HAVE YOU EVER SERVED IN THE MILITARY?

One question can make a big difference…

SUPPORT THE EDUCATION GOALS OF THOSE WHO SERVE BY:

  • Helping a warrior thrive in a civilian learning environment.
  • Improving peer sensitivity to veteran classmates.
  • Effectively accommodating service-connected disabilities

WHY ASK THE QUESTION?

Colleges, universities and other adult learning institutions encounter veterans, service members, and military family members, but they don’t always know it. Veterans do not always identify themselves.  They can be proud and stoic, and tend to be more comfortable helping others than asking for help themselves.  At the same time, they may struggle to acclimate to a civilian learning environment, socially and academically. The best way to ensure military-veteran students have all the support they need and respect they deserve is to ASK!

When a student applies to or enrolls at your institution,

ASK THE QUESTION:

Have you or a family member ever served in the military?

WHEN THE ANSWER IS “YES,” you may consider thanking them for their service. You may also then help them make the most out of their learning experience.  Asking further questions will also help you to:

  • Build rapport and demonstrate interest and cultural competency
  • Link to military and veteran resources and referrals, including both VA and non-VA programs
  • Assist in matching service experience to academic offerings and identify opportunities for awarding credits based on experience
  • Resolve barriers to course completion and/or interruptions to the individual’s academic plan
  • Address specific barriers to reintegration into the academic world and the transition from military life to college life
  • Explore any needs for academic, cognitive, social, emotional, physical accommodations
  • Identify ways in which your program and services can assist the veteran
  • Address possible impediments to seeking support and services

Read a vignette about how providers in
Higher Education & Adult Learning can make a big difference

Following are some questions that could be asked in the context of gathering information for more effective referrals and services.  Pay attention to non-verbal cues, and show respect, curiosity, and empathy.  Also be aware that responsiveness and effective follow-up are critical to building trust and rapport.

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When did you serve? What service era? Which Branch?

  • Build rapport and demonstrate interest and cultural competency
  • Link to military and veteran resources and referrals, including both VA and non-VA programs

What was your job while serving?

  • Assist in matching service experience to academic offerings and identify opportunities for awarding credits based on experience

Did you take any college coursework while in the military?

  • Assist in matching service experience to academic offerings and identify opportunities for awarding credits based on experience
  • Resolve barriers to course completion and/or interruptions to the individual’s academic plan

How are your education and job goals the same as or different from your job in the military?

  • Assist in matching service experience to academic offerings and identify opportunities for awarding credits based on experience
  • Resolve barriers to course completion and/or interruptions to the individual’s academic plan

What specialty training have you participated in that may contribute to reaching your goals?

  • Link to military and veteran resources and referrals, including both VA and non-VA programs
  • Address specific barriers to reintegration into the academic world and the transition from military life to college life
  • Identify ways in which your program and services can assist the veteran

In what ways may the services that you’re here for be connected to your military service?

  • Address specific barriers to reintegration into the academic world and the transition from military life to college life
  • Identify ways in which your program and services can assist the veteran

Have you had a recent deployment and/or are you facing a deployment?

  • Link to military and veteran resources and referrals, including both VA and non-VA programs

Are you enrolled/connected to the VA or other veteran resources or organizations for support and services?

  • Link to military and veteran resources and referrals, including both VA and non-VA programs

 

Do you know if you are eligible for GI Bill Benefits?

  • Link to military and veteran resources and referrals, including both VA and non-VA programs
  • Address specific barriers to reintegration into the academic world and the transition from military life to college life
  • Identify ways in which your program and services can assist the veteran

Are there any accommodations you would need related to any service-connected disabilities or conditions?

  • Identify ways in which your program and services can assist the veteran
  • Address possible impediments to seeking support and services

You know your strengths and weaknesses. Do you have any specific worries or concerns about attending college that we haven’t discussed (i.e. some veterans get frustrated by classmates whom they perceive as taking their college experience for granted)?

  • Identify ways in which your program and services can assist the veteran
  • Address possible impediments to seeking support and services

What reservations did you have about seeking assistance? Is there anything that might be a barrier to further seeking assistance (i.e. many veterans have been trained to not ask questions, and yet in the learning environment, this is essential to success)?

  1. To identify possible impediments to seeking support and services