8 Tips for Using the GI Bill

Tips for Using the GI Bill

8 Tips for Using the GI Bill®

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has offered some guidance on getting your GI Bill benefits in a timely fashion.

If you are currently using your GI Bill benefits, then you may have already received an email from the VA outlining the following information. Here’s a quick breakdown of their suggestions:

Plan Ahead

You can use the GI Bill Comparison Tool to estimate the general level of benefits you should expect.

Enroll as Early as Possible

Enroll in classes as early as you can and if at all possible, avoid changing your course schedule once you are enrolled.

Get to Know Your School Certifying Official

Get to know who your School Certifying Official (SCA) is and stay in contact with them. You can find your school’s SCA by again using the GI Bill Comparison Tool, finding your school, and then scrolling down to “Contact Details”. Every school that accepts VA benefits MUST have an SCA.

Familiarize Yourself with School Procedures

Become familiar with the procedure your school uses regarding requests for certification to the VA. Most schools use a similar process, but they must all certify your courses and enrollments to the VA before any money is released for your education.

Contact School Certifying Official if Adding or Dropping Courses

If you do add or drop hours or courses, contact your SCA as soon as possible to avoid any potential for overpayment. If the VA overpays you, you’ll be notified of a debt that must be settled before full access to your benefits is reinstated.

Updating Your Bank Account Info

If you have changed your bank account or moved to a new address, contact the VA Education Service to update your information. You can do this through either the:

NOTE: If the VA doesn’t have your correct information, your payment will be delayed.

Contacting the VA by Mail

If you need to contact the VA by mail, use the Regional Processing office handling your claim. You can find the office that services you and their mailing address on this website.

NOTE: If you use a different address than the one that services your claim, they may not receive your message.

If you are experiencing financial hardship due to a delay in payment, contact the VA’s Education Call Center at 1-888-442-4551, between 7 a.m. – 6 p.m. Central Time, Monday through Friday. The VA will expedite any hardship request.

General GI Bill Timelines

The VA is committed to processing enrollments as quickly as possible, and they process them in the “date order” they are received. Hence, get your enrollments in as soon as you can and you’ll be at the earliest processing times.

The VA makes every effort to process original (first-time) applications within 24 days of submission. For supplemental, or re-enrollment claims, the target is 12 days. The VA projects that they will continue to hit these target windows as they push through this Spring enrollment period. Keep in mind that unique factors may cause some claims to take longer. This is where staying in contact with your school’s SCA is important. They are your direct connection to your enrollment.

Additional Resources

  • The VA recently posted FAQs about protecting your benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • They also have a fact sheet that offers basic information and resources for students.
  • The VA has developed the COVID Coach App designed to help Veterans and their families cope with feelings of stress and anxiety brought on by the pandemic. (Here’s a COVID Coach Demo video.) It is available for iOS and Android devices. Download the COVID Coach by visiting the VA Mobile App Store.
  • If you are nearing the end of your educational journey, the VA developed “A Guide to Furthering Your Career”, which has a ton of great information about entering the job market and entrepreneurship.

I know that my classes have already started.  I registered for them months ago. If you are struggling to discover which schools or education programs are available to you, we have a ton of information at College Recon that can lead you in the right direction.

Need to find additional funding sources for school? Check out our Scholarship Finder tool that can connect you with scholarship opportunities.

(Image courtesy of U.S. Army Media)






Operation Homefront and Dollar Tree Give to Military Families

Operation Homefront Teams Up With Dollar Tree to Help Military Families

For the 13th consecutive school year, Operation Homefront is teaming up with Dollar Tree – which has 130 events across the US this year– to launch the annual “Back-to-School Brigade” program.

The program is a nationwide school supply collection and distribution campaign that, since its inception, has provided more than 450,000 backpacks full of supplies to military children.

From mid-July through August, you can purchase supplies at one of the 7,600 nationwide-participating Dollar Tree stores to then donate to Operation Homefront for distribution at one of the 130 “Back-to-School Brigade” events this summer.

To date, this program has helped save military families more than $50 million in school-related expenses. Operation Homefront president and CEO Brig. Gen. (ret.) John I. Pray Jr., commented, “As the pandemic continues to create significant and often overwhelming financial hardships on our military families, the entire Dollar Tree family shares our unwavering commitment to helping this very special and deserving group in their time of need for all they have done for all of us in our nation’s time of need.”

There are a number of upcoming distribution events across the country for this year’s program. Visit the events page for all 2021 locations and applicable registrations.

Want to Volunteer to Help?

If you are interested in being a volunteer or supporter, there are multiple ways to get involved. You can set up a collection bin at your office, store, church, or school for supplies or gift cards. Signage is provided by the program; simply contact your local field office through this link.

Becoming a pick-up or distributing volunteer in your area is also a helpful option; go here to set up a volunteer account and get more information.

Lastly, you can simply make a tax-deductible donation to Operation Homefront which will go to help military families through this Back-to-School Brigade initiative or other programs.

Who Is Operation Homefront?

Operation Homefront, a national nonprofit founded in 2002, supports tens of thousands of military families each year by providing financial assistance, transitional and permanent housing, and family services.




Back-to-School Shopping Tips

Back-to-School Shopping Tips

The 2022-2023 will be here before we know it. For this year, whether attending school in-person or virtually, there are some essential supplies that kids will need. To make sure you’re being efficient and not breaking the bank, we’ve compiled some tips to help make back-to-school shopping as stress-free and affordable as possible.

Check Your Inventory

Do you even need to go supply shopping? What types of unused supplies do you have around the house?

It’s natural that stuff gets pushed to the back of closets or buried and forgotten deep in a drawer. Those items are still perfectly useable (and it’s very possible your kids won’t even know the difference). See if you can reallocate your fifth-grader’s backpack to your second-grader.

Additionally, have your children try on last year’s clothing to determine what needs to be replaced now or what can wait until Christmas or their next birthday. You can also look into clothes-swaps or consignment shops in your area if it’s necessary to refresh their wardrobe.

The same goes for sports or hobby equipment. Network with other parents in your circle to see what, if anything, can be traded or even bought at a hefty discount.

Look for Deals

Different areas have planned back-to-school store events. Some states even offer sales tax breaks for a few days near the beginning of the school year.

Check online ads and retailers’ emails for the best prices, and keep an eye out for coupons (at places like Staples, Walgreens, CVS, Walmart, Target, Office Depot, Dollar Tree, etc.).

Buying in bulk can also help to cut down on price-per-item (and you can squirrel away some for the next year unbeknownst to your children).

