How Can School Counselors Best Help Veterans in College?

Nearly 50 percent of the veterans with GI Bill benefits have failed to finish school. It’s believed to be a direct result of them picking the wrong college major. A veteran should be seeking career counseling before choosing a major as well as getting some feedback and direction early in their academic career to ensure they pick one that is right for them.

Resource: Top 15 Online Colleges for Military and G.I. Bill 2015

Career Interest and Assessments

Career counselors can help a veteran explore their interests and aptitudes with testing to highlight their career fit. In the military, they’ve spent all their time being told what to do and where to go. It can be a difficult transition to making major decisions for themselves that could impact their future. This is partially true for most young college students. The Myers-Brigg Type Indicator can give the veteran a sense of themselves that will help when choosing a career beyond the military.

How Can Their Military Experience Translate to a Career?

There are certain experiences or military training that could translate to credits in their academics. CLEP examinations could accelerate their career by allowing them to skip areas where they already have knowledge. Military veterans don’t have to pay for their exams either. They cover more than just English or math. There are tests available for topics related to history and economics like American Government or History of the United States.

Research Marketability

When a veteran comes for counseling but wants to enter a field of study that doesn’t have much of a future, the counselor should be researching and providing the veteran with facts about the career. When a veteran receives help with the research, he or she can see the future demand for positions as well as the earning potential for each one.

Encourage a Major Early

It can take some soul searching and time spent in classes learning to settle on a major, but counselors should be encouraging the veteran to choose a major early in their academic life. Choosing a major early means less time in classes that don’t make sense for the career the veteran has chosen. This allows them to graduate sooner and work towards other goals.

Internships for the Veteran College Student

The internship they take during the course of their college education should help the veteran get a jump start on a career. Counselors can help with resumes and lining up internship opportunities that are suitable for the veteran too. Internships are a great way to gain experience and might even translate into a position directly after school.

Start the Job Search Early

No college student should wait until the day of graduation to find a career. The search should begin early in the last year. Veterans should be working with a school counselor to fine-tune their resume, interview preparation and other opportunities to get experience in the interview process. Counselors will have a database of companies and recruiters that are always looking for graduates.

With the help of a school counselor, the veteran will not have to worry about choosing the wrong career and not taking full advantage of the GI Bill for their education.