College And The Military: Is Online College Right For You?

Getting a college degree can set you up for success after leaving the military, and some degrees can even help you while you are still on active duty. However, finding time for college can be difficult. Deployments and transfers can make staying enrolled a challenge, and online courses can sometimes be the answer. If you aren't sure whether online college is right for you, here are a few things to consider.

Available Time

While attending an online college or university provides some scheduling flexibility, you still need to devote time to your studies. Depending on how many credit hours you enroll in, this could equal several hours each day. You'll want to make sure you have enough time outside of your daily duties to commit to your education. If you don't but still want to start your college degree, consider enrolling in just a class or two to start.

Tuition Costs

Tuition for online colleges can vary, just as the tuition for traditional colleges can. You'll want to compare costs to see which school is the most affordable while still meeting your educational needs. Once you have a school picked out, take some time to familiarize yourself with the benefits you receive from the G.I. Bill. This program won't necessarily cover all of your tuition, so you may want to look at other funding options as well, such as financial aid and scholarships. To qualify for financial aid, you will need to make sure you are enrolled in an accredited school. Schools without accreditation may not be eligible for federal financial aid.

Work-Life Balance

Even if you start your college education while still in the military, you might not complete your degree before leaving. This means you'll want to find a civilian job to help support yourself while finishing school. Online colleges provide the flexibility needed to maintain a civilian job. For example, if you are working third shift, you can study before or after at a time that fits your schedule. With traditional colleges, you have to adhere to the in-person class schedule provided by the school. This can make it difficult for former military personnel to maintain a job and complete a college degree.

If you are unsure about online colleges, consider contacting a counselor at a school you are interested in. You can discuss course options, degree paths, and funding options to set yourself up for success in school. For more information, click here.