Also, don’t forget to ask about price matching! If you are being cautious this shopping season, these things can be done online for most retailers. For example, when price matching online, you typically only need to begin a chat with a customer service rep and simply ask if they have the capability to match with another store’s cheaper price or even offer you a promo code to make up the difference – you can also ask if they have a military discount code for you.

RELATED: Best Back To School Discounts For Military Families

COVID Supplies

Speaking of being cautious, if you are opting for in-person school this semester, make sure to get the necessary safety supplies, like masks and hand sanitizer. You can get affordable and fashionable masks from places like Old Navy, the Disney store, Nordstrom, Target, or various retailers on amazon, just to name a few.

Don’t Do It Alone

If your spouse can take leave to do any in-person shopping, let that happen. If your teenager can do her own online shopping, let her (making sure to check it over before hitting confirm). Don’t take on all the responsibility – and therefore the stress – of this time of year all by yourself.

Set Rules

If you have to take your children with you to shop for supplies or clothes, make sure to set ground rules to make the trip smoother. Things like, “You can get a new lunchbox OR a new backpack,” or “You can choose one item with a name brand or popular character,” can help to cut down on meltdowns in the store aisles.

If they get an allowance, make them use their own money to buy those must-have, trendy items.

And make sure to write a list and stick to it. Don’t let impulse buys overtake you or your little ones.

Reconsider Your Shopping Date

Sometimes, schools send home next year’s shopping list at the end of the previous school year or they are posted online months ahead of the first day of school.

As previously said, retailers tend to run back-to-school sales events, and that typically means prices will be bumped up due to demand. Shopping out of the typical cycle can mean you get a much bigger bang for your buck.

In terms of clothing, shop seasonally – buy winter clothes at the beginning of spring when stores mark it down to clear out inventory.

If this is too late for this year’s consideration, keep it in mind for next year.





Sending Your Child to College During Covid-19

Sending Your Child to College During Covid-19

The transition to campus life is a milestone military kids tend to excel at. Family separations and frequent moves have made them adaptable, mature, and resourceful. Spending four years on the same college campus without having to change schools is a prospect many find awesome.

Suddenly they’ve found themselves coming of age in the midst of a global pandemic. Spring semester has already been disrupted, impacting their social lives, activities, and traditions — not to mention their academics. Many students find distance learning difficult and dreary, and homes tend to be filled with distractions.

Fall is fast approaching and colleges and universities around the country are still making decisions about what to do. The challenge is there’s no uniform game plan. Some schools in the same geographic areas have radically different strategies.

Many Schools Still Planning on In-Person Fall Semesters

According to a July 5, 2020 article published by the Chronicle of Higher Education, 60% of colleges and universities are planning for an in-person fall semester, 23% are preparing an online-in-person hybrid plan, 8% are going online only, and the remaining 9% are still considering a range of scenarios and waiting to decide.

Helping your college-bound student sort out the situation and adjust to the new normal is no small task, especially if you’re new to navigating the world of higher education.

This situation has taken a toll on morale. According to a June 2020 survey by Junior Achievement and the PMI Educational Foundation, 49% of the Class of 2020 have changed their college plans as a result of the crisis, and 35% report they’re now less excited to go to college than they were before the pandemic.

Historically young people have flocked to colleges during recessions, but that currently isn’t the case. A significant number of students who’ve changed plans intend to work even though the job market is shaky. Taking a gap year for any reason is a serious decision because many students who opt for that break never return to school.

Commuter College

One popular option for staying safe and maintaining educational momentum during the pandemic is a commuter college. In addition to logistical practicality, it’s a money-saving choice.

If you’re foregoing the commuter route and sending your child away to college, you’ll need to set your minds for the new normal.

Getting Used to the New Normal

It’s especially important for students to know and understand the rules and policies up front because most schools will be taking a harder line than usual.

Students who chronically disobey the Covid-19 measures stand to be sent home. There’s a good reason for this. While young people tend to be less likely to get seriously ill from the virus, older faculty, staff members, and many citizens in the surrounding communities are vulnerable. Dining-hall staff and custodians, for example, not only face significant workplace risks, but many are part of vulnerable populations and/or live in multigenerational households.

10 Things You Can Probably Expect

  1. Virus testing will be mandatory and anyone testing positive will be quarantined.
  2. Social distancing will be in effect and face masks will be mandatory in some settings.
  3. Some common areas may be closed.
  4. Plastic barriers may be up in areas where it’s hard to stay apart.
  5. Dorms will will be nowhere near capacity.
  6. Single rooms will go to immuno-compromised students.
  7. Classroom desks will be arranged six feet apart. Forget big lectures in packed auditoriums.
  8. Class and dining hall schedules may be staggered.
  9. An outbreak could force classes back online.
  10. Some smaller schools may prohibit students from leaving campus.

In times like these, support from others who are facing the same challenges can be invaluable. If you’re sending a child to college this fall, you may want to join this closed and private Facebook Group: Military Kids: Growing, Going, Gone.

Additional Resources:






Military Spouse’s College Guide to Going Back to School

Going back to college can be the right choice for a lot of military spouses, but there is a lot of information out there and you can become a little overwhelmed. Here is a military spouse’s guide to going back to school to help you on your way.

As a military spouse, you may have had to put your own career on hold. You got married to your service member, and found yourself far from home. A few years have gone by and your children are a little older.  Now you’re ready to figure out what you want to do.

Military Spouse’s Guide to Going Back To School

Here’s CollegeRecon’s helpful guide to determine if you should go back to school, what to study and the different ways you can pay for it.

Figure Out If Now Is The Time

You need to ask yourself if now is the time to go to school. Are you about to PCS somewhere new? Will you be going overseas in the near future? Will your service member be deployed sometime soon? There are a lot of factors that can go into your decision.

While a PCS or a deployment shouldn’t stop you from starting school, there are factors that can influence if now is the right time. If you want to start a nursing program but know you will PCS across the country in a year, you won’t be able to finish the program unless you stay behind. PCSing to Germany? Your options for school can be limited.

If you are really interested in going to school and it doesn’t feel like the right time, things can change and in a few months or even a few years, it might just be the right time to go. Doing research on what you want to do may still be a smart idea so you can form some type of a plan for your future.

Figure Out What You Want To Do

You also need to figure out what you want to do. Is there a particular career path you want to follow, or do you want to work on getting a degree, and are not sure what type yet? If you are starting college for the first time, you have time to figure out what you want to do as you work on your general education requirements.

When you are trying to figure out what direction to go in, think about what has interested you in the past. Can you see yourself as a nurse, or a teacher, or working with animals in some way? What school subjects have always interested you? Were you more a fan of science or writing? Did you struggle in math or did it come easy to you? Asking yourself these questions can help you figure out what you want to do.

