Special Courses Help Veterans Ease Into College Life

By Chris Hassan
Posted November 14, 2012 02:00 PM

Special courses help veterans adapt to college life.
Special courses help veterans adapt to college life.
As many veterans decide to pursue a bachelor's degree following their time in the military, many colleges and universities understand that the academic needs of former service members may not be the same as those of students coming directly from high school. In some cases, these individuals may not have set foot in a classroom for many years. For this reason, a number of schools now offer courses designed specifically for veterans.

Unique Students Call for Unique Courses

Colleges and universities want their student veterans to do well. In certain circumstances, this means providing them with the type of assistance that will help them thrive in an academic setting.

"Different institutions are using veterans-specific courses for a variety of reasons, but largely it has to do with ensuring that veterans have a smooth and comfortable transition from the military culture into the civilian culture," Meg Mitcham, the American Council on Education's director of veterans programs, told The Associated Press.

Veterans who return to college are often older and more experienced than much of the student body. This, in turn, makes introductory classes that can ease them back into an academic setting very helpful.

Colleges Embrace Veterans-Only Offerings

George Washington University is one school where former service members can find courses where they will learn beside individuals with similar life experiences. In the institution's non-credit veterans writing seminar, students spend a weekend exploring how they can draw on their experiences in places like Iraq and Vietnam for creative purposes. There are already plans to adapt the seminar into a for-credit, semester-long course.

West Virginia University and Cleveland State University are two other schools that aim to make students with a military background feel more comfortable. Veterans enrolled at West Virginia can take courses on the transition from military to student life, while Cleveland State offers its required Introduction to University Life class in a veterans-only format.

Special Courses Essential to Academic Success

The Huffington Post reports that by next summer, 88% of current student veterans will drop out of the colleges and universities they are enrolled in due to feelings of isolation and frustration. This alarmingly high figure only highlights the importance of courses and other offerings that can help veterans become better acclimated to the college culture.

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