For many service members and transitioning veterans, applying to college and enrolling into college can be an insurmountable challenge. Why? Let’s face it there isn’t a manual to follow—until now.
Luckily, it’s a short briefing.
Before we get started, it’s important to point out that just like snowflakes, no two colleges or universities have the exact same process for being admitted and enrolling into their school. Sure, their websites may seem simple enough, especially when you see phrases like “streamlined admissions process,” “apply now,” “rolling admissions,” and my all-time favorite, “applying is just a click away!”
To make matters worse, many college admissions webpages read like a textbook and make you scroll and scroll through pages of content, only to find out the information that you are looking for is somewhere else.
So how do you keep from getting totally frustrated?!
Military Admissions How-to: Gather Intelligence Directly from the Source
Unlike other manuals that you may have read which leave you wondering how to say #$&%*! in Swedish (no offense, Ikea), we offer just one key piece of advice: Once you find a college that seems to fit your needs, pick up the phone, call their admissions office, and ask them to explain the entire process to you. This allows you to ask direct questions. Many schools have relatively straightforward admissions requirements. For other schools, their admissions process may include submitting an essay, résumé, and/or letters of reference or recommendation, and taking placement exams.
Just to be clear, you should be able to speak to an admissions representative or officer and ask them specific questions about the process and get straight answers, regardless if the school is a nonprofit or for-profit institution.
Here are a few questions you might consider asking the admissions office.
- How long after I apply will I know whether or not I have been accepted?
- Do you require official college transcripts before you will evaluate them for possible transfer credits?
- Do you accept the “Common Application”? If not, is there an application fee, and is it refundable?
- Are you a signatory of the signed the Department of Defense Memorandum of Understanding (DoD MOU)?
This last question is a key element to keep in mind as a military-connected student.
Many schools will not provide prospective students with specific information about their education until they are an actual “enrolled” student (going through the application process does not necessarily mean you are an enrolled student). However, the DoD MOU requires signatory schools to provide certain information to military-connected students prior to being an “enrolled” student. This information includes transferability of previous college credits and credits from military training and experience, disclosing full program costs, and providing other consumer information.
Get squared away: Once you find out what the admissions requirements are, prepare your admissions packet and documents prior to completing the application. Submitting all required documents at the time of your application will save you time and may actually speed the process along.
Explore our online degree programs, or fill out the “Request Info” form on this page to learn about the Johnson & Wales University College of Online Education and making the most of your military benefits.