These 5 factors can block you from achieving your potential, but you can remove these barriers when you learn the terms, tricks, and tips that have helped thousands of other servicemembers and veteran's get their education.
It's time to address the last of these factors, and get you on the way to achieving your goals, and reaching your full potential.
Turn Academic Fear into Motivation
Fear is not an unusual reaction when getting started on any challenging worthwhile adventure in life. Do you remember how you felt when you made the decision to join the military? The thought of taking on any large commitment, like achieving your educational goals, can be just as intimidating.
Look at it this way, in your military career you experienced pain & suffering, put in long hard hours, made huge sacrifices, endured separation from your family, and maybe even had to live on MREs. Face it, you have what it takes. Besides, with the possible exception of rocket science, the type of college courses you'll likely be taking are not that difficult.
Both the VA and DoD have education counselors and the DoD offers online tools to help you prepare for the rigors of college level course work.
Remember: a college degree is less of a measure of intelligence and more of a measure of commitment, and tenacity.
Instead of letting fear stop you, let fear motivate you! The following are examples of what you should really be afraid of:
- Missed Promotion/Advancement Opportunities
- Missed Benefits
If you are currently on active duty, you enjoy relatively good wages and job security, but someday you will have to leave the military. If you haven't completed your education by the time you get out, you could be looking at lower wages or unemployment. As a rule, the higher your level of education and training, the more salary you are likely to earn. Your level of education can also directly affect your ability to get or keep a job.
Be aware: Although it is true higher education increases your opportunities, no college or university can guarantee you will get a job or earn a higher salary.
Missed Promotion/Advancement Opportunities
Whether you are a servicemember, veteran, or civilian, having your college degree can be the difference between being promoted or getting passed over. In some branches of the military, a college degree is a requirement for officer promotions and senior enlisted advancement. It comes down to this: you need to be prepared when the doors of opportunity open, and the best way to do that is to continually improve your level of training, education and certification.
At $4,500 a year Tuition Assistance is at a historic high, but like many government-funded programs the future of this benefit is not guaranteed, and may not last much longer. Your other educational benefits also have limitations. For example when you separate from the military you lose your eligibility for most DANTES, SOC, and Tuition Assistance programs, and if you are veteran you only have 10 to 15 years from your last day of active duty to use all of your GI Bill benefits. After that your benefits are gone, and based on today's payment rates that could mean a loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Simply put, you need to "use it, or you'll lose it".
So if you have finally decided that you are ready to increase your earning potential, get that promotion, and use the benefits you have earned before it is too late, then you have turned your fear into motivation.
Choosing your career path and degree program should be your next step in pursuing your education goals. Part of that process is reaching out to colleges and universities to learn more about their education processes and degree programs.
Remember, there is no obligation to enroll, be sure to ask the right questions and seek counseling before you make your final selection.