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Can I Go to College While Being in the Military?

Newsroom | Articles Dec. 11, 2023
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Can you go to college while in the military? Yes! However, this journey significantly differs from the conventional college experience.  
Balancing a college education with a military career is no small feat. Still, success hinges on strategic planning and choosing the right educational path. By carefully navigating your college and military responsibilities, you can realize your academic dreams while serving your nation. 
Whether you aim to advance your military career, prepare for a transition to civilian life, or attain a personal goal, here's what you need to know. 

Why Pursue A College Degree While Serving?

Pursuing a college education while in the military makes sense for many students, especially those seeking the following:

  • Officer Aspirations: If you want to become a commissioned officer, a bachelor's degree is a prerequisite for entering an officer training program.
  • Civilian Career Transition: If your future plans include transitioning to a civilian career after completing your military service, earning your education while serving will provide a significant head start when you eventually begin your job search. Several degree programs cater to veterans, and there are military-friendly colleges equipped with services tailored to your unique needs.

Choosing the Right Educational Path 

In the context of military service, attending traditional in-person classes at a physical campus can pose challenges. Instead, military service members on active duty typically have three primary options for pursuing higher education: 
1. Attend Classes At Your Duty Station

Earning your degree by attending classes on base is a convenient option. It's an excellent choice if you prefer in-person instruction, with minimal or no commute, smaller class sizes, and greater flexibility to pause your education during deployments. However, it's worth noting that not all degree programs are available on military bases, and scheduling can be less flexible compared to online alternatives. 
2. Enroll in a Branch Campus

Some colleges and universities have established branch campuses both overseas and across the nation. These campuses often present challenges similar to on-base classes, with potential limitations on schools and programs. Additionally, attending a branch campus assumes the existence of a campus near your base, availability to attend classes as scheduled, and reliable transportation to and from the campus.
3. Earn Your Degree Online 

For military members, pursuing an online degree is often the most flexible option. Online courses are typically asynchronous, allowing you to log in at your convenience to complete coursework. While this option demands effective time management, it offers the significant advantage of not tying you to specific class times. Online courses also provide more choices, as many institutions now offer at least some online options. This means that no matter where you are in the world, you can pursue your education as long as you have reliable internet access.

LSU Online & Continuing Education provides access to a wide variety of online degrees and a range of services and accommodations to support military learners.   

Communication and Coordination 

Effective communication is vital when managing college and military commitments. Maintain open and transparent communication with your professors, advisors, and military superiors. In the academic realm, alert your instructors if you anticipate duty-related absences. Many professors may be willing to accommodate your service-related obligations when you communicate your needs clearly. This can include granting assignment extensions or making alternative arrangements for exams and coursework. Clear communication and coordination also ensure that you have adequate support systems to manage the demands of both worlds. 

Maximizing Your Military Benefits

Military personnel have access to several educational benefits that can significantly alleviate the financial burden of college tuition. These benefits include the GI Bill, tuition assistance programs, and more. The key is understanding what benefits you qualify for and going through the application process effectively. These resources are designed to make your academic journey more affordable, so it's essential to make the most of them.

At LSU Online & Continuing Education, your military training can be used to help you save time and money through our Credit for Prior Learning program. You can learn more about the military education benefits that LSU Online accepts.  

Read more about leveraging military benefits.

Study on Your Schedule with LSU Online

LSU Online & Continuing Education provides flexible options designed to accommodate military students. With online courses and support services tailored to your unique needs, you can pursue your education while serving in the military. Balancing college and a military career is challenging. Still, with the right approach, you can navigate both paths successfully. Learn more about the resources we offer military students, explore our programs, and start your educational adventure today! 

Ready to reach your goals?

Take the first step forward by completing the form and our enrollment team will contact you soon to discuss:

  • What program meets your academic and career goals
  • Financial aid options (employer funding, military benefits)
  • Receiving credit for past education (transfer, professional development)
  • The admissions process and timeline
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