VMI and the Citadel

Discussion in 'Publicly and Privately Funded Military Colleges' started by ldybtlr, Oct 25, 2009.

  1. ldybtlr

    ldybtlr New Member

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    First let me say that I am not looking to start a bashing session between two military colleges. What I am really want is some honest discussion on what the two colleges have to offer and why we should look at my son going to one over the other.

    We have visited VMI and are scheduled to visit the Citadel in the beginning of December.

    VMI does not have the major my son wanted but he is interested in the international studies or psychology as an option.

    He is concerned about the fact that the Citadel is not a complete miltary college as it allows civilian students in ... and the concern is that this will dilute the cadet experience.

    Any thoughts would be helpful as we work through this comparison and decision. I would especially like feedback from cadets and their family members.
     
  2. mom3boys

    mom3boys Parent

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    If your son wants a "complete" military college, why doesn't he apply to one of the 5 service academies?
     
  3. nmlcfp

    nmlcfp Member

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    The Citadel

    Our son was accepted to The Citadel but chose to go to Kings Point instead. He really liked the school but his overnight visit was a bit boring so he decided to go to KP instead. I hear great things about Citadel (one of my colleagues at work went there) and I think it is a good choice. The only thing I didn't like about it was that more than half of the Cadets are from South Carolina. Other than that, I liked it.
     
  4. NROTC-Hopeful

    NROTC-Hopeful Member

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    Basically let me sum it down for you,
    because i've researched this a lot; 'Citadel vs VMI' and it's distinguishable differences.
    And from what i can report, i can tell you, the only difference between these two respectable colleges, is location.

    Lexington, Virginia - VMI - Rural, surrounded by the scenic Shenandoah

    Charleston, South Carolina - The Citadel- Big city life, bordering beautiful beaches.

    And try not to worry about the few hundred civilians that attend The Citadel, because i heard they hardly come in contact with the Corp, because they take classes in the evening, and they are usually soldiers earning themselves an education. Similar to Norwich.

    Also, take into consideration tuition for both of these colleges for out-of-state.
    $21,031 + $5,750 = Citadel
    $ 35,730.00 = VMI

    In the end, you will receive the same result. A young man/woman that is respectable; and ready for the 'real' world. (Not to mention; a close to a 100% job placement guarantee after graduation)
     
  5. prayl001

    prayl001 New Member

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    I went to the Citadel my freshman year of college and did an overnight to VMI. Both produce the same "product." Don't worry about the civilian thing at The Citadel, it is rare a cadet comes in contact with them and I do mean rare. The biggest difference is how they are treated freshman year. At VMI you are rats and the rat experience does not last the entire year unlike knob year at The Citadel (yes you guessed, it lasts an entire year). The other biggest difference is the fact that at The Citadel, "knobs" have to brace when inside the barracks (even as they run from point A to B when inside the barracks). Bracing is fun, you get to bend back at the waist and pull your chin inside your chest! Oh and eyes are completely open, "dear in head lights" is best way to describe it. But honestly both will provide a first class education. But I loved Charleston; so much to do when there was slight "free" time. VMI is in the middle of nowhere. Both schools carry a great name and legacy and are golden tickets to any successful job. The only thing I hated was the tuition thus why I had to leave. But hey I joined the Marine Corps which (sorry) is better than VMI or The Citadel :wink: Hope this does some clarification. But honestly other than the few things I pointed out, either decision, he won't go wrong with! Semper Fi
     
  6. NROTC-Hopeful

    NROTC-Hopeful Member

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    I hope you know rats have to 'brace' as well. It's called straining, :p
     
  7. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    This is not correct- the correct costs for new cadets are at the links below:
    http://www.citadel.edu/admissions/cost.html
    http://www.vmi.edu/admissions.aspx?id=4294967745&ekmensel=fb5d653b_20_307_btnlink

