If you’re planning to pursue higher education, it helps to have a game plan. The four steps outlined below are a great way to start.

  • Identify online tools for comparing schools and programs
  • Prepare for college admission tests
  • Convert military experience to college credit
  • Explore financing options and military tuition assistance

Your military service education counselors can provide the information you need to get you from today to that moment you walk across the stage with your diploma in hand.

Step 1: Use smart tools for comparing schools and programs.

Deciding which college to attend is much easier when you have the right information. Compare schools and programs with smart tools like the College Navigator, which provides information on more than 7,000 postsecondary education institutions, and TA DECIDE, designed for participants of the Department of Defense Tuition Assistance Program. You can also use the GI Bill® Comparison Tool to compare benefits by school.

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Step 2: Prepare for college admission exams.

Get ready for some studying even before college begins. Most colleges and universities require admission exams with your application. The Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support, or DANTES, can help you prepare for enrollment and cover the cost of some of these academic tests. DANTES also offers college prep resources that can help you prepare for these admission exams, sharpen your study skills, and identify your interests and aptitudes to help you choose an area of study or career path.

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Step 3: Convert your military experience to college credit.

The skills you’ve mastered during your military service can count just as much as quizzes in a classroom. The Joint Services Transcript converts your military experience into civilian college credit, providing documented evidence to colleges and universities of professional military education, training and occupation experiences. The Joint Services Transcript is a collaborative transcript program that replaces previous transcript programs, making it easier for colleges to read and recommend credits.

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Step 4: Identify grants, loans and other financial assistance.

As a service member, you have several options that can help fund your schooling. The education center counselors can help you identify grants and other kinds of assistance — like federal loans, tax credits and deductions, and military tuition assistance.

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Still have questions about selecting a college or program? Contact your service-specific Voluntary Education Program education center. Education counselors can help you decide which programs are the best fit based on your goals. Connect with an education counselor today.