Sailors Have Help with College Options

CORONADO, Calif. -- Sailors wanting to further their education can find out about the many options they have by talking to an education counselor at a Navy college office.

The college office has advisors to help Sailors design a tailor-made plan for their education during or beyond a Navy career.

"We try to figure out what the student wants," said Jon Richardson, director at Navy College Office Coronado. "Then, we set them on a path to help them achieve their goals, whether it's getting a degree or just furthering their knowledge."

Whether a student is beginning an education or finishing one, there are many course delivery options available for Sailors.

"Most schools offer both distance learning and classroom-based learning courses," said Richardson. "The transcripts and diplomas are the same; there is no difference."

Traditional college courses are offered in a classroom setting. A Sailor can attend a college campus or take classes offered on base, according to Richardson.

"Some people need an instructor, face-to-face," he added.

Online distance courses are also offered from many universities for convenience for Sailors on deployment. These courses are challenging, and deadlines must be met to complete them, said Richardson.

There are pros and cons to consider when choosing how to acquire your education.

"I need a hands-on approach when it comes to learning; that's why I prefer the classroom over distance learning," said Master-at-Arms 2nd Class Paul Zielinski of Mobile Security Squadron 3. "When you're in a classroom and you have a question, you just raise your hand and you can receive assistance. With distance learning [courses], you're just staring at a computer, and if you get stuck on something, you're just stuck; and you feel helpless."

Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Marcos A. Little of Explosive Ordinance Disposal Mobile Unit 3 said, "Online courses are great, because it's self-paced, and you don't feel rushed. In a classroom, they schedule tests, and sometimes, you're not ready for them; but with online learning, you schedule the test when you feel you're ready for them, and I think that helps my chances on test and exams."

Taking classes is not the only way to earn a degree, according to Richardson. Sailors can be awarded free college credits with the College Level Examination Program (CLEP) test available through a Navy college office. Sailors need to pass a 90 minute CLEP exam for a subject to receive college credit for that class.

Most Navy installations offer flexible class schedules to accommodate a Sailor's work hours.

"We try to make it as convenient as possible for the Sailors," said Heather Ruppert, site coordinator for Central Texas College at NBC "That's why we offer classes during the lunch hour, after working hours, on the weekend and even on board the ships."

Education is becoming more important in today's Navy, even affecting Sailors' advancement. For more information on how Sailors can further their education, contact your local Navy college office.

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