Texas A&M, Virginia Tech, VMI

Discussion in 'Publicly and Privately Funded Military Colleges' started by Alice19, Oct 8, 2012.

  1. Alice19

    Alice19 Banned

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    Hello all,

    I`ve been interested in the SA`s and am planning on applying to USMA and USNA, but I`ve also really started to consider the SMC`s too. They all seem like excellent schools, and I`ve narrowed it down to the 3 in the title--A&M, Tech, and VMI. I`ve been to the websites, read all the info, looked at their catalogs, etc, and will probably apply to all three and the NROTC-MO scholarship as well as AROTC scholarship, but was looking for some personal experience, or if you`re the parents of cadets, how your child/children like/liked it. VT & VMI are in-state, if that makes a difference.

    So my questions are (and if you`re a parent, just substitute the "you" for your child):

    1. How do you/did you like it?
    2. Besides the Corps of Cadets, how did you feel the academics were?
    3. What was the daily schedule like?
    3. Why did you choose your school over any other SMC/SA, why SMC at all?
    4. What does your SMC have that other SMC`s and SA`s don`t?
    4. What branch are you going to/did commission into?
    5. Any other experience/advice?

    Feel free to add to that. I`m just trying to get a glimpse of life there, since websites only tell you so much. I`m a sophomore, so I probably won`t visit until next year, especially for A&M. I`ve been to Tech`s campus before to go to football games, but never really looked around other than that. I have a guy from my youth group attending VMI right now, but won`t see him for a while, so I thought I`d ask here. I realize this has probably been asked before, but probably not these specific questions.

    Thank you all, I appreciate it.

    -Alice
     
  2. nick4060

    nick4060 Member

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    I went to VT for Air Force ROTC.

    1. The VT experience in general was amazing. Great school. Great community. Loved ROTC. The active duty officers/NCOs in all three programs were very professional and showed a sincere care for the welfare of their cadets. The VTCC itself came under new leadership last year...with that will come some changes, maybe for the better or worse. In my opinion it got worse over my 4 years there.

    2. Academics were outstanding. I wasn't an engineer so I can't comment on that part.

    3. For freshmen, the daily schedule is a lot like what you'd find at the service academies. For upperclassmen, there are very few actual obligations other than living in the dorms, being in uniform during the day, and showing up to formation for 15 minutes in the morning.

    4. I didnt decide on VT because of the Corps. After visiting the campus I fell in love with the atmosphere. It was my second choice after USAFA (didnt get in).

    5. VT offers a lot more than most other SMCs in my opinion. You still get to enjoy all the experiences that come with a major public university...football, tons of student organizations, frats/sororities, great party/bar scene, etc.

    6. I was in AFROTC.

    7. PM me if you'd like more specific info on VT. But in general I'd say all SMCs have advantages and disadvantages. It really depends on the individual's attitude as to how he/she will enjoy it. If you go in with a bad attitude, you'll hate it. If you go in with a good one, you'll most likely get something worthwile out of it.
     
  3. Alice19

    Alice19 Banned

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    Thank you I appreciate that!
     
  4. CadetMom777

    CadetMom777 Member

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    Answering as a Texas A&M Corps parent (by the way, very near this thread is another thread asking about aspects of A&M Corps of Cadets for additional info).

    1. I think the Corps is great. My son, although he loves the overall school and experience, has kind of had his fill as a senior and is ready to move on to commissioning and the next stage of his life. I think this would be true at any full time military school (SMC's and Academies). He had a wonderful opportunity this past summer to travel to Germany and spend a month shadowing a 2LT and learning what the next stage of his life will be. He has done very well both militarily and academically while he has been there, which I give him full credit for through his hard work.

    2. A&M, along with University of Texas, is a flagship public school. The majority of students who make up the undergraduates were in the top 25% of their high school classes. The academics are rigorous, especially in the engineering and business schools.

    3a. Very busy schedule in the Corps! Excellent time management skills are a must. Your weekday begins about 5:30 am for getting ready followed by morning formation and breakfast. You spend the day going to classes and labs. Afternoon is for outfit activities including PT. Evening begins with formation and dinner followed by call to quarters for homework (mandatory study time for freshmen and sophomores). Lights out about 10:30 or 11:00. Lather, rinse and repeat through Friday. Weekends depend on the time of year. During football season, you will have full days of Corps activities associated with home games. There is usually one Corps Trip to an away game (although our joining the SEC may have altered this somewhat). Depending on your jobs in the Corps, you may have many other things going, too. You are free to join outside the Corps extracurricular activities as well as time permits.

    3b. Our family is an Aggie family. Three generations and multiple siblings, in-laws involved. When my son decided he wanted to join the Army, A&M naturally was at the top of his list. I think A&M is an outstanding school with an amazing spirit and culture... but I am extremely biased to say the least. Another benefit to joining the Corps is all members receive at least a $1000 per year scholarship AND, even if you are not a resident of Texas, you receive in state tuition!

