military college / traditional college

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by jmh-123, Jan 4, 2010.

  1. jmh-123

    jmh-123 New Member

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    currently waiting on possible appointment to the Academy. Plan "B" Citadel / VMI / Purdue. Does anyone have an opinion on Military college vs traditional college should the Academy not come through?
     
  2. Kero

    Kero Member

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    If you go to a military college just know what you are getting into. The lifestyle is vastly different from ROTC at a civilian college. Do your homework but in the end it's about what you are looking for in a college experiance.
     
  3. jmh-123

    jmh-123 New Member

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    do you have any opinion on the quality of education the Citadel or VMI offers compared to a college like Purdue, in short would you get a better education at a traditional college if Annapolis does not happen, considering you will end up at the same place after 4 years?
     
  4. jbowman55

    jbowman55 USNA Parent 2014

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    Is that engineering at Purdue v VMI/Citadel? If so, as an engineer myself, I would recommend Purdue (or look at Texas A&M--good engineering school and full-time Corps of Cadets).

    Bottom line, pick your major, then look at ROTC options within that major.

    your mileage may vary
     
  5. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    I guess that kind of depends on what you are looking for doesn't it? The strengths of VMI compared to Purdue or any other Civilian College:
    1. It is focused. You are there strictly to be an undergraduate student and everyone there exists to support you- there are no graduate programs offered there- summer, nights or weekends. The student/faculty ratio of 11.5-1 is pretty much all teachers to students- not teachers who are really researchers with GTAs doing the teaching. The full professor is teaching the course and they will know who you are and how you are doing.
    Like all Colleges these schools have their academic strengths and less strong programs. VMI was ranked 3 just behind USMA and USNA in the USNews public college ranking for the 5th year in a row, has graduated 2 Rhodes Scholars in the lst 3 4 years and VMI's engineering program for example is one of the top undergraduate engineering programs in the country ( I think that it was ranked 9th overall in the last USNews ranking of undergraduate Engineering programs and two of the last three Army Chief of Engineers have been VMI alumni.) However- they do not offer an aerospace engineering program so if that is what you are interested in- you would be out of luck. The Citadel has a very well known Criminal Justice major. So - what major you want matters.

    2. You are really challenged mentally; physically, emotionally. You pull a full academic load of academic courses where skipping isn't an option- and on top of that will have a boatload of extra military duties - especially as a 4th Classman (Freshman), but you will need to learn how to manage your time because you can't stay up all night studying. Lights out means- "lights out" whether you have studying still on your plate or not. Additionally you will learn how to deal with stress and pressure and sort out the things that are important from the things that are merely noisy ankle biters. (Ie.. just becasue someone is screaming about something doesn't mean that is the most important thing you have to do. The trick is to figure out how to do the important stuff and minimze the conflict with the other stuff:rolleyes:) It is not for the faint of heart but if you figure how to juggle those you've learned a lot!
    3. The Honor code is a no kidding - living; breathing lifestyle. ("Cadet will not Lie; Cheat or Steal nor tolerate those who do"). Your word is your bond and they will throw you out for violating that bond. There are no locks on the doors and no thievery. If someone says they did something they did, and if someone says they didn't - they didn't. It's a hard concept and every year maybe a dozen Cadets will be drummed out for a first offense of the honor code- sometimes for fairly small deceptions. A drum out is unforgettable but it makes everything else run and everyone understands the deal and agrees with it.
    4. You will be in good shape at the end of Rat Year. Between Rat PT; Rat Challenge; Mandatory VMIFT; ROTC PFT and PE courses you will be in much better shape than the average bear.
    5. At VMI the majority of your classmates will take a commission in one of the services- you will run into fellow alumni throughout your career in the military. You will be well prepared for a military career because of the things that are going on outside the ROTC classroom.
    6. You will be closer to your "Brother Rats" (or "Knobs" ...) than you can possibly imagine without going thru it. At the end of 4 years - the phrase "LYLAB" ("Love you like a brother") is not just a throw away. I might not kill for my brother rats but I would take one for most of them. My Ring is wornout after 31 years of not coming off my hand.

    Downside-
    1. Your life is not your own. You are told what to wear, where and when to be places and what your room is going to look like. If you are big into your own personal space- you will hate VMI (or the Citadel) .
    2. You will have a constrained social life compared to your friends at "Dear Old Ivy" or Whatssamatta U or any other school. Truly. VMI ranked Dead last in this year's Playboy ranking of top Party schools in the US- behind American University of Beirut (where they kidnap you) and the University of Alaska at Kotzebue (150 miles north of the Arctic Circle in a dry town) and University of Phoenix (Which has no campus- it's an Internet University). They really weren't too far I am afraid. That's not to say that you don't have a good time- but it will be different than what your friends are doing.
    3. It is a small school- At VMI there are about 1400 Cadets - 93% male so you do the math on the number of males to females. If you are a female- you are definitely part of a small community.
    4. You will spend most of your first year under a ton of stress - (see number 2 in the strengths). It gets wearing! If you don't understand that going to a military college is really signing up for something where "fun" and "I" are not the driving forces - you are making a mistake.

    I'm sure that there are others with a different or maybe broader perspective who can add to this or disagree. The final piece of advice I could give- you need to think about what you are interested in in terms of majors, social environment and challenges and then look at your backup schools to make your decisions.

    Hope this helps some.
     
  6. attacklax17

    attacklax17 Prospective

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    Sorry, I don't have an answer for the original poster. A question I had related to this topic though is how is VMI for ROTC (navy/marine) and overall as a military college?
     
  7. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    Attaklax- why don't you post this in the Military College Forum and I will be happy to go to town on it and maybe a few more folks with experience at VMI will also see it there.
     

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