Info on VMI and Citadel

Discussion in 'Publicly and Privately Funded Military Colleges' started by tles, Oct 8, 2011.

  1. tles

    tles New Member

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    My DS is applying to VMI and Citadel. Any perspective from current students or parents would be extrememly helpful (good and bad). He will be a Biology major with an eye on pre-med. Would like to commission as of now. Info on Rotc scholarships also helpful.
    Thanks
     
  2. pennak

    pennak Member

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    Hi: The most important suggestion I can give you is for your DS to actually overnight at both schools. My DS is currently a Rat at VMI. He wants a Marine commission and is thriving there (he's a History major). But he over-nighted in barracks at VMI, Norwich, Texas A&M and the Citadel before making his choice. I went with him to visit 3 of these schools (his mother did the 4th) and formed my own impressions, but I tried hard to keep them to myself. Your DS's choice should be controlling because if he doesn't want to be there there, these schools will prove *very* hard indeed. These schools, especially VMI and the Citadel, with their 100% cadet populations and strict regimentation, are definitely not for everyone. He needs to visit and go with the best fit; often the best fit is purely a matter of instinct and gut feeling.

    Speaking only about VMI, I will say that I am very impressed with their academics (and I am definitely old and cynical and not easily impressed). My son is an Institute Scholar there and is very pleased with the level of instruction. The professors are nearly all PhDs and the classes are typically small. The professors are extremely available to the students. Hope this helps. Good luck to you and your DS.
     
  3. tles

    tles New Member

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    Thanks for the information. Good to hear about VMI as his first instinctive choice is VMI. He'll definitely be doing the overnight at both schools
     
  4. pennak

    pennak Member

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    You will find that VMI is a classy place. Very friendly, very helpful to the parents and family of cadets. I have been continually impressed, not only with the academics but with how well run it is and the level of professionalism associated with VMI program. The school's leadership is first rate and that sets the tone. I'll give you a recent example: Through an oversight my DS forgot to "accept" his student loan and thus got dinged with an overdue bill and I got a urgent e-mail for money (they can't have phones before Breakout). (Sometimes I think my DS really ought to be in NASA's astronaut program....). A single, simple phone call with the fin. aid office cleared it up immediately. They could not have been nicer or more understanding.

    BTW, If your DS chooses this route, he will be continually, and heavily stressed in a multitude of ways. That's intentional and part of the "M" in VMI as well as part of the tradition at the Citadel. It's part of what they do so well. He will need your support and understanding as he works it out. My DS thought he was well-prepared and knew what he was getting into. He described the first two days at VMI (during Cadre Week) as being "shell-shocked." More than 20 Rats (out of a class of 509) left VMI the first week. One of the best things you can do with your DS is help make sure that this is what he wants.
     
  5. easter2

    easter2 Member

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    My son is currently a Rat at VMI also....I too would highly recommend the overnight visits. VMI was at the top of my DS's list and did an overnight visit last fall...I went with and was highly impressed especially as the presentations were not 'sugar coated', they want to make sure the kids and parents involved have a clear picture of what VMI is about. There is a lot of information out there also...whether through forums such as this, you tube, facebook, etc. All the information out there can give you a pretty good idea of what goes on-the honor and tradition and being a Rat. (Although it feels different when you are actually there and experiencing it first hand) :rolleyes:

    The academics in my opinion are top notch and they work with the kids fairly extensively.

    VMI is tough, the Ratline is tough and isn't for everyone. My DS thought he was fully prepared when we parted ways on Matriculation Day---within two weeks he was crying on the phone, exhausted, mentally drained and emailing constantly. I think the thing that has hit him the hardest is the lack of freedom and regimentation---can't go to bed when he wants, can't go to dinner when he wants, etc....with that being said, VMI is a terrific place and certainly some place to be proud of being there and getting through.

    Parents Weekend is next weekend and although almost every day something 'sucks', he is still there :thumb: This weekend, he is out with the Army ROTC on some training exercise--saw the cadets involved taking off on the Chinooks yesterday via the webcams. VMI has had an overnight weekend already and apparently my DS was doing well enough as they assigned a potential kid to him for the overnight aspect; plus he was designated Chalk 2 Leader for the training exercises this weekend.
     
