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 lively obligation army to civilian life. For a lot of veterans, the method is usually a difficult expertise—and for these looking for 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 info and paperwork that will get thrown at you,” Sarah says. “However then the Division of Protection solely requires one week of transition lessons, and so they solely overview training advantages over a few afternoons. It left me feeling unprepared for some fairly vital subsequent steps.”

Luckily, Columbia College’s Attaining Greater Schooling—a web based course for transitioning veterans provided on the edX platform—helped Sarah fill in all of the blanks and prime herself for achievement.

“The course supplemented my transition lessons in a really wholesome method, compiling all the things in a single place,” she says. “At the moment, there are virtually too many assets for veterans. It’s overwhelming! However Columbia’s course eliminates the muddle and brings collectively simply what you want, which is very essential throughout an already annoying time of change.”


A Brave Resolution 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 exhausting work early on. Whereas in highschool, she earned good grades, performed sports activities, labored a couple of part-time jobs, and even taught herself the way 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 photograph). “For the subsequent 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 pupil. 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 related with Beth Morgan, this system’s former director. Morgan now leads greater training transition and partnerships at Columbia College—and she or he’s additionally one of many consultants behind the event of the Attaining Greater Schooling course.

“Beth instructed I take her course to be taught all my choices for making use of for monetary support at an Ivy League college—someplace I at all times dreamed of going,” Sarah says. “I knew that beginning my bachelor’s diploma over at a prime college may ultimately assist me get into the graduate program of my selection. And if I came upon the way to get a full undergraduate experience 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 college 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 support from every college. There’s rather a lot to be taught, however the course takes you thru all the professionals and cons of every so you’ll be able to decide which is greatest on your scenario—whether or not you will have youngsters, low earnings, and many others. There’s additionally a useful interactive map that permits you to click on to see how every college operates their monetary support applications.”

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

“Service members are likely to keep away from being emotionally weak in our private statements,” she says. “As a substitute, 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 might be in that house. If I had not taken the course, my private assertion would have learn rather a lot like a resume—and that’s undoubtedly not what faculties need.”

Taking this lesson and lots 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, so as to settle for the complete experience from the varsity I selected,” she laughs. “So I inform myself they might’ve accepted me too, however I assume 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 photograph), 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 lessons towards Pre-Regulation, intent on utilizing her GI Invoice profit for Yale or Harvard legislation college 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 principally immigrant adults the way 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.”

Because of Columbia’s course, Sarah’s long-term targets 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 school 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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