Served in the Military? How Your Service Can Help With College Credit

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Serving in the military comes with many benefits, and one of those is potentially earning college credit for your service. If you or a family member has served in the military, there are multiple ways that their experience can be put towards college credits, helping to reduce tuition costs and get closer to graduation quicker.

Even if you didn't complete your training or schooling in the military, you could still be eligible for credits depending on your experience. Read on to learn more about how you can use your time served to help with college.


How Does Military Credit Work?

Military credit works by awarding college credits for experience and training that's gained in the military. Depending on the service branch, students may be eligible for up to two years of transfer credits, depending on the type of service completed. Credits can also be awarded based on things like rank held during service, and classes taken while serving.


How Much Credit Can You Earn?

The amount of college credit available to you depends largely on your time served, rank held, and type of service. For example, a student who served in the Air Force could be eligible for up to 24 credits in subjects like Science, English, and Math based solely on their experience while serving. Other branches may offer different amounts or types of credits. It's best to check with your college or university's admissions department to find out the exact amount of credit you could be eligible for.

There are some limitations on what can and cannot be applied toward college. Credits earned in the military typically do not apply to general education requirements such as physical education or language classes. Additionally, credits earned for experience may not count towards major-specific courses that require prerequisites. It's important to understand how your credits will count towards your college degree and to make sure you are taking the right courses to complete your major.


Why College Credit Matters

College credit for military service is an important way to help reduce the cost of a college education. By earning credits based on your time served, you can get closer to graduation quicker and save money in the long run. Additionally, having this credit allows veterans to focus more on their classes and career goals, rather than having to take extra classes or tests that they may already be qualified for. With military credit, veterans are able to use their service experience and training to help them pursue higher education.

It's important to note that not all colleges or universities offer military credit, so it's best to check with your school before applying for any credits. Additionally, many schools have their own set of guidelines when it comes to awarding military credit, so it's important to make sure you meet all the requirements before applying. Once accepted, college credit for military service can be a great way to reduce tuition costs and get closer to graduation faster.


How Do You Apply for Military Credit?

The application process for military credit varies depending on the school and type of service completed. Generally, students are asked to submit a copy of their DD-214 form, which is given at the end of service. This form includes your time served, rank held, and other relevant information. You may also need to submit additional documents such as letters of recommendation or transcripts from the school or training you received in the military. Once all of the required documents are submitted, the college will review them and award credit accordingly.

When applying for military credit, it's important to speak with the admissions department of the college or university you plan on attending. Each school will have their own set of guidelines and requirements that must be met before credits can be awarded. An admissions counselor can help guide you through the process and make sure all of your documents are in order before submitting them. Additionally, they can answer any questions you have regarding what is and isn't applicable for credit, as well as which documents are required. When applying it's important to be prepared and organized so the process runs smoothly.


How to Look at Your Joint Services Transcript

The Joint Services Transcript (JST) is a comprehensive record of your military experience and training. The JST serves as the primary source document for awarding college credit based on your service. It includes information about the courses you completed while in service, any exams or certifications that you've passed, and any other relevant information related to your time served. The JST is available to all service members and veterans, and can be used to help apply for college credit from your service.

Your Joint Services Transcript (JST) can be accessed through the services website. All you need is your service number, which you will find on your DD-214 form. Once logged in, you will see a full list of courses taken and accomplishments made while in service. The JST contains detailed information about all of your military experience and training, so it's important to review it carefully before submitting it for college credit. You can also contact your local education center or school admissions office for more information about the JST and how to make sure all of your military experience is properly recorded.


Finding the Best Institutions

It is important to research and find the best institutions for military credit. Different schools have different requirements and policies regarding awarding credit, so it's important to make sure you understand what your school offers before applying. Additionally, some schools may require additional documentation or tests in order to award credit, so it's important to be aware of any potential extra steps you may need to take when applying for credit. By doing your research beforehand, you can ensure that you're able to get the most out of your military experience and save money on college tuition.

When researching institutions to apply for military credit, it's also important to be aware of any potential red flags. If a school has unclear or insufficient information about their policies regarding awarding credits, this could be a sign that they are not the best fit for you. Additionally, if the institution is unable or unwilling to provide detailed information regarding what credits can and cannot be earned, it may be best to look elsewhere. Finally, if the school's requirements for awarding credit are too stringent or require additional fees, this can also be a sign that they are not the right fit for you.

If you plan to use your military credit when attending a college or university outside of your home state, it's important to check with the school's admissions department to make sure they accept military credits from other states. Many schools have their own set of rules and regulations regarding transferring credits so it's best to get all the information in advance. Additionally, you may need to provide additional documentation in order to prove your military experience. It's also important to check with the school and make sure they have policies in place for veteran students so that you can take advantage of any resources or benefits offered by the institution.


Don't Be Afraid to Ask for Help

If you're unsure about how to apply for military credit or what type of credit your service qualifies you for, don't be afraid to ask for help. Many colleges and universities, such as University of Maryland Global Campus, have dedicated departments that specialize in helping veterans or students with military experience understand the process and get the most out of their service credits. Additionally, there are organizations that offer resources and support to veterans as they navigate the college credit process. Reaching out for help is a great way to make sure you're getting the most out of your experience and not missing any important steps in the application process.

It's also important to reach out to any commanding officers who you may have served with as they can provide extra guidance and advice. They may be able to offer insights on which schools offer the best military credit, or what kind of documents are needed in order for your credits to be approved. Additionally, they may have contacts within admissions departments at various colleges that could help make the process smoother and faster. It's important to keep in mind that commanding officers may be busy so it's best to contact them with plenty of advanced notice.

Military credit is a great way for veterans and service members to reduce the cost of college tuition and get closer to graduation faster. It's important to know what type of credit you're eligible for and how to apply for it so that you can get the most out of your service experience. Additionally, make sure to research and find the best institutions for military credit as they will have different requirements and policies when awarding credit. With a little bit of extra effort, veterans and service members can use their time in the military to save money and get closer to their academic goals. 

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