Story Veterans

From Combat to College - How CSU’s Veteran Resource Centers Help Smooth the Transition

Christianne Salvador

 

 

​Transitioning from military to college can be overwhelming. Navigating the college campus and becoming part of civilian life can make former service members feel isolated and may require special attention to support their academic success. The CSU is committed to serving the 8,000 veteran and military students, as well as the 11,000 military dependents, enrolled across its 23 campuses. On-campus Veteran Resource Centers (VRC) provide an environment of inclusiveness that supports students through transitional challenges. VRC faculty and staff aim to enrich students’ college experience, leading to successful progress towards timely degree completion.

On-going support through graduation

VRCs are available at most CSU campuses and provide a comprehensive list of support services, programs and certification for student veterans and dependents. These centers are staffed with knowledgeable mentors who can assist students at all stages of their college experience, including completion of the G.I. Bill and academic tutoring. Some campus VRCs also have in-house mental health counselors that offer one-on-one counseling for military students. Technological resources, such as computer labs and printers, are also available inside the centers. 

Social Space for Shared Experiences

Adjusting to campus life can be stressful for all students, including veterans. VRCs provide an interactive space where vets can study, socialize, share stories and network with one another. Inside each VRC is a supportive community of student veterans and dependents who share in the experience of both military and college life. Programs and workshops are offered at VRCs that encourage personal development, such as money management workshops and empowerment discussion groups.

Career preparation

VRC services extend beyond academics and can also serve as a hub for professional development and employment resources. Career readiness programs are offered to assist students in preparing for their chosen career field. Career mentoring, mock interviews and resume building assistance are also offered. Military-friendly companies and organizations have agreements with some campuses, where internship and employment opportunities are available for students. Some VRCs hold job fairs for military students and dependents. Companies seeking to hire students through VRCs understand the overlap of military students’ obligations between their studies and service duties, and therefore are able to work with their schedules.

Throughout the CSU system, campuses are prepared to assist with the unique needs of former service members and dependents. Many veterans face a difficult transition to civilian life, but campus VRCs are openly available to help students adjust into their new environment and provide support until graduation day. Each campus VRC offers specialized programs and services to serve military students. To learn more about each VRC, contact a CSU campus by visiting http://calstate.edu/veterans/contacts/.


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