Weaving the threads of identity: mapping the veteran experience across the student life cycle

Ben Wadham, Lisa Andrewartha, Melanie Takarangi, Deborah West, Pablo Munguia, Matthew Norris, Matthew Wyatt-Smith

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Abstract

Research shows that higher education can help veterans build a new sense of identity, purpose and belonging after leaving the military. There are critical gaps, however, in our understanding of student veterans in the Australian context. This article aims to map the experiences of Australian veterans across the student life cycle to improve our understanding of this unique group. We systematically address the higher education stages of pre-access, access, participation, and attainment. Fourteen autobiographical interviews were conducted to obtain detailed and nuanced personal reflections. Findings demonstrate that veterans often make exemplary students who are motivated to pursue altruistic careers. However, transitions between the military and higher education can be difficult to navigate. We argue the need for a structured pathway between the military and higher education and increased support for veterans across the student life cycle. We recommend a range of initiatives to prepare veterans to thrive in higher education.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Higher Education Policy and Management
Early online date15 May 2024
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 15 May 2024

Keywords

  • Veterans
  • Military
  • Transition
  • Student life cycle
  • Australia
  • student life cycle
  • military
  • transition

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