Richard Sisk, Assistant Director of Military and Veteran Services KSU, can speak firsthand about how VA Education Benefits helped to fund his education. As an Army veteran, he came to KSU to earn his degree in Sports Management. As a university employee, Richard helps fellow veterans and their families do the same. Here, he provides tips to veterans about enrolling in courses at KSU – degree and professional certificates.
My job is to serve KSU’s ever-growing student veteran population, which includes our active duty service members, veterans, and their dependents. My motivation stems from my own background and experience as a veteran that used VA Educational Benefits. I was a Post 9/11 GI Bill (Ch. 33) recipient and used those benefits here at KSU from 2010 until I graduated in the summer of 2013.
Coincidentally, I transferred to KSU at the same time they established the Veterans Resource Center, now known as Military & Veteran Services, which was the first of its kind at any institution in the entire state of Georgia. Experiencing the transfer process as a student veteran (and eventually becoming a work-study student that worked in the center), I realized how positive of an impact military & veteran services can and does have on our students. Now, I serve as an academic advisor for degree-seeking students using VA Education Benefits, provide benefits counseling, and connect students with both external and internal resources (including KSU’s College of Continuing and Professional Education).
Personally, I think that the biggest key to success in higher education is getting started on the right foot during your first semester, regardless if you are a degree-seeking student or pursuing one of KSU CCPE’s professional certificates, many of which are qualified for VA Education Benefits. That means having a full understanding of how to navigate the “red tape” of enrolling at a university, applying for benefits, turning in the correct documentation to the correct department, etc.
KSU’s Military & Veteran Services is here to help with that and so are our partners at the College of Continuing and Professional Education. I remember when I first called KSU’s Military & Veteran Services as a transferring student and initially feeling intimidated about the idea of transferring to a 4-year institution. After the staff – who was completely comprised of veterans that either have used or were using VA Education Benefits – spoke with me and really just broke down the process, I instantly felt the stress begin to lift off my shoulders. That kind of positive impact is what you can expect to occur when you come to KSU.
We are here to assist you when you are first getting started, support you throughout your time here as a student, and hopefully connect you with practical services that prepare you for potential employment opportunities as you get set to graduate. There are a number of events that are hosted throughout the year and are on or near campus that provide us the opportunity to show you what we and the College of Continuing and Professional Education can do for you. Veterans’ information sessions, career fairs and resource fairs are all designed to keep you informed and up to date both academically and professionally.
Our office focuses on practical services and networking in order to help you succeed, no matter what your goals may be. However, we also know that your experience at KSU should also be something that you enjoy and we encourage you to get to know other veterans and take advantage of programs like Veterans Outdoor Adventures (VOA). VOA is collaboration between KSU’s Outdoor Adventures and Military & Veteran Services that aims to provide student veterans an opportunity to meet each other in a setting that reminds them of the camaraderie of the military, but is also physically engaging and healthy.
Ultimately, Kennesaw State Military & Veteran Services has done a lot for me as a student. Now, I get to return the favor by serving and supporting the approximately 2,000 student veterans and dependents that attend KSU.
I hope that you decide to take advantage of the opportunities that are here, whether it be pursuing a degree or a certificate program offered by KSU CCPE. Best of luck, and we look forward to hearing from you soon!