Citadel vs. VMI

Discussion in 'Publicly and Privately Funded Military Colleges' started by tro55, Oct 5, 2009.

  1. tro55

    tro55 Member

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    Can anyone let me know maybe some things that one of these two fine institutions has to offer that the other doesnt? Im stuck between choosing between the schools, and wounder if i could gain some further insight.

    Thanks
     
  2. TurkishRunner

    TurkishRunner Member

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    I don't know much about Citadel, but VMI is smaller, ranked the third public liberal arts college in the US, and is a little harder to get into (VMI is ahead of the Citadel in every college ranking site I've seen as well). Also, I was at VMI this past weekend, and a girl (who attends VMI) who visited the Citadel commented on the difference in rigor of the two schools. She said that VMI seemed more professional, and more of a challenge (Rat line's harder supposedly at VMI). A huge thing for me is the weather. Citadel = hot and humid. VMI = mountainous and chilly. Citadel is also a bigger school. I might be biased though, because I've already applied and live in VA :biggrin:

    But not gunna lie, Citadel looks tight.
     
  3. RahVaMil2009

    RahVaMil2009 Member

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    Do you want to run in the mountains, or do you want to run in the sand? If you've never done either, they both suck. And that pretty much sums up the classic rivalry between VMI and The Citadel. :biggrin:

    In all seriousness, it's hard to answer that question because it's so broad. More importantly, it's very difficult to compare the two unless you have personal experiences with both. TurkishRunner hit on some of the basic (third hand) observations of one who has visited both. I've never been to The Citadel, but I can answer specific questions you might have about my experiences at VMI.

    Other than that, my best advice is to check out the academic programs (to include cocurriculars) of both schools and see which one most closely matches what you want a degree in and the quality/type of education you're looking for. Here are a couple of examples: VMI has a nationally recognized Arabic program, but The Citadel does not offer Arabic. On the flip side, The Citadel offers a major and a minor in Criminal Justice, but you can't get either of those at VMI.

    First figure out what you're looking for, and then compare it to all the colleges you're even remotely considering. Academics should be your #1 priority but don't forget the implications of "cocurricular" education, which includes the Honor System, the Ratline, athletics, leadership training and everything else you'll be expected to accomplish while succeeding academically.

    Visit all the colleges on your list, if you can. There's only so much information you can glean from recruiting brochures and the Internet.
     
  4. sprog

    sprog Member

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    FYI-VMI in August, when the Ratline begins, is pretty hot and humid. I'm not sure how things are with all the new construction; however, in my day, there was no air conditioning in Barracks, and Rats were not allowed to have fans. It does get colder there as the seasons progress, of course; but, it is not a nice, cool place during the summer/early fall, which is when you will be doing some of the most intense physical stuff (Cadre week, etc). I guess, in relative terms, VMI probably is cooler temperature-wise than the Citadel.
     
  5. SF49ers

    SF49ers Member

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    As has been said, there are a number of differences between VMI and The Citadel. But overall, they are very similar when compared to other military colleges (academies or SMC's). Both schools are essentially made up of just the corp of cadets, offer a rigorous 4th class system (I believe that these schools are the only ones that still include bracing), and offer the benefits of a small liberal arts college experience. The best thing you could do would be to visit both schools. I know that my pre-knob visit at The Citadel was one of the primary factors that made me choose to go here. It really gives you a feel for the school.

    On a personal level, I can't really speak of VMI too well, because I didn't apply/visit it at all. I've heard good things (about as good as one can hear while at El Cid). But when it comes to toughness, I would like to point out that we have the longest fourth class system.

    Best of Luck to you in your decision making process.
     
  6. prayl001

    prayl001 New Member

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    went to the Citadel my freshman year of college and did an overnight to VMI. Both produce the same "product." Don't worry about the civilian thing at The Citadel, it is rare a cadet comes in contact with them and I do mean rare. The biggest difference is how they are treated freshman year. At VMI you are rats and the rat experience does not last the entire year unlike knob year at The Citadel (yes you guessed, it lasts an entire year). The other biggest difference is the fact that at The Citadel, "knobs" have to brace when inside the barracks (even as they run from point A to B when inside the barracks). Bracing is fun, you get to bend back at the waist and pull your chin inside your chest! Oh and eyes are completely open, "dear in head lights" is best way to describe it. But honestly both will provide a first class education. But I loved Charleston; so much to do when there was slight "free" time. VMI is in the middle of nowhere. Both schools carry a great name and legacy and are golden tickets to any successful job. The only thing I hated was the tuition thus why I had to leave. But hey I joined the Marine Corps which (sorry) is better than VMI or The Citadel Hope this does some clarification. But honestly other than the few things I pointed out, either decision, he won't go wrong with! Semper Fi
     
  7. TurkishRunner

    TurkishRunner Member

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    The VMI rat year doesn't last as long (it's about six months), but I don't think you'd want that anyway. I've heard that VMI's six month rat line is harder than Citadel's knob year (from a cadet at an open house who's stayed at the Citadel), but thats probably a pointless debate, they both will suck :thumb:. Also, VMI has this bracing as well, but it's called straining.
     
  8. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    Look at their academics, inlcuding majors they offer. Do they each offer a major that interests you? Does one stand out academicaly in your own mind? Isn't that the overarching reason for college? If you just want boot camp then join the Marines.
     
  9. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    I would agree with Jam's post here. I often find myself cautioning applicants to VMI that they are going to a military college which will lead to the Army- NOT enlisting in the Army. It's really important that a future Rat understands that and thinks about their academic interests and future. VMI has a strong academic reputation (See USNews; Forbes etc...) & they have produced more Rhodes scholars than the other SMCs combined - 2 in the past 5 years as well as Marshall scholars etc... and VMI's engineering programs - in particular their Engineering programs and International Relations programs are very highly ranked, statistics of which they are justly proud. However, they can not be all things to all people and there are majors that they do not offer that the Citadel does- for example if Criminal Justice is your primary interest - then you will not be able to major in that at VMI. I think that you really need to think about what you want academically and then choose the place that fits your needs. I promise you that either place will be physically and mentally demanding enough for you.
     

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