Interview with Kirsten Horton, a Lead Admissions RepresentativePursuing postsecondary education can seem overwhelming for military personnel—but it doesn’t have to be. Many students who are active-duty or retired military find success pursuing a degree with Grantham University. Founded by a veteran and recognized for being military-friendly, Grantham realizes how valuable your military experience, training and benefits are to your continued success.

Grantham University values the sacrifices service members and their families make to serve our country. That’s why Grantham University’s flexible, online degree and certificate programs allow active-duty military and veterans to earn their degree when and where it’s convenient. Distance learning allows you to set your own schedule, work through courses at your own pace, and balance your education with other commitments. Grantham also offers budget-friendly tuition options and programs in growing industries that can help set you up for career success after graduation.

Kirsten Horton, lead admissions representative at Grantham University, shares how she and the Grantham admissions team support military students—through the admissions process and beyond.

Question: What is your role at Grantham?

Kirsten Horton: There are two parts to that: I’m a team lead and an admissions representative. One part of my job is to reach out to future students, such as someone who has made an online request for more information. I talk to them about why they want to enroll at Grantham, what type of degree program they’re interested in, and what their long-term career goals are. I ask about their military, education and work history and get to know them personally. I want to hear about their day-to-day life and their personal support system. I make sure they have time for online education and that they’re ready to commit to a program. Once we both feel it is a good fit, we move forward.

The next step is the enrollment process. I help them with transcript request forms (both from their military experience and their past educational programs). I’ve become the go-to for military admissions, helping students with everything from academic planning to getting books, setting up their first two terms of classes, and introducing them to their student advisor. Their student advisor is who will help and support them for the rest of their time at Grantham. The student advisors are available to answer questions, help students stay engaged in their coursework, and provide time management and study tips.

Q: As a Lead Admissions Representative, what is the number one thing you see students struggle with during the admissions process?

KH: Commitment. Commitment to enrolling and to sticking with their program. A lot of students have been out of school for several years, or they’ve never gone, and they feel far removed from the student routine. Students need to want to pursue their online education more than their parents or their families or even I do.

But I’m here to help them every step of the way. After that initial interview, I communicate with students about every other day until they start classes and they’re set up with their student advisor. I graduated from Grantham in 2017 with my master’s degree while also being a full-time employee, so I can relate to the struggles and the hurdles that our students are feeling. I remind the students I work with, from that initial interview forward, that they always need to keep their end goal—graduation—in mind.

Q: How is the admissions experience for new students with a military background different from the experience for civilian students?

KH: With a military background, they may have additional options to help with tuition and financial aid—and Grantham has a ton of experience helping military students. Some colleges might not be as savvy when navigating the processes of claiming education benefits or determining what military experience can be transferred as education credits. But Grantham was founded by a veteran to specifically help military students: the university has made it a priority to rally round military students at every step of their journey.

Our admissions team is familiar with VA benefits and the education offices of each military branch, so we can help them understand exactly what support they’re eligible for and how to claim those benefits. I also know that as service members, they may have military-related experience and training that could be eligible for transfer as education credits. I’m there to help them through the process of determining what’s eligible to transfer and getting those transferred accordingly. They may not know they even have them, but it can be a head start for them to earning their degree.

Q: Can you share an example of how you’ve helped a student coming from a military background transition into the higher education experience?

KH: I worked with one veteran who had a unique schedule, and he was worried it wouldn’t allow him to pursue an education. He was nervous about the time commitment and how much support he would get if he enrolled. He had never been to college and was specifically worried about math programs.

I told him about all the resources that Grantham provides, including ongoing support from his student advisor and access to our Teaching and Learning Center. The center provides webinars, tutorials, and live chat sessions—plus on-demand tutoring from Tutor.com, which offers personalized sessions 24/7 on a wide variety of subjects. We also talked about the soft skills that the military mindset develops: time management, discipline, and organization are essential skills while serving, and they’re a great asset as a student. He felt empowered by the resources I described and confident that Grantham could help him get through those difficult classes.

Q: What is the biggest misconception military students have regarding their military benefits?

KH: They feel like they have to call someone else and can’t have all of their questions answered by our team. Students might think they need to go directly to the VA or to the education office. But that’s what the admissions team is here for: we can help students get through the process from end to end. We’ve helped many military students find the right path for them at Grantham, and we know where to look for any questions new military students have. If we don’t have the answers for them right away, we are determined to go out and find the right answers or information to help make the enrollment process as easy as possible.

Q: Based on your experience, what are the most popular majors selected by students coming from a military background?

KH: For students who are active in the military, many are looking for a Bachelor of Arts in Multidisciplinary Studies or a Bachelor of Business Administration with a Concentration in Human Resource Management.

The Multidisciplinary Studies program allows students to customize a program to explore two disciplines, helping them prepare for a specific career path or niche. One such concentration is homeland security, which prepares students for work in security, counter-terrorism, and disaster management fields.

A Bachelor of Business Administration with a Concentration in Human Resource Management focuses on several core competencies for the HR field, including management, labor relations, training and development, and organizational behavior.

For students who are separated from the military, the most popular choices are Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice and Bachelor of Business Administration.

The Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice program includes a foundation in criminal justice theory, as well as current law enforcement and judicial practices in the U.S. Concentrations are available in Homeland Security and Computer Forensic Investigation.

Earning a Bachelor of Business Administration helps you develop the leadership and management skills to pursue administrative and supervisory positions in a variety of industries. You can choose to specialize in Human Resource Management, Logistics and Supply Chain Management, Procurement and Contract Management, Financial Planning, Marketing, General Management, and Operations Management.

Q: What tuition rates are available to military students?

KH: The tuition rate at Grantham University is one of the most inclusive in the country for military service members and their families. Grantham offers one set price for all active-duty personnel, veterans, military spouses, and dependents: Just $250 per credit hour (for both undergraduate and graduate courses) covers their tuition, as well as books, software, lab fees, and other incidental program fees.

This low tuition rates make it possible to earn their degree while maximizing their TA, VA, and GI Bill benefits. My team understands the ins and outs of these benefits programs and is ready to help students take advantage of them to achieve their goals. We’re dedicated to providing the support they need to start their education journey at Grantham.

GU: How can students get in touch with the admissions team?

KH: Students can get in touch with the admissions team by calling 800.955.2527, Monday through Friday until 8pm CST.

Grantham is eager to support military students and their families with online education that can help them achieve their professional goals. Contact Grantham University today to get more information and to get started on the admissions process.