When Thomas Johnson graduated from high school, going to an Ivy League university didn’t seem like an option. Sure, he made good grades. But the idea of getting accepted into one of the eight elite Northeastern schools felt “like a real far reach.”
“There was that kind of stigma that you don’t have the ability to (get in) with such low acceptance rates,” Johnson, 25, said in a recent interview. “It was an obstacle that I didn’t think I could overcome.”
Johnson decided to join the Army instead and later earned an associate degree from a local community college. Just last year, this would’ve made Johnson ineligible for admission to Princeton University, where he and five other students with military backgrounds who already have some college education will start classes Wednesday.
But the Ivy League school recently reversed its long-standing ban on transfer student admissions, in part to be able to enroll more veterans, who often earn college credit during their military careers. This marks the latest in a string of efforts by Ivy League institutions to make their campuses more accessible to veterans and, ultimately, grow the number of former service members within their ranks.