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This Veteran Transitioned from the Marines to the Ivy League with the Assist of an edX Course

Every year, roughly 200,000 service members transition from energetic obligation navy to civilian life. For a lot of veterans, the method generally is a difficult expertise—and for these in search of to enroll in faculty, the enterprise comes with its personal set of hurdles. Sarah Payne is one such veteran who discovered herself needing help when making the leap from the Marine Corps to an undergraduate profession.

“There’s a lot data and paperwork that will get thrown at you,” Sarah says. “However then the Division of Protection solely requires one week of transition courses, they usually solely evaluate training advantages over a few afternoons. It left me feeling unprepared for some fairly vital subsequent steps.”

Happily, Columbia College’s Attaining Greater Training—an internet course for transitioning veterans provided on the edX platform—helped Sarah fill in all of the blanks and prime herself for fulfillment.

“The course supplemented my transition courses in a really wholesome manner, compiling all the pieces in a single place,” she says. “As we speak, there are virtually too many sources for veterans. It’s overwhelming! However Columbia’s course eliminates the litter and brings collectively simply what you want, which is particularly essential throughout an already disturbing time of change.”


A Brave Determination Results in Fortuitous Recommendation

Rising up in rural Missouri because the fourth of six kids—and with a father who additionally served within the Marine Corps—Sarah discovered the worth of arduous work early on. Whereas in highschool, she earned good grades, performed sports activities, labored a number of part-time jobs, and even taught herself find out how to play the flute. 

By the point Sarah graduated highschool, she wasn’t positive what she needed to review. So Sarah joined the Marines as a substitute, similar to her dad. 

“I auditioned for the Marine Corps band and acquired in,” she says (see above picture). “For the following 4 years, it was very thrilling to be paid to play the flute of their ensemble. However my finish objective was at all times to go to varsity.”

Whereas stationed at Base Camp Pendleton in California, Sarah was additionally a full-time scholar. As she neared the completion of her bachelor’s diploma, the training heart on base advisable Sarah for the Marine Corps Management Students Program. She was quickly linked with Beth Morgan, this system’s former director. Morgan now leads increased training transition and partnerships at Columbia College—and she or he’s additionally one of many specialists behind the event of the Attaining Greater Training course.

“Beth prompt I take her course to be taught all my choices for making use of for monetary assist at an Ivy League faculty—someplace I at all times dreamed of going,” Sarah says. “I knew that beginning my bachelor’s diploma over at a high faculty may finally assist me get into the graduate program of my alternative. And if I discovered find out how to get a full undergraduate journey via the edX course—which I finally did!—then I may save my GI Invoice advantages to pay for my grasp’s and/or legislation faculty as a substitute.”

Trusted Recommendation, Brighter Prospects

Not solely was the versatile, self-paced nature of Columbia’s on-line course an ideal match for Sarah’s busy schedule, she additionally discovered the fabric to be complete in all of the methods she may fund her future. 

“The expertise was pivotal for me,” she says. “I discovered all of the intricate variations between the advantages of the GI Invoice, FAFSA, disabled veteran choices, and direct monetary assist from every faculty. There’s quite a bit to be taught, however the course takes you thru all the professionals and cons of every so you may decide which is finest on your scenario—whether or not you might have children, low revenue, and so on. There’s additionally a useful interactive map that permits you to click on to see how every faculty operates their monetary assist packages.”

Past monetary recommendation, the course helps navy personnel put their finest foot ahead within the purposes and interviews. Sarah notably appreciated its steerage on essay writing.

“Service members are likely to keep away from being emotionally weak in our private statements,” she says. “As an alternative, we use an utility’s essay part as a spot to quantify our accomplishments. However the course says that schools need to see your distinctive character and actually get to know who you’re in that area. If I had not taken the course, my private assertion would have learn quite a bit like a resume—and that’s positively not what faculties need.”

Taking this lesson and plenty of others to coronary heart, Sarah acquired up the braveness to use to 10 Ivy League faculties in all—and was in the end accepted into eight of them.

“Properly, okay, I needed to redact the 2 I hadn’t heard from, in an effort to settle for the total journey from the college I selected,” she laughs. “So I inform myself they’d’ve accepted me too, however I suppose we’ll by no means know. And that’s tremendous by me!”


First Cease, Princeton—Subsequent Cease, a Higher World

Flash ahead a 12 months, and Sarah is now a sophomore at Princeton (see above picture), ranked primary out of 443 nationwide universities by U.S. Information and World Report for the present educational 12 months. She has begun steering her undergraduate courses towards Pre-Legislation, intent on utilizing her GI Invoice profit for Yale or Harvard legislation faculty after she graduates. 

“I’d like to work on jail and training reform as soon as I’m firmly established,” she says. “I used to volunteer at a literacy heart close to Camp Pendleton, educating largely immigrant adults find out how to learn in English. In coaching to be a tutor there, I discovered that two-thirds of America’s incarcerated inhabitants is functionally illiterate. The connection between training, poverty, and jail inside that statistic actually disturbs me. That’s one thing I wish to use my levels for, to assist society change.”

Due to Columbia’s course, Sarah’s long-term objectives are inside nearer attain than ever earlier than. She continues to reap the short-term advantages, too.

“The course actually emphasizes being organized and pacing your self,” she says. “Making use of to varsity is a big endeavor, in order that they encourage you to map out your plan and plot all of it on a calendar. I nonetheless use these abilities at Princeton at the moment, and I’m positive for years to return. However actually, any veteran goes to be well-educated and ready for faculty with this useful resource. After taking the edX course, no veteran’s wants ought to stay unmet, monetary or in any other case.”




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