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

Annually, roughly 200,000 service members transition from lively responsibility navy to civilian life. For a lot of veterans, the method generally is 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 courses, they usually solely evaluation schooling advantages over a few afternoons. It left me feeling unprepared for some fairly essential subsequent steps.”

Fortuitously, Columbia College’s Attaining Larger Training—a web-based course for transitioning veterans supplied on the edX platform—helped Sarah fill in all of the blanks and prime herself for achievement.

“The course supplemented my transition courses in a really wholesome means, compiling all the pieces in a single place,” she says. “Right now, there are nearly 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 vital throughout an already disturbing time of change.”


A Brave Choice 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 realized the worth of exhausting work early on. Whereas in highschool, she earned good grades, performed sports activities, labored a number of part-time jobs, and even taught herself the best way to play the flute. 

By the point Sarah graduated highschool, she wasn’t certain what she needed to check. So Sarah joined the Marines as a substitute, identical to her dad. 

“I auditioned for the Marine Corps band and bought in,” she says (see above photograph). “For the following 4 years, it was very thrilling to be paid to play the flute of their ensemble. However my finish aim was all the time 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 schooling middle 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 schooling transition and partnerships at Columbia College—and she or he’s additionally one of many consultants behind the event of the Attaining Larger Training course.

“Beth prompt I take her course to study all my choices for making use of for monetary support at an Ivy League college—someplace I all the time dreamed of going,” Sarah says. “I knew that beginning my bachelor’s diploma over at a high college might finally assist me get into the graduate program of my selection. And if I came upon the best way to get a full undergraduate experience by way of the edX course—which I finally did!—then I might save my GI Invoice advantages to pay for my grasp’s and/or regulation 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 might fund her future. 

“The expertise was pivotal for me,” she says. “I realized 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 lots to study, however the course takes you thru all the professionals and cons of every so you’ll be able to decide which is finest in your scenario—whether or not you might have children, low revenue, and so forth. There’s additionally a useful interactive map that permits you to click on to see how every college operates their monetary support packages.”

Past monetary recommendation, the course helps navy personnel put their finest foot ahead within the functions 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 software’s essay part as a spot to quantify our accomplishments. However the course says that faculties need to see your distinctive character and actually get to know who you might be in that area. If I had not taken the course, my private assertion would have learn lots like a resume—and that’s undoubtedly not what colleges need.”

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

“Properly, okay, I needed to redact the 2 I hadn’t heard from, to be able to settle for the total experience from the varsity 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 high quality 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 courses towards Pre-Regulation, intent on utilizing her GI Invoice profit for Yale or Harvard regulation college after she graduates. 

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

Because of 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, so that they encourage you to map out your plan and plot all of it on a calendar. I nonetheless use these expertise at Princeton as we speak, and I’m certain 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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