The transition to a college or university after military service can be tough. Use this checklist to help you find resources to assist you in planning for a successful academic career once you've made your choice on what institution you would like to attend. The items below are not necessarily in the order appropriate for your chosen institution. Always start with the Office of Admissions as they will guide you on processes and contacts in an order appropriate for your success at the institution.
It is important to keep in contact with the Office of Admissions throughout the entire admissions process and for a bit after you've been admitted. There are documents you will need to provide them including but not limited to: certain military documentation, test scores, all transcripts, etc. Some institutions will not officially admit you without all these documents being received in the Admission's Center first.
Check in again once you've been accepted and are heading to campus. It's a good idea to recheck with the office and ensure they have received all the documents necessary and be prepared to provide any updated information if anything has changed in your situation. Send any updated materials as soon as possible so that you can register at your earliest opportunity.
Your college or university's Office of Admissions can guide you to other campus resources to help you plan your academic future. Ask about academic advising and required courses for your major, housing and meal plans, opportunities for campus involvement and any special services for veterans.
This office or center on campuses helps veterans, National Guard members, reservists, and eligible dependents on all matters relating to federal and state educational benefits and payments and other veteran-related concerns.
If your institution does not have an Office of Veterans Services, ask your academic advisor or admissions counselor which office or personnel on campus are familiar with the services the school offers to veterans.
If you are a transfer student, you will have most likely received Montgomery GI Bill benefits at your previous institution. If not, you must apply for the GI Bill. Find an application and general information regarding benefits on the U.S. department of Veteran's Affairs (VA) website ( gibill.va.gov ).
As an Illinois veteran, you may also be eligible for the Illinois Veterans Grant or the Illinois National Guard Grant administered by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission ( ISAC ). These programs pay tuition and certain fees. If you have received the grant at your previous institution, provide proof of eligibility to the Financial Aid Office as soon as possible. If you have not received the grant, you must apply. Applications are available via the ISAC website or by clicking here: Illinois Veterans Grant or Illinois National Guard Grant . To see all possible applications, visit the application pages on the ISAC site.
You advisor can discuss the Illinois Articulation Initiative as well as program and graduation requirements with you. They can also help you plan your course schedule and explain the registration process. Make sure you know your assigned time to register and register as soon you can after that time. Often courses fill quickly and are on a first come, first served process.
Many institutions and communities across the state offer opportunities for veterans to gather and serve their campus and communities. Ask your advisor, admissions counselor, or veterans coordinator about these service organizations on your campus.
Talk with your advisor or admissions counselor about your reasons for returning to college. Pay careful attention to any personal reasons for choosing military service, such as not enjoying your educational experiences or seeking other alternatives to education. If you feel concerned about your academic skills as you enter your college career, ask about tutoring and academic assistance opportunities at your institution. Don't be afraid to seek out a professor's help if you need assistance in a particular course. Ask for help before any difficulty in coursework progresses to an unhealthy point.
It is important to enjoy the opportunities that your educational experience affords you. Get involved in the campus community. Keep in mind that balancing your time to get the most out of your education can be tough after an extended break. Ask your advisor or admissions counselor about services on campus that can help you manage your time and get the most out of both studying and socializing.
Information in this check list is supplied in part by our partner in education: Judy Curtis, Coordinator of Illinois State University's Veterans Services .