Columbia University Partners with Warrior-Scholar Project Partners to Prepare Veterans for Higher Education

July 30, 2021

While most college first-year students are recent high school graduates, for some, higher education follows military service — leading many veterans to struggle with adjusting to the college experience after years spent away from the classroom. In an effort to help student veterans acclimate to civilian life and successfully complete undergraduate programs, Columbia University has partnered with national nonprofit Warrior-Scholar Project (WSP) to host a Humanities Academic Boot Camp from August 1-6. The intensive curriculum, offered at no cost to enlisted service members, is designed to help veterans prepare for an academic environment while learning strategies to become better students.

During the WSP-Columbia Academic Boot Camp, participants will have the opportunity to learn from Columbia faculty, receive mentoring from fellow student veterans, and begin to adjust to a formal learning environment. 

“The Columbia University School of General Studies is honored to once again be partnering with the Warrior-Scholar Project. With nearly 500 veterans, many of them WSP alums, enrolled at General Studies, we know well the need for and benefits of a program that gives veteran students the tools, techniques, and confidence to transition to the world’s most rigorous undergraduate classroom,” said Curtis Rodgers, Vice Dean of the School of General Studies.

This is the fourth year that Columbia University has partnered with WSP, bolstering the school’s reach to veterans. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, more than 776,000 veterans reside in New York. Often, service members face extraordinary challenges acclimating to civilian life and Warrior-Scholar Project helps them find camaraderie and guidance during a challenging time in their lives. Support from Columbia University and investments made by foundations, corporations, and private donors cover the entire cost of the program for participants. Since the partnership began, 44 veterans have attended the WSP-Columbia Academic Boot Camp. 

“Warrior-Scholar Project instills confidence in student veterans, many of whom have spent years outside of the classroom serving our country. Our academic boot camps are proven to propel veterans to success in higher education — 90 percent of our alumni have completed or are on track to earn their undergraduate degrees, an increase of 18 percent over the national veteran average,” said Ryan Pavel, CEO of WSP. “That success is made possible by the outstanding faculty members at Columbia, student fellows, and administrators that dedicate their time to executing this life-changing program.”

WSP launched its first boot camp at Yale University in 2012 with nine participants. Since then, the program has expanded to 21 of America’s top schools and has helped more than 1,400 veterans get a head start in higher education. In addition to Yale and Columbia, Warrior-Scholar Project holds programs in partnership with University of Notre Dame, Texas A&M, Harvard University, California Institute of Technology, and University of Chicago, among many others.

About Warrior-Scholar Project
Warrior-Scholar Project (WSP) 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. For 2021, WSP is working with partners on six campuses to offer on-site programming and all other boot camps will be held online utilizing the successful virtual model developed in 2020 in response to the pandemic. Warrior-Scholar Project is a national nonprofit with programs at public and private colleges and universities across the country. For more information, visit

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 17 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
[email protected]