Pick Your Program

Once you know what you want to do, you are going to have to figure out what program you will pursue to get that degree. For example, if you want to be a nurse, you will need to decide if you want to get your LPN, RN, BSN, or even a master’s. There are many different options. You would also need to decide where you are going to go to nursing school, and where to get your prerequisites done at.

There are certain certificate programs you could complete in a couple of months. Getting your associate’s degree will take you about two years if you go full-time and it will take you four years to earn your bachelor’s degree if you go full-time.

A master’s degree can be done in about a year but that depends on the program. For military spouses, taking on a longer program can be a risky thing to do because you don’t know how long you will be living in your current location.

Benefits of Going To School Online

Another option for military spouses is to attend school online. There are many benefits to going this route as then you can continue school if you move, or do school work around your children’s and service members’ schedules. There is a lot more flexibility in going to school online but it might not be a good option for every major.

Even if there isn’t a college or university in your exact area, you might be able to attend classes on your military post. Many schools offer this and can make for an easier road to getting your education when you are a military spouse. Check with your local education center to see what they offer there.

How Will You Pay

One of the biggest questions about going back to school is how you are going to pay for your schooling. As a military spouse, you do have some options:


MYCAA stands for My Career Advancement Account Scholarship and with this program, you would be able to receive $4,000 towards your education. This might be able to pay for an entire certificate program or get you started with your education.

In order to qualify you will need to be a spouse of an active duty service member with a rank of E-1 to E-5, W-1 to W-2, O-1 to O-2, have completed high school, and your spouse needs to be on Title 10 orders. National guard and reserves spouses in these pay grades are also eligible while their spouse is on active duty.

MYCAA will pay for your tuition for associate’s degrees (excluding general studies, liberal arts, and interdisciplinary studies without a concentration,) obtaining a license, obtaining a certificate or certification, an approved testing organization that expands employment, or portable career opportunities for military spouses. MYCAA does not pay for bachelor’s or master’s degrees.

Here is more information on MYCAA.

Scholarships for Military Spouses

Did you know there are scholarships just for military spouses? Winning a scholarship is a great way to pay for school. Some may be based on merit or financial need.  Others are based on an essay, or even on the fact that you are a military spouse.

It would be a good idea to research what scholarships you can apply for and start filling out the applications. Be aware of when the application is due and if you missed a deadline.  Make sure to keep an eye out for that scholarship the next year.

Here is a list of military spouse scholarships you can apply for:


FAFSA stands for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. With FAFSA you can find money for college with federal grants you don’t have to repay, work-study, and loans. You can apply for free and can do so online. Applying for FAFSA is a good idea even if you are going to be using money from other sources.

Here is more information on FAFSA.

Student Loans

Student loans are money for college that you will eventually have to pay back. The good news is that student loans typically have a lower interest rate. Additionally, you don’t have to start paying them until you are done with school.

Federal loans have a grace period of six months after you graduate. This gives you some time to look for a job before you have to start paying.

Through FAFSA you can qualify for Federal student loans.  Other options you can also go with are student loans through banks or other private companies. They can be a good idea if you have already filled out your FAFSA but still need additional funds.

Here is information on student loans for military spouses.

Transferring the Post 9/11 GI Bill

If your spouse is not going to use any or a portion of their Post 9/11 GI Bill, it can be transferred to you. That way, you can use it for your own schooling.


You can use the GI Bill on almost anything a veteran can to include:

  • College-degree programs
  • Vocational/technical
  • On-the-job/apprenticeship training
  • Licensing and certification reimbursement
  • National testing programs
  • Flight training

As a spouse with a transferred GI Bill, you can start to use the benefit immediately.  You may use the benefit while your spouse is actively serving or after separation.

You are not eligible for the monthly housing allowance or books and supplies stipend while your service member is serving.  However, you are eligible for the monthly housing allowance after your service member has separated.  You can use the GI Bill for up to 15 years after your spouse separates from active duty.

Please note that there will also be some changes to transferring a GI Bill in July of this year that you should be aware of.

Here is more information on transferring a GI Bill.

Making the decision to go back to school is a smart decision for many military spouses. If there is something you want to do, don’t be afraid to go for it.  This applies even if your spouse is serving on active duty.

While military life can make going to school a little more difficult, it shouldn’t keep you away from doing so. There are many options to getting your degree and furthering your career.



Save With Back-To-School Tax-Free Weekends and AAFES

Back-To-School season is here. Depending on where you live or if you shop at AAFES, there are additional ways to save.  Timing your shopping to the Back-to-School Tax-Free Weekends are a great way to save even more money!

States With Back-To-School Tax-Free Weekends

During these tax-free weekends, you can shop for items such as clothing, shoes, and school supplies tax-free. Each of the states has different dates and might have slightly different rules for what qualifies. Additionally, all AAFES customers can save, too, during this time.

Exchange Offering Extra Savings for 2022-2023 School Year

The Army & Air Force Exchange Services announced that during this year’s back-to-school shopping season, Exchange shoppers will be able to take advantage of extra savings.

Some Exchanges are participating in the sales-tax holiday by offering discounts on eligible back-to-school items. The discount will be equal to the local sales tax rate in the area of the participating Exchange.

Currently when shopping at the Exchange military members and their dependents do not pay sales tax, that is why they have chosen to use this opportunity to offer an extra discount based on local sales tax rates.

This added discount will be a welcomed opportunity to save money on school supplies. It is important to keep in mind that this discount is only being offered in stores and not online.

States With Tax-Free Holidays for Back-to-School

The sales-tax holiday discount consists of select dates in different states where certain back-to-school items will be tax-free. The items include clothing, footwear, school supplies, and backpacks. Computers and electronic devices are available in some states during the tax-free holiday.

16 states have decided to participate in the tax-free holiday this year. Below is a list of participating states, scheduled discount dates, and items available for discount. Only Exchanges in the 16 states will be participating in the tax-free holiday by offering discounts on back-to-school items. Exchanges will only be offering discounts on back-to-school items listed below and in the state in which they reside.

List of States With Tax-Free Holidays for Back-to-School

Updated for 2022

Alabama – July 15-17

Clothing, computers, school supplies, and books.

Arkansas – Aug 6-7

Clothing and school supplies.

Connecticut – Aug 21-27

Clothing and footwear.

Florida – July 25-Aug 7

Clothing, school supplies, and computers.

Illinois – Aug 5-14

Reduced rate for clothing and school supplies

Iowa – Aug 5-6


Maryland – Aug 14-20

Clothing, footwear, and backpacks.

Massachusetts – Aug 13-14


Mississippi – Jul 29-30

Clothing and footwear

Missouri – Aug 5-7

Clothing, computers, and school supplies.

