The University of North Dakota has been consistently ranked as a top military-friendly university in the nation by numerous renowned sources.
This is, in part, due to nationally recognized programs, flexibility of online learning options, affordable tuition, student support services, community resources and military partnerships.
As a whole, UND tries to make the transition from military life to academia as seamless as possible.
That's where Carol Anson comes into play.
Anson, of the UND Veterans & Military Services Office, helps veterans acclimate to civilian life by equipping them with the tools and services they need to succeed in the classroom.
She has done such outstanding work that the State Approving Agency recently awarded her a "Lifetime Achievement Award" in recognition of her years of dedication, innovation, careful work and advocacy towards veterans seeking their educational programs.
Anson, who served as an air crew life support specialist at the Grand Forks Air Force Base, is familiar with the hurdles veterans face. In fact, she went back to school herself after five years of military service. She used her GI bill to get a degree in information management.
Anson returned to the university setting to help those who were once in her position. After starting out as an assistant to the veteran's coordinator, Anson quickly moved through the ranks to become the University of North Dakota Veteran Certifying Official.
Anson currently provides assistance to approximately 520 students receiving veteran's benefits. She helps students review and apply for various types of benefits as well as certify credits to the Veteran's Affairs Office.
After 24 years of service, Anson still loves being able to talk to students and help them figure out a path to obtaining their degrees.
"I want them to be able to concentrate on studying rather than worrying about their financial situation," said Anson.
That's why Anson places importance on making the switch from the battlefield to the classroom an easy one by creating a friendly atmosphere for students to voice their concerns.
"It's stressful getting out of the military," said Anson. "The military is so structured that students can find it hard to break the habit of people constantly telling them what to do."
Anson tries to alleviate this stress by connecting students to other services on campus, such as the UND Counseling Center and UND Career Services.
"I want to help steer students throughout their whole college career," said Anson. "If I don't help them, they may not even know where to start."
Often times applying for benefits can be a confusing process, but Anson's knowledge of veteran benefits and procedures can make it easier to navigate.
"I love seeing students get excited for benefits that they didn't even know they were qualified for," said Anson.
The UND Veterans & Military Services Office can help soldiers leave the battlefield for the classroom and further their education.
It's the support and knowledge of people like Anson that help make UND a premier military-friendly institution.
Kate Menzies University & Public Affairs student writer