Follow us on:
Reclaim Renew Renest
Julia Mitchell. This guest post, A Veteran’s Guide to Applying to College, was written by Julia Mitchell and edited by Renesting Staff for length and clarity. The views and opinions expressed in this blog post are solely the author’s and may or may not reflect the views and opinions of Renesting Project, Inc.

Renesting Project is proud to partner with several local agencies that serve veterans. We know that the challenges our veteran neighbors face are unique. We hope this guest post, written by Julia Mitchell, will serve as a guide for veterans applying to college!


Earning a degree after finishing military service can come with several benefits. For some veterans, attending classes and finding peers help ease the transition into civilian life. Some schools even have programs tailored to help connect veterans with other former military students. Besides improving your job prospects, going to college as a veteran will help you find a community and a support network.


Consider Your Future Career 

Before deciding on a degree, you need to know where you are going with your career. Ask yourself what careers interest you. If you are not sure, consider your hobbies, talents, and future goals. With an idea, you can then research information about specific industries, careers, and salaries. You can also explore careers related to your previous military job if you are interested in continuing similar work. You can also learn a lot about career options for vets on My Next Move.


The Best Degrees for Veterans 

When you decide to apply to college, you will want to consider courses that offer lucrative opportunities. One such program is an online MBA. Programs like an MBA (Masters of Business Administration) develop your accounting, economics, corporate finance, and human capital management skills. Once earned, you can apply for managerial or administrator careers. Additionally, consider online degrees. Virtual programs allow flexibility and an easier time balancing family, work, and school.


Write Down a List of Colleges 

Once you choose the right career field and degree or program, you need to find a college that offers the perfect environment to achieve your goal. Research the degree you want to pursue, then look for schools that degree. Consider what the school offers outside just the program: a career resource center, job placement assistance, veteran groups, and more. Other factors to consider are climate, location, public vs. private, available programs that support veterans, and on-campus entertainment and activities. Also, do not forget to check if the school accepts the GI Bill, which finances part or all of college fees and tuition for qualifying veterans.


Consider Chances of Acceptance 

Once you have made a list of programs and schools you want to apply to, the next step is to consider your chances of acceptance. Use a college admission calculator to figure out how likely you are to get into a college. Apply to safety schools, target schools, and reach schools. Safety schools are those with admission standards that you meet or exceed, that you are almost sure will accept you. Target schools have admission standards that you meet; these are schools that will likely approve your admission. Reach schools are those where your numbers are below the average. However, you should still apply to a couple of these that interest you, as numbers are not the only aspect of admission.


Explore Financial Aid Options 

After determining what you want to study, you need to know how you will finance your education. There are several programs for veterans you can check out, including the Yellow Ribbon program or the GI Bill. Once accepted, the GI Bill will pay your tuition and offer a monthly housing allowance. You also get an annual stipend for school supplies. To qualify, you need to have served for at least 90 days in the military. Use the VA tool to search for GI Bill-approved schools.



Use this guide to ease your concerns about going to college. Determine your destination by picking the career you want to pursue, then find colleges that offer the most favorable terms to help you reach your goals. If you need assistance, check out financial aid options tailored for veterans or reach out to your local Department of Veteran Affairs.