  6. SCcandidate2015

    SCcandidate2015 Member

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    Honestly, it's a very personal decision. It's so hard to pick based off a website. He needs to pre-Knob at The Citadel, and he also needs to do the overnight thing at VMI. I LOVE the atmosphere at The Citadel, and I very much disliked VMI in general. I don't hate the place, it just didn't suit me as well as The Citadel did. You can only make a decision like that by visiting. Both schools will offer a great education.

    Biology head at The Citadel: Maj. Weinsten (843) 953-7796. Hit him up. He teaches physiology. I also STRONGLY advise you to encourage your son to ask Maj. about the pre-med adviser. I forgot her name, but she's a very valuable resource. I'm sure Maj. knows who she is, and can give your son her name and number.

    Now, as far as The Citadel goes with hazing and stuff like that. It happens. Not going to lie. I've seen stuff.... But, if your son isn't an egotistical type of guy and is nice and does what he's told, he will not get any of that crap. Most upperclassmen do right by the Knobs. A few really shouldn't even be there, but they get what's coming to them.
     
  7. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    Recently talked to a young man interested in VMI- It occurred to me that when I try and describe that life at VMI is austere it may not register completely what that looks like. Couple of shots- the first from inside barracks on the 4th stoop (where the Rats reside) and the second inside a barracks room (these pictures are posted above in the forum gallery but suspect they aren't seen by many).It truly is a spartan life that doesn't really get all that much cushier with time. Note the absence of a bed in the second picture. That's because they sleep on cots (known as a "Hay" in a term left over from the days of Stonewall) which get folded up and stacked every morning.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  8. SCcandidate2015

    SCcandidate2015 Member

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    Yep, no beds at VMI. The Citadel has beds :).
     
  9. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    It is however rather amazing how devoted you become to your Hay and comforter though. My roommate would have been an Olympic champion had there been an event in rack time- he was truly a champion "rack artist". ( This is more common as a Liberal arts major- I don't believe I knew any Engineers who had the opportunity to specialize in this particular discipline:rolleyes: I can attest that this is still a favorite pastime for Cadets in 2011 ).
     
  10. pennak

    pennak Member

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    ( This is more common as a Liberal arts major- I don't believe I knew any Engineers who had the opportunity to specialize in this particular discipline)

    LOL. Bruno, let me guess. You were an engineering cadet, right? From this parent's perspective (of a Rat liberal arts major), it appears that *all* the Rats are continually exhausted, including the liberal arts majors. I don't think any of them get enough sleep. If the engineers get even less, then they must be truly catatonic by the end of the year.
     
  11. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    No -actually I became a history major- mostly becasue the sleep deprivation was combined with really lousy grades in Calc (and statics & dynamics looming) and it appeared to be a rapid descent to oblivion if I continued on that path. As a history major I became a charter member of an organization known as "the PX Cowboys" riding the range in search of an endless supply of coffee and foosball:eek:. There were very few Engineers in our midst- and the Rack artists- (both were post rat year) were similarly pretty much all History/English/ Econ majors (less majors to choose from back then).
     
  12. sprog

    sprog Member

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    The visiting stands of the football stadium used to be called "LA Beach" in the Spring. "LA" being for liberal arts.

    The idea was that only liberal arts cadets had time to hang out in the nice weather and work on their tans. I was an International Studies major who had minors in English and Rack Appreciation.
     
  13. pennak

    pennak Member

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    I'll be sure to alert my DS that he'll have something to look forward to after this year. Right now he has no time at all. But then he has to maintain a 3.5 to keep his scholarship! A priority for me
     
  14. RahVaMil2009

    RahVaMil2009 Member

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    Don't worry too much about the stereotypes. :smile:

    I was a liberal artist. My Second Class year, I went back to rat mode, not putting my rack down until CQRB (15 mins before Taps), just to remove the temptation. I didn't have time to sleep during the day. Once my roommates went to sleep, I'd relocate to the Barracks Study Room so as not to disturb them. A couple of times I had to leave the BSR and return to the second stoop when the drums started rolling at 3:30am.

    First Class year, I was a little better with time management (and a bit less maniacally perfectionistic!), but there were still many nights I couldn't even start my homework until around Taps (2330) because of my other duties within the Corps of Cadets. Even on those nights, I tried not to stay up past 0200 or 0230.

