In my time at Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology (BFIT), I have been proud to help recruit and educate exceptional college students who are also veterans. As a veteran myself, it fills me with pride to see the young men and women who are exiting today’s military and entering the college ranks.
From my firsthand experience, veterans make excellent college students, and often lead the pack due to the experience they acquired while in the service. From the moment recruits enter basic training, they are shaped into responsible young men and women. This maturity carries on into their service as they face increased responsibilities.
Once enrolled in college, veterans have already developed the maturity and discipline to approach their education – experience that some high school students lack when they enter college. For a veteran, many of these issues have been dealt with already and successfully overcome.
From my firsthand experience, veterans make excellent college students due to the experience they acquire while in the service.
Veteran students have also faced difficult challenges while serving our nation. Some may have even encountered life and death situations. Their experience in overcoming these challenges prepares them to approach difficult times during college. Even when things are rough academically, veteran students seem to possess a certain calm about themselves. Most veteran students are able to pass that calm onto other students and act as leaders in the classroom. Much like the saying “a rising tide lifts all boats,” I have witnessed that in classes with veterans, the maturity level rises and permeates throughout all the students.
Depending on the type of military service, transitioning veterans enter college with some experience working with tools and machinery. Many received extensive hands-on training and possess an aptitude to learn with a positive attitude.
Beyond their practical skills, veterans have experience setting goals, working collaboratively in teams, and clearly communication, which are skills that result in a successful college education.
One of my former Electrical Technology students served in the Coast Guard before enrolling at Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology. When I asked Eric why he decided to pursue Electrical Technology, he said, "Before I went into the Coast Guard, I had no interest in the electrical trade. Then while serving I helped work on electrical systems on light houses. It’s a very hands-on trade and also allows you to use your mind, think and troubleshoot."
Beyond their practical skills, veterans also have experience with goal-setting, working collaboratively in teams, and interpersonal communications, which are skills that result in a successful college education.
Although veterans make excellent college students, they do face unique challenges while enrolled. Here at BFIT, we offer many support services for our student veterans. We recently launched a Student Veterans of America chapter and opened a new veterans resource center on campus. These initiatives helped BFIT earn the designation as a 2016 Military Friendly College.
BFIT's college programs combine theoretical and technical concepts with practical and industrial applications so veterans are prepared to quickly enter the workforce during their studies and when they graduate. Those who qualify for Post 9/11 benefits may qualify for a grant that covers the full cost of tuition, tools, while providing one of the highest monthly housing allowances in the country to help them on their path to career success.
It has been a pleasure and privilege to get to know and educate these fine young men and women. For those contemplating their next step after their service, technical degree programs in STEM fields make a good fit for veterans. BFIT will continue to proudly those who have bravely served our country.