Although these resources aren’t mandated for applying for tuition assistance, take advantage of them and set yourself above the rest.

  1. The Kuder Journey
    The Kuder Journey is a free resource that helps you learn about your interests, skills, and work values, which can help you plan for your future career. It can help you narrow your focus from “I want to get a degree” to “I want this particular degree because it will set me up for my next step.”
  2. Develop your education roadmap
    We’ve all heard the quote, “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” Your education roadmap is the plan that helps you attain your goal. It helps keep you on track by identifying the goal you’d like to hit as well as any milestones that need to be met on the way. Definitely take the initiative on this. Your installation Education Staff can help you plan it out.
  3. Review your Joint Services Transcript (JST)
    Ensure your JST reflects all of the training and education you have completed to date. Sometimes you can obtain college credit for your military training and education, so you want this document to be accurate, and corrections take time.
  4. Complete College Placement Skills Training (CPST)
    The CPST was designed to determine your readiness for college-level courses and to provide any targeted remediation you might need to improve your academic skills before you take college placement exams or go to college. The CPST includes four diagnostic tests, 116 lessons, and three practice tests for writing, reading comprehension, grammar, arithmetic, algebra, and college-level math skills. Boost both your academic skills and your confidence with CPST.
  5. Investigate your options for earning college credits by exam
    Both the College Level Examination Program (CLEP) and the DANTES Subject Standardized Test (DSST) are prior learning assessments that can help you earn college-level credits by exam. You can earn college credit for what you already know, and use your education assistance money for more advanced courses.

    Free DSST and CLEP Preparation is provided through Marine Corps Libraries and/or Modern States. The DSST and CLEP Preparation from EBSCO Learning Express™ DoD Test Prep through the MCCS Libraries includes practices, fact sheets, and tests. Modern States CLEP Preparation includes multi-session virtual training taught by college professors, which in addition to preparing you for the CLEP test, can also help you get in the mindset to take college classes.Talk about these options with Education Staff as you develop your education roadmap.

    Although many colleges offer credit or advanced standing for successful completion of CLEP (more than 2,900 schools) and DSST (more than 1,900 schools), each school may have different requirements, and you don’t want to be taken by surprise.
  6. Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
    Sure, you’ll have Tuition Assistance and your GI Bill education benefits to help you fund your education. What if TA and your GI Bill don’t cover all your expenses? What if you are ready to start school before your hit the 18 month mark? What if you want to transfer your GI Bill education benefits or preserve them for graduate school? Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as early as the October before you intend to go to school. You may qualify for grants and other financial aid through your school, so you don’t have to use (or wait for) Tuition Assistance, and you can preserve your GI Bill education benefits. You are never obligated to take the federal aid packages that the FAFSA applies for.
  7. Complete the Digital Learning Readiness Self-Assessment (DLRSA)
    If you will be taking any of your courses virtually (rather than in a traditional classroom), complete the DLRSA (which is free) to assess your skills and identify possible weaknesses that may affect your success when taking distance learning classes. An honest assessment of your skills, behavior, and life circumstances can help you determine whether you are ready to take a virtual class.
  8. Complete a Universal Class
    Train like you fight applies to your academics too. Universal Classes are not-for-credit online classes provided through Marine Corps Libraries that can provide you the multiple session, online class experience of college, in a low stakes environment and help you learn something along the way. They can be a great way to prepare for college courses you take for credit later too! (English Composition 101, Economics 101, Precalculus 101, Statistics 101, and Physics 101: Beginner to Intermediate Concepts  are some of the classes you can take.) If it’s been a little while since you took an academic course, this can help you ease back into academics.

    Access to electronic library resources are available wherever Marines and families are stationed through the MCCS Virtual Library Portal. Marine Corps installations should seek assistance at their installation libraries. Remotely stationed Marines and families can contact the Library Program at usmclibraries@usmc.mil to obtain virtual access.

Still searching for more in-depth assistance with your preparation for higher education? Contact your installation’s Voluntary Education staff.