     
  8. sprog

    sprog Member

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    ^^^^ As a VMI alum, I am really pretty bummed that the costs have increased to this level. I graduated 10 years ago, and was an out-of-state cadet. I'm thinking this is at least $10K more per annum than what I paid, and maybe even closer to $15K. I guess this is happening everywhere in higher education (outside of tuition-free institutions, obviously). It really is a shame. If I were a college-age kid today, I highly doubt that my parents could have ponied up the necessary cash to afford VMI out-of-state. I mean, I guess this is going on most places but geez, it really seems like the costs of college are exceeding inflation/cost of living increases by at least 3-fold. I dare not even mention the impact of the recession. Hopefully, given VMI's endowment, there will be more money available to prospective cadets. Given that selectivity has increased, I would hope the school would find a way to make sure that bright kids can attend the school, without cost being a barrier. One of the things VMI used to always say when I was a cadet, is that it doesn't matter if you are rich, poor, or middle class...you all start on the same playing field. I can only hope that the opportunity for the poorer or middle class kids doesn't go away because of costs. At least Virginia kids can still attend at a more reasonable rate, and I guess that's important. Given the uniqueness of a place like VMI, it seems to me there should be some regional agreements with other states to offer a reduced fee (something like the maritime schools do). Wishful thinking, I guess.
     
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  9. 11BRAVO

    11BRAVO Member

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    We have visited VMI and The Citadel several times. I had a CO that attended The Citadel. He was a good commander. I think your point about The Citadel having civilian students on site is a negative for someone looking to emerse themself into a military environment. VMI is a very spartan lifestyle and the men and women that attend there appreciate it. VMI is also undergoing major capital improvements. The post grad VMI network is one of the strongest anywhere. If you are a VMI grad you will get a job. There are plently of VMI alums all over the country that are looking out for their brothers. VMI is also steeped in history and tradition. Stonewall Jackson, Chesty Puller, George S. Patton...and the famed Battle of New Market where VMI cadets stormed the battlefield.
    The Lexington, VA area is very quiet and a good place to attend school. I know each school would love to have your son.
     
  10. prayl001

    prayl001 New Member

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    Citadel just started a Veteran's program as well. Right now they have an evening program, so unless you are on active duty or a cadet you will 99% not be in class with a civilian. Now they have a veterans program where if you served on active duty, got honorably discharged, etc, you can attend the Citadel as a daytime student. So now (starting in January), they will see civilians. The civilians are not part of the Corps of Cadets and do not have to take ROTC. There is a link on the citadel admissions page.
    I guess I didn't know VMI "braced or "strained" because when I did my overnight I didn't see them doing it. But it sucks, trust me! :eek:
     
  11. SF49ers

    SF49ers Member

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    As a current knob, I can attest to the military environment of The Citadel and the presence of the civilian graduate college. There are 3 types of students here:

    Cadets: approximately 2,000 in number. We make up the majority of students here. We live in the barracks, immerse ourselves in the school's traditions, PT, etc. The environment is very spartan. Our barracks are as simple as VMI's, not as comfy as the academies. We pride ourselves on our civil war victories as well, and all knobs are required to memorize the battle streamers that The Citadel was awarded after the war. The Alum network here is immensely strong as well, for the same reasons as for the strength of VMI's network. The Corp is the primary student body on campus, and all other students are distinctly separate.

    Military students: These are students who are currently enlisted in one of the services, most often as sergeants, who are returning to school to gain a Bachelor's degree in order to become officers. They do not live in the barracks, don't go to cadet activities, and only interact with us in classes. Out of all of my classes, only in 1 do I have any of these students.

    Civilian students: Take evening classes and aren't often on campus during the day when cadets have classes. Aside from thanking them for holding the door to the library or vice versa, I don't think I've ever talked to them during this semester.

    I assure you that our environment is just as militaristic as VMI's. Both schools offer all 4 major services, and I believe both have programs for cadets who wish to contract with the coast guard (there are a few white badges here). Our knob years are very similar, except that ours is longer. We are the only two schools left that brace, to my knowledge, and both schools have traditions of military excellence, particularly during the Civil War. Both are excellent schools and offer a unique and valuable education.
     
