Finding Resources on Campus for Veterans
By Hilary Flanagan
Published June 7, 2012
One of the easiest places to start is identifying whether or not the institution has an office dedicated to Veterans Affairs. This should be simple to find doing a search from the university’s homepage. You can get a sense there, if such an office exists and has a website, for the staff and services dedicated to helping you succeed while a student at that institution. Maybe instead of an office, you will find a specific individual who is leading veterans’ services on campus, perhaps with a title like Director of Veterans Affairs. This individual may not have an entire office or dedicated staff, but they have been designated as the main contact for veterans, usually reporting under Admissions and Enrollment or Student Life. Reaching out to that person, or someone within that office, should definitely be on your to do list. Whether you do that during your initial research, on a site visit, upon being accepted, or upon arriving to start classes depends on where you are in the process. It is recommended you reach out sooner than later to make sure you are taking advantage of all opportunities available to you for the time you served our country.
Chances are that if you have identified an individual or office within the institution, you can also then identify affinity groups for veterans on campus. Even if the institution does not support a formal Director or Office of Veterans Affairs, there still may be a student group on campus that can serve as a natural networking group for you. Some institutions have very formal ties to national student veterans groups for their students, like the Student Veterans of America. This particular organization, according to its website, is a nonprofit coalition of student veteran organizations on college campuses globally. Their mission is to provide military veterans with the resources, support, and advocacy needed to succeed in higher education and following graduation. If there is not a group on your campus like this or another organization, you can always look to start a chapter of this one or one of your own. Veterans are used to functioning highly within a group or unit, so this could be a great outlet for that kind of continued support. Of course, it may not be something to which you gravitate. There are other options to look for, as well.
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Hilary Flanagan, M.Ed., GCDF, is a higher education career services expert, author, triathlete, certified career coach and certified etiquette consultant who is currently Director of the Center for Career Services at John Carroll University.