Future Orlando veterans, get your degree before you get out if you can

Goodness, I wonder what my first job hunting experience out of the army would have looked like if I already had my college degree.

I mean, it was completely possible. College for active duty personnel is the real deal, and they try to get you in the classroom as much as possible with a streamlined enrollment process and a flexible schedule.

But it’s not always easy though.

If you’re a combat arms soldier, you’re already in the field for weeks at a time, essentially working all the time, when you get back, and you’re ready for a rest. If you’re a family soldier, then you’ve still got to be a father or mother, and a spouse. And that spouse has been taking care of the family by his or herself.

Sadly, here is the truth. Transition services and the job market in Orlando are putting you at a significant disadvantage if you don’t have a degree the HR gatekeepers are looking for.

You might be thinking “I’ll get my degree when I get out.”

Are you sure?

Because civilian college is a much different experience than military college. In the service, professors understand the commitment you’re making and they plan their curriculum accordingly.

In the civilian environment, you’re “in the herd” and with different placement tests and standards, you might be taking more classes. Classes take time. That’s less time you have to pay the bills here on the outside.

It’s possible to do it after you get out. Thousands do it every year. But here in Orlando, the economy is especially difficult with bad affordable housing and low wages. You must be especially ready.

Don’t take any chances. Don’t make the mistake I made. I had a great start but bills got in the way and I ultimately couldn’t finish. Get your degree before you get out, and give yourself an advantage that will set you up for success during this extremely crucial transition period.

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