Common App is excited to announce that we have partnered with DOD MilGears to help simplify the college application process for military-connected students (active duty, veterans, and their families). 

MilGears is a customized career-building tool developed to assist military members while they serve, through transition, and beyond. Used by all Department of Defense (DOD) service branches, MilGears helps military members plan and achieve their future goals by highlighting their career possibilities and helping them visualize how to reach those goals with a customized plan. In many cases, this may include entering or returning to college. 

Through this partnership, service members who visit the DOD MilGears platform will find links to Common App for guidance through the college application process. Military-connected students on the Common App platform will find information and a link to MilGears to help them understand career pathway options related to their existing military training, education, and experience. 

Common App is committed to eliminating barriers to students in the college admissions process. When we announced our Next Chapter in September, we recognized the need to engage with new voices, build new relationships, and look at the application process from a different perspective. 

With over 200K service members transitioning from active duty each year, increased support for military-connected students is an important part of that work. We know military-connected students face unique challenges when it comes to finding a college that meets their needs and applying. Common App is committed to acknowledging their challenges and supporting military-connected students through the admissions process. 

We reached out to Melora McVicker Director, Credentialing and Acting Director, Secretary Defense Executive Fellow Program (OASD) Readiness (Force Education and Training); Keith Boring, Acting Division Director, Strategy, Innovation, Credentialing, and Voluntary Education (NETC N5); and Thom Seith Director, MilGears/Projects Manager Navy Credentialing Programs at Naval Education and Training Command (NETC), to understand why they believe partnering with Common App is important to their mission. 

MilGears has had a profound impact on service members. Partnering with the Common App can enhance the accessibility, user-friendliness, and recognition of the unique qualifications of military members and veterans, aligning well with MilGears' mission to assist them in their education and career transition. This partnership can provide a valuable resource for those who have diverse qualifications and experiences beyond their military service.

Keith Boring, Acting Division Director, Strategy, Innovation, Credentialing, and Voluntary Education (NETC N5)

The group provided several ways partnering with Common App is aligned with their mission:

  • Accessibility to a Wide Audience: Common App is widely used by high school students and prospective college applicants. By partnering with Common App, MilGears can expand its reach to a large and diverse audience. This includes not only active-duty military members and veterans but also their family members who may be pursuing higher education.

  • Streamlined Application Process: MilGears aims to help military members and veterans make a successful transition to civilian life, including pursuing education and career opportunities. Common App simplifies the college application process by allowing students to apply to multiple institutions with a single application. This streamlines the process for military members and veterans who may be applying to multiple schools, helping them save time and effort.

  • Recognition of Unique Qualifications: MilGears focuses on recognizing the unique qualifications of service members and veterans, not just those derived from military occupations. Common App can be customized to allow applicants to highlight their diverse qualifications, including military experience, non-military education, training, and experience. This aligns with MilGears' mission to consider all the individual qualifications of service members and veterans.

  • Integration of Credentials and Pathway Information: MilGears leverages detailed data on military occupations, civilian occupations, federal occupations, and civilian credentials. By partnering with Common App, MilGears can potentially integrate this data into the application process, allowing applicants to better align their qualifications and career goals with the educational opportunities offered by Common App member colleges and universities.

  • Application Fee Waivers: Common App member schools often offer application fee waivers to students with financial need. By partnering with Common App, MilGears can help ensure that military members and veterans are aware of these fee waiver options, making higher education more affordable and accessible for them.

By teaming up with DOD MilGears, Common App can expand its reach to a diverse military audience to simplify their application process and navigate multiple institutions efficiently. Common App and MilGears are excited to foster a more accessible, user-friendly, and equitable college application experience—illuminating a brighter path for military-connected students as they embark on their education and career journey.

Batanya Gipson (she/her) is the Director, Community College and Transfer Student Engagement for the Common Application. Batanya has over 15 years of experience working with academic, workforce, and continuing education students at the community college and baccalaureate levels. She is focused on promoting access and equity for community college and transfer students and is dedicated to helping identify and develop pathways for all students through higher education.