Grades Rat Year

Discussion in 'Publicly and Privately Funded Military Colleges' started by bjkuds, Dec 17, 2011.

  1. bjkuds

    bjkuds Parent

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    I just want to share this because I know my Rat is not alone. DS like most on SAF was a solid HS student. A's were normal and expected. I know many of his BR's are doing great academically and are really doing amazingly well...kudos to them.:thumb:
    Then there is my DS who will be happy to pass his History class with a D and is already planning on summer school for Calc 2 because he knows he has a D for a final grade in Calc 1. He gets to take it again next semester because his major requires a C. :eek: I noticed his grade was not far below the class average so I know we are not alone. DS is so mad at himself, yet I know he is really studying..He has A's in everything else. I don't gripe toward him about it because I know he is hard enough on himself and he will figure it out. We were warned by Bruno and others that everyone struggles with something at VMI and that is the truth. I tell him to do his best, keep his head up and not give up or get discouraged..His GPA is somewhere around a 2.5. I remembered Bruno telling me last year that the average GPA Rat year was around a 2.2 so I passed that along to DS hoping it would encourage him somewhat. It is also my biased opinion that an average student at VMI is NOT an average student, that he has much to be proud of. We do have a plan B for taking the classes this summer locally providing the credits transfer.. in state tuition is not a huge deal compared to Summer Session out of state. Since final grades are about to come out I just thought I would share my thoughts.
    I do have a question though.. DS gives us the impression that what he has taken thus far are "Rat Classes" and they are not suppose to be that difficult. I don't know where that idea came from because Calc is Calc in my opinion, but I believe that thought alone has him somewhat intimidated. I know it makes me wonder:confused: Is that a legitimate statement?
    He is only carrying 12 credits (earned 3 at STP). Upper class-men have told us GPAs tend to improve once they get through breakout, but the academics get harder 2nd semester and on into next year. I find that a little confusing. DS seems to have a handle on the ROTC and the military requirements so I am not sure if those responsibilities even have any affect on his study time(academic performance). Will he have that much more time after breakout to study? Just looking for any thoughts.. Thanks
     
  2. pennak

    pennak Member

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    VMI is tough, no doubt about it. Here is something on the VMI website that proves it. http://www.vmi.edu/content.aspx?id=1142

    MINIMUM STANDARDS BY CLASS

    Class to Return in August To Avoid Academic Probation for Fall Semester To Avoid Academic Probation for Spring Semester
    GPA HOURS GPA HOURS GPA HOURS
    Fourth N/A N/A N/A N/A 1.5 N/A
    Third 1.5 24 1.8 24 1.8 24
    Second 1.8 52 2.0 58 2.0 58
    First 2.0 80 2.0 87 2.0 87
    Fifth Year 2.0 108 2.0 108 2.0 108

    NOTE: A MAJOR GPA OF 2.00 IS A GRADUATION REQUIREMENT BEGINNING WITH THE MATRICULATING CLASS OF 2010.
     
  3. TurkishRunner

    TurkishRunner Member

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    Rat classes are just basic gened classes. Generally, they are pretty easy. These are all the 101 classes that normal college freshmen would take. Although, as a third who has taken Calc 1 as well as Calc 2 here, I can say that they move very fast. Both my professors were great, don't get me wrong. But it's almost like they already expect you to know the material or pick it up on the first pass. It was very frustrating for me at first, but as the year moved on as a rat, I learned that you have to invest a lot of your own time into learning material. I was on youtube trying to have things explained to me over and over again for calc 1 and 2, and it seriously helped (the book was somewhat verbose, and I wasn't about to strain up and down the place to see my professor). I've learned that that is basically how every class here is. It's not high school any more. They are packing a whole year's worth of information into one semester, and especially in math intensive courses, you will not get by on going to class alone (like I did in high school:cool: ).

    I can sympathize with your son. As a rat, you don't have much time, sometimes its hard to focus, and if you're like me and had never studied for anything for more than an hour, its a shock. Next semester, though, he might be a fourth and have a lot more time on his hands. Good luck to your son. And hey, if he's doing his best, that's all anyone can ask.
     
  4. bjkuds

    bjkuds Parent

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    Thank you TurkishRunner. And good luck with finals.
     
  5. sprog

    sprog Member

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    My Rat grades were the worst I received in my four years at VMI. The Ratline was responsible. It's easy to get caught up in that stuff in the hope it will make your life easier. I, for one, found the physical exhaustion to be the most difficult part of it. It's hard to stay awake in an 8am class as a Rat. Hell, it's hard to stay awake in a 1pm class as a Rat. They tell you to stand up in the back of the class if you're tired. Well, that works to make the Prof. less pissed-off at you, but it doesn't help you retain any material. Professors, while they are very good, sometimes complain about teaching Rat classes because they know that they'll see a lot of eyelids closing.

    Rat classes are "easier" only in the sense that they are the basic, Freshman-level introductory courses. They are general in nature and cover multiple subjects (of which the student might not have much of an interest). You add fatigue to the mix, plus the adjustment of going from HS-level courses to college, it's challenging. Once you are an upperclassman, things improve. I know people call Third Class year the "Academic Ratline," but for me ,that was bunk (others will disagree). The classes were more in my major and minor curriculum, and I had more time to focus on them without the BS anxiety that the Ratline produces. Not to mention, I got a lot better sleep in the last three years (you can nap in the afternoons).

