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John A. Gilbert

Meet a Student

John A. Gilbert

Alliant International University

Area of Study

Military Service
CoastGuard, Damage Controlman 2nd Class 2003-2010

To what degree does the GI Bill cover your school expenses?
The G.I. Bill doesn't cover 100% of my expenses. Luckily, I attend a university that knows the value of having veterans on campus, so they cover the remaining balance for tuition.

What prompted you to return to school?
While in the military, I was trained to make a living using my hands. While by using my hands I was able to step back and be proud of the work, I never felt like I was making a difference. Additionally, the new GI Bill and economy prompted the decision.

Was adjusting to campus culture a challenge after military life?
One cannot underestimate what reserve and active duty service members experience in the military; however, adjusting to the college culture, and not having a Yeoman to show me how to submit an add/drop form, has been a whole different type of challenge that I had not previously encountered.

What has your experience been like at Alliant International University ?
My experience at Alliant has been both challenging and extremely rewarding. The classroom sizes are much smaller, and thus provide a more enriching experience with an abundance of real life experiences. The majority of the faculty are deeply rooted professionals in the community and on the cutting edge of science.

Do you believe your military experience has made you a better student?
Discipline, dedication, and working as a team are just a few attributes that easily transfer to college. More specifically, when most new freshman are adapting to the faster pace from high school to college, veterans, who already have life experience, emerge with a can-do attitude—commonly accepting leadership roles.

What advice do you have for veterans returning to school?
There are many differences between student life and a career in the military; however, many of the core values that are taught in the military are tributary to an academic career. The most important piece of advice I can give is to be flexible, understanding, forgiving, and tolerant of ambiguity.

Additional Comments
I am immensely grateful for the opportunity to attend college for free. I am even more grateful that I have the opportunity to do so at one of the best universities. The GI Bill affords us the ability to attend virtually any university in the nation. It is up to us to dream up the dream and apply ourselves. Lastly, I would like to see an incentive for veterans who meet a GPA requirement to earn a laptop voucher. Most veterans I know are at the top of their class academically. Why not reward excellence by equipping our future professionals?