Attaining Higher Education


Attaining Higher Education

Attaining Higher Education Introduction
We've created this online course in the hope that active duty service members and veterans like yourself will see higher education as an accessible and worthy endeavor. After taking this course, we believe many of you who might be on the fence about going to college will actually apply. We're confident that many of you will succeed.

Some of you may feel your past academic record will prevent you from being accepted into college at all. Or you might think you simply can't afford to go to a particular college, and are imagining yourself saddled with debt. We hear you. If you feel this way, trust me. You are not alone. Such concerns can feel overwhelming, but we're here to show you that they might not be the barriers they seem to be at first glance.

With a little extra work, and some diligent prior planning, we'll show you how you can work through such obstacles. The goal of this course is to break down myths like these and give you the facts and the tools you need in order to apply.

We will cover intentional decision making. With that focused process in mind, we'll help you figure out how to find a right fit college. We'll demystify the application process and leave you with some important information about financing your education.

Throughout this process, you'll hear from experts in the field and veterans like yourself, who have made the transition to higher education and are in a position to offer invaluable firsthand insight into how they persevered and succeeded in their own path to higher education. Unlike every other MOOC out there, this course provides gated access to a more personal, individual guidance.

AHE offers veterans access to a community of peer advisors. When you've completed the initial on demand modules, and the subsequent task journals and assessments, you can apply to be personally connected to a peer advisor. men and women like those featured in this course who will guide you further into the application process and fine tune your application.

Once you've met the requirements of working with your peer advisors, professionals in the admissions field will enter into the picture, further refining your application. And even connecting you directly with an actual admission officer who can assess your competitiveness for admission at a particular school.

In the end, we can't guarantee admission. But we can assist you in making sure you're a confident, competitive applicant, have a complete and well-thought-out application package, and know that any of the colleges to which you apply will be a good fit for you and your goals.

Attaining Higher Education is a course designed to facilitate the successful transition of active duty service members and veterans to postsecondary education, whether at a two- or four-year college for an associate's or bachelor's degree, or even graduate school.

Course Overview

From intentional decision-making—a method through which service members and veterans connect their life and military experiences with a potential academic or career path—to choosing a right fit college,  understanding the application process,  and financing their education, this course will provide tangible ways to successfully navigate all of these benchmarks in the transition to higher education.

While this course is open to everyone, the content has been tailored specifically for active duty service members and veterans, especially those who aspire to start school or return to school soon, and higher education professionals who work to support student veterans.

  • General and detailed information about colleges and universities
  • An understanding of the transferability of military skills into certain fields
  • Instruction with regard to completion of:
    • VA application forms
    • DOE financial aid forms
    • scholarship application forms
    • admissions essays
    • applications
  • Assistance in gaining knowledge about loans and financial aid

This course is designed to break down the process of transition to education and to assist service members in finding an educational program that fully maximizes their potential. The course:

  • lays out how to approach admissions processes to institutions of higher education
  • guides students through the self-assessment needed to determine if and how to apply wisely
  • challenges students to consider the factors which make a college a right fit for them
  • offers an overview of the college application process, whether at a community college or four-year college
  • provides a summary of the most common sources of financial aid available to many transitioning service members and veterans


Course Modules

  • Introduction: Intentional Decision Making
  • How We Choose
  • The Importance of Values
  • The Logical Next Step
  • Options and Opportunities
  • Talking it Through
  • Making a Choice
  • Introduction: Choosing a Right-Fit College
  • Important Factors to Consider
  • Basic Overview of Higher Education
  • Major Selection
  • Questions to Ask
  • Making the Most of Problem Sets
  • Creating a College List
  • Introduction: The College Application Process
  • The College Application
  • The Essay
  • Letters of Recommendation
  • Interviews
  • Admissions Decisions
  • What to Do Once Accepted
  • Introduction:  Financing Your Education
  • VA Benefits
  • Types of Financial Aid
  • Non-Federal Grants & Loans


This free to use interactive map was developed as a companion tool for Attaining Higher Education. Select and narrow down colleges of interest using criteria important to service members and veterans.


Beth E. Morgan headshot
Beth E. Morgan

Director of Higher Education Transition for the Center for Veteran Transition and Integration

R.J. Jenkins headshot
R.J. Jenkins

Curriculum Designer for the Center for Veteran Transition and Integration

skip bailey
Skip Bailey

Senior Advisor to the Director of Educational Financing - Columbia University’s School of General Studies 

Tanya Ang headshot
Tanya Ang

Military-Connected Student Advocate

Dirk Vanderlaan headshot
Dirk Vanderlaan

Recruiting Specialist