    I ended up a Distinguished Graduate despite a rather lackluster start as a Rat. In my view, it becomes easier. How much of that is due to maturity, due to interests, and due to adequate rest etc. is variable.

    Good luck.
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2011
  6. bjkuds

    bjkuds Parent

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    Sprog and TurkishRunner Thank you for your replies.

    He has heard more than once about next year being the "Academic Rat Line", and quite frankly I think that is very intimidating to him, and justifiably so at this point. I would be worried too if it were me.

    My Rat is ALWAYS exhausted and has fought the flu for over half of this semester. When I or his Dad ask him how he is.. He is "good but tired" consistently, even though he can't breathe or has spent the day trying to keep his lunch down. He has a 100% in his Major related classes which he says are easy and fun and a 94% in NROTC, which he really loves. Fortunately those grades will keep him off of Academic Probation but he will definitely have to go to summer school due to the math prerequisites to continue in the ECE classes next year on schedule.
    He likes the Professor in Calc..says she is good, seems to do really well on the classroom assignments but then bombs the tests because there is always some obscure problem that he didn't remember doing in the homework or covering in class.(I am guessing that is where being tired comes in..probably too tired to pay attention to it all), and has made what he calls "stupid mistakes" where he just didn't add something correctly and the like.

    He has had a math tutor for the last month or so. So he totally blames himself, yet he doesn't know what more he could have done. I will definitely share your experiences with him. He has told me a few times that he has had a difficult time staying awake in class, so I would bet his experience isn't that much different than yours. Hopefully when Spring rolls around he will be on a better path. He was hoping for those stars on the collar someday. Thank you for sharing your experience
     
  7. sprog

    sprog Member

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    If it helps, I'll share this gem.

    In my day, Breakout did not occur until some time in February. As is the case now, the period before Breakout is one of the worst with regard to physical exertion. That January of 1996 was awful for me. Constant yelling, constant push-ups, running, RDC activities, forced marches, etc. We had "fake outs" (where you thought you were going to breakout, but the First Class was just messing with you). At any rate, not a fun time. I started at VMI at about 185lbs, and by this point, I was 155 and gaunt. I felt like sh@t all the time; very similar to your son.

    I had a Spanish test sometime in the end of January where I earned an illustrious 35%. That's not even a respectable F. No, that's a huge, monstrous, "you're an idiot" F. My first quarter grade for the class was the big Foxtrot, and I think I almost sent my mother into cardiac arrest.

    The Ratline ended the next month. I found I could sleep, could focus more, and could pay more attention to my classes. The 35% is a hard one to overcome, but I pulled a B in the class.

    There is hope...
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2011
  8. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    In the interests of putting things in perspective- sometimes it really was worse back in the Old Corps. Check out the attached class grades from 1976 (back in "the olden days" they posted the quarterly grades on the door of the room!) This was for a Rat Calculus section. (Lest you think I am making this up- this can be found in the 1977 Bomb which is online if you know where to look. To tally it up- 1A; 1B; 2C's;3D's;9 F's :eek:.

    [​IMG]

    If your Rat is working and focusing he can do better. Most of the faculty will tell you that First Semester 3Class Year is actually the worst in terms of grades, but then Cadets learn that success = work in the classroom as much as it does on the PT and Athletic fields. As a parent don't overthink this-
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2011
  9. sprog

    sprog Member

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    They still did that in the '90s. They didn't put your name by the grade, but each cadet had a number. You had to go to the classroom to see your grade if you didn't want to wait for it to be sent home in the mail.
     
  10. bjkuds

    bjkuds Parent

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    Another thing that the computer age has changed... He finds out via email or Angel account. He had to sign a release at matriculation for his grades to be released to us..and his Dyke. It was something that was highly encouraged.:thumb:
     
  11. Bird85

    Bird85 Member

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    I just checked post view. No grades posted so far. DS has History final tomorrow and Bio on Wednesday. Fingers crossed on this end!
     
  12. bjkuds

    bjkuds Parent

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    DS has History final tomorrow afternoon then he is free... He and his BR will be home by tomorrow night late. I have the fridge stocked:wink:
     
  13. pennak

    pennak Member

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    Sounds like your DS and my DS are in the classes (at least in History and Bio).
     
  14. TurkishRunner

    TurkishRunner Member

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    Your rat wouldn't happen to be in Alpha company would he?
     
  15. pennak

    pennak Member

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    Indeed he is.
     
  16. TurkishRunner

    TurkishRunner Member

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    I'm rat challenge cadre for Alpha! Welp, that's pretty cool. I thought that name looked familiar.
     
  17. pennak

    pennak Member

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    Cool. That's my kid. Hope he's doing well. The rat year has to be tough
     
  18. easter2

    easter2 Member

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    My DS Rat is leaving after Bio finals today too! Best get the cupboard stocked! :wink:
     
  19. pennak

    pennak Member

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    Isn't that the truth!! I have never seem DS eat like he ate during the Thanksgiving break. I am beginning to think that they don't feed them at all at Cozet.
     
  20. bjkuds

    bjkuds Parent

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    I've got 2 Rats...1 from Taiwan that couldn't go home.. What does one feed 2 Rats? :biggrin: Fridge full, freezer full, pantry full, Deep Freezer more than half full... We're good for at least a week:eek: DH picked them both up yesterday..Had him act like our guest needed to bring the hay home to sleep on:yllol: That reaction was priceless I guess.. Just kidding kiddo:yllol:
     

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