University of California, Irvine Helps Veterans Make the Transition to Academic Life
Published: November 01, 2019

​​​Aiming to bridge the gap between battlefield and classroom, the University of California, Irvine, has partnered with the Warrior-Scholar Project to create a program that prepares veterans and active military service members for academic life.

The weeklong free program is primarily focused on the humanities—though past versions have focused on other fields like STEM or business. Room and board are covered, with travel being the only thing participants have to pay for.  

Beyond simply giving participants academic tools, the program also works to give them a renewed sense of confidence about applying to and getting accepted into a top-ranked college or university.  Per the Warrior Scholar Project's own reporting, only 1 percent of veterans attend a top university.

“We're really trying to push these folks into somewhat difficult discussions in order to expose them to the level of critical thinking and analysis that they should expect once they get to wherever they're going," said Michael, a veteran of the Marine Corps, in a recent interview with the Los Angeles Times. “We try to have them practice all of these skills…We do a lot of learning about how to navigate this new space."

 “Being in the service, you're out of the [academic] environment for a long time," said Sterling Meriweather, a Marine stationed at Camp Pendleton. “The most challenging part, I would have to say, is us being able to connect with the other college students to find similarities and differences there to actually be able to be a contributor—not only to the classroom but to the institution that hosts us here."

The Warrior-Scholar Project is open to all enlisted veterans and transitioning service members who plan to enroll in or transfer into a four-year undergraduate program. Bootcamps will be held at 17 different U.S. college and university campuses this year.

​At a Glance

Member Institution: University of California, Irvine

Initiative: Warrior Scholar Project Bootcamp

Goal: To help veterans and active service members integrate and acclimate to academic life.