Why not Yale? Free college counseling for vets sets goals higher

Kaylah Jackson
October 25, 2018 - 4:44 pm

(Photo courtesy of Andrea Goldstein)

"Reflect on your engagement with a community to which you belong. How do you feel you have contributed to this community?" That's an actual essay prompt from Yale University and it's a prompt that, with the help of Service to School, a veteran applicant will be prepared to answer.

Through over 500 veteran ambassadors, 18 partnership colleges and universities, and first-hand knowledge from admissions officers, Service to School prepares veterans to apply and gain admittance to the best educational institution possible.

Andrea Goldstein, CEO of Service to School, commissioned as a Naval Intelligence Officer after attending the University of Chicago. Currently, she serves in the Reserves and when it was time to work towards a graduate degree, Service To School (S2S) was an immense help to her.

“She [ambassador] understood how challenging it was to not only talk about myself but talk about my military experiences,” says Goldstein. “It feels awkward, it feels ridiculous—that’s fine. What really helped me was being encouraged to do so by someone who clearly was very successful.”

Like many service members, the idea of bragging about oneself in a college entrance essay was something Goldstein overcame and accomplished with the counsel of her mentor. S2S ambassadors come from various backgrounds: officer and enlisted, active-duty and reserve, and first-generation. These ambassadors work with the veterans through the process not only offering application advice but encouraging them to truly achieve more than they think they're capable of.

Often, veterans will “undermatch” themselves, opting out of schools they don’t believe they can get accepted to. According to Goldstein, they see this type of attitude overwhelmingly more intense within the women veteran community.

“We’ve often been put down by our peers,” said Goldstein. “But for a servicewoman to put on her boots every single day and go into work and kick ass in a field that may not even want her to be there, if you can overcome that, you have what it takes to go to a top school.”

(Photo courtesy of Service to School)

Service to School offers a reinforcing environment that veterans can find at any point during their application process. Goldstein advises that while seeking guidance from Service to School is ideal within one year of applying, the point is to set the veterans up for success, whether that is a few years away from the application or closing in on a transfer deadline.

“Seeing the stories of people who grew up in foster care or were homeless and are now at Yale or Princeton or getting their Ph.D. at Cambridge. It’s got such a clear return on investment so seeing how that impacts people’s lives and hearing from our alumni definitely helps me get up every day and get to work,” says Goldstein.

And those successes are frequent for the Service to School team. S2S applicants are eight times more likely to be admitted to a top university. 

For over 2,000 service members per year, they've helped gain admittance to undergraduate programs, business schools, and even law schools, the resource is free. For more information about signing up, fill out the application on their website.

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