Now that he’s a college graduate, Air Force Staff Sgt. Chris Burke walks around with a little extra swagger these days.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration 100% online with Oregon State University Ecampus in 2019, and when he accepted his diploma at the OSU graduation ceremony last June, he held in his hands the reward for years of hard work.
And now he’s confident an even more rewarding future awaits.
“The value that I added to my career prospects is really high. I have already the logistics experience from the Air Force, and now I have an education to back it up,” says Burke, who is stationed in Nevada. “I know that I can go out and get a job when I transition out of the military.”
Overcoming doubts leads to a big life change
Burke didn’t necessarily lack confidence prior to graduation, but there was a brief period of time when he wasn’t sure he had what it takes to thrive in the realm of higher education.
When he and he wife discussed his post-military career, they knew that earning a degree would someday boost his prospects in the job market. Still, Burke hesitated until his wife’s encouragement and prodding prevailed.
He applied to study business online with Oregon State, then received the news that altered his life path: He was in.
“I was like, ‘Are you kidding me? I got accepted? No way!’ ” Burke says. “Oregon State has a history, has name recognition, has the right accreditation. Everybody knows who Oregon State is, and that’s one of the reasons I chose to go there.”
OSU’s support system travels with you online
Once he enrolled, he learned firsthand why Oregon State has a good reputation – particularly among military service members, veterans and their families. OSU has a team of veteran certifying officials and an array of resources that cater to the unique needs of the military-connected community.
The efficiency of Oregon State staffers allowed Burke to keep his focus on his studies, not the complexities of making sure his military tuition benefits were properly applied.
“I knew Oregon State was really veteran-friendly,” he says. “Using the GI Bill was incredibly simple. I didn’t have to think about it. I was able to do my classes and that’s it. Everything was done automatically.
“Oregon State was a great experience for me. You have all the help you need.”
And now with a bachelor’s degree on his résumé and grand plans in mind, Burke is moving forward without an ounce of hesitation.
“I’m ready to go,” he says.