Veterans: The College Essay Edge

Veterans who have recently finished their tour of duty and are hoping to earn college credit or apply for a college degree program have an edge over the other applicants when writing a college essay; their stories.

According to a recent blog post by Dan Gomez, a two-tour Iraq war veteran and 2010 City College graduate, it’s advantageous for veterans to draw on their military experiences in their college essay. If the application question fits, then this is an opportunity for veterans to stand out from the competition, many of whom are still in high school.

Some things to keep in mind when writing a college essay:

  1. Use appropriate language. Remember this is a college application essay.
  2. Articulate your military experience and education in a way that will be thought-provoking to the admissions staff that will be reading it.
  3. Illustrate how you faced many challenges on the front line and overcame them. This can show the admissions staff that you’re more than ready for the challenge of earning college credit.
  4. Be open and honest about your feelings on the front line, to a point. Talking about the psychological damage you suffered may be perceived as inappropriate in the post Virginia Tech era. This doesn’t mean veterans can’t be candid about their experiences. If you are unsure about your content, have someone you trust proofread your essay before you submit it.

What happened on a tour of duty can in fact be applicable to a college education and earning college credit. Some of the same skills valued in the military are also valued in the classroom, including leadership, courage, and critical thinking. Though it can depend on the application question, in general veterans shouldn’t hesitate to share their stories of heroism and courage.

What did you write about for your college essay? If you’re a veteran, did you tell any stories about your experiences in the military?

Tagged: earn college credit writing a college essay