New Mexico – Aug 5-7

Clothing, computers, computer equipment, and school supplies.

Ohio – Aug 5-7

Clothing and school supplies.

Oklahoma – Aug 5-7


South Carolina – Aug 5-7

Clothing, school supplies, computers, and other.

Tennessee – July 29-31

Clothing, school supplies, and computers.

Texas – Aug 5-7

Clothing, backpacks, and school supplies.

Virginia Aug 5-7

Clothing, school supplies, energy star products, hurricane preparedness items, and generators.

West Virginia Aug 5-8

Clothing, school supplies, sports equipment, computers, and tablets.

It is important to double-check with your local Exchange to verify items that will be available for a discount, the date of the discount, and the discount rate. You can check the state list here for more information.

You can find more info on your state’s tax-free weekend here.

AAFES Back-To-School Tax-Free Weekend Offer Additional Savings

At AAFES, the Army and Air Force Exchange Service, you can shop tax-free every day. During tax-free weekends they are offering an additional percentage off. This percentage is equal to your state’s tax rate.

For example, in Florida, the sales tax rate is 6%. You would save 6% regularly at your local AAFES. During the AAFES tax-free weekend, you would save an additional 6%.



Here’s What You Need to Know Before Starting Your First Day of Class!

How to Prepare for Back to School as a New College Student

Summer doesn’t last forever and before you know it, classes will be starting up for the fall. You might be a young student, right out of high school or going back to school after your military career has ended. You might be a military spouse changing your career, or trying to complete that degree you never got around to completing. No matter what type of college student you are, here are some ways to help prepare for back to school as a new college student.

Buy School Supplies

You want to be set for the first day of class so buying your school supplies early is a good idea. While you probably won’t get a list as you did in high school you might need certain items for different classes such as a graphing calculator or even a certain type of uniform. In addition, you would need to get your typical supplies such as pens, pencils, paper, a sturdy backpack, and anything else you might need for the school year.

If you are moving into a dorm or a new apartment, you will need to make sure you have what you need for your new home. Talk to any future roommates so you can coordinate what you are bringing. You might have doubles of the same items. Find out the size sheets you will need for the dorm as well as what might not be allowed at that particular school.

Organize Your Supplies

Take some time to organize your school supplies before the first day. Have your backpack packed, your luggage packed if need be and don’t wait until the last minute to get prepared. That way, you can make sure you really do have everything you need to start the school year off right. Doing this will give you time to head out and pick up any last-minute supplies that you might need.

Buy Your Textbooks

You should know ahead of time what books will be required for each of your classes. The bookstore at your college should have that information even before your class starts. You can choose to purchase directly from your college but you might save money by buying your textbooks in other places. Amazon and Textbooks.com will often give you a better price. Just make sure you have the right edition for the classes you are going to take.

Sign-Up For Classes

You will need to sign-up for classes and when you do that will be based on several factors. If you are active duty and attending classes at your duty station, you might have priority. Your school should let you know when you can sign-up and how to do so. You should have an idea of what classes you will be taking before the sign-up date. In some cases, classes fill up quickly, within an hour or less, and you will want to be one of the first to sign-up.

Budget For The Semester

You should have a budget for the semester. Think about any changes you might need to make. If you have previously worked full-time and now will go down to part-time, your budget will need a little tweaking. If you need to pay for childcare now when before you were a stay-at-home parent, you should account for that. Make sure you know what educational benefits you will receive and plan for that money as well. For example, with GI Bill, you would get a textbook stipend and possibly money for housing.

Find Your Study Spots

Figuring out where you will study before school actually starts can be a smart choice. Even more so if you have young children in the home. Studying in a quiet house might not be an option for you or there might just be certain times during the day when you can do so. See if any local coffee shops will work as well as your local library or school library.

Know Your School

If you are going to a physical school, you should head out there before classes start for a trial run. Figure out where your classes are, and how long it will take you to get there. Map out your route and then once the first day of school comes you will know exactly where to go. Not all college campuses make it easy to find the classrooms and being able to take your time before the first day to find them is a good idea.

Study The Syllabus

Sometimes you won’t get your syllabus until the first day of school, other times you will be able to get them earlier, especially if you are taking classes online. Make sure you read and understand what it says. If you can do that, you can go into your first class knowing what is going on, a little about what your teacher or professor expects, and will be a little bit ahead of the game.

Download Some Apps

We all know apps can make life easier, and finding the right apps for school is a must. Apps such as Quizlet, Google Docs, and Cited can make writing papers and studying a bit easier and apps such as Spotify can be good to get you in the mood to study. Getting yourself set up with some productive apps can help you start your school year off feeling a bit more organized.

Remember Your Goals

Once school starts and the pressure of tests, papers, and attending classes starts, it can be easy to lose track of your goals. Make a list of your college goals and plans, and remind yourself that you can do this. Having your goals in front of you will set you up for more school success. This is especially true if you have a long college road ahead of you.

Being organized when you start college is a must. Use these tips to help you start the school year off right.





Best Back To School Discounts For Military Families

With back-to-school season approaching, parents are on the lookout for deals when getting ready for the new school year. Here is a list of some of the best back-to-school discounts for military families.

>> For more great military and veteran discounts direct to your inbox, sign up for the Military and Veteran Discounts Newsletter! It’s free from our sister site, MyMilitaryBenefits.com. Start saving!

Back To School Discounts For Military Families

These include both student and military discounts to help you save this coming school year.


Tutor.com offers online tutoring and homework help. As of April of 2020, all DoD service members, civilian personnel, and all dependent family members from kindergarten to college/adult can use it at zero cost. With Tutor.com, you or your child can connect with a live expert 24/7.

Before this special offer, dependents in grades K-12 of the following qualified:

  • Active Duty Army, Navy, Air Force, and the Marines.
  • Active/Full-time or Deployed National Guard or Air National Guard, or Reserves.
  • Wounded Warrior/Survivors
  • Coast Guard who are attending schools operated and funded by the DoDEA
  • Department of Defense Civilian personnel who are currently deployed to CENTCOM AORs including but not limited to Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan.

This program is funded by the U.S. Department of Defense and Coast Guard Mutual Assistance


Eknowledge.com offers interactive e-learning classes for SAT/ACT/LSAT exams. The full cost of the program is between $350-$999. But, with their military special program, military families only have to pay between $19.99 and $99.99 to offset the streaming and support expenses. They have been able to offer this to over 250,000 students and families.


FedEx is for shipping, self-service printing, shredding services, and more. They have a student discount club where you can enjoy 20-30% savings with a student ID. 30% off documents with FEDEX Envelop/Pak and 20% off a package with FedEx IP service with your student ID. USAA also offers discounts with FedEx. You can save up to 36% on select international services with FedEx Express, 28% on select US shipping services with FedEx Express, and other discounts for business shipping.

