With more specialized degree programs available to students, many military veterans are deciding that college is the next logical step after serving their country. They realize that now is the best time to utilize GI Bill benefits and choose a career path. Make sure your transition to college is an easy one with these can’t miss tips.

1) Be Logical On Your College Course Load

While you may be excited to start college, don’t bite off more than you can chew. Students that tend to take a large number of college credit hours, can feel overwhelmed by all of the work. This can result in a feeling that college was a mistake in the first place. The best thing you can do is choose a manageable course load that will set you up for success. Your first semester in general can be very overwhelming with new surroundings and learning something totally new. Don’t pile on unnecessary worries.

2) Be Open Regarding Service-Related Issues

Until you are fully enrolled, you may not know exactly how you will feel about attending college. for most students in general, this isn’t necessarily uncommon. If there are any hesitations, or physical reasons you feel uneasy, talk to a school guidance counselor. You may feel all right while still in the military, but you don’t know how your mind and body will react with new surroundings. If you have certain medical conditions that need addressed, be up front about it. Take time to talk it over with administrators and receive the guidance needed to excel. If you keep your issues to yourself, you can’t receive the proper help or guidance.

3) Choose the Right Program

There is a wide array of courses one can take but it’s crucial to choose the right program that will help you excel after college. Don’t get stuck taking low-level general education courses just to get by. Push yourself and take classes that are challenging and that will make you a better overall person. If you are unsure of what path to take, go to an adviser, he or she can point you in the right direction. There are also online resources that can help you choose the college program that is right for you.

4) Embrace Campus Life

Transitioning into a non-military community can be difficult at first. Entering a new and strange experience can be both nerve wracking and exciting. Make this new opportunity a prosperous one and embrace campus life. Learn about extra-curricular activities and find a mentor within your degree program. This will help your transition from a community of veterans to a campus community an easier process.

5) Maintain a Routine

In college, you are on your own. The complete structure of having someone always looking after is no longer there. No one is looking over your shoulder making sure you follow your academic schedule to precision. That is why it is important to treat your college schedule like a military schedule. Do not back away from the discipline learned in the military. Attending classes and building knowledge in a specific area is what college is all about.