Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Guillermo Montes, PhD

Second Supervisor

Peter W. Granger, EdD


The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore and describe the strategies that student veterans employed as they transitioned from active-duty military engagement to civilian college classrooms. Transition theory drove this study as it explored military-veteran transitions from the military to undergraduate programs. The research questions were, What thoughts, incidents, or people associated with your military service stand out for you? How did your military service and transition affect your college experience? and What thoughts or feelings stand out as you think about your transition? Transcendental phenomenological methodology was used for this study as it followed structured data collection methods including semi- structured interviews, questionnaires, and a collection of related documents. The study purposely selected veterans from the United States military who served at least 12 consecutive months on active-duty and were enrolled or recently completed undergraduate programs as full-time students at large public 4-year research institutions in Upstate New York. Additional student veterans from other colleges and universities were recruited to participate by the participants of this study. Data analysis was structured, which began with theme development, and it was followed by coding to develop and describe the essence of the participants’ transition experiences. The findings indicate that community college may contribute to student veteran’s initial academic success following military service for its acceptance of military training credits and social climate that allows student veterans to complete the military-to-civilian transition process before transferring to 4-year schools. Recommendations include the Department of Defense standardizing out-processing procedures for better military to civilian transitions.

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