Tagged: military students

Five Habits of Highly Successful Military Online College Students

Posted by Kelli McKinney

militaryauthority.com 5 habits of successful online studentsThe semester is underway. Books are bought. Highlighters uncapped. And yet for some military online students, there remains a lingering feeling of dread. If you’re in that crowd – already wondering if you’re going to make it to midterms, much less graduation – now is the time to turn it around.

Check out these five habits that successful students practice daily for some things you can incorporate into your routine:

  1. Break it down. No, this is not about dancing. This is about taking a good look at what you have to accomplish during the semester and deconstructing big, unwieldy goals into smaller, achievable tasks. For example: If you know you have to read two chapters each week, break that down into ten pages a day. Or if you have a 50-page term paper due in a month, plan to write 13 pages a week. Plan the work and work the plan.
  2. Show up. It sounds easy, but we all know it’s not. Online classes are different than red brick classrooms. It can be extremely tempting to gloss over assigned videos, multi-task during lectures and slip in and out of the room. Don’t do it or (trust me) it will become a habit. A bad habit, one that causes you to miss test-worthy information and damage your grade. A huge part of success in life is simply showing up. When you don’t, you miss out. Don’t miss out.
  3. Be a joiner. This one can be tough for introverts. Give it a try anyway. Seek out productive study groups, labs, discussion boards, weekly Skype review sessions or any other group resources that allow you to connect with other people, clarify any confusing topics, get study hints or just exchange ideas. The biggest benefit to this is the human connection. If you’re struggling in a class you will probably find quickly that you’re not alone in your struggle. There’s strength in numbers if you’ll make room for them.
  4. Maintain. A lot of times, people who feel pressure start neglecting the basics. Don’t. Make sure you get enough rest, eat healthfully, and exercise your body. Talk with trusted friends or family if you are stressed and listen if they offer coping suggestions. Managing a complicated schedule leaves little time for dealing with illness or burnout. The best way to avoid either is by practicing daily self-care – especially when you don’t feel like it.
  5. Protect your time. Give family and friends clear “no-fly-zone” instructions – and enforce them. Letting people know ahead of time when you’ll be studying or doing homework sends the message that your studies are important to you, and it lets them know not to interrupt. True friends will support your goals and be understanding if you have to decline social activities for a little while.

Success in online education is a result of hard work, discipline and persistence. It doesn’t happen by accident. It can happen for you. These tips are just a handful of key habits adopted by successful online students.

Have you tried any of these tips? Tell us how they worked for you in the comments.

The Best Education Advice I’ve Never Received

Posted by Christine A. Shelly

militaryauthority.com education advice ive never receivedA new school year has begun in most parts of the country. And since September 11, 2001, the start of the school year also provides a poignant reminder of freedom, democracy, and all that we hold dear. While it is true that the educational system in our country is in need of improvement in many areas, we can’t ignore the fact that few places on Earth provide the freedom to pursue the number and variety of educational and professional opportunities we have here in the United States.

Whether this marks the start of your first or final semester, the beginning of a new academic year can bring on a case of the butterflies (or worse). Many students experience anxiety and stress about their educational path and future job prospects. After more than a decade’s worth of experience in higher ed – and my own learning adventures – I have two pieces of advice that you aren’t likely to get from your education officers or even from your family.

Don’t be a follower.

You’ve probably been told by many well-wishing people “follow your passion.” Or, “follow your heart and the rest will fall into place.” Although it sounds wonderful, this kind of advice is better suited for relationships than for your education and future work.

In today’s economy, simply doing what feels good isn’t a sustainable practice – it can lead to frustration, accumulating debt, and a string of broken dreams. Plus, if you’re a working adult with a family to support while you go to school, you have responsibilities that you can’t simply shirk to follow your own interests.

Instead – bring your passion with you. Whatever you do, give it 110%. Find something to love about whatever you’re doing and give it all you’ve got. Look for the opportunity to share your passion with others and leave your own unique mark.

Strive for harmony, not balance.

“Work/Life balance,” as blissfully ideal as it sounds, is something that everyone seeks but few accomplish. It’s an incredibly popular topic that has everyone from CEOs to bloggers weighing in with their opinions and ‘how-to’s.’

Be careful about setting yourself up to achieve someone else’s idea of a balanced life. What works for them may not work for anyone else. Struggling to achieve an unrealistic ideal adds unnecessary (unhealthy) pressure.

What I would propose instead, is to strive for harmony as opposed to balance. Think about those televised singing competitions – sometimes a group is asked to sing in harmony together. It works well for some groups; others, not so much. In some groups, each of the singers wants to extend their 15 seconds of fame so badly, they sing over each other and refuse to yield the spotlight. The result is a musical mess that hurts to the ears.

Accept that there will be times when one aspect of your life takes priority over another. One area of your life will “sing lead” for a while and the others will support it and make it shine. You are the only person who can decide your priorities – your “lead singers,” if you will. Too many lead singers and you get a train wreck of a song. Too many backup singers and the music doesn’t really shine. The challenge is in making sure the right voices are singing lead at the right time.

The decision to earn your degree is one of the most important you can make, and if you’re reading this, you very likely already understand that. No matter where you are in life – whether you’re a working adult, a veteran, a military spouse or recent high school graduate, as you move forward in your educational pursuits and your professional career, you will be on the receiving end of all kinds of well-meaning advice. I hope the two pieces of advice I offered will help guide you toward achieving your goals. Best of luck to you as you begin the fall semester.

I’d love to hear from you. What kind of education or career advice has helped you? What do you wish you’d known when you started out?

