The University of Georgia is nationally recognized for being a veteran-friendly school. Part of what makes UGA so welcoming to student veterans are the programs offered through the Student Veteran Resource Center (SVRC). Among them are the Student Veteran Transition and the Readiness Coaching programs, now also available to online student veterans. Transition coaching is focused on support for students transitioning into UGA, while readiness coaching is geared more towards career preparation.
As a student veteran, you will work with your Transition Coach during your first semester of classes, setting goals to establish a framework for academic and personal development. Transitioning from the Army or a junior college into UGA can be a challenge, and Transition Coaches help ease you into your first semester here.
Well before graduation, you are introduced to a Readiness Coach. Your Coach reaches out to nonprofit organizations that put you in touch with corporate leaders in your chosen field and work to translate your military experience into corporate skills. Additionally, Readiness Coaches provide resume critiques and mock interviews, help with the interview process, and connect you with faculty, alumni, and other student veterans.
Andrew Mathis, a graduate student studying forestry, has gone through both programs during his time at UGA and had only positive things to say about his experience. Transition Coaches are specifically chosen for each student veteran to pair students with a UGA faculty member who has similar interests and experiences. Mathis, a former army officer, was fortunate enough to be paired with a faculty member who was also a former army officer.
A few semesters later, his Readiness Coach took over to help him with the challenge of what to do after graduation. Because of his busy schedule, Mathis ended up applying for summer internships a day before the deadline. He soon received an email saying someone was coming to interview him in 72 hours — and Mathis had absolutely no interview experience outside of the military. Thankfully, Mathis’ Readiness Coach was there to assist. “Very ideally this is a weeks-long or months-long process, but everybody saw that this was on the horizon, and pretty much the whole organization pivoted their focus to help me with that interview. We buckled down and prepared and rehearsed, and on that Thursday morning when the interview came, I walked in and walked out with the internship,” Mathis said.
While similar programs exist at UGA, they aren’t veteran specific. It’s important for the SVRC to have the capability to zero in on student veterans and invest time and energy into their progress at UGA and beyond. While these programs were originally developed for undergraduates, they are now applicable to graduate and online students as well.
Mathis spoke highly of the relationships built with his Transition and Readiness Coaches, and their willingness to drop everything to help him. “That’s the caliber of folks that are Transition and Readiness Coaches. These are people who aren’t just passively interested in veteran and student success. They are actively going out of their way to do things for us.”