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UNG lands on Best for Vets college list

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As a veteran, John Davis has appreciated the services offered by UNG to help veterans.

John Davis originally planned to attend the University of North Georgia (UNG) as a cadet before his plans changed and he enlisted in the Army Reserve for eight years.

Davis, a senior from Jackson, Georgia, pursuing a degree in business management, still found his way to UNG, though via a different path. He imagined that as a senior military college, UNG would be helpful to veterans. That prediction has proven true through the faculty and staff who have shown flexibility and through the resources available from the Veteran & Adult Learner Programs (VALP).

UNG on Oct. 28 was named to the Military Times' 2020 Best for Vets college list. Including UNG, three senior military colleges and seven University System of Georgia (USG) schools made the list.

The Military Times said it "surveyed hundreds of colleges and universities from across the country on their policies related to military and veteran students, academic outcomes, military-supportive cultures and other factors." UNG was one of 196 schools overall to be honored.

Whether it is through a quiet, dedicated place to study in the Veterans Resource Center on UNG's Dahlonega Campus or the ability to connect with fellow veterans, Davis has embraced the opportunities offered to him.

"Being around other veterans is helpful," said Davis, president of the Student Veterans of America on the Dahlonega Campus. "They have gone through similar experiences."

VALP is the point-of-contact concierge for adult and veteran students. It provides advisement as requested, American Council on Education transcript reviews, portfolio counseling, career advisement, and mentoring. On all campuses, UNG offers "Green Zone" training to aid faculty and staff in their efforts to help student veterans identify and connect with the appropriate resources.

The Veterans Resource Center on the Dahlonega Campus and the Military Resource Center on the Gainesville Campus each have lounge space, computer stations, free printing, and a kitchenette.

Christy Orr, assistant director of Student Life and VALP, said these dedicated areas go beyond a veteran friendly mindset.

"We're veteran helpful. Anybody can be friendly to a veteran, but you have to go a step beyond to be helpful," Orr said. "It's a whole new environment to them. Having this area for them shows them how dedicated UNG is to our veterans."

The Best for Vets list is the latest recognition for UNG's efforts with military families. Earlier this year, UNG made the Military Spouse Friendly list for the first time and was on the Military Friendly Schools list, both of which are released by military marketing company Viqtory.

Darcy Hayes, director of Orientation and Transition Programs at UNG, appreciates the recognition. She said UNG plans to increase its communication with veterans from when they first express interest in the school.

"We want to continue to grow our support for this group," Hayes said. "We see this group of students as valued members of our community, and with our role as the Military College of Georgia and one of six senior military colleges in the nation, it's important to acknowledge and serve these students so that they can successfully complete their degrees at UNG."

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