The article studies the features of social adaptation of veteran students in Ukrainian universities. The motivation of Ukrainian veterans to enter universities has been analysed. The main problems of their social adaptation to the university environment are revealed. Some results of five in-depth semi-structured interviews with veteran students in Kharkiv universities are presented. In particular, the value foundations of veterans’ motivation to enrol in universities have been identified. It is emphasised that veteran students perceive higher education as both terminal and instrumental value. Attention is focused on the fact that the value ambivalence influenced the educational motivation of veterans, for whom entering the university is an opportunity, on the one hand, to become an educated and self-realised person (terminal value) and, on the other hand, to have a good salary, make a career, take a higher status position in society (instrumental value). The positive influence of the military experience of veterans on their educational practices has been revealed. The opinion of most respondents is given regarding the fact that the army has taught them discipline, punctuality, which made them more self-confident. It is concluded that military experience contributes to developing some metacognitive learning skills in veterans, such as discipline and punctuality. The problems of academic integration of veteran students are considered. It is emphasised that veteran students do not experience difficulties in communication with other students and teachers and are not inclined to segregate from them. At the same time, there is little involvement of Ukrainian veterans in the university environment, which can be optimized in terms of social support for veterans in Ukrainian higher education. The author’s model of social support for student veterans in Ukrainian universities is presented.
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