  12. NAS

    NAS Banned

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    VMI stands alone... period

    I think it is interesting that the only people who say how much the Citadel and VMI are alike are Citadel graduates...
    In fact, VMI is not like any other military college in the U.S. and here are just a couple of reasons why:
    1. Only cadets attend VMI and it is the most spartan environment you will find anywhere, period. The bonds of VMI graduates and the networks of VMI alumni are without equal.
    2. VMI has graduated more general and flag officers than any other "state military college" including more 4 stars than any other college or "military college" in the nation. Consider VMI is also the smallest of all the "military colleges."
    3. Per capita, VMI has the largest endowment fund of any public college (military college or civilian college) in the nation.
    4. VMI's academics are unmatched--more Rhodes Scholars than all the "military colleges" COMBINED... not to mention Marshall Scholars, Fulbright Scholars, etc.
    5. VMI still holds cadets accountable--honor violations result in a "drum out." VMI is the only military school or academy that practices this--and when the AF Academy had major and wide-spread honor code and cheating scandal violations, the Academy chose this option as a "temporary measure" to get the USAFA cadets back in line...
    VMI is unique, it stands alone, and it is a very interesting and uncommon place... even to graduates of other military colleges. There is something about VMI that you don't see anywhere else, and you can't explain it.

    In terms of our nation's military academies, they are great. However, many of the academy instructors and assistant professors would not be qualified to teach at VMI as nearly all VMI instructors and professors hold a PhD in their field. In terms of military rigor, the academies cannot match the military rigor or the spartan life of the VMI cadets--I strongly suggest anyone who is interested in VMI take a close look and visit the school... it is unlike anything else out there.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2010
  13. sprog

    sprog Member

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    What is your relationship with VMI? Are you a cadet, alum, parent, or high school student? I'm a 1999 graduate, and I have to say, your post is a bit on the incendiary side. The Citadel and VMI are alike, and it is a tremendous insult to cadets from El Cid to imply that they are somehow getting an inferior military college experience just because there are a handful of civilian graduate students who go to night school. I'm a VMI graduate and I'm saying it.

    When I was a cadet at VMI, our rivalry with The Citadel was strong precisely because we knew that their cadets were going through similar experiences. I have nothing but the greatest respect for the cadets and alums of The Citadel. In my active duty and civilian careers, I have often met guys who graduated from The Citadel. When I told them I went to VMI, we chatted a great deal about our collective experiences and would rib each other in a good natured way (much like Army and Navy graduates do).

    Also, the PhD statistic might be true for VMI (as opposed to the SAs); however, it is very disingenuous to imply that Service Academy faculty are somehow inferior to VMI's. The SAs are top-notch academically, and it does no one any good to state or imply that one type of military education is better than another.

    Finally, to the poster-VMI is a great school, but you don't do any of the cadets or alums a service by getting into a "mine is bigger than yours" contest with other SMCs or SAs. If you're an alumnus or cadet, I recognize your pride; however, remember that pride is one thing, and arrogance is another. I've served with Citadel, Texas A&M, USAFA, and Norwich guys on active duty....I always felt a bond with them, and they with me. Just something to think about.
     
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  14. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    Well Said Sprog: (and I also am a VMI Alum and father of a current VMI cadet). I am proud of VMI- but I would be surprised and saddened if the alums of every one of the rest of the colleges on this forum wasn't equally and justifiably as proud of their alma maters. They all have their strengths and niches, and they all have their warts. Living in Texas for so many years after I retired from the army- I developed a great deal of respect for the Aggies (and always rooted for them over UT-GigEm! ). My little brother is a Va Tech Corps grad (after xferring there from Norwich); other brother is a Norwich grad (who was just far enough ahead of Fuji to have probably been one of those upper classmen tormenting (or training?) him as a Rook:rolleyes:) Dad & Uncle are NY Maritime grads, another is a USMMA and another uncle is a USMA grad- I guarantee you that all of us - even those who are 55 years out of school still trade good natured ribbing back and forth- but we all share pretty common experiences and we ALL got first rate military and academic educations- all of us have grad degrees, and have had full careers in virtually all branches of the military (no AF though) and then the business or academic worlds after military retirement. Bottom line- my advice to any one looking at any one of these schools- they all have a slightly different feel and experience- look at them, visit them, talk to current cadets and think about what you wish your academic focus to be, and then decide. You will be well served at any of the senior military colleges or maritime academies.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2010
  15. Fuji

    Fuji Member

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    "...other brother is a Norwich grad (who was just far enough ahead of Fuji to have probably been one of those upper classmen tormenting (or training?) him as a Rook)..."

    Bruno,

    I was wondering why I did not like you...I thought it was just because you were a VMI grad...

    Just Kidding!

