3 Ways Military Spouses Can Be Successful Students
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Going back to school as a military spouse doesn't have to be as hard as you think.
Sure, you’ve got PCS moves and deployments to plan around, but it’s not impossible.
In a lot of ways, it's actually easier to go back to school as a military spouse. Military spouses have access to resources like the MyCAA scholarship, which makes it easier to pay for certain flexible schooling options. It also gives you unlimited access to experienced career counselors.
The military offers a lot of resources that allow military spouse students to thrive.
Because you’re the backbone of a strong service member, it’s important for you to feel supported, too. That includes a successful back-to-school experience for you.
Here’s a few tips on how to successfully jump into education as a military spouse:
1. Understand Timing is Everything
No matter how long you’ve been married to your service member, you’ve probably noticed that timelines in the military are subject to change.
With that in mind, ask yourself if the timing is right to go back to school. Even if it’s an online program, you still want to make sure you can dedicate enough time to your studies to succeed. Throwing school on top of a ton of other military life stressors isn’t necessarily a recipe for success.
Questions to ask yourself:
Are we getting ready to PCS?
Will I be supported by my family if I do this now?
Is now better than later or not at all?
If your significant other is getting ready to deploy and you’ve been looking forward to adding to your skill set, it’s probably a good time to start your enrollment paperwork. Look at your current obligations, talk to an educational counselor, and then make the choice that will set you up for success.
2. Use Your Financial Aid Options
My Career Advancement Account (MyCAA) - Depending on what you want to go back to school for, you might be able to get a free education. The Department of Defense (DoD) offers spouses a financial assistance scholarship of $4,000 for certain training licenses, certificates, and some degrees that lead to portable, high-demand careers.
National Military Family Association (NMFA) Scholarship Program - These scholarships range from $500 to $1,000 and are available to dependents with an eligible military ID. Spouses may use these scholarships toward degrees, certifications, licensure, CEUs, and more.
College Scholarships - Upon acceptance at your college or university of choice, be sure to ask the admissions counselor about scholarship or financial aid offerings. Many colleges have private funds for currently enrolled students to help pay for books, tuition, and other college-related expenses.
3. Follow Your Interests
When you do decide to continue your education, you’ll want to pick an industry that interests you. Talk with people in the field and look into shadowing programs to get a behind-the-scenes look. If it doesn’t grab your interest, it’s better to know prior to investing in a program.
Sure, you won’t love every minute of every class. But you’ll want to enjoy most of it. Consider your classes a trial run for what your daily life will look like in your field of study. If you absolutely hate most of the course content, you probably won’t love working in the industry either.
Set Yourself Up For Success
Don’t make going back to school harder than it needs to be. Military life offers enough challenges, and you don’t want your schooling to be one of those.
Take your time to check out your options, and if you find yourself coming back to one particular program, get more information.
Military spouses choose continuing education for a number of reasons. Just like the military life is one big adventure, enrolling in school can be, too. Don’t let the chaos of the military lifestyle deter you from your dreams of a new career — especially when you have great resources like MyCAA at your fingertips!
What questions do you have about being a military spouse and student? Reach out to an education consultant today and ask away!