Dr. Cindi Nadelman is the Director of Veteran Services at New England College. A retired U.S. Air Force officer with a background in data and electronic security systems, she teaches Business Administration at NEC. She shared her thoughts why veterans should continue their education by returning to college to earn a degree.
As a veteran, what would you say to those unsure of going (back) to school and/or earning a degree?
From my personal experience, I can say that my years in the military gave me some really good hands-on experience as well as technical training. The reason I returned to college was so that my education could catch up to my experience. I realized I may have fallen short for top-level management positions based on not having a master’s degree (or for some, the lack of having a bachelor’s degree).
It never gets easier to return to college, but earning a degree will make you proud of your academic accomplishments. Military service is something that I am incredibly proud of, but completing my degrees, and having my family celebrate these accomplishments with me was something I found extremely gratifying.
If you were to itemize key tips for military students wanting to finish college, what would they be?
- Take full advantage of working for an employer who is willing to assist with your college tuition, or allows time-off to return to college. It’s a benefit!
- Remember there is a time limit to GI Bill® benefits. You’re entitled to this benefit, so get to know the timeline.
- Your military training has prepared you for academic work, whether you realize it or not. You are probably a much better student now than before you entered the military.
- If you have concerns about returning to college with “traditional students,” try online courses or take one class at a time to ease into the academic setting.
- College can be your new hobby. If you are going to spend time doing something other than work, earn a degree!
- Find a military-friendly college that offers benefits such as maximum transfer credits for military training and technical schools, a veteran’s support center, and staff and faculty who are willing to assist you in the transition.
- Visit the campus to see if you get a good feel for the kind of support you are looking for in a college.
- Talk with the college’s Military Benefits Administrator to see what he/she can do to help you get started.
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What three student experiences best demonstrate the success that can come from an education at New England College?
Profile A: A returning Navy veteran who started at New England College in the ’90s but never completed his degree, and left the Navy with a service-connected injury. He used his Vocational Rehab benefits to complete his bachelor’s degree and his master’s degree. He found that he was a much better student in his 30s than he was as an 18-year-old. With his military contacts, he obtained an internship with the VA in White River Junction, Vt.
Profile B: An Army National Guard member was able to finish her bachelor’s degree and get a full-time technician position after she graduated. Soon after that, she was selected for Army Warrant Officer School because she had a technical degree and some years of hands-on experience.
Profile C: A retired Air Force Master Sergeant came to New England College because he decided he wanted to teach as a second career. He finished his master’s degree in our online MBA program and is now teaching online courses for us. He feels he is able to help other military members because he understands the lifestyle and the multiple commitments of military servicemembers.
GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government website atwww.benefits.va.gov/gibill.