    4a. SMC's give you two advantages over other regular ROTC units. The first is you get the full-time military experience (to some that may be a minus, but they are a great alternative to the Academies for that). The second is you are guaranteed active duty after commissioning assuming you have fulfilled all the qualifications. Regular ROTC's may result in a reserve duty commission if you do not finish high enough in the rankings. A&M and Virginia Tech also offer the "best of both worlds" ROTC experience in that you are part of a full time military program set inside a large civilian university.

    4b. My son is in Army ROTC

    5. I personally feel the SMC/Academy experience is a harder path to take as far as commissioning versus part time ROTC or OCS (and I say this as an OCS commissioned officer myself). But I also think it gives you an excellent grounding in preparation for your service as an officer. This in no way implies that there aren't wonderful officers that come out of the other commissioning sources, because there are. But, on balance, you just have more practical application time under your belt if you do a full time program.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2012
  5. Alice19

    Alice19 Banned

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    Thank you for that perspective from the Aggie side of things. Any VMIers out there who`d like to share?
     
  6. emwvmi01

    emwvmi01 Member

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    Alice,
    I'll caveat with I graduated 11 years ago but I have stayed relatively current on Institute happenings and don't think this will be too dated based on your questions.

    1. How do you/did you like it?
    My perspective and the common one seemed to be no one "likes" VMI while you're there. The regimentation and harshness while having benefits are not designed to be fun in a conventional sense. Even the most gung ho get worn down over the four year journey. However, at my 10 year reunion it was interesting to see how many now value the experiences and the bonds that VMI produces.
    2. Besides the Corps of Cadets, how did you feel the academics were? I think Academics were and remain a hidden gem at VMI. I had SA stats, nomination etc but chose VMI because I desired a liberal arts education and ROTC would make sure it was paid for. The engineering departments are excellent. I was a History major and the Economics programs is noted as well. The class size (I only had one over 50 and that was a weekly Rat history lecture) is amazing and by the time you get to your second or first (Senior) class year your class sizes are typically 10-15.
    3. What was the daily schedule like?
    As a rat you wake up about 0600 and prep your room and your dykes (first class mentor). There is a corps formation for breakfast at 0700ish and march down to the dining hall. Classes meet from 0800-1100 or 1200. There is a dinner formation and march down. Then classes from 1300-1600. From 1600-18/1900 is Military duty with drill and ceremony, physical training and a rat training regimen known as rat challenge. Supper follows that and then evening study period in your room. Taps was 2300. On Saturdays if there is a football game you have a parade at 1000 and football marchdown at 1230. On Sundays typically no duty though meal formations continue and there is opportunity to worship on or off post.
    3. Why did you choose your school over any other SMC/SA, why SMC at all? I wanted a liberal arts education and I am also a Virginian. I liked the commissioning option ( I did take an Army commission and I am still an active field grade officer). The discipline and intense nature of the ratline was appealing (that was regretted at later points though I am reconciled now).
    4. What does your SMC have that other SMC`s and SA`s don`t? I think the full time immersive corps experience is pretty unique. I appreciated the value of the honor system. VMI is the only school with a single sanction (dismissal) honor system. The bonds that the adversative nature of the rat system produces are also fairly unique. Other SMCs/SAs I think that bond is more company/unit specific at VMI it is more class specific.
    4. What branch are you going to/did commission into? Army Field Artillery, I have 11 years active duty with 4 deployments to OIF/OEF.
    5. Any other experience/advice? Prepare mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually don't let the challenge psych you out but be aware this will be harsh and demanding as it is designed. VMI will teach you humility, punctuality, and develop habits of discipline but it will also expose humor and a bond with your brother rats that will remain through your life.
     
  7. Alice19

    Alice19 Banned

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    Thank you very much! That was very insightful and I really appreciate it!
     
  8. Full Metal Bulldog

    Full Metal Bulldog Citadel Class of 2016

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    Have you also considered The Citadel at all? Very similar school to VMI.....
     
  9. Alice19

    Alice19 Banned

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    I`ve looked at The Citadel, but I don`t know...I just like VMI better. Don`t know why; can`t really explain it.
     
  10. Full Metal Bulldog

    Full Metal Bulldog Citadel Class of 2016

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    The reason I ask is because The Citadel's NROTC unit (including MO) is one of the best in the nation, and the Army unit (of which I'm a part of) is also very superior to any competitor in terms of quality and opportunity. I remember reading where The Citadel was the 2nd highest producer of new Army 2LT's besides West Point in recent years, and the Navy program offers some of the most in demand SWO slots in the entire Navy O-1 commissioning system. Just trying to sell my school.......any questions feel free to PM me :smile:
     
  11. Alice19

    Alice19 Banned

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    Thank you, I appreciate it. Didn`t realize they had that great of ROTC units. Thanks for the offer.
     

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