These students are just like their civilian counterparts in that they want to continue their education at one of the over 4200 Institutes of Higher learning for which you work. They are students from all over the country, and all over the world, balancing not only everything which their civilian counterparts balance- sports, testing, jobs, homework- but also deployments, reintegration, moving schools, losing and gaining friends.
Before you begin your process of admitting and declining students next year, I ask you to consider this: I ask you to add military connected children to your admissions diversity plan. Look at our military children as a unique and positive part of your diverse campus.
Each year around 77,000 High School Seniors are military connected. If this population follows the trends of the rest of the nation, with about 40% of that population enrolling in college, then just over 30,000 military connected students head to your campuses across the nation each fall. That is just about 1% of the college freshman population in the nation. There is no smaller minority on campuses across the nation.
I am sure you are asking, “What is in it for the college I represent? Why should we do this?”
Military children are resilient, globally minded, adaptable, flexible, strong, courageous, patient, outgoing, determined, resourceful, passionate, and engaged in their communities. They have successfully handled transitions throughout their lives. As they transition to your college campus community, they will choose to continue as leaders, ralliers, organizers.
Military children quickly and positively adapt to any new environment; they are successful navigating their way through new customs and traditions as if they were their own. Military children look at the challenge of transition as an opportunity for growth, not a hurdle to overcome. Military children look to bring their sense of activism and goodwill to others.
Isn’t that what you are looking for in your campus community?
How do we know this? We know this by observing the first day of an elementary school which services any military community. We know this by looking at Peer Mentoring and Integration programs in middle schools and high schools around military posts and bases. We know this because we see our children adapt quickly and successfully each time they move: In the middle of boxes and registrations, these kids are out in the neighborhood meeting others, joining soccer teams and school newspapers, boy and girl scout troops and youth groups in chapels instead of worrying about this move, or the next. We can observe these students quickly and adroitly traversing the new frontiers of their new communities, and taking advantage of every moment they can.
Therefore, next year, as you begin to put together the road map to your next incoming freshman class, I ask you to include military connected kids in your plans. Ask students in their interviews if they are military connected. Recognize their military influenced essays and short answers. Consider adding an optional military child identifier on your application. Look at their 3 High Schools in 4 years not as a hardship or tribulation, but as they do, as the opportunity to impact many communities, not just one.
Adding Military Children to your diversity plan not only makes your campus more aptly reflect the world in which we live, but will add to your community a population of exceptional youth.
Independent Educational Consultant,
Owner of Anchor Collegiate,
and proud mother of two exceptional military connected children.