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Earn a degree while in?
Last Post 15 Jan 2012 11:22 AM by Gears. 3 Replies.
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sandeky5User is Offline
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sandeky5

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15 Jan 2012 12:19 AM
    I know there has been some topics on this subject already, but the search isn't working for me, so I'll just ask.  What is the best and cheapest way to earn a degree while on active duty? I understand that there are online classes available, and I've heard many stories of coasties earning their degrees while in.  I'm talking somewhere around a 2 year degree, because I know 4 can get stressful.  I am really looking toward a law enforcement or aviation science degree.  And I saw a post about someone who only paid $300 out of his pocket for a masters and still has his G.I. bill available for further education.  How is this possible? I understand that when I get to BC, they will talk about further education and encourage it upon us, but I would like to know now lol. Thanks.
    sardaddyUser is Offline
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    sardaddy

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    15 Jan 2012 04:39 AM
    I actually earned my Bachelor's and Master's degree on active duty. Don't sell yourself short. The only difference between earning an associates degree and a bachelor's degree is time not stress. So if you can earn one you can learn the other. You will be stressed the same, just longer.

    There are so many ways to skin the education cat that it is really up to you but here are some fast and "cheap" ways to work toward your degree.

    1. Use tuition assistance whenever possible. While on active duty you can use tuition assistance to pay for most classes without using your GI bill at all. This program does come and go at different levels. When I was first in the service they paid 75% of tuition costs. Then it was 100%. It sometimes turns off and is unavailable and I am betting that somewhere down the line the amount of coverage will be reduced again so use it when you can.

    2. Take CLEP or DANTES tests. Get credit for what you already know. By taking these tests you can earn college credits for free and quickly knock out some of the basics needed for just about any degree.

    3. Get credit for what you have been trained to do in the military. You can have your military training evaluated and they will show you what college classes your training is comparable to. Some colleges will credit all of some of that toward a degree with them but others may not or your training may not apply to the degree you are trying to get. Either way, they are free college credits that could be used to get a degree faster.

    4. Even if you are going to classes at an actual college make sure the program you are in can be completed online. Nothing worse than getting most of your degree done only to have to PCS and try to complete your degree at a different school. THey may not offer the same degree or may not accept some of your classes from the other school plus many require you to have a certain amount of classes with them before they will give you a degree. So if you were two classes away but they require you take ten classes you definately have a setback. The other thing that can happen is that you might get stationed somewhere that doesn't have a college around at all.

    5. Buy used text books. They are cheaper plus they usually have the important stuff highlighted already.

    6. Use CGMA. You can often get grants for books through Mutual assistance reducing your cost even more.

    7. Most importantly stay focused. It is going to take a long time. The job comes first plain and simple but if you use your spare time to study instead of going out drinking and partying, your life will be boring for a few years but in the end you will come out ahead.

    Good luck.

    FloridaGirlUser is Offline
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    FloridaGirl

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    15 Jan 2012 09:39 AM
    +1 Sardaddy. I got my bachelor's before I joined, and am starting up my master's degree now. Yes, the courses that go beyond a 2 year degree to make it a 4 year degree are harder, but you will have adjusted by then. I remember freaking out my first year or so because I had so many 5-8 page papers (and now I am watching my shipmates freak out too) but by the time I was done, it was nothing to crank out something that was 10-15 pages or more on a very narrow and obscure topic (Using the globalist approach to international relations, in 20 pages please explain the global south - anyone?). Heck, I wrote a 70 page thesis. But I could not have done that my first two years in for sure. In fact, I'd say my senior year was easiest because I knew what was expected of me at that point. Don't get phased and stay focused. The key to those long assignments is to take it a page or two at a time, starting a couple weeks before. It's pretty easy if you break it down, and don't procrastinate.
    "Hell is something you carry with you. Not somewhere you go."
    GearsUser is Offline
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    Gears

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    15 Jan 2012 11:22 AM
    +1 Sardaddy and FG

    Don't forget about Distance Learning Courses. Indiana Univ offers self-paced 1 year courses. I'm sure other colleges offer the same. I've taken 8 this year so far. I average about 1 class a month.
    “I’m not in this world to live up to your expectations and you’re not in this world to live up to mine.” ― Bruce Lee
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