college as first-generation students after spending years in the service.
According to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, these students have a 5 percent higher success rate than others who have either completed school or are continuing enrollment. James Schmeling, executive vice president of Student Veterans of America credits this success rate to “the strengths they bring to the table, like maturity, discipline and work experience gained from their time in the military.”
Many student veterans qualify for disability services, but there is room for improvement when it comes to the accommodations made by many schools. It is not uncommon for student veterans who have suffered hearing loss or traumatic brain injuries to still not meet the requirements for special arrangements through a college’s disability services. Additionally, many student veterans are first-generation college students who do not have a parent to guide them and who may not always have someone to give them advice about classes or how to choose a major.
At the University of Georgia, however, we have a Student Veterans Resource Center that assists student veterans with academic and career direction. We are also in the second year of the Persistent Coaching Program which focuses on better preparation for student veterans to attend the University of Georgia and ready themselves for a career or graduate school.
Joe Mahoney, a student veteran attending the University of Georgia, believes internships are the key to marketing yourself and to learning more about the industry. “Lots of veterans think that because they’ve been to Iraq or Afghanistan, they don’t need an internship, but an internship is a way for the industry that you are going into to vet you,” says Mahoney.