1. turtlerunnernc

    turtlerunnernc Member

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    Hello, new here.

    My son received acceptance and merit scholarship to Norwich Univ. And is waiting still to hear from VMI. Currently VMI is his first choice but he is very happy to be accepted to Norwich.

    Does anyone have any insight on the similarities and differences of the schools. Getting to visit Norwich will be difficult with our schedule and its distance.
     
  2. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    Well I live in Massachusetts which is the source of close to half of the Norwich student body, & my next door neighbor just graduated from Norwich as did my younger brother years ago, so I have some appreciation for what Norwich is like; and I am a VMI Alum as is my son so I have some idea of what that's like as well. These are pretty different places- and they feel different. Norwich is in a tiny little town (Northfield) in North Central Vermont. It's cold up there so winters are long, but you are close to the best skiing in New England. It's about a 50/50 proposition between Civilian students and Cadets and as you would expect- thre is a fair amount of interaction between them . I can't talk about the strength of the Academic programs because I don't know that- They have all of the Services ROTC programs available to Cadets there, and the Mountain and Cold Weather platoon there is really a unique and well respected opportunity for Cadets. Norwich is a D3 athletic program while VMI is a D1 (though a poor one IMHO, at least in football!) Norwich offers a Masters level degree as well as Bachelor's degrees.

    VMI on the other hand is completely military, bachelor's level only school with no civilians on campus as students. there are no graduate TA's and all of the professors are primarily teachers. Lexington is a very nice small town- that Cadets won't appreciate. All Cadets have to take ROTC with one of the services- they don't have to take a commission though. There are a lot of things that go into the 24/7 military life style : You will be in uniform all the time- to and from the shower and every waking minute of the day -You won't wear Civilian clothes: not after certain time during the day,not on the weekend, not at all. You won't have a car or even the privilege of driving one until you are a First Classman (Senior). As a4th classman (Rat) you won't have overnight passes or for the most part day passes off post. So suffice it to say it's not a typical college experience which has plusses and minuses.

    Both of these are well respected programs but they are different even though they are both "SMCs". My best advice is to make the time for a trip to both as they are very different - you need to understand what 100% military 24/7 really means and what it really is like in VT in the winter. Burlington Airport is less than an hour from Norwich- it's served by Jet Blue and US Air, United and Delta. I see that you are from NC- you can get there for a weekend and I would strongly urge a visit if at all possible. And congratulations on your acceptance to Norwich and I hope that you hear affirmatively from VMI as well.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2014
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  3. MedB

    MedB Parent

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    Congrats; two awesome choices. Bruno has it right (of course) but did want to clarify a couple of things...

    I'm not sure that being in the Corps of Cadets at Norwich is any "less" military than VMI. All of the same kinds of restrictions, honor code, uniform wear, Rookdom vs Recognition, specific dorms, formations, etc etc exist for cadets. Yes, there are also now civilians at Norwich now too, but as the birthplace of ROTC their military "roots" run as deep as it gets.

    Speaking of ROTC... not sure about VMI (others will know), but don't forget that anyone bringing an ROTC scholarship to Norwich is also be awarded the ID White scholarship that covers room and board. With that scholarship, ROTC, and merit money it is often possible to effectively get a "full ride" at Norwich; so don't be put off by the price tag until you see the whole picture.

    In any case, sure your DS will excel no matter which choice he makes!
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2014
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  4. turtlerunnernc

    turtlerunnernc Member

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    Thank you!
    Yes, his merit scholarship letter did state that if he has an ROTC Scholarship his merit would be adjusted to full room and board. Very good news.

    Does anyone know if VMI does the same thing?
    TIA
     
  5. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    That's a good deal- To my knowledge VMI doesn't have a scholarship that provides a blanket Room and Board offer to ROTC scholarship recipients.

