Assuring Veterans Achieve Mission Success

Service to School & Phi Theta Kappa

by Holden Lindblom

Holden Lindblom, US Army veteran, S2S applicant and PTK member

Transitioning out of the military can be tough — perhaps even daunting at times. Although veterans sometimes trivialize civilian life, successfully reintegrating into the civilian world is no easy task. However, with a little investigating, you will discover a plethora of veteran and civilian organizations eager to assist service members in the adjustment process. One organization, Service to School, is a nonprofit which helps veterans win admission to the best universities possible and helps them maximize their education benefits. They accomplish this goal by pairing veteran applicants with ambassadors from an extensive veteran ambassador network. Another excellent organization, Phi Theta Kappa, is an academic honor society which prides itself on recognizing and rewarding academic excellence. Phi Theta Kappa’s vast array of resources allow their members to explore opportunities in which they can develop leadership skills, assist their community, apply for scholarships, and to connect with the school campus. During my transition and entry into college, I have found both Service to School and Phi Theta Kappa to be an invaluable asset, each providing me amazing opportunities and resources to excel on campus.

With roughly one-year left on my military contract, I made the decision to return to school and pursue a bachelor’s degree in economics. Clueless as to how I would accomplish my goal, I reached out to Service to School. Shortly after signing up, Saamon Legoski — -my first advisor — contacted me to discuss my future academic plan. Like Saamon, my high school transcripts could best be described as “less than stellar.” In fact, they would most likely be considered laughable at best. Nevertheless, Saamon reassured me that I could redeem my past failures with a strong transcript from a community college. Service to School does more than just assist with college applications, they dispel the various myths surrounding academia and encourage veterans to reach their full potential. After my honorable discharge from the Army, and with the support and encouragement of Service to School, I felt confident to begin my studies at Quinsigamond Community College.

Although I was confident, the start of my first semester at community college was, well… nerve-racking to say the least. It had been many years since I attended school, and the fear of relapsing into my high school ways loomed over me. Nevertheless, I persevered, and with the guidance of Service to School, I felt ready to tackle the curriculum. As I became more accustomed to the academic lifestyle, I realized there was more to college than just going to class. My advisor informed me that if I truly wanted to reap the full benefit of community college, it would be beneficial to join Phi Theta Kappa. The allure of honing my leadership skills as well as the opportunity to meet like-minded individuals drove me to seek out the campus chapter. Phi Theta Kappa’s phenomenal work in community service, academic research, and campus life allows for each individual to find a niche in which they can participate within. Furthermore, Phi Theta Kappa fosters a student camaraderie which is strongly reminiscent of the camaraderie found within the military.

As I prepare my transfer applications, I have found both Service to School and Phi Theta Kappa immensely helpful throughout the process. On one hand, Service to School is currently helping to select which schools best suit my needs, as well as reviewing my applications and essays to each school. Although applications are all about you as an individual, by no means should they be completed alone. Without the support of Service to School, the transfer process would be a much greater obstacle to overcome. On the other hand, Phi Theta Kappa has provided insight on beneficial scholarships to apply for, as well as opportunities to employ and translate my military skills. Through Phi Theta Kappa, I was able to give back to my community and meet new friends, and also develop a strong resume in the process. My enrollment into Phi Theta Kappa turned community college into more than just a place to go to class, campus became a home where I could thrive academically. The combination of both organizations has fueled my academic success, and I now enthusiastically anticipate where my path will take me next.

Service to School is a 501c(3) non-profit committed to helping our nation’s veterans earn admission to highly selective colleges and universities. Our mission is to help every transitioning military veteran win admission to the best college or graduate school possible.

In 2015, Service to School launched VetLink, an initiative within our larger mentoring program, which partners our organization with some of the best colleges and universities in the U.S. including Amherst College, Cornell University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Notre Dame, Princeton University, Smith College, Williams College, and Yale University.

Are you a transitioning veteran thinking about applying to college to earn your undergraduate or bachelor’s degree? Sign up for help from Service to School.