By Brett Tubbs
Getting a degree while serving active duty in the Army, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard, the National Guard or Special Forces is an impressive goal on many fronts.
You’re already living out an incredible mission: serving your nation, and keeping your homeland safe and secure. Now you’re thinking about continuing your education while you’re in the service, or maybe even while you’re on a deployment.
But is becoming a college student while being in the military even realistic? Can you juggle the demands on your time and energy? These are important questions to consider, and going back to school will mean setting different priorities and managing your time, expectations, and even your mindset well. But, as thousands of graduates will tell you, the short-term “pain” has the potential to be a significant long-term gain.
Not only is earning a degree while you’re deployed possible, it can be a natural fit if you choose your education partner wisely. After all, you already have your military discipline and education as a strong foundation. Here’s how service men and women, just like you, are getting it done:
They Take Online Courses
This isn’t your grandfather’s education system. There’s no roll call and no dusty chalkboards with equations to solve. This is the digital age. Classes are flexible; you can log in to hear a lecture whenever you’re free. You can take tests and interact with your classmates in your own time zone. (Just be sure to meet your weekly deadlines). Without a rigid course schedule that breaks up your days and weeks, you can earn credits toward your degree on your time.
Being empowered to take ownership of college at your own pace is one of the greatest assets of an online education. That flexibility helps many military students successfully start and complete their degrees.
They Get Help from Military Resource Centers
If you’re in the armed forces, you likely already know that you can’t go far on a mission on your own. The same holds true for your educational journey. Sure, it’s possible to do it by yourself. But there are countless support groups of online students and even your fellow service people who are likely trying to achieve the same goal you are.
At Regent University, military veterans and active duty service people make up the Military Resource Center. There, you’ll find connection to other military students and even space for your spouse and children to socialize with other military families. Their mission is to create a seamless and understanding learning atmosphere for you as you juggle the major priorities in your life.
They Take It at Their Own Pace
Whether it’s a three-credit semester or a near full-time course load, successful military students who pursue their education while on deployment take their education at their own pace. Some are on mission to power through; others know their success means being about to fit it in seamlessly to ongoing responsibilities. Whichever tactic fits your style, know that the effort you put in to your education will be worth it in the end.
Much of adulthood is learning how to balance and make time for competing priorities. Don’t stop if and when it becomes challenging. Keep going! Small, consistent progress is better than burning out and giving up.
They Take Advantage of the G.I. Bill
For many, serving in the military becomes a great resource for funding college. Finding a university that’s military friendly and allows you to take full advantage of the G.I. Bill® is a great way to graduate from college with little to no student debt. The Yellow Ribbon Program at Regent University covers 100% of tuition and fees over the Post-9/11 GI Bill® yearly tuition cap (50% funded by Regent University and 50% funded by the Department of Veterans Affairs.)
Imagine completing your military service with degree in hand and little to no student loan debt! With several years of gainful, tax-free employment along with a great education, you’ll be set up for a flourishing future.
They Know Their Community is Here for Them the Whole Way
Successful students know better than anyone the wisdom in developing a supportive community to cheer them on as they pursue their goals both inside and outside the military. What you’re about to achieve is no easy task. And you don’t have to go through it alone.
With the help and support from those who love you, understanding professors, a course schedule that can be curated to meet your specific needs, and a strong financial resource to get you through your education, pursuing a degree while on deployment is a completely feasible.