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updated: 12/9/2013 2:56 PM

Serving students who served our country

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At Waubonsee Community College, we consider it our privilege to serve all members of our community through our educational programs and services. We are also honored to be able to serve many students who have served our country.

With a new generation of soldiers enlisting after the events of 9/11 and the implementation of the Post 9/11 GI Bill educational benefit, colleges and universities across the country have seen growing numbers of veterans on campus. Waubonsee averages about 400 student veterans each semester.

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While each one of these students is unique, many veterans enrolling in college face similar challenges. One of these challenges can be transitioning from a very regimented, intense military life to a less structured, more self-sufficient civilian life.

Many institutions of higher education have created a veterans office or designated a single point-of-contact to make their systems and processes easier for veterans to navigate. Waubonsee has a transfer/veterans adviser who can help student veterans with enrollment and academic issues, such as getting started at the college or gaining credit for military training. We also have two financial aid advisers who specialize in the specifics of using military educational benefits.

Although staff and faculty help veterans acclimate to a college's culture, it is fellow students who often have the most impact on how connected student veterans feel and how successful they become.

Waubonsee's Veterans Club has been very active in recent years, providing social activities and support to members while also providing service to the college and the community. Started four years ago, the college's annual Veterans Day Observance has helped students, staff and faculty demonstrate their gratitude and respect for service men and women both in and beyond the Waubonsee community.

Just as important as honoring their military service is honoring student veterans' academic accomplishments. Waubonsee, with leadership from the Veterans Club, started a chapter of the SALUTE Veterans National Honor Society on campus last year. Our class of 2013 included 10 graduates who had earned membership in SALUTE.

As we are proud of the honors earned by our veterans, we are also proud of the honors we've earned working on their behalf. For the past three years, Waubonsee has been named a Military Friendly School by Victory Media, a veteran-owned business and publisher of G.I. Jobs and the Guide to Military Friendly Schools. The company gives this designation to the top 15 percent of the nation's colleges, universities and trade schools that are doing the most to embrace veterans as students and ensure their success on campus.

We welcome area veterans to visit to see the programs and services we offer. We look forward to helping thousands more service men and women move up the educational ranks so that they are able to continue using their knowledge and skills to better themselves and our country.

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