6 Tips for Veterans to Succeed in College

A former Marine sergeant weighs in on his experience transitioning to civilian life.

Paul Szoldra, founder of CollegeVeteran.com, wants veterans to go to college.

Paul Szoldra is adamant that college is an attainable goal after military service.

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[Read about one veteran's success in a dual online-on-campus program.] 

"When you're doing an online-only university [program], you're actually taking away a key piece: interaction with other individuals that are not in the military. For me, going to a traditional, on-campus school—going to classes, going to events, and being a part of different organizations on campus, interacting with regular, old college students—has helped me move away from being in that military mindset and transitioning myself into being a civilian again."

The bigger payoff, Szoldra anticipates, will come after graduation: "When I go to a job interview," he notes, "it's not [going to be] my first interaction with a civilian; I've been interacting with them all along." 

6. Practice patience: At 28, Szoldra is older than some of his peers in his college courses. But veterans with more years and experience should give their younger classmates some slack, he recommends, and shouldn't jump to conclusions about age and knowledge. 

"Having a lot of patience is key," he says. "Trying to take some time and just letting things slide is something that needs to happen for older veterans—and for veterans in general."

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