How Did You Go From Military Spouse to College Student?

graduation cap in the air
(D. Myles Cullen/DVIDS)

Have you gone back to school? Do you dream about it? If so, you’re not alone. And we’re trying to think of how we can best support you along the way.

For service members and military spouses alike, going back to school can seem a daunting prospect. Even with benefits, it can be expensive. But for military spouses, the cost can hit home a little harder: figuring out your major, shuffling family schedules, finding childcare, analyzing lost wages and balancing school with that ever-challenging beast we know as our spouse’s career.

And so we’re introducing our newest Spouse Employment project: Back to School in a Year. It’s hard to go back to school. And you shouldn’t be alone in it. So we’ll be here every step of the way to help you along.

From standard tests and making sense of your military life experience in your essays to looking for references and figuring out how to pay for the whole thing, we’re going to reach out to experts and military spouses just like you to figure out what the best way is to tackle each and every hurdle you face on the way back to school.

Because going back to school requires commitment (it’s going to get hard, and if you’re not 100% sure of your decision, it’s only going to be that much more difficult), it requires a lot of organization (Family! PCS moves! Real life!), squared-away financials (see our guide for paying for college with your spousal benefits) and, more than anything else, it involves planning.

We can't make you organized or guarantee you a winning lottery ticket, but we can help you plan. Why? Because we've done it, too. We know how hard it is. We have balanced deployments, kids and pregnancies with deadlines, term papers and exams. We've spent time away from our spouses in the face of moving orders just to finish classes or get through a thesis.

We've cried, smiled, relocated and taken time off and gone back and collapsed in crumpled, diploma-holding exhausted heaps when we’re done. In other words: been there, done that.

But we also know that every experience is unique. And just because one challenge happened to us, something entirely different may have happened to you.

So we want to know: Are you going back to school? Have you already done it and have the diploma to prove it? What challenges have you faced on the road back? What stressed you out the most? Paying for school, getting your applications in or finding a program that would actually help you get paid well one day?

Tell us. We want to know about your back-to-school experience: the ups, the downs and the advice you have for others facing this decision.

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