Military college vs private university

Discussion in 'Publicly and Privately Funded Military Colleges' started by Texan, Jan 10, 2013.

  1. Texan

    Texan Member

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    I'm looking to major in International Relations, and besides West Point I'm looking at VMI, The Citadel and Norwich. I'm looking at potential scholarships and aid, and I'm noticing that tuition is almost equivalent to schools like William and Mary, Georgetown and American, which I have a good shot of getting into. What are the merits and disadvantages of just doing Army ROTC at like William and Mary as opposed to Norwich? What do the SMC's offer that's better than some private schools when looking at ROTC, taking majors into account?

    Thanks
     
  2. RahVaMil2009

    RahVaMil2009 Member

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    What are your career goals?

    I'm guessing that you're interested in pursuing an Army commission, but why a degree in IR? Are you thinking career military? Or 4-8 years in the Army followed by a career in diplomacy (ie, State Department) or IR (academia, think tanks, policy analysis, etc.)?

    What you'd like to do with the degree is probably the most important factor to consider when choosing which university option is the best fit for you.

    Jackie M. Briski
    VMI Class of 2009
    First Class PVT (Ret.)
     
  3. NorwichDad

    NorwichDad Member

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    SMCs offer a Corps Experience of militiary lifestyle while in college, similiar to the SAs. There are opportunites for Leadership and Training within the Corps. That said it is really up to you what is best for you. The advantages of any path to leadership are outweighed by the efforts of the individual. Its about what you do and not where. What ever path you choose is only the beginning.

    Good Luck
     
  4. Texan

    Texan Member

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    I'm all in for career military, I'm just really interested in IR. I guess it's the fact if something goes wrong in my military career that I have the IR degree to go back on.
     
  5. RahVaMil2009

    RahVaMil2009 Member

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    First, any of the schools you've mentioned will serve you well. It's really a matter of what you're interested in.

    For career military, any of the SMCs would be a great option. There's tons of good info in this forum, including several threads comparing and contrasting the different SMCs.

    If you were considering a short stint in the military followed by a career in diplomacy or analysis, I would have recommended W&M, American or Georgetown (assuming you can afford them :eek:) simply because these institutions are more widely known within the field of IR.

    At the end of the day, your college experience will be whatever you make it--as will your training to be a good officer. You'll get more structured leadership experience at an SMC, but a degree from one of the other schools you mentioned might get you a little farther outside the military. (Military experience will definitely help bridge any gap in school prestige.)

    Good luck!
    -jmb-
     
  6. Lawman32RPD

    Lawman32RPD Member

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    A few caveats. I didn’t attend Texas A&M University (“TAMU”) or any other SMC, and I haven’t been in the military. You can take these comments for what they might be worth. I’ve also sent you a private message. Out of state students who are members of the Corps of Cadets at TAMU pay in-state tuition (regardless of whether or not they are contracted).

    Each school, civilian or otherwise, is different, and the right school or a good fit school for one person might not be a great fit for someone else. If you can, please try to visit the school or schools you might be interested in. The schools you mentioned are different. William and Mary is one of the “public ivy’s” and will have a markedly different feel and experience than an SMC. VMI is small, 96% of the instructors have a terminal degree in their field of specialty, there is the ratline, there is no place to hide but on the flip side, you’ll have up close and personal instruction from that professor. TAMU is, in some ways, at the other end of the spectrum. You’ll be in uniform and living (when compared to your TAMU ‘non-reg’ brethren, an austere lifestyle) but you’ll be one of 2,100+ in a sea of 50,000. Freshman and many sophomore classes are big. While the percentage of out of state students in the TAMU Corps is higher than the TAMU general population (where it is about 3%) it still isn’t high. The population demographics or geography of Texas is such that most students are from hometowns within a 1-5 hour drive. Even Fish (first year Cadets) get some weekends off and can have cars, so they frequently go home – if you are out of state, that’s harder. Football is a big deal at TAMU, and is a big deal for the Corps (you are required to go to home football games as a Cadet).

    If you are interested, see http://corps.tamu.edu/ . Under the “Connect” tab you can e-mail questions to cadets or to the full time Corps staff (principally retired officers). TAMU, like most schools, has a spend the night program. You can also reach the various ROTC departments. The “Contact Us” tab has way to contact the ROTC departments. http://corps.tamu.edu/contact-us

    TAMU has a graduate school of public service, the Bush School of Government and Public Service. http://bush.tamu.edu/degree/ . TAMU also has a robust International Relations program.

