Giveaway for GMAT/GRE Study Prep! @magoosh

I was thrilled to hear from a reader of this blog who registered for the GRE after reading my article on taking the exam with DANTES funding!  But I am even MORE thrilled to host a sponsored giveaway of a FREE premium subscription to study for your exam at Magoosh.com!

Magoosh (a play on the Old Persian word magush, for one who is highly learned, wise, and generous) is an exam-prep website whose mission is to provide an awesome combination of teachers, content, and technology to prepare you for your test.  They provide a studying experience, not just the usual printed practice problems.  I’m talking video explanations that will help you solve those problems!  They are a great group of people who really know what they’re doing, and I’m so happy to have been introduced to them… wish I’d known about them when I was studying for the GMAT!

Check out some screenshots at the bottom of this entry!

With a premium subscription, you will have 24/7 internet access for a YEAR to all of these resources.  That’s a $299 value, which Magoosh is giving you a chance to win for FREE.

Because Magoosh wants to support veterans, they have sponsored 2 x GRE and 2 x GMAT premium accounts.  I will pick four winners using a random number generator after numbering comments, two for each exam.

To Enter the Giveaway:

1)  You must be a veteran/veteran’s spouse, or entering to win the account for a veteran.

2)  You must leave a comment below before April 27th, 5:00pm EST, providing your e-mail address and the exam you want to study for (GRE or GMAT.)  Winners will be announced April 28th!

That’s it!

For additional entries (post an individual comment below for each entry):

THANK YOU to Magoosh for supporting our nation’s veterans!

Google Veterans Channel

A mentor of mine sent me a link to some great, short videos on Google’s Veterans Channel.  A lot of them focus on transitioning from military to civilian life, so I’ve included some you might find useful!

How was your transition out of the military? – Lyle (former Marine officer, on working as a civilian) (featured video above)

How was your transition out of the military? – Meg (former Army, on using your support network)

How was your transition out of the military? – Mike (former Army Ranger, struggled when he got out)

Finding a Civilian Job – Luke (former Navy, quantifying military skills/impact)

Finding a Civilian Job – Mike (using network to find a job)

Finding a Civilian Job – Lyle ( treats job hunt like a mission)

Continuing to Serve – Todd (former Marine, volunteering with vets groups)

Going Back to School – Lyle (used his GI Bill for MBA)

Free GMAT/GRE!

Even though I didn’t end up going to grad school right after the Army, I did take the GMAT… and it was FREE.

I highly encourage you to take the GRE/GMAT while you are still in the military, because DANTES (Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support) will reimburse the cost of that exam.  For me, that was $250 back in my pocket for the GMAT.  Your scores are good for five years, so even if you go to work after you transition, you’ll be able to get into grad school with that exam score for a while.  If you don’t want to go to grad school within five years, it’s at least a free practice test so you know what to expect.

To qualify for a GRE/GMAT fee reimbursement through DANTES, you need:

  • a valid, current “Armed Forces of the United States” identification card at testing
  • have never taken a DANTES funded GRE/GMAT exam
  • apply for reimbursement within 90 days of the scheduled test date

You have to register, schedule, and pay for the exam yourself.  Once you finish the test, hang on to your paperwork!  You will need it to fill out the form you receive from a Test Control Officer, typically found at your base’s Education Center.

I also highly recommend studying for the test and investing in study materials!  (I loved the Manhattan GMAT books and practice tests!)  I was seriously considering business school, so I ended up taking the exam twice since I was unhappy with my first score.  Since the first round was free, it didn’t feel so terrible paying for a second attempt.  I improved my score by 90 points, so I consider it a success!

If you’re considering grad school, take advantage of this benefit for servicemembers!

Grad School… is it right for you?

The Master’s is the new Bachelor’s… or so they are saying these days.  Many officers transitioning from the Army, especially those questioning their relevance in the civilian world, head straight to graduate school to earn degrees before pursuing civilian careers.  But is it the right call?

In an uncertain economy, graduate school is known as a hideout for post-undergrads who worry they won’t be able to find jobs after graduation.  There’s an increase in applicants to graduate schools during times of economic decline.  People see Master’s degrees as a surefire ticket to better-paying jobs later on, something to set them apart from their peers.  But I have friends who have racked up six-figure debt from nearly a decade of higher education, because they have never actually joined the workforce to start paying it off.

For us military folks, who either have earned a degree and/or have GI Bill benefits to help us pay, the story may be a little different.  We have valuable work experience already.  Some of us will get the military to pay for that graduate degree (or at least part of it).  Some of us are financially stable enough to undertake student loans and forgo ‘lost wages’ for a couple of years, because we feel a degree will help us transition to the job we want.  It’s all about the individual situation.

That said, a military officer transitioning does not need to rush into grad school to be relevant.  You already have plenty of qualities that would make you an excellent hire in Corporate America.  So don’t assume you need the degree to get the job you want; it’s not the only way to differentiate yourself.  Many jobs will give you tuitiion reimbursement if you take on your degree while gaining valuable job experience working for them.  I’ve met several former military officers who were hired for the same jobs right out of the military that others got right after their MBA.  They gained valuable work experience in the civilian world first, then pursued a degree that allowed them to apply theories to the knowledge they acquired on the job.  I also have friends who went straight to the Ivy League, and I know they will be just as successful… but they made the choice based on their individual situations, and it was a fully educated (no pun intended!) decision.

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Why You Should Stay In (For a Little Longer)

There seems to be an annual mass exodus of officers in the spring… it’s the end of their year group’s post-college contracts, and they’re in a huge hurry to get out.  And even though I’m one of them, I’d actually recommend that you not join the herd.

Ever heard of the Post-9/11 GI Bill?  As of August 1, 2011, the Post-9/11 GI Bill will cover up to 100% of public school in-state tuition and fees, up to $17,500 annually for private schools, and a basic housing allowance stipend at the E-5 with dependent rate.

If you’re a service academy grad, you don’t qualify for these benefits unless you serve beyond your initial obligation.  And I understand you may not want to spend an extra three years in the military to earn 100% of those benefits to pay for grad school.  But did you know you can stay in just a few extra months and earn up to 40%?  Yup, delaying your REFRAD for at least 90 days past your initial commitment will yield 40% of those benefits.   That means big $$$ if you’re planning to pursue higher education after your transition.

So do your homework, and read up.  If you’ve already put in your REFRAD paperwork, it’s (usually) never too late to pull it back and extend it.  It could be beneficial to your future and your family.