Apple Military and Student Discounts

With Apple, you can find both student and military discounts. The Education discounts are for about 4-5% off and apply to MacBooks, iMacs, and iPads. Military discounts are a little more with about 10% off and apply to MacBooks, iMacs, iPads, iPhones, Apple Watches, Apple TV, and Apple Music products.


At Overstock, you can find backpacks, school supplies, desks, chairs, and items for a dorm room. They offer a Military Membership, which is a free Club O Rewards, account to active military and veterans. You would need to verify with ID.me.

With the Club O Rewards you will receive:

  • free shipping
  • 5% rewards
  • easy returns
  • rewards for reviews
  • additional perks on hotels and dining and more

They also offer a Classroom Membership for students and teachers. With both the military and student membership, you would need to be verified by ID.me.


Scholastic is an American publishing, education, and media company known for publishing, selling, and distributing books and educational materials. They have free printables for all ages. These printables cover reading, writing, math, and science, starting with Pre-K.

Shoes With Military Discounts

With a new school year ahead, you want to find discounts on shoes.

10%-25% Off With Military Discount

  • Rack Room Shoes
  • New Balance
  • Journey’s
  • Foot Locker
  • Lady Foot Locker
  • Nike
  • Converse

10 and 20% Off With Student Discount

  • Adidas
  • Nike
  • Toms
  • Converse
  • New Balance

Rosetta Stone

Rosetta Stone is a computer-assisted learning software. They have many different languages including: Spanish, French, Italian, German, Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin,) Filipino (Tagalog,) Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Irish, Japanese, Korean, Latin, Persian (Farsi,) Polish, Portuguese (Brazil,) Russian, Spanish (Spain,) Swedish, Turkish, and Vietnamese.

Additionally, they offer a homeschool program.

They offer a 10% military discount to active and retired military personnel. You would need to be verified with ID.me. They also have a student discount of 10% off and you would need to be registered and verified with UNiDays.


You can find military and student discounts on backpacks at stores such as Pottery Barn Kids, Vera Bradley, Bass Pro Shops, Jansport, and Society 6.

Operation Homefront’s Back-to-School Brigade

Operation Homefront has an amazing program to give out backpacks and school supplies. Since they have started this campaign, they have given out 350,000 backpacks over the last 10 years. Operation Homefront and Dollar Tree, Inc have joined forces to give out these supplies to military children nationwide. Visit Operation Homefront to find out if there is one near you.

Tax-Free Weekends

Don’t forget about the tax-free weekends. Certain states have a tax-free weekend to coincide with back-to-school shopping. The dates can vary, some are just a weekend and others can be up to a week.

Tax-free items usually include items such as:

  • Clothing
  • Computers
  • Software
  • School supplies
  • Books
  • Footwear

However, it does depend on the state.

Back-To-School Tax-Free Weekends

Your back-to-school tax-free weekends will be coming up soon if you live in one of the following states:

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Connecticut
  • Florida
  • Illinois
  • Iowa
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • New Mexico
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia

For info on dates and what’s included in the tax-free weekends, visit our page for Back-To-School Tax-Free Weekends.

AAFES Tax-Free Weekend

If you shop at AAFES, you can gain additional savings during their tax-free weekend promotion.

AAFES normally offers tax-free shopping as an everyday benefit to military families. During tax-free weekends, they will be offering an additional discount.

The percentage off will be based on your state and the state tax rate. During their tax-free weekend, you can save that additional amount. This is valid for in-store purchases only on clothing, shoes, computers, and school supplies.

For more info on AAFES Tax-Free Weekend.  Or visit the AAFES site to learn more.

Exchange Price Matching

Make sure to take advantage of the Exchange Price Matching you can find at your local Exchange. AAFES (Army and Air Force Exchange Service,) NEX (Navy Exchange Services,) and MCX (Marine Corps Exchange) all have this program. You can also apply this to the Express, Class Six, Car Care, Troop Stores, and shopmyexchange.com.

CONUS facilities and non-foreign OCONUS facilities currently cannot price match online sites other than shopmyexchange.com.

The price match must be from a local competitor.  This means they must be a retailer doing business in the community where the Exchange is located.

The item must be an identical item, with the same brand, manufacturer, features, size, color, and manufacturer’s model number. Items must be currently in stock at the select authorized online retailer’s website at the time the request for the price match is made. You can visit the Exchange website for more information.

You can also check to see if any of your favorite companies offer free shipping during the back-to-school season. Many stores will also be offering special deals during this time of year.


>> For more great military and veteran discounts direct to your inbox, sign up for the Military and Veteran Discounts Newsletter! It’s free from our sister site, MyMilitaryBenefits.com. Start saving!



9 Back-to-School Discounts for Military and Veteran Students

With the 2022/2023 school year approaching, it’s probably time to start thinking about school supplies. Here is a list of 9 back-to-school discounts for military and veteran students. Some of these companies just have student discounts, and some have both military and student discounts.

Please make sure to check out our Student Discounts for Military and Veterans page.  There you can find even more ways for you to save!


>> For more great military and veteran discounts direct to your inbox, sign up for the Military and Veteran Discounts Newsletter! It’s free from our partner site, MyMilitaryBenefits.com. Start saving!

Back-to-School Discounts for Military and Veteran Students

Book Outlet

If you need to purchase some books, Book Outlet can be the place to go. They offer a 5% off student discount if you sign up with Student Beans to verify your student status.

RELATED: How To Save Money On Textbooks


JanSport is a great place to find a new backpack. They offer a 20% off student discount when you are verified with Sheer ID.


With a new school year, you might want to buy some new shoes. Converse offers a 10% military discount to all active duty, reservist, veteran, and retired military personnel as well as for spouses and dependents.

This can be used at Converse.com or in-store. You would need to verify your eligibility with Sheer ID, then the discount will be applied. You can use this discount every time you shop but you would need to verify your eligibility each time. They also have a student discount for college and university students. It is also 10% off on converse.com and you would need to verify your student eligibility with Sheer ID.


Boscov’s is a family-owned department store. They have shoes, clothes, handbags, and more. They offer a 15% off military discount even during sales events. The discount code is good for a year and you would fill out a form online to get the discount.


Adobe is a computer software company with many different programs perfect for students. They have special student pricing where you can get 20 + apps, including Photoshop, Illustrator, and Indesign for just $19.99 a month for the first year. This is a discount of 60% off. You can receive this discount using a school email.

