Marine Option at VMI

Discussion in 'Publicly and Privately Funded Military Colleges' started by Cincinnatus, May 31, 2016.

  1. Cincinnatus

    Cincinnatus New Member

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    Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening,

    I am currently scheduled to matriculate at VMI this August as a rat of the Rat Mass of 2017+3. I have selected Marine Option as my ROTC choice, and I was hoping that some current/former Marine Option Cadets could answer a few questions. Note that I am on an academic rather than an ROTC scholarship.

    First, when do most cadets go to PLC? My understanding is that, usually, they go either their Sophomore/Junior or Junior/Senior summers, but I have heard rumors that some actually go as early as their Freshman summer. Also, do any opt to do the full 10-week OCS?

    Second, I realize that as a non-scholarship, I am not guaranteed to be sent to OCS/PLC. What is the application process like, how competitive is it, and how helpful are they generally at VMI in getting you a slot?

    Third, although I have been on a steady program of physical conditioning for the last year, and will continue to work hard, I am interested to know what the average physical fitness level of a male rat is. How do they usually perform on the VFT (pullups/run particularly)? Specific to the Marine Corps, when do they administer your first PFT, and how do new rats usually perform on that?

    Finally, I know I will be doing A LOT of pushups as a rat, and that there is really no way to make this part easy, but what number should I shoot for pre-matriculation? I am at 50 now, and I have three months to continue working; I'm really just looking for a goal number to structure my program towards.

    Thank you for your time and service.
     
  2. turtlerunnernc

    turtlerunnernc Member

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    My son just completed his Rat year at VMI. He is Army so I cannot answer your marine questions.

    His recommendations whenever I ask is run hills. Then run more hills and then some more. You will be running a lot of hills and climbing a lot of stairs. As for the VFT I do not know an average, but would recommend training to max it. You will do a lot of push ups. Just be in great physical shape, it will help with everything else because you are going to be tired all the time, if you cannot keep up physically when you get there you will be miserable keeping up when you are exhausted. Your first VFT will be given when you are completely exhausted, do not beat yourself up if you do not pass. There will be more chances.
     
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  3. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    I cannot swear to how VMI might handle things. What I can tell you is how the standard NROTC battalion handles things. Across the rest of the nation, NROTC participants do not attend PLC. Instead they attend the 6 week "Bulldog" OCS course in Quantico, VA which is for the NROTC students and PLC Seniors. This is done during your rising Senior year.

    You apply for Advanced Standing your rising Junior year, just like every other Marine Option midshipman across the nation. There is a lengthy application which will include recommendations from your MOI and perhaps PNS. Your AMOI will undoubtedly help you pull this together. Rest assured that the staff will be working to make you the best Marine Officer they can, and if you're well along that path you will have no problems other than the needs of the Marine Corps and what their commissioning objectives are for your class year. From the VMI NROTC web site....
    I certainly cannot answer this with specifics for VMI. I can tell you what the goals were in my son's battalion and what he accomplished. First, everyone was expected to achieve a first class PFT (>225). I'm not sure if this was expected out of the gate but that's the standard people were expected to achieve. The actual goal for my son's unit was to achieve an average score of 285 across the unit. Many people scored in the 290s or even a 300 and some of them were certainly freshman (including my son).

    Just do your best to prepare and keep on plugging. I would do the events in sequence periodically to get an idea of how you will score. When working out you should cross train where possible to achieve overall fitness. For example, DS would run 2 miles to the local rock climbing facility. He would climb for an hour or so which helped develop his back and shoulders for those pullups. After that he would run back. As part of his running training he didn't just run the three miles. He included interval training which not only helps on speed but does also improve your endurance. Do pullups and crunches whenever you can, pretty much daily (get a pullup bar).

    Hope this is helpful. Good luck at VMI. Semper Fi.
     
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  4. Strength and Honor

    Strength and Honor Member

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    *Rising VMI 2nd classman/Army MS3/cadre here*

    In regards to your first two questions, being Army I can give you the general answer that Marine scholarships and contracts in general are hard to come by at VMI. You'll be expected to work your tail off for them, but I have a good number of friends who have gotten them in the last two years.

    About the PT test, I'll be honest, you're going to to be dead when you take your first one. Rats come in at all different levels of fitness, but they have one thing in common: by early-mid September they are drained physically and mentally. You probably won't do your best just because of the circumstances of the Ratline. Try your hardest this summer to prepare.

    If you have any more questions VMI-related feel free to DM me.
     
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  5. repatriot

    repatriot Member

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    Word of advice: Your entire first year at VMI is going to be extremely physically demanding: you will be exhausted nearly all the time. Your brother rats will arrive at different fitness levels, but the smart ones will be physically fit. Just do your best to ensure you are at the top of YOUR physical game and don't focus on anyone else. As Kinnem said above, do pushups, pullups, and crunches daily--pretty much whenever you can." I'd also add, in terms of pushups 50 is pretty good, as long as your form is correct. From what I've been told, your VMI fitness test will be tougher than the service branch tests (USMC, Army, AF, Etc.). For example, you must go all the way down and all the way up for a push-up to count, so CORRECT form matters. When doing your pre-VMI physical training, run hills and run some more, do crunches and push ups focusing on correct and methodical form... then do some more just for good measure!
    Remember and keep saying to yourself: "The more you sweat in training, the less you bleed in war"--Chinese proverb.
     
