Cape Fear Community College has added a new service for veterans who wish to return to college. A Summer Veterans Institute has been created to help veterans acclimate to college life. This year, fifteen participants took advantage of the free, week-long program. Led by CFCC’s Veterans Affairs Coordinator, Bob Philpott, and a group of college faculty, the institute helped student veterans become familiar with the college’s campus, educational support resources and answer any college-related questions. Students also took refresher courses in English and math.
“When veterans decide to come to CFCC, they may not have been in school for a long time, and they can be nervous,” says Philpott. “If we can get them past that part, they’ll be more ready to start school on a positive note. The goal of the institute was to bring them in before they started classes and to get them accustomed to CFCC. We hope that with this experience, they’ll get through the all the nerves, and feel really good about being here. They’ll know where to go to get everything, where the library is, where the learning lab is, where to get tutoring, and what CFCC’s Veterans Center can do for them. We also hope that this time will help them bond with other student veterans and instructors so that they’ll know that everyone at CFCC is pulling for them and interested in their success.”
A veteran-friendly environment
Cape Fear Community College serves between 700-900 veterans each year. The Veterans Center at CFCC addresses the unique academic, financial, physical and social needs of veterans transitioning to college life. Specifically, the center provides support to veterans seeking information about their education and other GI benefits. Veterans of all ages, from all branches of service congregate in the center. It gives them a place to study, to relax, and to talk to their colleagues.
US Army veteran Terry Slade was hesitant about returning to college. “I wasn’t too sure about coming back to school or the institute, but my family encouraged me to try,” says Slade. “I agreed to come that first day, and I thought that would be it. But I ended up coming back every day, and now I’m enrolled for classes in the fall.”
Slade has high praise for the staff of CFCC’s Summer Veterans Institute. “You got a sense that not only were they available to help with anything, but that they truly cared. It was great experience for me.”
Slade says that the institute prepared him to return to college. “I retired from the Army in 1992, and haven’t been in school in over 30 years. A lot has changed in that time. The institute helped me to mentally prepare to be back in school.” Slade plans to study Business Administration at CFCC, and hopes to one day earn his Bachelor’s Degree.
Slade said he enjoyed the camaraderie of meeting other veterans at the institute. “It’s nice to know that there are others going through the same things. The old guys are helping out the young ones. We’ve all been there.”
Veterans Center Services
• Tailored admissions and advising counseling
• Career services counseling
• Transfer assistance
• Veteran benefits and financial aid advising
• Assistance for students with disabilities
• Personalized orientation geared toward veterans
• Referrals to on-campus and off-campus service providers
• Study groups and tutoring services
• A mentoring program
• Computers and a quiet study area for students