After you’ve devoted your life to serving your country, you might look back and wonder what it would have been like if you had a successful career too. But, don’t fret, it isn’t too late to make it happen. There are plenty of opportunities out there, and all you need to do is take the right steps to make it happen for you. According to a report conducted by Student Veterans of America in their NVEST, student veterans earn their graduate degrees at a higher rate than civilians.

If You Haven’t Already, Determine Your Life and Career Goals

You might already have something in mind, be it a career choice or a hobby that might interest you. If you have a hobby or something that you are passionate about, you might want to think about the kind of career that you can attain with that in mind. However, you will need a suitable degree to pursue the career of your choice.

Research Universities and Apply

After you have figured out what you want to pursue, you will need to look for universities and start the application process. Here’s what you need to consider:

        If online courses are available and an option for you.
        The size, accreditation, and location of the university.
        If the courses and programs offered are within your interests.
        The proximity of the university to VA services (which includes both healthcare and financial).
        If the university culture is up to the mark of what is suitable for you.

You can do your research and even consider some of the best online collegas for veterans.

Find Financial Help

Education is never cheap, so you should consider the GI Bill or federal aid/ financial aid from the government, such as grants or loans. The GI Bill is a program or benefit that covers the costs of education or training for military veterans who have met the criteria to receive the benefit.

Here are some of the options you can consider depending on your service:
        Post- 9/11 GI Bill: This bill can cover the cost of your entire tuition fees and help with a housing allowance every month. You can also get $1,000 every year to help pay for stationary and necessities.
        Yellow Ribbon Program: The Yellow Ribbon Program covers the costs of an out-of-state private university.
        Montgomery GI Bill: It provides 36 months of educational benefits that can be used for any university or college.
        Reserve Educational Assistance Program: Financial assistance is offered to those veterans who were on active duty during a national emergency.

Apart from this, you can also consider scholarships such as the Military Spouse Career Advancement Account Scholarship (MyCAA), which provides up to $4,000 of financial assistance for military spouses pursuing a portable career.

Register for Classes

There are a few things that you should check before registering for classes:
        After choosing the course you want and the university, you will be attending, read up on the program and what it offers to the students.
        The faculty members should also be listed clearly along with their qualifications.
        The syllabus and the teaching methods should clearly be stated along with what is expected of the student.
        If the credits are transferred after completing the course and if you might be able to graduate early, depending on your years of service.
        Check the registration fees and the cost of the entire program as compared to other programs.
        There should be a cancellation and refund policy clearly stated.

Tips for Success

        Choose what you’re comfortable with: After comparing public university, private university, and online courses, choose the option that you’d feel comfortable attending. Selecting a university that has veteran-friendly culture and benefits might make you feel better.
        Check the list of VA approved schools: Look for the list of schools approved by VA and those that accept the GI Bill funding.
        Choose accredited universities: Selecting recognized universities can save you the trouble of getting rejected or being unable to transfer from unrecognized ones.
        Look up the VA’s guide: There’s a guide available on how to choose the best university and how to make the best of your GI Bill, so make use of it.

The Best Tip for Success is Believing in Yourself

According to the National Veteran Education Success Tracker, student veterans are most likely to achieve success and gain a fulfilling degree as well as a career. Once you have your financial aid and acceptance to the university you want to apply to, believe in yourself, and continue on your path to a successful and happy career.