Military Credit: What Have I Earned, and How Can I Use It at Penn State World Campus?

Matt Miller
Matt Miller

My name is Matthew Miller, and I’m an admissions counselor at Penn State World Campus. I work with our military students to help them transition from serving our country to becoming a successful online learner. Since I’m both a veteran and a Penn State alumnus, I understand the intricacies of military credit and what it’s like to shift back into college from military life.

I enlisted under a four-year contract as a culinary specialist (CS) in the United States Navy in 2007. After eight amazing weeks of boot camp in Great Lakes, I spent four more fantastic weeks across the street at “A” school, learning to make omelets and bake dinner rolls (Navy folks know those dinner rolls on a ship are on point!). Then it was off to the fleet.

When I enrolled at Penn State as an undergraduate journalism major in 2010, I had transfer credit that would cover my health and physical activities (GHA) credit requirements. Many of you will separate from the military with a Joint Services Transcript (JST), or a Community College of the Air Force (CCAF) transcript, packed full of credit earned from various military schools and training. Keep in mind that credit earned in the military may not make sense for the major you’ve chosen at Penn State World Campus. It’s worth getting a preliminary audit of those credits or, once you’ve been accepted, receiving a degree audit to find out if some of those credits can be applied to the requirements for your major.

It’s important to note that Penn State World Campus does not require applicants to submit their JST. However, we encourage you to do so because there may be applicable credit that you didn’t even realize you had! Applicants who have served, or are serving in the Air Force are required to submit their CCAF transcript.

Penn State World Campus believes you deserve the college credit you’ve earned while serving. At the same time, academic programs have specific curriculum that must be followed, which is what makes a Penn State degree so valuable. We want our students to be successful when they enter the workforce in their respective fields. In some cases, this means acknowledging and incorporating college credit earned while serving in the military. However, in other cases, it is in the best interest of you, the student, to complete certain degree requirements with Penn State.

For a quick example, look no further than my own experience. During my time in the Navy, I fulfilled the basic training requirements for the Navy and culinary science school. I chose to pursue journalism as my major at Penn State, and as you can guess, CS “A” school doesn’t exactly fit the communications curriculum (except for that GHA credit!).

Your military credit will be carefully reviewed, whether you have submitted a JST or a CCAF transcript, and applicable credit will be added to your degree plan. If you feel that something on your transcript may have been overlooked, you can always ask your academic adviser to review it again.

Your academic adviser and all other staff members on the military team at Penn State World Campus want you to succeed, and we’ll do our best to make your online learning experience amazing!

If you have questions about enrollment or benefits at Penn State World Campus, visit our website for details.

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