In order to receive the military discount, you would need to use Veterans Advantage and would receive 15% off on Adobe’s Creative Cloud.  The Adobe Creative Cloud is Adobe’s entire collection of desktop and mobile apps.

Adidas Shoes

Adidas Shoes can be a good place to stock up for the new school year. They offer a 15% off student discount as well as free shipping. You will need to register and verify your student status with UNiDAYS.


At Michaels, you can find school supplies, crafts, and decor. They offer a 15% off military discount that is applied to your entire purchase, including sale items. In order to receive the discount, you would need to register through Michaels Rewards. You can then use the discount both online and in the store.

Best Buy

Whether you need a new phone, a new computer, or other devices for the new school year, Best Buy has special deals for students. Best Buy has student deals for students. You would need to sign into or sign up for a My Best Buy account. You would then sign up for Student Deals and then receive your first set of offers. You can save $250 on select MacBooks, $50 on iPad Pros, 50% on select JBL headphones, and more.

While it might seem like summer will last forever, it won’t. Make sure to keep these discounts in mind as you start your back-to-school shopping.




>> For more great military and veteran discounts direct to your inbox, sign up for the Military and Veteran Discounts Newsletter! It’s free from our sister site, MyMilitaryBenefits.com. Start saving!



Back To School: How To Decide

Should You Go Back to School?  How To Decide

As a service member or a spouse, you might be at a place where you are thinking about if you should go back to school.  May you want to start or finish your degree. There can be many different reasons to do so and there are many different way to complete your education.

Making the decision to go to school isn’t always easy and there are some things you do have to think about before you decide what to do.

Do You Know What You Want To Do?

Some people already have an idea of what they want to do. They already know they want to move forward to become a teacher, a nurse, go into business, or any other career they are interested in. This will make deciding to go to school a little bit easier.

Others really want to get a degree but are not sure in what direction they want to go into. Since many degrees require general education, not knowing what you want to do when you start school can be normal. After you take a few classes, you might figure out what you want to do and can then choose your degree or program from there.

Many military installations have an Education Center where you can take many, if not all of your General Education classes. If you are unsure about what you want to do, this can be the perfect place to get started. These Education Centers work with military schedules and make getting your degree possible. They are also open to military spouses.

How Long Will It Take?

As you are making your decision about going back to school, you should determine about how long it will take you to complete your education. If you are a military spouse, you will want to think about what will happen if you do have to PCS before you earn your degree. You will want to make sure your credits can transfer and that you won’t lose too much if you do have to finish your education somewhere else. In some cases, waiting to start school might be the best idea, and in others, getting started will allow you to get some of your classes out of the way even if you do have to transfer down the road.

How Will School Fit In With Other Responsibilities?

When trying to decide about going back to school, think about all of your current responsibilities and what would need to change if you did make this decision.

Luckily, there are options for those who are working or who need to be home with children. Schools usually offer online classes, or night/weekend classes so that you can be flexible with what you need to take. Going to an online only school is also an option. Certain degrees and programs can not be completed 100% online, so looking into what your particular program or degree requires is important.

RELATED: Find online schools in the CollegeRecon School Search Tool

What About Kids and Childcare?

If you are the spouse and have children, you will have to think about where your children will go while you are in school. If they are school age themselves, you can more easily go to class when they are in school. If they are not school age you will need to come up with a good childcare plan or plan for after school care and breaks if they differ from yours. If you are close to a military installation you can look into the Child Development Centers to see what they have available to start.

Going to school online can be popular with military spouses for this reason. You can work on your education around your children and their schedules a little more easily. As a service member or veteran, you also might need to think about childcare and who will be with the kids while you are getting your education.

What Is Your End Goal?

Thinking about your end goal will go a long way once you start school. You want to have a plan, even if that plan is simply to get a degree. If you know what you are working towards, getting through the challenges that can come with going back to school will be a little easier.

If you are a service member getting ready to ETS in the future, going to school can help you figure out what you want to do, offer you better career opportunities, and work on an ideal second career after the military. With the GI Bill and other educational benefits such as Tuition Assistance and MYCAA, there are many ways to go to school without having to spend too much out of pocket.

Making the decision to go to school can be the right one. Please visit our 10 Step Guide to Going to College for more information on what you need to do to go back to school.



10 Unexpected Careers Through MyCAA – Best MyCAA Programs List

When you think of certifications for portable careers, technicians and clerical work come to mind. You’re not wrong — several of these programs are offered to military spouses through the MyCAA workforce initiative scholarship. But we’re here to tell you about some unexpected careers offered through MyCAA that you may not have considered.

What is MyCAA?

The My Career Advancement Account (MyCAA) Scholarship is a workforce development program that provides up to $4,000 of financial assistance to eligible military spouses who are pursuing a license, certification or Associate’s degree in a portable career field and occupation.

RELATED: MyCAA: Everything You Need to Know

10 Unexpected Programs Offered Through MyCAA

Take a look at these unique offerings for your future career

Aviation Instructor

If you have a passion for flying or working with aircraft, then an occupation in the aerospace career field could be for you. The Community College of Beaver County offers this program with a tuition cost of $3,000. Instruction is mixed-mode of online and face-to-face.

Animal Trainer

If you love animals, obtain the necessary qualifications to work in this growing and rewarding field. With 15 different programs available at a variety of schools, tuition starts at just $684, dependent on program and school selected.

Certified Wedding Planner

Are you ready to say “I do” to a new career? If you love to plan events, have a flair for decor and a knack for details, this certification is for you. With a combined 56 offerings from a variety of schools, with mixed-mode instruction of online and face-to-face, you can get started with tuition beginning at $1,695, dependent on school and program.

Criminal Investigation Professional

Do you love mysteries, cracking cases and solving puzzles? Have you ever given any thought to detective work? The University of Pennsylvania offers an online program with estimated tuition of $2,295. Take a look at the career offerings under “Homeland Security” for this, criminal justice and more.

Interior Design

With every military move you manage to design your new space in a way that is attractive, efficient, stylish and always receives compliments. Have you ever considered a career in interior design? MyCAA helps with a handful of programs from various schools with tuition starting at $649.

Occupational Therapy Aide

The healthcare industry is one of the largest, combining technology with human touch. Penn Foster College offers an online program to help recuperate, rehabilitate and strengthen those suffering from physical or mental illness through their completely online occupational therapy program with a tuition cost of just $469.

Pre-/Post- Natal Exercise Consultant

If you are looking for a way to support expecting mothers, new mothers and babies, this is an exciting career path for you. AFPA – American Fitness Professionals & Associates offers a completely online program for $469.

Professional Interpreter

Are you skilled with languages and enjoy communications? Perhaps you are bilingual and can monetize your skills? MyCAA helps with this skilled trade certification, that is offered online through a variety of schools and starts at $995.