    The International Studies degree provides an interdisciplinary curriculum that captures the broad range of social, political, cultural, and economic forces at play in an increasingly interdependent world. Courses are linked by language, topic, and region, and class work is enhanced by a related international experience. The degree couples a thorough background in foreign language with one of five different degree tracks: Communication and Media Studies, Commerce, Arts and Culture, Politics and Diplomacy, and Environmental Studies. All students participate in a 10 to 14 week international experience in their chosen geographic region. Upon graduation, international studies majors have the language proficiency, analytical skills, substantive knowledge, and cultural sensitivity necessary for work in government, academia, or international business.

    http://internationalstudies.tamu.edu/html/international-studies.html

    However, to join the Corps you have to first be admitted to TAMU.

    http://admissions.tamu.edu/freshmen/default.aspx

    Total Number of Freshman Applications: 29,713
    Total Number of Freshmen Admitted: 16,488
    Total Number of Freshmen Enrolled: 8,255

    Top 10% Admits: 54%
    Academic Admits: 15%
    Review Admits: 31%

    Academic Profile for First-Time Freshmen
    Average SAT Score: 1220
    Average ACT Score: 27

    Class Rank
    Top 10% of High School Graduating Class: 54%
    Top 25% of High School Graduating Class: 90%
    Top 50% of High School Graduating Class: 99%

    http://admissions.tamu.edu/counselors/profile.aspx

    For more of the marketing type information see Aggiebound:

    http://aggiebound.tamu.edu/

    Good luck and Best Wishes.
     
  7. Texan

    Texan Member

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    Thanks for the great advice so far! I've been researching online and I'm reading how officers from SMC's essentially always get active duty if they want it, while civilian college ROTC members sometimes are pushed to the reserves to start. How truthful is this claim?
     
  8. RahVaMil2009

    RahVaMil2009 Member

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    (Note: My info could be dated. Lots has changed even in the past 3-4 years.)

    I could be wrong, but I think this info is kind of out of date regarding ROTC in general. When ROTC was first established, it was intended to train officers for the reserves, which is why it's the "Reserve" Officer Training Corps. These days ROTC doesn't focus so much on the reserves. All contracts (especially scholarships) are becoming incredibly competitive these days due to military drawdown and budget cuts, but if you're offered a contract, you can pretty much choose whether you go active or reserve.

    The only advantage you might have at a SMC in this regard is that funding for detachment-based scholarships is distributed at least in part based on detachment size, so the SMCs might have more money to play with since their detachments are probably considerably larger than those of W&M, American, and Georgetown.

    -jmb-
     
  9. Lawman32RPD

    Lawman32RPD Member

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    There can be an advantage if one is pursuing a commission in the Army. See 10 U.S.C. § 2111a(e), reproduced below.

    10 U.S.C.A. § 2111a

    § 2111a. Support for senior military colleges



    (e) Assignment to active duty.--(1) The Secretary of the Army shall ensure that a graduate of a senior military college who desires to serve as a commissioned officer on active duty upon graduation from the college, who is medically and physically qualified for active duty, and who is recommended for such duty by the professor of military science at the college, shall be assigned to active duty.

    (2) Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit the Secretary of the Army from requiring a member of the program who graduates from a senior military college to serve on active duty.

    (f) Senior military colleges.--The senior military colleges are the following:

    (1) Texas A & M University.
    (2) Norwich University.
    (3) The Virginia Military Institute.
    (4) The Citadel.
    (5) Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
    (6) North Georgia College and State University.
     
  10. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    For the ARMY only- it is true that Cadets at the Senior Military Colleges are guaranteed active duty IF RECOMMENDED by the PMS (which is a big caveat. Frankly you can't spend multiple years peeing on the PMS and then expect that he will suddenly feel obligated to recommend you go on active duty). It is only true for the Army (this a function of a law written into the USC from the early 90's ) and doesn't pertain to the other services. What you are not guaranteed is the branch of assignment within the Army which is strictly a function of the national ROTC order of merit list (OML) . So if you graduate down in the hopper from VMI or the Citadel or A&M etcl... you may be going AD, but you may doing so in the Chemical Corps when you wanted to be an Infantryman:eek:

    So- the guarantee of active duty is real and I suppose is something of a benefit, but IMHO, the main reason that you go to an SMC has much more to do with what you get out of the environment itself. I can't speak to the SMCs that are Corps of Cadet's within much larger civilian schools, but I can say that in a place like VMI or the Citadel- what you get is a small , undergraduate focused education in which you are not just one of a large crowd but small classes taught by the full professors on the faculty as opposed to GTAs etc..., a 4 year course in functioning under physical, emotional and academic presssure, a real appreciation for time management, a life long sense of honesty, integrity and honor and an abiding sense of team work and brotherhood amongst your classmates (and learning to deal with delayed gratification:wink:). All of those values are life long assets that far too few possess in "the real world" whether that real world is the military or a civilian world. On top of that - should you go into the military for a career- you will run into far more of your fellow classmates or alumns than you would coming form the typical ROTC program.

    On the other hand- the life style at these schools doesn't work for everyone and if you aren't actively sold on it- you will have an unhappy 4 years. Additionally- every college- SMC or otherwise- has strengths and some academic programs have a greater reputation in a field than others and you should know and consider that when choosing a school and a major. The school needs to be the right fit for you

    Lots to consider- good luck

    (Cross posted with Lawman-slow fingers this morning !)
     
  11. NorwichDad

    NorwichDad Member

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  12. philmont

    philmont Member

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    Ditto! :thumb:
     

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