UTA Eases Veterans' Transition From Military to College Life

Increased veteran enrollment met with increased campus support

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Veterans returning home from war are using their G.I. Bill, but making the transition from military to college life isn't always easy.

    The University of Texas at Arlington has increased support to veterans to help them transition to college life.

    Since the Sept. 11 terror attacks, a record number of U.S. veterans have returned home from war and used the Post-9/11 GI Bill. UT has seen a 50 percent increase in veteran enrollment in just three years.

    Veterans say life on campus can be very different from life on a military base.

    "It's not as in-your-face and 'this is how you do it' -- it's not as technical," said Adam Isch, veteran and UTA student. "It's more abstract, and you kind of have to figure things out for yourself and you don't have someone there to tell you the answer."

    "Sometimes, it was a bit challenging to go in to [class] and you look at your homework with a blank stare, fear," he said. "It's like in another language."

    Sir Jones, an Army vet and UTA senior, said he felt the same anxiety.

    "It was scary -- I'm not going to lie. It was scary," he said. "The military is so regimented. You know what you're going to do, when you're going to do it and you're pretty much told everything you're going to do when you do it. The university setting is not like that at all -- it seems chaotic at times to someone like me."

    UTA has increased its offerings to veterans, from workshops to help with life on campus and in the classroom to a support staff made up of faculty and other student veterans. Topics include how to manage time, study and correctly take notes.

    "In college, they're really responsible for creating that self-rhythm; they're really responsible for their education for the first time in their lives," said Dawn Remmers, executive director of University College, the department that handles the veterans support programs.

    "A lot of times, with very minimal interventions, we can help a student who is intellectually capable of figuring out the college environment," he said.

    Remmers added said veterans are well-equipped to handle college life once they get over the initial transition, using the discipline and wealth of experience they acquired in the military to meet classroom challenges.

    "I have that confidence that I could go in to the class and make an 'A' in any class and I could meet any challenges that any class presents to me," Isch said.