The Essentials I found for selecting a College

Guest Blogger

CSM (Ret.) Phil Johndrow

When I first joined the Army in 1979, there was no need for additional education and I had no desire to pursue college.  But then I began to see things change around me. Military technology advanced, and requirements for our leaders increased. If I wanted to make an impact as a leader, I needed to continue my education. No longer did I see studying as a tax on the present – this was an investment in my future.

When I started to research universities, there were a few things that were important.  I needed a school that would work with my schedule. At the time I was serving in the Army and was currently deployed, and the way things were shaping up, I was looking at more deployments in the future. Serving as a Division Command Sergeants Major (E-9) of a formation of 20,000 soldiers meant that I had a lot of competing demands for my time and energy.

I did not have the time or even the luxury to sit in a classroom. I needed a university that met my needs and understood my situation, one with the flexibility to work with my deployments and hectic schedule. Wherever I was, that’s where I needed my future university to be. An all-online school would be the best fit.

I was also looking for a school that was affordable so I could maximize my Tuition Assistance. Time was an additional factor, so having a degree plan that was clear would help ensure that all of the time and effort that going to be put into my education would be done efficiently.

I wanted a school that was regionally accredited. I saw this as a mark of quality and a reflection of the type of education I would receive. To truly excel as a leader, I needed to stretch the limits of my mind. Improving my critical thinking skills – and not simply memorizing facts and figures – was key to the success of my missions as a student and as a leader.

The best school for me would be one that challenged me and exposed me to new ways of thinking, taught by passionate faculty members who are experts in their field and have shared my experiences. This is the type of real-world problem solving that would make me a better leader.

Lastly, I wanted supportive instructors who were invested in my success. It’s easy to be forgotten about as an online student – but it’s just as easy to feel like you’re part of a team. I didn’t want to be all alone on my assignments because professor feedback and learning from my classmates are important parts of real-world learning.

After much research, I selected Trident University. At Trident I learned through relevant case studies in an online setting. They have high-quality instructors, with over 80% holding a doctoral degree. They have been acknowledged multiple times by Military Times as military and veteran friendly. And they fit my budget.

I found that Trident University’s learning model focused on real-world problem solving to better prepare for many of today’s demands, rather than reaction and repetition.  Trident University helped me to improve my critical thinking skills on “How to think instead of What to Think.”  This prepared me to be a much better Senior Enlisted Advisor to some of the most Senior Leaders in Our Army.