4 Tips for Transitioning from Active Duty to Education

At some point, nearly all military personnel will transition out of active duty. Some of them will choose to join the job pool while others may opt for the education route. That's where Anthony Alvarado often comes in.

The former marine and seasoned education professional, who serves as military education coordinator at California Southern University, recently shared his thoughts on the value of a college degree, what a service member should be looking for in a university, and more in this 10-minute video.

Here are four important tips from Alvarado’s discussion:

1. Understand your benefits: Whether you're working with Tuition Assistance or GI Bill benefits, it's important to know what those benefits offer and how they may be limited. Seek counseling through school administrators who have a solid understanding of the benefits. Or look for veterans groups, like Student Veterans of America, who can walk you through the process.

2. Focus on your goal: There are limitations to benefits, so choose a degree to seek and stick to it. Too often military students change their major and cannot transfer credits, therefore lose a portion of their benefits. Setting up an education plan with your school of choice and following it are key.

3. Research your school: Before settling on a school, get all the information you need -- from the school's accreditation information to the cost of your classes. It's important to have transparency on all things from the school you choose.

4. Don't be afraid of online degrees: It's the same education. It may not have the name recognition of an Ivy League school, but you're still getting a degree from an accredited program that can often be much easier to fit into a busy schedule. For many military and veteran students, that is a great option.

Another way to ease the transition from active duty to education is to earn credits while serving – whether deployed or located on a military base – with the DSST Credit by Exam program. Eligible military and their spouses can access up-front funding of DSST exam fees, and earn three or more college credits at no cost. Join the ranks of the thousands of military personnel who’ve experienced the power of DSST exams. Get started by checking out our exam list today!

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