Public Relations Specialist

Do you take pride in how you present yourself and others through writing, social media, and more? If so, Public Relations may be the perfect field for you. Penn Foster College’s program is entirely online and tuition starts at $399.

Renewable Energy Specialist

If you are interested in a career that focuses on sustainability and a brighter tomorrow, become a Renewable Energy Specialist. MyCAA helps fund this online program with a tuition of $2,295, offered by the Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

These simply scratch the surface of offerings that are available both face-to-face and online. To visit the full list of eligible programs, visit the mycaa scholarship site.


Featured Photo Courtesy of Sergiu Vălenaș on Unsplash





Here Are 6 Easy Ways To Get Ready For Finals Week!

6 Steps to Hit Finals Out of The Park

Finals season is upon us. For many that means stress, zero sleep, and microwaved meals. We’ve lined up 6 manageable tips that will help you to manage your stress, sleep 8 hours a night, get to the gym, and eat nutrient-filled meals. Oh, and on top of all of that, you’ll do way better on your finals than those who cram and pull all-nighters. (The secret: finals preparation. When you’re prepared, you’re more likely to be successful. It’s that easy.) Let’s begin.

Study Guides

Many professors will give some sort of guide as to what is on the final ( without it, you’ll be drowning in anywhere between 5 to 10 chapters of material.) However, let’s say your professor isn’t giving you one. No worries, you can still make one for yourself. Utilize the chapter reviews in the book as well as highlighted/bolded material in the book. Usually those help make the big points stand out. Also make sure to review your notes. If there was a certain topic in class that your professor harped on, it will most likely be on the exam. Study guides will help refresh your memory. Start creating these well before the exam so that you can leisurely make them and study them leading up to the exam instead of cramming.

(Courtesy: Kic Climate)

Attend Review Sessions

Review sessions leading up to and during finals week seem like such a drag. (As if you don’t have anything else to do, right?!) However, these review sessions are crucial to success during finals, especially if they are run by the Teaching Assistant or the professor themself. Also, other students who attend could explain a topic in a way that finally makes it ‘click’ for you. More brains and ideas are always better than one, so schedule yourself the time to attend these review sessions if possible, walk to them to get your blood moving after sitting and studying for hours on end.

(Courtesy: Stefan Stefancik)

Organize Your Own Study Group

If there isn’t a review session on the syllabus or scheduled, then make one yourself. You don’t have to necessarily invite the entire class, but invite more than just one other person. (Again, multiple brains and thought processes are better than one.) If you have a TA, reach out to them and see if they would be interested in joining or spreading the word about it.

(Courtesy: Mari Helin Tuominen)

Practice Tests

Utilizing practice test and flashcards has been proven to be a highly effective study technique. Flash cards are easy enough to make for yourself, but practice tests not so much. Find one other person in your class and ask if they would want to swap making practice tests for each other. That way you get the extra studying while creating the exam, and then when you switch, you’ll have a new-to-you exam that you didn’t create the answers for as well.

(Courtesy: Brad Neathery)

Hit The Gym

Take a break and get some blood pumping! It’s proven that cardio exercise helps you to concentrate better. Hitting the gym is also a great break where you can listen to your favorite music, podcast, or book and think of anything but your anatomy exam.



(Courtesy: Vladislav Muslakov)

Sleep & Eat Well

The worst thing you can do is cram during an all-nighter. By all means, DON’T do it. You may have been someone who performs best under pressure in your military line of work, but trust me when I say, that studying doesn’t work that way. Schedule your study hours, and somewhere between 8-9pm shut it off. You need time to decompress and get away from the material before you can get back into it the next day. Eat nutrient-filled meals and get at least 8 hours of sleep.

Featured Image Courtesy Trent Erwin.







Why Veterans Who Go to College Before the Workforce Earn More than Civilians

Veterans Who Go to College Make More Money.  Find Out Why

When faced with separation from the military one can feel pulled in many different directions. The most obvious dilemma being the decision between going back to school and going into the workforce. We’re here to tell you why veterans who go to college before the workforce make more money.

They Get Higher Paying Jobs

When you have a college degree, you are automatically going to make more money in the civilian work force. Many times, you won’t even get an interview for the higher paying job if you don’t have a bachelor’s or associate’s degree.

College Degree vs High School Diploma

Overall unemployment rate for people over the age of 25 by educational attainment according to the BLS in July of 2017:

  • College Degree – 2.4% Unemployed
  • Some college – 3.8% Unemployed
  • High School Only – 5.1% Unemployed

Though it is more than double the rate of unemployment for high school only graduates vs those with a degree, these are times of historically very low unemployment. Looking specifically at veterans unemployment:

  • Gulf War Era II Veterans – (post-9/11 Veterans) – 4.5% Unemployed
  • All veterans – 3.7% Unemployed

Many are upset because some prior military personnel who leave the service with more experience than a college grad aren’t able to get interviews or jobs for positions they are qualified for. And they’re right. It isn’t fair. But right now in the civilian world that is just the way it is. However, no one is worse off with an education, and if you have GI Bill benefits, then why not use them?

Salaries Based on Educational Attainment

  • High School Diploma – $718/week,
  • Bachelor’s Degree – $1,189/week,

Those with a high school diploma have an average an income of $718 a week. Those with a bachelor’s degree average an income of $1,189 weekly. That’s roughly 66% percent more with a degree on an annual basis, or nearly $25,000.  Over a 40 year career that’s nearly $1,000,000!  That’s without taking in to account any other factors such as investments, promotions or other compensation.

Networking as a Part of Daily Life

With the way things are constantly changing, there is no guarantee that retirement and pensions will be waiting for workers. A degree however, solidifies some sort of guarantee. Most people who enter the work force with a degree are able to network their way through a lifelong career. Whether that means changing jobs, moving cities, or juggling different industries, the key to that movement is having a degree.

Estimates for those who found their job from professional networking range from 70% to 85%.  One of the little known secrets to job searchers is that 70-80% of the jobs are never posted online, which means that they went to either internal job candidates or came via personal or professional networks.

Colleges aren’t the only way to establish a network, heck you already have one through your military experience!  But, colleges do have a very powerful network to tap in to for those who wish to participate.

Free Developmental Resources

As a college student, you’ll find that there are many resources at your finger tips. Resources for learning in the classroom, but also resources for helping you develop as a person outside of the classroom. For example: a health center with free consultations  (are you suffering from PTSD and looking for ways to combat it?), or advisors who are there to help you figure out a way to navigate your college and professional careers.

