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Going Back to School in San Antonio September 8, 2010

Posted by julieoro in Moving, Relocation, Resilience, San Antonio life.
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Finding a Higher Education that will Work for You

If you’ve ever considered going back to school to complete a bachelor’s degree, professional certification, or master’s degree, this is the perfect time to begin.  You’ll make new friends in your new city and create professional opportunities for yourself.

San Antonio hosts a wide variety of colleges and universities, not to mention online universities.  With so many options, it’s wise to first set career goals for yourself.  Do you need a degree to reach your goals?  Do you need a bachelor’s or master’s degree?  Are professional certifications necessary in your field?  Do employers hire from specific universities?  Are online degrees acceptable in your field?

People often think they cannot afford to return to college.  Websites such as www.salary.com and www.glassceiling.com offer average salary information on virtually every career path.    Before you enroll, find out what your earning potential will be if you complete your degree.  Any amount above your projected earnings without the degree is the return on your investment.  Going back to school makes financial sense if the tuition is less than this return amount and you can make the tuition or student loan payments until that new salary kicks in.

San Antonio is a great place to be when you want to go back to school.  With more than 20 higher-education organizations in the greater San Antonio area, you can select the school that is the best fit for you and your budget.  There are many reputable rankings of colleges and universities.  US News and World Reports (http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges) is one of the most well-known.   It is a good idea to collect information on schools you are considering from a wide variety of sources, and to visit several schools yourself before applying.  Talk to students who go to school and work full-time, if that is your plan, to see how much time is needed to complete homework and class requirements.

Consider entrance exams, academic requirements and prerequisites.  Select a couple of colleges or universities you would really like to attend, as well as a few back-up schools.  Apply early; make sure your application is complete and thoughtful.  Well-written application essays and high entrance exam scores often qualify you for scholarships.  Apply for financial aid and scholarships early, sometimes deadlines are long before you’ve received an acceptance letter.

Going back to school is an investment in yourself.  It shows that you are motivated to continue learning and adapting to your environment.  For active duty military, there’s nothing better you could do to prepare for work in the private sector after retirement.  For civilians, continuing your education makes you more competitive for promotions and shifts to new positions.

Whether you decide to go back to school or not, never stop learning.  It’s an important part of taking care of yourself; it improves your self-esteem and energizes you to try new things.

Colleges and Universities in San Antonio, Texas

University of Texas www.UTSA.edu
Los Alamos Colleges www.Alamo.edu
University of the Incarnate Word www.UIW.edu
Trinity University www.Trinity.edu
St. Mary’s University www.StMaryTX.edu
Hallmark College www.HallmarkCollege.edu
Our Lady of the Lake San Antonio www.Ollusa.edu
Kaplan College www.Kaplan.edu
Career Point College www.CareerPointCollege.edu
Sanford Brown www.SanfordBrown.edu
International Bible College www.IBCTX.org
Galen College www.GalenEd.com
Everest College www.Everest.edu
Southern Careers Institute www.SCITexas.edu
University of Phoenix www.Phoenix.edu
Baptist School of Health Professionals www.BSHP.edu
ITT Technical Institute www.ITT-Tech.edu
Mexican American Catholic College www.MACCSA.org
International Academy of Design and Technology www.IADTSanAntonio.com
Culinary Institute of America www.CIAchef.edu
Texas Institute of Religion www.IDSCES.org
Wayland Baptist University www.SA.wbu.edu

Sunny San Antonio June 16, 2010

Posted by Neal Snyder in San Antonio life.
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A recent article in the San Antoio Express News reminds us there is one abundant asset in the new home of the Installation Management Command that must be taken in moderation. If you’re East Coast born-and-raised you’ve dealt with hot weather, but the South Texas Plains climate encourages you (or at least this writer) to spend much more time outside. So read this:

 I have a New Jersey cousin who gets impatient every time I complain about Texas summers. They’re better than New Jersey winters, she says, and gives me advice that goes something like this:

Buy some red toenail polish. Learn how to make margaritas. Find a pool and a murder mystery, and immerse yourself.

She’s not a dermatologist. If she were, here’s what else she would say about fun in the Texas sun:

1 Use sunscreen. Use it generously. Use it often.

READ more at Surviving the summer sun.

Discover an A+ Education June 8, 2010

Posted by S. in BRAC, Moving, Relocation, Resilience, San Antonio life, Tools.
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San Antonio Public Schools

We here at the Installation Management Community believe it’s important for our Soldiers, Civilians and Families to get the most from the community where they live.  Sometimes a community is only as good as the schools you’ll find there.  We understand a child’s education is the key to their success in the future.

Finding the right school can be daunting, especially with 19 school districts to choose from in Bexar County and its surrounding area.  This article is designed to help navigate through the chaos and give your Family an inside look at San Antonio’s finest and brightest public elementary, middle and high schools. 

Before making a permanent decision about a home purchase, be sure to research, read reviews and ask questions to confirm the neighborhood schools are right for you and your Family.

“The direction in which education starts a man will determine his future life.”

