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The journey from military service to college life might seem like a significant transition, but the truth is that the skills acquired in the military can be incredibly valuable in the academic setting. I see a certain drive and discipline in our Veteran students that distinguishes them from other students. It’s a determination, an internal fire to excel, that can be seen from anywhere on campus. Resilience developed during military service can seamlessly translate into success in college. In this blog post, we’ll explore how military skills can pave the way for triumph in higher education.

Focus-Driven Mission

One of the most crucial attributes that military personnel develop is discipline. Adhering to routines, timelines, and protocols is paramount in the military. In the military, soldiers are taught that time waits for no one and those who master time management emerge as respected leaders. This level of discipline seamlessly carries over to college, where students often face demanding schedules, coursework, and extracurricular activities.

As a professor, I see firsthand how Veteran students bring a level of maturity and sense of mission from the field to the classroom. Veterans and former military members often excel in college because they can manage their time effectively. They understand the value of dedicating consistent and focused hours to studying, attending classes, and completing assignments. This level of discipline ensures that they stay on top of their coursework and maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Exceptional Performance Under Pressure

A soldier’s true mettle is never revealed in times of peace but always emerges in the face of unrelenting pressure. As part of the mission, the military environment introduces individuals to challenges and uncertainties that demand adaptability and resilience. Whether it’s dealing with unexpected situations in combat zones or rapidly changing circumstances, military personnel learn to adjust and thrive in adverse conditions.

In a college setting, adaptability and resilience are equally vital. The ability to navigate complex subjects, handle academic setbacks, and cope with personal challenges can significantly impact academic success. Former military members often possess a ‘never-give-up’ attitude that enables them to face challenges head-on and persist until they achieve their goals.

Leadership and Teamwork

Leadership is a cornerstone of military training. When a situation demands extraordinary effort, you will see a soldier stand up with unwavering resolve. Military personnel are trained to lead by example, make sound decisions under pressure, and guide their teams toward successful outcomes. These leadership skills apply not only on the battlefield but also in the classroom and campus activities.

In college, leadership roles in student organizations, group projects, or even informal study groups provide opportunities to apply military leadership skills. Former military members often excel in these scenarios, effectively coordinating team efforts, fostering collaboration, and motivating peers to achieve shared objectives.

Laser Focus

Clear and concise focus in the military isn’t just a skill; it’s a matter of mission success or failure. The military emphasizes attention to detail, which can often mean the difference between success and failure, safety and danger. This skill is highly transferable to the academic realm. Military personnel are accustomed to following complex procedures, meticulously checking equipment, and ensuring precision in their tasks.

Similarly, college assignments, research projects, and exams require careful attention to detail. The ability to dissect complex problems, identify critical components, and strategize solutions directly results from military training. Former military members approach academic challenges with a methodical mindset, enhancing their problem-solving capabilities.

Effective Communication

Clear and concise communication is essential in the military to ensure orders are understood and executed accurately. Military personnel develop strong communication skills that translate well into college classrooms and social interactions. “The strength of an army lies not only in its firepower but in its ability to communicate and coordinate seamlessly.”

In college, effective communication plays a pivotal role in class discussions, presentations, and networking. Former military members often excel in articulating their ideas, actively participating in debates, and confidently conveying their thoughts.

The skills cultivated in the military form a solid foundation for success in college. The discipline, adaptability, leadership, attention to detail, and effective communication acquired during military service can lead to remarkable achievements in academic pursuits. Former military members bring a unique perspective to the college community, enriching the learning environment with their dedication and experiences. As they transition from the battlefield to the classroom, they demonstrate that the lessons learned in service are valuable assets in pursuing higher education.

Ray Martinez, PhD, MBA, MSOL, ITLME

Professor, School of Business – Hallmark University

Marine Corps Veteran

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