These types of resources are extremely expensive when you aren’t a student, but they are free for students to use as much as they need when enrolled at a college campus. Take advantage of these free resources, set yourself up for a bright future with a thought out path, and save that money!

So why wouldn’t you go get a college degree if you have the GI Bill on your side? Set yourself and your family up for a brighter future with a degree. You won’t regret it.









Going to School as a Parent…How It’s Possible

Thinking About Going Back-to-School as a Parent?  Here’s Some Helpful Tips

Going to school as a parent may seem impossible, but if armed with the right tips, tricks, and tools can actually be quite successful for the whole family.

Ask for Help

Raising a child takes a village. Adding school to the mix only adds to the need for assistance. (If you are a military spouse, enlist the help of peers and friends on or around base. Trade off who watches the kids on different afternoons so that each parent can get some alone time to take care of the priorities in their household.)

Set a Schedule

If you’re a new parent, then your baby will have quite the schedule… they’ll sleep and eat pretty much at set times. Take advantage of that routine and schedule your “class time” or “study time” while your child naps. Another reason to have a schedule and stick to it is so that you can schedule in some down time for yourself. Being a parent, student, and spouse all at once is sure to be exhausting and rewarding all at the same time. Make sure to take some time to decompress as well whether that means taking a walk, meditating, or reading a book for leisure.

Establish Priorities

The truth is, no one can do it all, all the time. While you are taking classes, make sure to name the priorities in your life at that time. For example: Family, school & work. If those are your priorities, then everything else doesn’t matter. Stressing over a dirty house? It’s not a priority at this time in your life, so forget it. As long as everyone in your family is happy, healthy, & fed and school and work are getting the attention they demand, then all is well. Don’t expect yourself to do the impossible and stretch yourself too thin.

Seek out Scholarships

Parents know more than anyone, just how expensive children are. That said, there might not be a whole lot of extra money around for you and the expenses that come along with your education. (Some might even prioritize saving for their children’s’ education instead of spending money on their own.) Regardless, there are scholarship opportunities out there, especially for military & military spouses.

Here are a few resources –


Find Scholarships for Military, Veterans, Spouses and Dependents!





Here Are Four Ways to Conquer Back-to-School Blues!

4 Ways to Beat the Back-to-School Blues

It’s Back to School time, again!

How did summer fly past so quickly?!

No worries.  Don’t panic.

Whether it’s you, your kids, or your spouse that are hitting the books again, we think everyone can benefit from these tips.

Here’s how to beat the “Back to School” blues and start out the school year on the right foot!

Finish Your Summer To-Do List

Nothing feels better than being able to cross that final “to do” off of your list and then shred the list all together. What an accomplishment!

All of those tasks that you set out to accomplish during the summer will haunt you until they are finished.

RELATED: Cheap Textbooks: Here’s How


Start the school year off on the right foot without anything hanging over your head.

Our Director of Marketing shares a tip on how to get “back to school” the right way, “Every evening before winding down for the day I make a ‘to do’ list for the following day.

The things at the top MUST be accomplished the next day and then those listed at the bottom are long-term goals or projects that I need to keep in mind or make slow progress on.

It keeps me on task and feels good to cross off each task as I complete them.”

Get In Touch

Reach out to your advisor, professors, classmates, or the parents of kids in your child’s class. Touch base and catch up.

Find out what has been going on with them and let them know what has been going on with you.

RELATED: Ways for Military and Veteran Students to Save


Reaching out and nurturing these relationships will not only help you emotionally because you will have supporters during this process, but also if you need some assistance or to ask a favor of someone down the road you have options.

If you nurture these relationships and make yourself available for others when they might need someone to lean on, you create a support system which is crucial when striving for success.

This is helpful not just when getting back to school, but also in the future as you build your network and pursue your career.

Plan It Out

Grab your Google Calendar or do it the old fashioned way and purchase a planner.

Mark all of the school holidays, vacations (start out with the fun reminders, of course), class schedules, and reminders.

The best way to start off the school year is on the right foot and if you begin planning ahead, you won’t let anything fall between the cracks and forget a meeting or big project.

Make sure to always update it so that nothing is missed.

Set Your Alarm

Get back in the groove.

Before those mandatory early morning wake-up calls come in, warm yourself up to the idea of waking up and not pressing the snooze button before you go back to school.

At least a week before class starts, begin conditioning your body to go to bed earlier (don’t stay up until 2am watching Netflix!) and wake up at a reasonable time without snoozing your alarm 5 times.

This will make getting back into the swing of things a whole lot easier as you won’t be exhausted when it’s time to sit in a lecture or wake up to drive those kids to school. (No one wants to be sleep deprived and grouchy…so start conditioning your body now!)

Best of luck this school year. Happy studying!





Having a Contact On-Campus Is a Game-Changer

How Having a Contact On-Campus Is a Game-Changer When Starting College

You’re already setting yourself up for success by going back to school. Congrats and way to go on making that big decision of an investment of time, energy, and money.

What is the next step to help you work toward a successful higher education experience? Make a contact on campus. Don’t be a stranger. Stand out. Be unique.

There are hundreds (and sometimes thousands, depending on the institution) of new students on campus each academic semester and year. Don’t get lost in the masses. Don’t be another number on the attendance list, another name on the roster, and just another student paying tuition.

Making a contact on campus can help you to be more successful in college because you will feel more comfortable and at ease on campus. Your anxiety will be lessened and therefore you’ll be more likely to reach out and make more connections, or it might inspire you to go out of your comfort zone and attend club meetings that seem interesting to you.

You will have a supporter on campus.

Most likely, you are not walking onto campus with a handful of buddies or your significant other. This is new territory for you and wouldn’t you rather have a supporter on campus prior to the day you step foot on campus?! We know we would!

You will be able to find the best fit institution for you.

By creating a relationship with a counselor or admissions personnel you can ask the important questions and tell this contact who you are, what your story is, and what exactly you need in a higher educational institution. As a student veteran your past experiences and future needs aren’t the same as your average college student. You should inform your contact on campus of what you are looking for on campus and find out before you make any decisions what your top institution picks have to offer you.

You will set yourself up for future opportunities.

We know from experience that having a close contact with a counselor, admissions personnel, or advisor can offer some very fortuitous pay-back in the long run. When someone of the administration or faculty has YOU on their mind, knows your name, or knows what you stand for they are more likely to offer your name when scholarships are offered, awards are given out, or one-in-a-lifetime opportunities arise.

Alright, so how do you go about doing this? You can start searching for the right college and reach out to admissions counselors to start the conversation. No need to go searching for email addresses or looking up names in a directory. Easy as pie. You’re tackling two big steps: Finding the institution that fits your personal needs and desires, as well as beginning the conversation and making that contact.





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