 

 

REFERENCES:

http://research.collegeboard.org/sites/default/files/publications/2013/4/statisticalreport-2013-2-validity-sat-1st-yr-gpa-2010-sample.pdf

http://www.militaryauthority.com/benefits/education/reap/

http://www.whitehouse.gov/economy

 

 

Ms. Shelly has spent more than a decade working in higher education. She currently serves as executive vice president for Grantham Education Corporation. Ms. Shelly is passionate about changing lives – about making college education accessible and affordable to more people and preparing students and graduates for success.

Must-See Websites for Military Students

Posted by Christine A. Shelly

militaryauthority.com must see websites for military studentsMilitary students – that is, students who serve their country while they work toward completing a degree – have a perspective that is unique to other students. So it makes sense that the resources they need while they’re in college might be a little different than those of the average first year college student.

Below is a list of websites that we’ve found helpful for military students. From student support organizations to scholarship assistance to academic help, these are some of our favorites. We can’t possibly list them all, but if there’s a site you’ve found particularly helpful, let us know in the comments below. Be sure to tell us what you find useful about it, too.

 

Financial Support

http://www.foldsofhonor.org/

This foundation helps military families with scholarships and offers support for children and spouses of disabled or deceased service members.

 

Research/Academic support

http://calnewport.com/blog/

What started out as a college blog project has become one of the most utilized student resources on the web for study advice and strategies. Study Hacks says their mission is ‘demystifying student success.’ 

 

http://www.refdesk.com/

This is an extensive collection of reference material, databases and other resources to help you find and check facts.

 

http://www.collegeboard.org/

The CollegeBoard website has a substantial amount of information for students applying to and attending college.

 

Life/Work Resources

After Deployment – In-depth information, assessments and tools for transitioning/post-transition military.

 

http://www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records/

Request your service records at this website. You’ll need your military service records for college applications, plus you can have them evaluated to determine how much of your training and experience can be counted toward your degree. 

 

Studentveterans.org

Student Veterans is an organization whose focus is to empower military veterans with the educational resources imperative to success in the 21st century. They do this through support and advocacy on behalf of veterans.

 

http://www.acp-usa.org/

This website is dedicated to connecting veterans to corporate business leaders through two free programs. Bonus – Jon Stewart just joined their advisory council.

 

http://www.militaryauthority.com

And my host for this list, MilitaryAuthority.com is a site created for the military community that includes helpful information about education benefits, career planning, pay, retirement planning and healthcare benefits. There’s also a message board for locating and connecting with other military friends as well as helpful tools for finding military-friendly schools.

 

These sites are just a few of the online oases available for military students – and just fyi, mentioning them in this list does not constitute an endorsement. We weren’t compensated in any way. The Internet has made staying connected and informed so much easier – but you have to wade through a lot of garbage to get to the gems. Hopefully, this list will offer student service members a good place to start. 

 

REFERENCES:

http://www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records/

http://calnewport.com/blog/

http://www.militaryauthority.com/benefits/education/education-advice/

http://www.acp-usa.org/

 

 

 

Ms. Shelly has spent more than a decade working in higher education. She currently serves as executive vice president for Grantham Education Corporation. Ms. Shelly is passionate about changing lives – about making college education accessible and affordable to more people and preparing students and graduates for success.

Are you gut-strong?

Posted by Christine A. Shelly

militaryauthority.com are you gut strongEven the best-made plans can go awry, and even the most organized of us can sometimes be caught by surprise. Some people are motivated by challenges – so when things are running smoothly, they are easily distracted. Others, when faced with obstacles, need a little support to get over the bumps in the road.

The great industrialist and automobile pioneer Henry Ford once said, “Whether you think you can, or think you can’t, you are right.” The difference maker that can change your attitude is gut-strength. 

In their book Heart, Smarts, Guts, & Luck, authors Anthony K. Tjan, Richard J. Harrington and Tsun-Yan Hsieh define one of the characteristics of successful businesspeople or entrepreneurs as “guts-dominant.” Guts–dominant people are not only the people who have an idea, but they’re willing to take action on it, endure trials and tribulations to keep it alive, and evolve as necessary to see that idea come to life.

When you have guts, you take action. You are resilient. You are accountable. And you get things done. This is a concept our military students and veterans know quite well; they are people who have a vision,  make a plan, take action, measure results and adjust accordingly.

How can you tell if you are gut-strong?

When you encounter an obstacle, do you stop in your tracks, unable to fully function because you are analyzing every possible outcome (repeatedly)? Or do you briefly consider your options then take a decisive action? Gut strong people take action.

Are you willing to make tough decisions and accept the outcome? Notice this is not the same thing as blindly forging ahead and damning the torpedoes – that isn’t strength, that’s carelessness. Gut-strong people accept responsibility and consequences for their actions.

If you’re saying to yourself, “But I don’t have any of these qualities,” think again.

You’ve already made a tough decision: You’ve decided to earn your degree. The responsibilities attached to this are substantial – you’ve got to do the work to gain the prize. If you have a family, work, or other commitments as well, you must work out a way to honor those too. That takes resilience and – you guessed it – gut strength.

You can bet that the ride won’t be smooth. But it will be worth it. The experience and knowledge you gain will propel you toward your goals, and the sense of achievement and confidence you earn will stay with you throughout your life.

If you’re willing to keep moving forward, take action and accept responsibility, you can endure and not only succeed, but thrive in your educational and professional pursuits

 

References:

http://www.hsgl.com/

http://www.hsgl.com/book-authors-tony_tjan-dick_harrington-tsun-yan_hsieh.php

http://www.mitsacb.com/article.html?aid=225

http://armylive.dodlive.mil/index.php/2013/08/army-civil-affairs/

 

Ms. Shelly has spent more than a decade working in higher education. She currently serves as executive vice president for Grantham Education Corporation. Ms. Shelly is passionate about changing lives – about making college education accessible and affordable to more people and preparing students and graduates for success.