Matthew Miller, an admissions counselor at Penn State World Campus, works with military students to help them transition from serving our country to becoming successful online learners. We recently talked with Matt about his experiences helping our students, and his own background in the military.
Please tell us about yourself and your background.
I was born and raised just south of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on a family dairy farm. After graduating from high school, I attended three semesters at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, and then entered a four-year enlistment with the U.S. Navy. I spent most of that time stationed aboard the USS Blue Ridge (LCC-19) in Yokosuka, Japan. After completing an early-out package, I enrolled at Penn State to complete my bachelor of arts degree in journalism.
How do you help current and prospective Penn State World Campus students?
I like to think of World Campus admissions as the lifeline for current and prospective students. Of course, we assist with the admissions process, such as the selection of a program and transfer credit questions, but we also get a lot of inquiries that aren’t necessarily admissions related.
Could you elaborate on the services that Penn State World Campus provides for our military population?
Penn State World Campus is a top choice for active-duty military, veterans, and military spouses. We have staff members in each department who serve on our World Campus Military Team, which provides a contact in each office for students throughout their educational career. We have team members who can help on topics such as admissions, advising, disability services, and military benefits.
As an admissions counselor, you answer many questions from students. What are some of our students’ frequently asked questions?
The top questions will always be related to the required materials needed to complete an application. This differs between undergraduate and graduate programs, so we assist prospective students in understanding exactly what needs to be submitted and how they can submit it to Penn State for evaluation. Students also ask where their application is during our review process, and I often refer them to the Penn State World Campus application infographic.
What part of your position is the most satisfying?
The most satisfying part of my work is related to how our admissions office serves as a lifeline for current and prospective students. It’s not the typical questions about what transcripts are required, or where to send them; it’s the mysteries that we have to solve in order to find a missing document, figure out how a former student can return to the University, or discuss options for a student who may have struggled with their education in the past. When a student calls or emails with a challenging question, it’s always satisfying to provide a resolution.
Do you have any advice for students — both current and prospective?
I earned my undergraduate degree from the College of Communications at Penn State, so my advice for all students is to simply communicate. If you’re worried about something or unsure of your next move, just reach out to a staff member and let us help you!
What do you do in your free time?
I’m a big sports fan, and growing up just outside of Pittsburgh, I’m a lifelong Penguins fan. So I spend a few nights a week playing ice hockey in local leagues, which keeps me close to that childhood dream of playing for the Pens. Also, my dad has gotten me into reading for fun, after a lifetime of lobbying me to do so, and I’ve been allotting some time each day to work through the books he sends me.
What’s your favorite part about being a Penn Stater?
Penn State provides a solid foundation. Penn State is a great school, so having completed my education here sparks a great deal of pride for me, and sharing that connection and pride with alumni across the globe is a heartening feeling. I know that no matter what, I can always fall back on my education and rely on others who share that same foundation.
Learn more about Matt’s role — and get additional information on what it’s like to be a military student taking courses through Penn State World Campus — in our military panel video series.