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Colleges helping veterans adapt to civilian life


More military veterans are returning to school. The Department of Veterans Affairs says one million veterans -- and their dependents -- have enrolled in college over the past four years. ABC's Tina Terry shows us how some colleges are making the transition to the classroom easier for vets.

For years Joseph Mitchell was a nurse in the U.S. Army.  Now he's a student, training for a different career and it hasn't been easy.

"I think once you've been out of school a long time, it's hard to make that transition," Mitchell said.

Faculty here at Central Peidmont Community College have also noticed that students like Mitchell have a very different attitude about school than traditional freshmen.

"Many veterans want the classes to proceed at a professional level, they take it very seriously, like a job," said Amy Bagwell, an English instructor.

Bagwell, says those differences have caused some veterans to become frustrated in the classroom.

"Many of them tell us they feel afloat a drift like they don't have something to hold onto."

So this year --- CPCC launched a special learning community just for veterans.  It allows them to take several entry level courses together.

"We decided lets make this pair of classes exclusive for veterans so we can create an environment for them where they have a sense of community. They can lean on one another for information that they need and help with transition for military to civilian life."

Right now the college is monitoring the program --- to decide whether it should continue, but already students are calling it a success.

"Just the way everybody carries themselves and takes things a little bit more seriously," veteran Jesse Feury said.

"It fostered a military environment where we all understood each other and made it easier to learn," said veteran Joseph Mitchell.