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  6. Cincinnatus

    Cincinnatus New Member

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    Thank you all for your very informative replies. I think I understand the ROTC process for non-scholarship cadets a bit better now; I have a buddy who went to PLC, and he said he had VMI guys in his class so I assumed that PLC was the standard route. As I understand it now, ROTC cadets who have been accepted for advanced standing will do “Bulldog”, which is just the second 6-week part of PLC, their Junior summer. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

    As far as the VFT/PFT, I am definitely training to max the standards, and I am easily a first class on the PFT. However, I am not yet to the 285+ mark; I think that, with hard and consistent work, I may be able to get there by matriculation. I have a pull-up bar, and I am currently on Stew Smith’s “Pull-up Push” workout, so we’ll see if I can get a couple extra reps in two weeks. I am also going to attend STP, so hopefully that will help as well. Also, thank you repatriot for the warning about correct form.
     
  7. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    You have it right on bulldog. 285 is a good goal for USMC OCS. Remember pull ups and sit ups are where you make the easiest points. 1 pull up is 5 points. It takes like 20-30 seconds in reducing your run time to gain a point.
     
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  8. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    Cincinnatus...
    You're on the right path. PLC is a route to pursue for those who cannot get advanced standing, or otherwise contract, in NROTC. DS was looking into it when his scholarship finally came through. As for PFT prep it sounds like you're on the right track there. Stew Smith is a go-to guy.
     
  9. NAS

    NAS Banned

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    Cincinnatus,
    If you're going to VMI, then you're on the right path to setting yourself apart from the rest of the pack. My advice, set a goal to max out the PT Test across the board... you can do it.
    Either way, BEST of luck to you! You've made a great choice!
     
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  10. sprog

    sprog Member

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    I graduated from VMI over 15 years ago, but we didn't have to do push-ups as part of the VFT at that time. Pull-ups, sit-ups, and a 1.5 mile run were the evaluated events (minimum 5 pull-ups, 60 sit-ups, and under 12 for the run). That's probably changed, but I very much remember the joy of each semester's VFT week. Of course, contracted people have to take their service's PT test as well (mine was Air Force, so wasn't as onerous as the USMC).
     
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  11. repatriot

    repatriot Member

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    So True and Good Luck!
     
  12. NAS

    NAS Banned

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    Regarding the VFT, VMI cadets now take it twice a semester and it's a run, pull ups and sit ups. On top of that, each branch including the USMC, also require each cadet to pass their service-specific PT test standards each semester.
    VMI has also begun to expect more from new students prior to matriculation: From the new cadet VMI handbook, "If approved by VMI Admissions, the applicant is offered a “conditional appointment.” The appointment is conditioned upon the applicant completing other requirements, to include fitness approval. Appointees then submit a medical packet that includes a medical history, a medical examination, immunizations, and a certificate of understanding of the physical and psychological rigors of VMI (Appendix A). Standards: All VMI cadets including new cadets are expected to be able to accomplish all facets of the VMI educational program, which is a challenging, demanding program that involves significant physical and psychological challenges."
    By "raising the bar" of new cadet PT standards, the Institute is setting students up for success whether they choose the Coast Guard, Army, Navy, AF or the Marine Corps.
     
  13. USMCGrunt

    USMCGrunt Member

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    I just wanted to repost the wisdom of NavyHoops' recommendation. This subtle point is often missed by newcomers to the PFT. You can score big points with each additional pull up and sit up you achieve. It is much tougher to gain points on the run. While you should strive to max the entire event, I agree that a 285 is the proper goal for OCS.

    I believe my DS' MOI had to certify that they met a 275 or more before he could endorse them to go to OCS. But I may be off-base on that detail.
     
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  14. NAS

    NAS Banned

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    100% TRUE, so know your strengths and maximize where you can!
     
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  15. turtlerunnernc

    turtlerunnernc Member

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    DS doctor when completing the medical packet last spring " forced march????!!!, Can't they make it more appealing like nice long stroll?. Are you sure about this?" LOL
     
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  16. repatriot

    repatriot Member

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    In my book, Forced March = RUN!
     
  17. USMCGrunt

    USMCGrunt Member

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    repatriot: not really. If I recall my training on this, an infantry unit should be able to move at 4 mph with all assigned weapons under full gear and packs all day. I think the standard was 45 min followed by 15 min water/ rest/ foot check/ etc each hour. An infantry battalion had to cover 25 miles in 8 hours with minimal drop outs as part of our evaluation of combat readiness. My experience is dated (1980's) but I doubt that has changed much. Definitely not a run.
     
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  18. turtlerunnernc

    turtlerunnernc Member

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    Nope, not a run. A 20 mile ruck march on a mountain.
     
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  19. repatriot

    repatriot Member

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    Absolutely, both you and turtlerunner are right! Sorry, was reminiscing and should've been more specific. Was referring to a personal training experience: Back in the mid 90's, we did a short forced march (6 miles) at the start of a training program. Should've been a piece of cake... It was with full gear, rifle at port arms... but we RAN on and off the entire way, with the good sergeants providing plenty of inspirational motivation! Earned those blisters that day, ...good times.
     
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  20. NAS

    NAS Banned

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    6 mile forced march. Great way to start the day!
     

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