    Fuji
    Norwich 84
     
  16. NAS

    NAS Banned

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    VMI absolutely stands alone

    Sprog,
    I'm the guy who wrote the entry about VMI standing alone. To answer your questions, I am a '94 graduate of VMI and I'm in the military. In fact, as I'm writing this I find myself once again deployed.
    To the point: Glad to hear you have a great relationship with citadel folks.
    To my entry points: There is no intentional "mine is bigger than yours" statement here... I stated the facts about some very illuminating differences between VMI, the Citadel and other military colleges out there... differences of which I am proud. You see, it is my contention that over the years, VMI has grown apart from many other military colleges out there because VMI has attempted to remain true to it's mission and founding principles. The other schools have made decisions which were better for them, and that is great. VMI has chosen a different path and this has made VMI different for a variety of reasons.
    Regarding the SAs and as far as sounding disingenuous towards the faculty, I apologize. You see, as a former SA instructor myself, I was talking about my own observations about VMI's faculty compared to the colleagues I worked with while on my faculty tour. I have a great deal of respect for the SA cadets, instructors, and grads. However, my experiences and first hand knowledge have led me to the accurate facts I mentioned earlier.
    To conclude, if you want to discuss this further, please feel free to contact me and we can discuss offline. Just something to think about.
     
  17. sprog

    sprog Member

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    Just one point about your Rhodes statistic-

    West Point has had 88 Rhodes Scholars. That puts them fourth behind three Ivies on the all time list (or something like that). I could have misinterpreted your statistic...when you were referring to military colleges, were you not including the SAs? I would agree, VMI clearly has the lead in Rhodes recipients over the other SMCs.
     
  18. jasperdog

    jasperdog Member

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    Interesting and yet you did not cite one substantiating reference in your entire post.

    I'm glad you are proud of your Alma Mater, as was stated and/or alluded to in several responses already, we all are and we Alumni of those schools you did indeed slight in your post ALL, also have statistics and data which says we've matriculated from EXCELLENT institutions. We all probably also have data that says in some respect or another our Alma Mater compares favorably (i.e. could be viewed as better than) to VMI.

    If you can't see and admit the incendiary nature of your post or that it is/was indeed likely to start a "mine is bigger" kind of discussion than I'm surprised. I've known several VMI graduates, they were and/are all fine officers and gentlemen, and I'm fairly sure everyone would have been intelligent enough to see that before they posted such a note, and even if they hadn't, I'm totally convinced they would have followed up with a much more insightful and humble response than yours to being called on it.
     
  19. NAS

    NAS Banned

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    I attached Ldybtlr's original post for reference about why we are discussing these differences...
    Sprog,
    Yes, it was Rhodes Scholars at the Military colleges.
    Jasperdog,
    Sorry that you seem to be offended. However, I stand by my point that VMI is significantly different. Parents/prospective cadets deserve to know these differences so they can make a major life-long decision based upon fact, not rumor or emotion. Here are two quick stories which illustrate my point:
    1. Many years ago, a gentleman working on our squadron's copy machine asked about my VMI ring. He proceeded with some good-natured ribbing about VMI and how he was proud of his Citadel ring. In the course of our discussion, he told me that he was not a cadet, but he went to community college in Charleston, transfered his credits and continued part-time to get his Citadel Bachelor's degree, diploma, and ring. He was never a cadet...
    2. An outstanding young Captain and I were recently talking about his future goals and education. As far as his undergraduate studies, he told me he chose the University of New Hampshire because definitely did not want the "Academy or miltary school experience." As far as his graduate studies were concerned, he told me he had just recently completed his Master's degree online and he was waiting on the mail for his diploma from Norwich University...
    Bottom line: VMI is different
     
  20. Bird85

    Bird85 Member

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    A Citadel Graduate point of view....

    He is concerned about the fact that the Citadel is not a complete miltary college as it allows civilian students in ... and the concern is that this will dilute the cadet experience.

    To answer your original concern, your son/daughter as a member of the Corps of Cadets will rarely come into contact with any "civilians" at any time during the course of their studies. The Citadel has a Veterans program where enlisted members of the military are in a program to get their degree and then a commission in their service. Your child may or may not have a class with one of the Veteran students. They tend to stay to themselves.

    The Citadel also has a Master's program that "civilians" can attend in the evenings. Unless your child studies in an academic building at night, they will never see any of these students.
     

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