On the one hand, being an active duty soldier means that you have access to tuition benefits which in many cases will cover the cost of your entire degree. Earning a degree can improve your earning potential and even help you transition from being enlisted to being an officer. On the other hand, being a soldier is often much more than a full-time job, so juggling classes with your military career can be tricky. Here are a few tips to keep in mind for taking college classes as an active duty soldier.
1. Choose the Right University
A military-friendly university with flexible online classes is the ideal solution for your situation. These universities are better at accommodating the non-traditional demands of a military student. Online classes are ideal because you can log on and turn in assignments on your own time, even if that means late at night or during a quick break during the day.
In some cases, your university will offer course credit for your military experience, so be sure to speak to an advisor before enrolling in school. Receiving college credit for work and life experience can help you graduate more quickly.
2. Talk to Your Supervisors
It's a good idea to talk to your NCO or other supervisors before enrolling in classes. In most cases, they will be supportive and may even look for ways to help you reach your educational goals, such as finding extra study time for you. It is especially important to let your supervisors know if you plan to take online classes during an upcoming deployment. They will be able to help you find out if your deployment location will have an education center and reliable internet so you can take classes during downtime while deployed.
3. Start Slowly
It's tempting to sign up for as many classes as possible to get through your degree more quickly, but a wiser approach is to start small and only sign up for a couple of classes. This gives you a chance to get used to being in school again, and gives you time to figure out your schedule. It is much easier to fit the reading, essays, and studying for one or two classes into your busy military schedule than to try to tackle a full-time load. It's better to get good grades but proceed more slowly than to burn out right away.
Following these tips will allow you to juggle college classes with your military career with ease. For more information on online university for military personnel, contact your local online school.