How Military Experience Pays Off for Online Students
Online learning is a daily exercise in self-discipline. As you’re not required to drive or walk to classes – and arrive at a set time – you have to create your own study and homework schedule while avoiding the pitfalls of procrastination. Ideally, this need for self-discipline is part of the reason why active duty and veteran service members are often the right fit for online universities.
“The military experience is really what hones in when it’s time to do homework,” according to Ashford University student Marcus Daniels, an Army veteran pursuing his Master of Business Administration. “It’s kind of like completing a mission that is of high priority. When the assignment is given, we read the instructions and decipher them to the best of our ability and execute the mission.”
Stephanie Kinman, a 6-year Navy veteran who now serves as Ashford’s Military Student Development and Engagement Specialist, added that the intangible skills – self-control, attention to detail, etc. – that are ingrained in servicemen and women make it easier for them to overcome the challenges of higher education and adapt when things change in an instant.
“They are prepared to do what it takes – late nights, speaking with their professor, completing tasks ahead of schedule – to ensure mission completion,” she said.
For Daniels, the “no fail” approach to learning first helped him achieve his Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Management at Ashford following deployments to Germany and Afghanistan. When he returned for his MBA, he joined the University’s CHAMPS Peer Mentor team, which pairs academically successful students (a 3.0 GPA is required) with incoming students still making the adjustment to online learning. The achievements of Daniels and students like him led the CHAMPS team to create a subdivision of the program focusing exclusively on mentor/mentee relationships between military students.
“They understand, because they have been there, and have been successful,” according to Kinman. “They also understand the culture of the military and its ‘Mission First’ mentality. That understanding in CHAMPS is vital to student success, because the mentor can relate not only in the academic sense but also the military culture.”
“Military students make good role models by spreading that ‘go get em’ mentality,” Daniels added. “Those of us in the military always focus on the task given and exhaust all means necessary to get the job done.”
Beyond the CHAMPS program, military students at Ashford are encouraged to join the University’s Student Veterans Association, a LinkedIn group that fosters support among the military student body and helps them build their professional network during and after school.
“You never know who you will meet in school that just might be your ‘in’ to that dream job you have post-military,” Kinman said. “Not to mention the connections you can make that will help in your military career, transition process, or just advice in navigating your VA benefits.”
Written by Jason R. Latham, Content Manager for Bridgepoint Education.