Back-Up if not appointed to USNA

Discussion in 'Publicly and Privately Funded Military Colleges' started by attacklax17, Jan 4, 2010.

  1. attacklax17

    attacklax17 Prospective

    Oct 21, 2009
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    I've been devising a back up plan incase I don't get into the Naval Academy. The colleges interesting me are The Citadel and VMI. It would be for Naval/Marine commission. What do you know about these colleges? All help is appreciated. Thanks! :smile:
  2. SF49ers

    SF49ers Member

    Jan 25, 2009
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    Both the Citadel and VMI provide a military lifestyle similar to that at the federal service academies. As a contracted cadet, you will have mandatory morning PT and afternoon lead labs a few times a week. You will also take Naval ROTC classes twice a week as part of your academic schedule.

    However, all cadets, contracted or not, and irregardless of the branch, live the same general lifestyle. Formations before Breakfast and Lunch, inspections, mandatory study period in the evenings, parade on Fridays, etc. As a knob (first year cadet), you will have additional duties and time restraints. You will have sweep details in the mornings before formation, detailed inspections at every formation, and "highly encouraged" attendance in intramural sports. Knobs also have mandatory dinner formations, and have to be back by midnight on weekend leave (upperclassmen can stay out until 1 am). There's plenty more that knobs do; rest assured, you will be kept busy.

    If you have any more specific questions about El Cid, feel free to let me know. Best of luck to you in the application process.
  3. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

    Feb 2, 2008
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    VMI has about 1400 Cadets- growing to 1500 as the New Barracks extension is now completed and Barracks renovations are finished. All students at VMI are members of the Corps of Cadets, live in barracks, are in uniform 24 hours- 7 days/week, and there are no civilian students on the post. All Cadets must take 4 years of ROTC although they are not required to accept a commission although strongly urged to do so. The graduating class of 2009 commissioned slightly less than 60% of the class and the goal is no less than 70% commissioned by the class of 2015. VMI has a long history of producing Marine Officers- 2 Commandants are VMI alumni as well as numerous other Marine General Officers (for example Chesty Puller was an alumnus although he did not graduate). The Navy/Marine ROTC program is run by a Marine Col and I think commissioned about 45-50 Lt's & Ensigns last summer- 2/3 of them Marine Lts.

    Academically- VMI is a very highly respected undergraduate college-(there are no graduate programs at VMI). It's Engineering programs - especially the Civil and Mechanical Engineering programs were rated by USNews in the top 10 undergraduate programs in the nation and in the same survey VMI was rated the number 3 public Liberal Arts college in the country behind USMA and USNA- Forbes put it in the top 10 Public Universities in the country. VMI has graduated 2 Rhodes scholars in the past 5 years and 12 overall and last year had 2 Rhodes finalists and a Marshall scholarship winner. Behind this is a Faculty to Student ratio of less than 12-1 and the average class size to include Freshman (4th class) survey classes is less than 20. All of the faculty are teachers- there are no GTAs etc... and about 96% of the faculty have PHDs. All of that really means is that VMI has a strongly nationally recognized academic program which they constantly work to maintain and improve and you will have professors who know you intimately and will have classes in which you CAN NOT get lost or hide (for better or for worse). The average SAT for entering Cadets is a little above 3.4 and an acceptance rate of about 50% of applicants- you can find all of that information at this link (profile of the class of 2013:

    Cadet Life:VMI is an aggressively pressurized environment - as a Rat ( a freshman) you will be stressed physically, mentally, militarily. Your time will not be your own pretty much ever. You will have at least 3 and as many as 6 Cadets in one room - and you will learn to work together to succeed both as an individual and as a class. As you progress by class year you will get more responsibilities and privileges culminating in your first class (senior) year where the Corps has a significant role in running all aspects of barracks life under the guidance and mentoring and sometimes directions of the Commandant and the Tac Staff. VMI also has a rather unique mentoring program with first class cadets virtually adopting a Rat in what is called the dyke system. The Rat's dyke is supposed to provide guidance and direction to the Rats - it's not a perfect system as there are dykes who are more and sometimes less involved in their Rat's life but in general it works out pretty well. Life is always pretty restricted-Cadets are not allowed to drive or have cars until they are first classman- as they go along they will get additional privileges like weekend passes by class and the opportunity to go into town after class occasionally. Underlying all of life at VMI is the Honor Code: "A Cadet will not Lie; Cheat or Steal- Nor will they tolerate those who do." This is a one strike no second chance policy and the penalty is dismissal. The Honor Court is a Cadet run organization of elected 1st and 2d classmen (Seniors and Juniors) which presents its findings to the Superintendant for implementation. Every year a small number of Cadets run afoul of the honor code and are dismissed (10 or 12 is probably the avg year)- to witness a drumout is something that no cadets wants to do and doesn't forget after they see it- but it is pretty much a universally accepted and supported facet of life at VMI.

    Bottom line - VMI is a hard place- often refered to as a "great place to be from - not necessarily a great place to be":biggrin: However, most Cadets who I know wouldn't trade it once they are there. You get to be extremely close to your classmates (called "Brother Rats" whether they are male or female), get a great education from a strong academic department that sees the students and their education as their only priority, and 171 years of tradition as leaders within the military and civil life. VMI alumni are attached to the place as you can imagine- witness that VMI has the highest percapita endowment of any public college in the country.

    There are several folks on the forum who can tell you more about life as a Rat; and the Navy/Marine program specifically. The link below is to VMI's web site. Hope this has helped.
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2010
  4. sprog

    sprog Member

    Mar 10, 2009
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    Ain't that the truth. I had awful dykes as a Rat, and to be honest, it is one of my least favorite parts of the VMI system. I was very good to my Rats when I was a First, ( I still email them every know and then...both are very successful); but, when I was a Rat, I was essentially an indentured servant (got very little from the First Classmen who were supposed to be mentoring me).

    I hope that there is more professional oversight of this system now. I am probably going to be drawn and quartered by other alums for saying this, but, I wish they got rid of the dyke system altogether. It's unnecessary and the potential for abuse/undue influence is too strong (several of the HC drum-outs during my time happened because Rats lied to protect their dykes). I just don't like it at also creates an unnecessary division in both the Rat and first classes. My best time at VMI was as a Second (and it wasn't so bad as a Third, despite what others say), when there wasn't any of the dyke crap to deal with. As a Rat you should be allowed to focus on your own development and on your BRs, not be forced to shine someone else's shoes or clean their room. Don't get me wrong, I think the Ratline should be hard; but, it doesn't help when a system designed to help you (the dyke system) turns out to be one of the worst aspects of Rat year.

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