Warrior-Scholar Project Hosted at Columbia University Supports Veterans Transitioning to Higher Education

Columbia University is proud to welcome the Warrior-Scholar Project (WSP) back for the third consecutive year. WSP hosts immersive academic boot camps at America's top colleges and universities for enlisted military veterans who are transitioning from active duty military service to college.

August 14, 2020

WSP assists veterans through their transition from the military to academia—equipping them with the skills necessary to successfully complete four-year undergraduate degrees. In-kind support from Columbia University and investments made by foundations, corporations, and private donors cover the entire cost of the program for participants. Since 2018, 44 veterans have attended WSP at Columbia.

“The Columbia University School of General Studies (GS) is honored to host the Warrior-Scholar Project again this year. With numerous WSP alumni studying amongst our more than 500 enrolled veterans, we are especially aware of the value of the Program in its efforts to build veterans’ confidence as they transition to undergraduate higher education at the nation’s top schools,” said Lisa Rosen-Metsch, Dean of the School of General Studies.

Each WSP boot camp is run by WSP staff with a team of WSP alumni student veteran fellows, and is taught by university professors. An intensive syllabus guides participants as they adjust to an academic environment through faculty lectures, study skills workshops, writing assignments, and tutoring.

Our strong partnership with Columbia University is visible at multiple levels of our organization.

Ryan Pavel, CEO of Warrior-Scholar Project

WSP believes with the right educational support during their transition from active duty to civilian academic life, veterans will become the next generation of civic and business leaders.

"Our strong partnership with Columbia University is visible at multiple levels of our organization," said Ryan Pavel, CEO of Warrior-Scholar Project. "From the numerous WSP students who apply to and matriculate at Columbia, to the Columbia student veterans we hire to help plan and execute our programming, to our relationship with the Columbia University Center for Veteran Transition and Integration (CVTI), we see the benefits of this partnership every day. We were thrilled to partner with Columbia again this year to hold an academic boot camp serving 15 veterans, and look forward to many more years of collaboration."

This year’s week-long academic boot camp at Columbia University was held online from July 26 - August 7, with fifteen participants. During the two-week course, transitioning veteran students spent one week focusing on humanities-based curricula before switching to a STEM-based course for the second week, and were invited to attend a WSP alumni panel featuring current GS students Michael Bollinger and Max Martin, as well as recent GS graduate Rachel Ballew, former president of The U.S. Military Veterans of Columbia University.

“Being part of the WSP Columbia alumni panel allowed me to help guide this year’s participants as someone who has done what they’re doing before,” said Max Martin, U.S. Marine Corps veteran and WSP Columbia 2019 participant. “The panel functions as the ‘call to action’ for participants—hopefully, hearing our experiences inspires them to continue taking steps forward in their academic journeys.”

WSP launched its first program at Yale University in 2012 with nine participants, expanding to 20 of America’s top schools since then and helping more than 215 veterans get a head start in higher education in 2020. Additionally, in advance of the 2019 Program, CVTI staff worked with WSP to create an online growth mindset pre-course, which is now offered in all of WSP's courses nationwide. Outside of Columbia University, WSP graduates have gone on to enroll at peer institutions including Princeton, Harvard, Yale, Cornell, Dartmouth, Georgetown, and Stanford.

“I consider this to be one of the most important courses a veteran could take when making the transition from the military to school,” said Jacob Slocum, a WSP Columbia University alumnus. “Anyone getting out and planning on going to school should attend this program.”


About Warrior-Scholar Project
Warrior-Scholar Project empowers enlisted veterans and service members to excel at four-year universities. Through intensive and immersive one- to two-week academic boot camps, participants gain skills required for success and support for the cultural shift from the military to higher education at top-tier schools. Throughout WSP’s free resident education programs, students are traditionally housed on campus, and engage in challenging discussions with accomplished professors, receiving tailored instruction on key skills like analytical reading and college-level writing. 2020 academic boot camps follow a virtual version of this program due to the COVID-19 public health crisis. Warrior-Scholar Project is a national nonprofit with programs at public and private colleges and universities across the country. For more information, visit www.warrior-scholar.org.

About Columbia University
Among the world’s leading research universities, Columbia University in the City of New York continually seeks to advance the frontiers of scholarship and foster a campus community deeply engaged in understanding and confronting the complex issues of our time through teaching, research, patient care and public service. The University comprises 16 undergraduate, graduate, and professional schools, and four affiliated colleges and seminaries in Northern Manhattan, as well as a wide array of research institutes and global centers located in major cities around the world. More than 40,000 accomplished students, award-winning faculty, and professional staff define the University’s underlying values and commitment to pursuing new knowledge and educating informed, engaged citizens. Founded in 1754 as King’s College, Columbia is the fifth oldest institution of higher learning in the United States.

About Columbia University School of General Studies
The Columbia University School of General Studies (GS), founded in 1947, is the premier liberal arts college in the United States for nontraditional undergraduate students seeking a rigorous, traditional Ivy League education, including those who have served in the U.S. and foreign militaries. Currently, more than 500 veterans are enrolled at the School. GS students take the same courses, study with the same faculty, and earn the same degree as all other undergraduates at Columbia University.

Christina Gray
Associate Director of Communications
(212) 851-4386