—     Plato

The San Antonio School District & Public School List


Resilience through an active lifestyle May 20, 2010

Posted by S. in BRAC, Moving, Relocation, Resilience, Road Trip, San Antonio life, Tools.
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The Installation Management Community will continue to provide services and infrastructure that support resilience, spirited fitness and well-being to enable strong Soldiers, Civilians and Families for a mission-ready Army.

When it comes to people with active lifestyles, Washington, DC, has a tendency to spoil.

Its unique location features a smorgasbord of historical venues and scenic terrain, making it easily accessible and passionately loved by outdoor enthusiasts.  Although DC is strong with its activity scene, San Antonio has much to offer to those with an active lifestyle as well.


San Antonio offers about 109 miles worth of scenic and metro-area hiking trails, according to LocalHikes.com.  A hike deep in the heart of San Antonio is the San Antonio River Walk Loop.  It meanders 6.1 miles along the San Antonio River and will take the average walker 2.5 hours to complete.  It’s listed as an easy hike and allows the walker to visit shops, restaurants and historic landmarks, such as the Alamo, along the way.

Bicycle Riding

If you’re looking for a faster pace, San Antonio and its surrounding areas offer more than 1,200 miles of road that bikers frequently pedal. Ranging from 6.8 to 96 miles, the longest route listed on SABikeRides.com begins in Comfort and ends in Fredericksburg.  The site gives viewers detailed maps, places to stop for refreshments, and elevation levels.

If racing is your passion, visit the Cycling section at RunSanAntonio.com to view a list of races in the South Texas region.

As you can probably tell by the scarcity of stops, these are long rides out in the middle of nowhere. These are great if you want to lose yourself in the countryside and not see much city all day long.”

―SABikeRides.com regarding the Comfort to Fredericksburg route


The Army Ten-Miler is one of DC’s most anticipated races. It took just 35 hours for the Army Ten-Miler to fill its 30,000 runner field – shattering last year’s registration record of six days.  If you missed the signup for this year’s race, no worries; Fort Sam Houston has its own Army Ten-Miler in January.  San Antonio hosts a variety of races, from 5Ks to marathons. You and your Family can sign up for these races by visiting the links below or visiting RunSanAnotonio.com.




For those with a truly competitive spirit and who enjoy swimming, biking and running all within one race, San Antonio hosts triathlons that fit almost every active skill level.

“This was my first half-iron distance [triathlon] and I heard it was not an easy one to start with, but I had a blast and look forward to breaking my time next year.”

―Active.com member I’mTri-Ing! about the 2010 Tall Texan Triathlon

Triathlon, bicycle and running races can be found on Active.com.


There are many outdoor activists’ groups available on the Internet. Sites such as Meetup.com offer groups including:

Remember: Safety – First, last, and all the time. Always identify and assess risks involved when planning to run, bike ride or take part in any physical activity. Be aware of your surroundings, and if you decide to join an online activity group, be sure the group is legitimate.

DISCLAIMER: The Installation Management Command does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness or completeness of information contained on external linked websites. The appearance of external links does not constitute endorsement by the Installation Management Command, the Department of the Army, or the Department of Defense of the services or products offered on external sites. Links are provided solely for convenience.

Decision: Rent v. Buy May 11, 2010

Posted by S. in BRAC, HR Plan, Moving, Real Estate, Relocation, San Antonio Economy, San Antonio life, Tools, Transformation.
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Illustration by Sarah Samoraj

For all who plan on making the move out west to San Antonio, one thing is essential: finding a place to live.

Deciding whether to buy or rent may be easy to some, but not for all. Whichever you choose, here are some websites to help you and your Family   decide which route is best.

Here’s to your future life in San Antonio!

I don’t want to make the commitment of purchasing something until I become comfortable with the various neighborhoods and find out where I want to live.”

– Tamara Elston, Transition Center Program Manager, U.S. Army Installation Management Command

MSN Money Article

The Basics: Why it’s smarter to buy than rent


An online real estate site where you can search for homes for sale, find home prices, see home values, view recently sold homes and check mortgage rates.


This website serves as a guide for people planning to move to Texas.

[Moving to San Antonio] is a good opportunity for me to own a home.  … I think my quality of life will improve, definitely.  I’ll be able to do something in the afternoons besides go to bed.”

— Andrea Pratt, Human Resources Specialist, U.S. Army Installation Management Command (currently commutes about four hours a day to and from work)


A website allowing you to search apartment listings.


This website lists renters’ reviews on apartments.


A website that lists rental homes and apartments.


“Involved parents. Successful kids.” Learn about a school through parent ratings and reviews.


This site is designed around the needs of a relocating family with school-age children.  “Finding the right San Antonio schools in the right neighborhood has never been easier.”

San Antonio Parks and Recreation Department

This website lists parks and recreation places around San Antonio.


This site lists crimes such as robbery, burglary and theft by date, time and place.

Texas Department of Public Safety Sex Offender Database

This website allows searches for risk levels and addresses of sexual offenders in San Antonio and surrounding area neighborhoods.

DISCLAIMER: The Installation Management Command does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness or completeness of information contained on external linked websites. The appearance of external links does not constitute endorsement by the Installation Management Command, the Department of the Army, or the Department of Defense of the services or products offered on external sites. Links are provided solely for convenience.

