Transitioning Veterans & Higher Education, Part 1: Obstacles

Transitioning Veterans & Higher Education, Part 1: Obstacles

The vast majority of veterans joined the military while in their teens, and military service was often their real first job. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, as the U.S. military provides intense training in a variety of military occupations, as well as physical training and discipline. What better way to prepare a person for adulthood than with a taste of military life? However, once these men and women ETS from their respective branches, many are at a loss with regard to transitioning to civilian life. In fact, many veterans find a disassociation between the structures of military life and the dog-eat-dog world of civilian life. Thankfully, many are eligible for the G.I. Bill and opt to attend colleges and universities throughout the U.S.

Challenges of college life

Since 9/11, some one million plus veterans have taken advantage of the G.I. Bill and attended institutions of higher learning. A higher education on top of their military training provides veterans with better opportunities. Nevertheless, veterans face obstacles that their civilian counterparts in school never dreamed about. These include PTSD, traumatic brain injury, military sexual trauma, depression and anxiety, loneliness on campus (even among other vets), boredom compared to combat situations, a loss of income, families to support, the hedonistic lifestyle of their fellow students raising Cain on campus, and a myriad of other woes, ailments, and physical and mental scars. College is certainly no walk in the park for today’s veterans.

Campus veterans groups and counselors

A considerable number of colleges offer counseling to veterans. Unfortunately, many vets fall through the proverbial cracks due to their solitude or unwillingness to seek assistance.

Some institutions do not possess the wherewithal to adequately assist veterans with disabilities. Also, G.I. Bill benefits sometimes arrive late. Nevertheless, to their collective credit, universities and community colleges are developing programs and services catering to veterans to meet the growing number of veteran students.


Transitioning veterans who opt for university life straight out of the military are faced with a wide range of struggles and obstacles. Next week, we will look at how veterans and universities can work together to remedy the above-mentioned obstacles and provide the education-minded veteran with a better chance at transitioning into civilian life and earning a diploma.

Alan Scott/Pazoo

Alan Scott

About Alan Scott

Alan Scott served with both the 101st and 82nd Airborne Divisions as a paratrooper/infantryman. He completed his basic training at Ft. Ord, California, jump school in Ft. Benning, Georgia, and advanced infantry training in Ft. Campbell, Kentucky with the 1/503rd parachute infantry. His MOS was 11B (infantry) and 11C (forward observer for an 81mm mortar platoon). Upon the 10st going off jump status, he was reassigned to A Co. 1/508th parachute infantry, 82nd Airborne at...