Top Ten School for Veterans

top ten school for veterans

Top Ten School for Veterans

Southwest Virginia Community College values veterans and all individuals of strong character, integrity and a heart for service.  We strive to offer a level of excellence that includes a high quality educational experience coupled with innovative and comprehensive support services to empower students to achieve their educational goals. Two recent awards highlight SWCC’s commitment to student success, particularly the success of our veterans.

Viqtory Media, a veteran-owned, service-disabled small business dedicated to providing veterans with validated data on veteran friendly employment and education opportunities designated SWCC as a Military Friendly School and ranked it #6 in the nation among small community colleges in service to veterans.  This designation involves a lengthy evaluation process by an independent commission contracted by Military Friendly.  Assessment parameters include service to veterans in areas such as academic policies, admissions, culture and commitment, and military support and retention.

Earlier this year,  the Military Times named SWCC to America's top 10 Best for Vets College for 2019.  in addition to institutional data,  Best for Vets College for 2019 evaluates publicly available information from the Veteran Affairs and Defense Department and the U.S. Department of Education to assess institutional commitment and success in providing education and opportunity  to America's veterans.

The SWCC Veterans Upward Bound program transition coaches, led by Director Gwendalyn Slone, provide comprehensive support services to veterans seeking to continue their education. The college Veteran’s Certifying Official, Chris Reynolds, works with veterans to ensure they receive all the veteran’s benefits for which they qualify.  SWCC also provides an online advising tool,, through which veterans can explore available programs and make attaining a college degree more affordable, more flexible and much faster by potentially turning military service directly into college credits.

Learn more about SWCC’s Veteran’s Upward Bound program and how to take advantage of the free services offered by contacting Director Gwendalyn Slone,, (276) 964-7363 or visit the Veteran’s Upward Bound offices in Buchanan Hall.

I had reservations about going to college because the military is the only life I have known. I served 20 years in the Army and in the Marines. I’ve seen battle and I’ve been deployed in numerous theaters of war. None of this prepared me for the challenges of navigating the higher education system.  When I walked on campus for the first time and learned about all the paperwork and hoops that had to be jumped  in order to get enrolled, it crossed my mind to get in my car and drive away. Luckily, I was introduced to the Veterans Upward Bound Program that same day. I was met with knowledgeable staff who wore smiles, offered encouragement and were eager to serve. They made me feel like their top priority. The VUB staff made sure that I received the services I needed to be “college ready” and to hit the ground running academically.  I found all of the  services and the moral support that I needed to be successful.  More than that, I found people who were invested in my success and who taught me to be my own self advocate. VUB played a vital role in my graduating summa cum laude with a degree in criminal justice and they were there to watch me walk across the stage and receive my diploma. VUB is an asset for all veterans; whether they are coming in search of a degree, are taking classes to grow their skills for a job  promotion or just exploring career options."  Michael Woods, an Army & Marine veteran, graduated summa cum laude from the Criminal Justice program.