FSH Community Development Office Opens April 28, 2010

Posted by imcomtransformation in BRAC, San Antonio Economy, San Antonio life, Uncategorized.
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This article from the San Antonio Joint Program Office April Newsletter talks about good news in the works for revitalization in the FSH neighborhood in San Antonio.
Read the article and the rest of the newsletter HERE.

It’s time for Fiesta! April 14, 2010

Posted by S. in Moving, Relocation, San Antonio life, Transformation.
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Fiesta Folklorico

The US Army Installation Management Command’s Base Realignment and Closure Act move to San Antonio is rapidly approaching. For those planning to make the transition from the politically charged DC metropolitan area to the third fastest growing city in the United States, be jealous.  It’s party time in San Antonio and Texans do it big.

Today marks the beginning of Fiesta ― an 11-day celebration that has been going on for 119 years. The tradition began in 1891 when a group of women paraded in front of the Alamo in horse-drawn carriages and pelted each other with flower blossoms. It was a huge success and has taken place every year except for 1918, during World War I, and 1942 through 1945, during World War II. Belknap Rifles carried in the first Battle of Flowers Parade were used to represent the military.  In recent years, military personnel actively take part in the celebration.

NIOSA Kabobs

Fort Sam Houston celebrates with its Fiesta and Fireworks Extravaganza April 18.  There will be a variety of food, exhibits, games, carnival rides and music from the Naval Academy Band from Annapolis, Md., and Fort Sam Houston’s Army Medical Command Latino Band.

The city’s events include the Battle of the Flowers Parade, a 10k walk, Fiesta Casino Night, Family Funday Sunday, Fiesta Arts Fair, Marines at the Alamo, and Miss San Antonio Scholarship Pageant.

This is a great opportunity for IMCOM Soldiers, Civilians and Families in San Antonio to enhance their well-being. There’s no better way to get into the San Antonio lifestyle than with the Fiesta Celebration.

To learn more about San Antonio’s Fiesta, check out the links below:

Do you have to be bilingual? and other San Antonio topics March 22, 2010

Posted by Neal Snyder in Relocation, San Antonio life.
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We have some more serious topics in the oven, but to keep things cooking, here’s a forum discussion covering a topic in the “embarrassed to worry about, but I have to ask” category:

Do you have to be bilingual in SA? courtesy City-Data Forum.

The short answer is no … but it helps to pick up a few phrases, such as por favor (please) and gracias (thank you).

Check the rest of the City Data forum for San Antonio for local opinions on other topics: restaurants, churches, attractions, schools. 

Also visit the main City-Data page for San Antonio. It lives up to its name.

School surfing March 12, 2010

Posted by Neal Snyder in Real Estate, Relocation, San Antonio life.
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Got kids?  Want ’em to larn reel good?

In other words, how do you find the best public schools before you take that househunting trip?

San Antonio doesn’t make it easy. With 19 different school districts in Bexar County, quality necessarily varies. Finding the right situation takes a little research. Here’s one method:

  • Get familiar with the workings of a school evaluation service like Great Schools (http://www.greatschools.org/). This site takes test scores and parent input to rate schools on a 1-10 scale. One can find ratings by school, and learn what schools are close to a particular location.  One of the many demographic maps on Cyberhomes (http://www.cyberhomes.com/maps.aspx) uses Great Schools data to match school ratings with ZIP Codes, helping you visualize where the good schools are — click on Neighborhood Characteristics, select school ratings, then zoom in on San Antonio.
  • Determine how much weight you want to give school quality against other factors, such as commute, house size, or crime characteristics. Cyberhomes has maps for those.
  • Get to know the names of the schools within the ZIP codes you are interested in, and double-check them on the school rating site. Keep in mind, the post office doesn’t usually talk to the committee drawing the school boundaries.
  • After selecting a house, but before making an offer, check the school boundaries one more time – is the school correct? Frequently, the school on the real estate listing does not correlate with school system information. Most district Web sites offer ways to pinpoint the school serving a particular street or address (here’s a list of San Antonio district sites). For instance, the North East Independent School District offers this service, where users can enter the street of a prospective residence and get the names of the relevant elementary, middle and high schools. It might be smart to check this information and correlate it with Great Schools before committing to a residence.

In San Antonio, if you do your research, it’s easy to find an affordable home where schools are well above average not only for Texas, but for the country.

Ratings are not the only indicators of school quality, and education is not the only factor in choosing where to live. Note also. boundaries, teachers and administrators change.  But when schools are a consideration, and you can’t audit the classse in person, knowing the rating removes a measure of anxiety as you relocate your family.

*Mention of commercial Web sites does not constitute endorsement by the DoD. All opinions are strictly personal and do not reflect the position of IMCOM, the Army or the Department of Defense.

Best of San Antonio: A photo gallery March 10, 2010

Posted by Neal Snyder in Relocation, San Antonio life.
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If you’re wondering what you’ll experience in San Antonio, take a look at this Riverwalk-free Flickr gallery