More than 100 educators, representatives of veterans’ organizations, service members and veterans, and federal officials gathered in Arlington, VA, last week to discuss how to best help service members and veterans through the college application and acceptance process.
The goal of ACE’s Service Member and Veteran Academic Advising Summit held June 5-6 was to examine 10 promising practices for helping such students get into college and hone in on five or six that could yield the best results for institutions while maximizing limited resources.
About 1.5 million service members will be transitioning out of the military over the next five years and many will be using Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to get the education and training needed to start civilian careers.
“Creating smooth pathways to better assist our service members as they transition out of the military and into higher education and then the workforce is imperative,” said ACE President Molly Corbett Broad.
Experts in military student populations, admissions and academic advising, veteran employment, and military transition assistance from an array of colleges and universities nationwide attended the summit.
Also on hand were representatives from the departments of Veterans Affairs, Defense, Labor and Education, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and a number of current and former service members, many of whom have benefited from ACE’s Severely Injured Military Veterans Program.
One-on-one academic advising, many in attendance agreed, is the top promising practice. This is exemplified through an individualized approach that helps service members and veterans figure out the best path toward achieving educational, career and life goals and helping them find the right fit at a college or university.
Consolidated communications—making sure veterans don’t receive a slew of emails, for instance—logistical support for the college and veterans’ benefits application processes, early advising and focusing on career goals and college completion were some of the other promising practices discussed during the Summit.
ACE plans to issue a report this fall detailing the top practices and offering strategies for making them work at different types of institutions.