    A pretty good summary of life at VMI right now is the Superintendent's newsletter letter to Parents (attached) http://www9.vmi.edu/Media/multimedia/superintendent/newsletter14/index.html#12
    I'm sure that Norwich has something similar but I don't know where to find it. Again congratulations on some exciting opportunities- and best wishes on a Happy New Year- (the last half of which will be considerably different for you and your son).
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2014
  6. SGTLee

    SGTLee Member

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    SMC's vs one another

    It was my good fortune to have discovered this forum about 8 months ago as my DS (now a senior in HS) started exploring the six senior military colleges. He and I spent a considerable amount of time and more money than I projected visiting each as well as having him participate in overnight events and/or leadership weekends where offered. I can remember when I was "new" to this forum and asked about my DS's chances for a ROTC scholarship, the variances in SMC's, etc, and now..just a little bit wiser (and lighter in the wallet) I can say with all objectivity, each is so unique that to compare is really an exercise in futility. I tried my best to establish a matrix of "pro's" and "con's" on the whiteboard of my DS's room but we finally erased the mess because in the end...it's where he/she feels the connection with the culture, staff, fellow cadets, programs/majors offered, and most of all, their goals. If practical, go visit and stay overnight with a cadet at a minimum. As I tell my son, it's 'his 4 years and career thereafter" and no brochure or Youtube video is going to replace getting on campus and asking questions. I will say, the advice in this forum has been incredibly helpful and instrumental in giving my DS (and me) additional insight into each SMC. Speaking with current cadets, parents, alumni, and staff have all been facilitated through this forum.
    I guess my point is, try to resist "one vs the other" and see if you can visit each when they have overnight stays. Take the opportunity via PM to connect with all the current cadets, grad's, and wonderful parents that will share their perspectives. You couldn't pay enough for this level of access/intel and it's given freely by the great folks on this forum. My DS is winding-down to his final choice over the next month or two and I'll happily pay it forward by sharing my parent-based views with any new mom/dad or cadet for years to come!
     
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  7. turtlerunnernc

    turtlerunnernc Member

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    Thank you so much! He will be doing an overnight at VMI next month. Will have to work on Norwich trip.
     
  8. Strength and Honor

    Strength and Honor Member

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    I'm a current VMI Rat and if your son has any questions, feel free to PM me. The overnight visits are good experiences!
     
  9. turtlerunnernc

    turtlerunnernc Member

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    Thank you! I'm sure I will be taking you up on that. VMI is his first choice right now. He is doing the overnight on Feb 6-7. Just waiting to hear if he gets in and how to pay for it :)
     
  10. meh126

    meh126 Member

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    Turtlerunnernc- sent you a PM
     
  11. NAS

    NAS Banned

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    I've heard and seen the same "not any 'less' military" replies from a couple SMC grads out there... totally understand--it's an "esprit de corps" thing...
    Just to clarify one point: the honor code, the honor court, and the way the code is enforced at VMI is extremely different from any other SMC or Academy out there (not saying one school is better than the others here)--it's just vastly different. Do your research and talk to cadets at both schools...
     
  12. turtlerunnernc

    turtlerunnernc Member

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    Can you explain how it is different?
     
  13. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    To be honest I really don't think you can appreciate the differences without visiting each. VMI really is unique in a way that you can't appreciate without being there. Again: it is 24/7 military. There are no civilians on campus other than a few faculty members. There are zero/ zip/ nada civilian students on post. There are no civilian clothes for Cadets. Not after 1700. Not after 2400. Not allowed in your room. There are no cadet cars until you are a Senior- in fact there are no Cadets allowed to drive a car in Rockbridge county. It is stark in it's appearance (my wife says that the inisde of barracks looks like the Virginia State Pen:eek:). The life style can best be described as "Spartan" (which can also described in Cadet Lingo as : it sucks"). And the Cadet approach to life is kind of unique too- Cadets become quickly very jaded and rather cynical about military stuff. A fairly common approach to military life as a VMI Cadet is to stretch things to the limit- if formation is at 0700- Cadets will be routinely falling in at 0659:59 and a fair number of them will look like they had shined with a chocolate bar. Finally The Honor Code is a single sanction code- There is only one penalty (dismissal) and it is applied universally for your first offense- frankly it seems kind of draconian in its application to outsiders (I can not explain a drum out other than to say that it is something that you won't forget and you don't want to see again) but it is unique- I know of no other school that mandates a single sanction /single offense honor code- There is no "rehab" or "mitigation" for an honor offense and as a result the Honor Code is integral to everything that goes on at VMI. Virtually every VMI Cadet and Alum whom I know will tell you this (even those who have run afoul of the Honor code and ended their Cadetship prematurely.)