    So much for Scott Shipp High School. :smile:

    There was a 5th Yearman (5-year senior) in my Latin American Political Systems class when I was a First. We were talking recently, and he made a remark about how easy CAPT Turner's classes are. I protested immediately, talking about how tough he grades essays and how he has no mercy on tests, rarely giving partial credit. The only way to do well on essays for his class is to visit him during office hours--often. After we went back and forth a bit, I said, "Wait a minute. I worked my butt off and actually got an A from him." The other cadet said, "Yeah, I got a C." :rolleyes:

    In the end, those who meet the LA stereotypes are also the ones who live by the "2.0 and Go!" philosophy. There were plenty of engineers who went to bed a lot earlier than I did. There were also plenty of engineers who were up until 4:00am on a regular basis because they spent all evening from SRC until Taps playing computer games.

    Jackie M. Briski
    Scott Shipp High '09
     
  15. RahVaMil2009

    RahVaMil2009 Member

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    Also, Third Class year is affectionately known as the Academic Ratline.

    The professors get the rigors of the Ratline. They hear stories of Cadre and sweat parties and RDC corrective sessions and GC trials and pushing at CQRB, and they know what this does to time constraints on a school night. They also get the general challenges of transitioning from high school to college. As a result, probably 97-99% of professors are very patient and bend over backwards to help the little rat-ties adjust.

    However, the professors also understand that Thirds, being the hotshot upperclassmen that they are, are the source of much of the Ratline's rigor. It's typically fairly safe to assume that if a Third's grades begin to slip, he must be spending too much time messing with the little rat-ties. Since they have a year of college under their belt, they deserve no mercy.

    I've tried to block out most of my Academic Ratline experiences, so I don't remember if it was four or five classes. But I do know that there were at least four--probably five--classes that I had A's in before the final, and came out on the other side of the exams with B's. This includes one-credit classes like Public Speaking and ROTC, but it was still pretty disheartening for someone who thought she was close to earning ac stars. :cool:

    Since your son is an Institute Scholar, he'll probably sleep even less next year. But at least he won't be a rat. :thumb:

    Jackie M. Briski
    Scott Shipp High '09
     
  16. pennak

    pennak Member

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    "Since your son is an Institute Scholar, he'll probably sleep even less next year. But at least he won't be a rat."

    Thanks Jackie: MY DS had a bit of head start on the process. He went in with 24 hours of AP class credit plus another 3 for STP, and thus he got to skip the intro English Lit/Comp course and a bunch of other courses. Nonetheless, he says, in his ever more infrequent e-mails, that he is working harder now by two orders of magnitude than ever had to work in HS. We shall see. I leave him alone, as he has got to work it out. But if he asks for a shipment of X, I get on-line and have Amazon.com ship it to him. The requests for 5 hour energy drinks worry me.
     
  17. sprog

    sprog Member

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    International Studies with an English minor. Pure LA guy who spent plenty of time both studying and in the rack. I usually was in bed by 2330 so as to have energy for the next day.

    Oh.....not a 2.0 and go, either. I'm a Distinguished Grad and wore stars. Staying up late is not my bag, and while I might have stayed up to 0100 or so from time to time, I hardly made a habit out of it.

    I will, however, agree that it is best not to study in Barracks. I liked the library or Mallory Hall (Physics/Math building). There are only six Physics majors in the Corps and they are all down in the basement. The classsrooms were always empty and quiet in Mallory.
     
  18. pennak

    pennak Member

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    Thanks. The consistent advice to Rats that my DS heard was "get out of barracks" for study time. That is, apparently, good advice. He takes his Mac laptop and goes to the classrooms. Quick question: What is all this talk about studying after taps? I had thought it was lights out at taps and no way to study, or is that just for Rats?
     
  19. sprog

    sprog Member

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    Lights out in the room at Taps is for Rats. You can study out of Barracks after that.

    Upperclassmen used to be able to keep lights on after Taps in Barracks, but usually people would tend to use desk lamps as opposed to overheads.

    Keep in mind I graduated over 10 years ago, so it may have changed.
     
  20. pennak

    pennak Member

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    Ah. No wonder DS is tired. He is out in the classroom studying to Lord knows when. I can see that burn out can be a problem here.
     

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