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How to Prioritize Education and Military Service

How to Prioritize Education and Military Service
Posted By: Lizzie Weakley on January 30, 2020

While some soldiers enlist as an alternative to college, many others view their service as a path to higher education. A college degree or trade school certificate can open a lot of doors whether your future plans include a military career or joining the civilian world. If you want to get a degree while serving your country, here are four ways to prioritize both education and military service.

Develop a Set of Goals


Before you begin a course of study, it’s important to decide what your goals are. Do you plan to leave the military and purse a civilian career, or is your dream to become a high-ranking officer in your branch of service? Consider whether you need a traditional four-year degree, a technical training course or graduate school to achieve your goals and develop an action plan to get there.

Take Advantage of Education Benefits


Military benefits are cited by 25 percent of soldiers as a reason why they enlisted, and one of the most popular military benefits is the education program commonly known as the GI Bill. Soldiers and veterans can get an education after their service without incurring massive student loan debt by taking advantage of this tuition assistance.



You may also be eligible for various private scholarships and other sources of federal financial aid.

Study While You Serve


You don’t have to wait until after you leave the military to start your education journey. If you want to conclude your service ready to join the civilian workforce, online colleges for military let you study on your own schedule. An online degree is also a great choice for National Guard members who need to be on call, busy military spouses and veterans who need to work full-time.

Be Flexible


Being a soldier means being prepared for anything. As an active-duty soldier or veteran, you may need to put your education on hold at times or take an alternative path. Don’t beat yourself up if you need to take a break from your studies to focus on your service, career or family. The important thing is completing your degree even if it takes a little longer than you expected.
Although higher education opens many doors, so does your military experience. If college isn’t for you, don’t worry. All the skills you learned during your years of service are a big advantage that can lead to a fulfilling and well-paid career in either the civilian world or the military.
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