Admissions Advice

Reasons to Excel in the Military

Reaching various billets, qualifications, and goals in your military specialty will accelerate your success as a college applicant.

I (Jake) fully understand that you may be dead-set on leaving the military after your current enlistment. Truthfully, I was the same. I wanted to commit myself to school, travel freely, and seek new challenges—much like many of you. However, I warn you that “dropping your pack,” or giving up on your military responsibilities, will undoubtedly stand in your way of success. Obviously, you shouldn’t do that anyway, but below are reasons why you should not only “get by,” but excel as a rising military leader.


VetLink is the trophy service of Service to School, another student veteran organization that we highly endorse. VetLink gives you the opportunity to fill out their “Veteran Addendum,” or template which allows you to thoroughly explain your military career. You define your jobs, responsibilities, billets, deployments, awards, and much more. It is your way to separate yourself from the general population. Service to School then transfers that addendum to the VetLink partner schools to which you are applying. VetLink partners include universities such as Princeton, MIT, Harvard, Brown, Dartmouth, Cornell, and many others. Your Veteran Addendum will be very specific to you, and it will directly reflect your performance as an active duty service member. Obviously, you want this to be as impressive as possible, which means that you better excel in your respective billets in order to present the best possible addendum to your prospective schools. For more information on Service to School and other programs alike, visit Free Veteran Programs.

Letters of Recommendation from Your Officers

This one speaks for itself. For a detailed review of how you should approach LORs, visit our Letters of Recommendation page. Here, however, we’ll speak briefly. As you serve in the military, you are constantly building a reputation for yourself and your work ethic. Your juniors, peers, and superiors notice these things and will naturally gravitate to the strongest leaders within a given element. Be this person; Strive to be the best leader and earn the highest possible qualifications and billets. Then, when it comes time to apply for college, you will have earned the ability to ask one of your superior officers for a letter of recommendation testifying to your achievements as a young leader.

Your Military Network will Become One of Your Greatest Assets

As you transition into your civilian endeavors, you will begin to identify people within your military network and will likely seek their guidance and friendship. At first, you may know people who go to various colleges. Later, you’ll know people at reputable firms. These individuals from your time in service will remember you from the military, and they will remember your work ethic. Again, you should be working hard anyways⁠—you signed a contract; fulfill it. However, if generating a network is what it takes to influence you to excel in your given military field, then so be it. The results will remain the same. Relationships with individuals with whom you share a common denominator will likely prove mutually beneficial, both personally and professionally.