    Norwich from my observation is less intense. I assume that's because of the 50% of the campus that is not in the Corps, but whatever the reason,it has a completely different, more civilized feel to it. It feels like and looks like a regular college campus. It's different. That's neither good nor bad- and it is not a knock on a school that I have a lot of respect for, (As I mentioned my little brother is a grad, the Girl across the street just graduated last May from a really great computer security program at Norwich and has a great job as a result, and another young man whom I know well is currently a Jr there now)- it just is different.

    Really- you should spend the dough and make the time and visit both - at least for a day, because 3rd party commentary will not really give you a good picture of the differences between these two places. And even if you were just interested in VMI- I would say you have to visit there first. Not doing so is really a mistake. Most of the youngsters who don't succeed in their Rat year don't do so in my opinion because they really don't understand what they have signed up for. At least at Norwich- you have the option to trnasfer to the Civilian side of the canpus, but still- I'm certain that your chances of making the right call are significantly enhanced by visiting first and talking to current cadets before you commit.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2015
  14. turtlerunnernc

    turtlerunnernc Member

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    Thank you very much. We are going to try to make it to Norwich.
     
  15. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    I wish that I could be more help. I Love VMI and I respect Norwich a lot- but ones experience at each are really personal. Good luck and best wishes with your decisions this spring and Happy New Year!
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2015
  16. Wells8739

    Wells8739 New Member

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    Agree with Bruno 100%. DS accepted to both VMI and Norwich and is currently a Rat at VMI. We visited all of the similar schools and I can tell you that VMI and Norwich are very, very different. It is like comparing apples and oranges. The problem is some people like oranges, some like apples.

    Both are great schools for the right student. Please listen to the advice and do a overnight...then you may know what is best for you!
     
  17. MedB

    MedB Parent

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    Yes but everyone knows that humping through the mountains in snow and freezing temps builds character. Therefore Norwich cadets have more character than VMI cadets do... :wink:

    To the OP, outstanding advice here on this thread about differences between these great schools. It's a bit like arguing between a Ferrari or Porsche... different but hard to make a "bad" choice between them. I know you are trying to find a way to visit both and that is absolutely a key step in the process of choosing. If it helps, I can tell you that Norwich has some pretty terrific Leadership Weekend programs they run during the course of the year. A chance for your DS to go and experience the school for a test drive.

    One piece of advice I like to share though if they do go on the weekend... when they tell him to hold the rifle a certain way after retrieving it from the bottom of the pool, they aren't kidding. :thumb:

    Good luck and know that your DS has the "burden" of two awesome choices ahead of him. Congrats.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2015
  18. turtlerunnernc

    turtlerunnernc Member

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    Thanks everyone. We are already scheduled for an overnight at VMI. The overnights for accepted students at Norwich are in April. One of the dates we are not available at all. The other I will be out of town, so trying to see about somewhere my daughter can stay so hubby can take him. If that doesn't work out I will call Norwich and see if we can arrange another date.

    Still a lot of loose ends, like being accepted to VMI ( hoping to hear soon ) and actually getting an AROTC scholarship. Sadly, both are out of our price range without it.
     
  19. Strength and Honor

    Strength and Honor Member

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    Well good news for you is that both schools give a lot of scholarship aid. I think I got enough in scholarships from both to make attending them around $30K a year. Still not great, but much better than the original $50K ticket price.
     
  20. turtlerunnernc

    turtlerunnernc Member

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    Yes, Norwich was generous and offered $20,000 per year. Still waiting to hear from VMI, Citadel, Campbell and NC State.
     

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