Higher Education for Veterans
For war veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, obtaining a college degree is often a difficult task since the military and college atmospheres differ drastically. Military life is much more structured than college life, and many veterans have problems adjusting to the less regimented college atmosphere. Veterans who attend college often feel like outsiders compared to their younger classmates who have not experienced the intense trauma of war.
Increase of Veterans Furthering Education
Since the Post-9/11 GI Bill went into effect, it has become easier for veteran students to get government funding for their schooling, which has led more and more veterans to write a college essay and go to college. Many veterans have obtained Bachelors and Masters Degrees and gone on to have successful careers in the private and public sector. Some of the most common advanced degrees obtained by veterans include Masters of Business Administration and Masters in Health Care Administration as well.
Problems Veterans Experience in College
University studies have shown that many veterans suffer from post-traumatic stress and brain injuries which can lead to serious health issues such as drug addiction, depression and alcoholism. Veterans have much higher rates of depression compared to their college classmates and are more likely to commit suicide as well.
The trauma from war often impairs a veteran’s ability to learn or concentrate. They may also feel anger or frustration towards other students who haven’t experienced what they have and those who have been sheltered from exposure to the world’s problems. Veterans may feel isolated and have difficulty focusing on work because of deep psychological problems stemming from experiences they’ve had on the battlefield.
Veterans’ college struggles are compounded by the stigma associated with having mental problems. The military trains soldiers to be mentally tough which tends to breed a culture of soldiers who are taught not to show their weaknesses or talk about their mental problems to others. This typically makes it harder for a veteran to admit when they have psychological problems, making obtaining effective treatment more difficult. Additionally, few colleges are equipped to deal with the unique problems that veteran students deal with daily.
Benefits for Veterans Attending College
The good news, however, is that some schools are beginning to become more aware and respond more effectively to the needs of veteran students. George Washington University is working on creating and implementing a course that teaches student veterans how to support their peers. In addition, some psychologists now specialize in training college counselors on how to deal with student veterans more effectively.
Despite the difficulties that veterans going to college face, many of them end up graduating with advanced degrees. Government grants make it much easier for the average veteran student to get through school. Funding is available for veterans but it is important that they are educated on how to obtain these grants. Education workshops for veterans are good places to start for veterans who are looking to obtain government grants for schooling.
One school that is well-known for recruiting veteran students and giving them grants is Columbia University. In May of 2012, 95 veterans graduated from this university, which was the most graduates Columbia has produced since just after World War II. These students graduated with studies in a wide variety of majors from business to creative writing.
Finding a New Career
After earning a degree, there are many resources available designed specifically for veterans who need to find jobs. From blogs and veteran recruiters to university career centers, there are a wide assortment of options available that are designed to help streamline veteran job searches.