Every year, roughly 200,000 service members transition from lively obligation navy to civilian life. For a lot of veterans, the method generally is a difficult expertise—and for these in search of to enroll in faculty, the enterprise comes with its personal set of hurdles. Sarah Payne is one such veteran who discovered herself needing assist when making the leap from the Marine Corps to an undergraduate profession.
“There’s a lot data and paperwork that will get thrown at you,” Sarah says. “However then the Division of Protection solely requires one week of transition courses, they usually solely overview training advantages over a few afternoons. It left me feeling unprepared for some fairly important subsequent steps.”
Happily, Columbia College’s Attaining Greater Schooling—a web-based course for transitioning veterans supplied on the edX platform—helped Sarah fill in all of the blanks and prime herself for achievement.
“The course supplemented my transition courses in a really wholesome manner, compiling the whole lot in a single place,” she says. “Right this moment, there are nearly too many sources for veterans. It’s overwhelming! However Columbia’s course eliminates the muddle and brings collectively simply what you want, which is very vital throughout an already anxious time of change.”
A Brave Resolution Results in Fortuitous Recommendation
Rising up in rural Missouri because the fourth of six kids—and with a father who additionally served within the Marine Corps—Sarah realized the worth of laborious work early on. Whereas in highschool, she earned good grades, performed sports activities, labored a number of part-time jobs, and even taught herself the way to play the flute.
By the point Sarah graduated highschool, she wasn’t certain what she wished to check. So Sarah joined the Marines as an alternative, similar to her dad.
“I auditioned for the Marine Corps band and acquired in,” she says (see above photograph). “For the following 4 years, it was very thrilling to be paid to play the flute of their ensemble. However my finish purpose was all the time to go to varsity.”
Whereas stationed at Base Camp Pendleton in California, Sarah was additionally a full-time scholar. As she neared the completion of her bachelor’s diploma, the training middle on base beneficial Sarah for the Marine Corps Management Students Program. She was quickly linked with Beth Morgan, this system’s former director. Morgan now leads increased training transition and partnerships at Columbia College—and he or she’s additionally one of many specialists behind the event of the Attaining Greater Schooling course.
“Beth recommended I take her course to be taught all my choices for making use of for monetary help at an Ivy League faculty—someplace I all the time dreamed of going,” Sarah says. “I knew that beginning my bachelor’s diploma over at a high faculty may ultimately assist me get into the graduate program of my selection. And if I discovered the way to get a full undergraduate journey by way of the edX course—which I finally did!—then I may save my GI Invoice advantages to pay for my grasp’s and/or regulation faculty as an alternative.”
Trusted Recommendation, Brighter Prospects
Not solely was the versatile, self-paced nature of Columbia’s on-line course an ideal match for Sarah’s busy schedule, she additionally discovered the fabric to be complete in all of the methods she may fund her future.
“The expertise was pivotal for me,” she says. “I realized all of the intricate variations between the advantages of the GI Invoice, FAFSA, disabled veteran choices, and direct monetary help from every faculty. There’s loads to be taught, however the course takes you thru all the professionals and cons of every so you may decide which is greatest on your scenario—whether or not you’ve youngsters, low earnings, and so forth. There’s additionally a useful interactive map that permits you to click on to see how every faculty operates their monetary help applications.”
Past monetary recommendation, the course helps navy personnel put their greatest foot ahead within the purposes and interviews. Sarah significantly appreciated its steering on essay writing.
“Service members are likely to keep away from being emotionally weak in our private statements,” she says. “As an alternative, we use an software’s essay part as a spot to quantify our accomplishments. However the course says that schools need to see your distinctive persona and actually get to know who you’re in that area. If I had not taken the course, my private assertion would have learn loads like a resume—and that’s undoubtedly not what colleges need.”
Taking this lesson and plenty of others to coronary heart, Sarah acquired up the braveness to use to 10 Ivy League colleges in all—and was in the end accepted into eight of them.
“Effectively, okay, I needed to redact the 2 I hadn’t heard from, so as to settle for the total journey from the varsity I selected,” she laughs. “So I inform myself they’d’ve accepted me too, however I suppose we’ll by no means know. And that’s effective by me!”
First Cease, Princeton—Subsequent Cease, a Higher World
Flash ahead a 12 months, and Sarah is now a sophomore at Princeton (see above photograph), ranked primary out of 443 nationwide universities by U.S. Information and World Report for the present educational 12 months. She has begun steering her undergraduate courses towards Pre-Regulation, intent on utilizing her GI Invoice profit for Yale or Harvard regulation faculty after she graduates.
“I’d like to work on jail and training reform as soon as I’m firmly established,” she says. “I used to volunteer at a literacy middle close to Camp Pendleton, educating largely immigrant adults the way to learn in English. In coaching to be a tutor there, I realized that two-thirds of America’s incarcerated inhabitants is functionally illiterate. The connection between training, poverty, and jail inside that statistic actually disturbs me. That’s one thing I need to use my levels for, to assist society change.”
Due to Columbia’s course, Sarah’s long-term objectives are inside nearer attain than ever earlier than. She continues to reap the short-term advantages, too.
“The course actually emphasizes being organized and pacing your self,” she says. “Making use of to varsity is a big endeavor, in order that they encourage you to map out your plan and plot all of it on a calendar. I nonetheless use these expertise at Princeton in the present day, and I’m certain for years to return. However actually, any veteran goes to be well-educated and ready for school with this useful resource. After taking the edX course, no veteran’s wants ought to stay unmet, monetary or in any other case.”