VMI Summer Program

Discussion in 'Publicly and Privately Funded Military Colleges' started by Flrunning, Mar 19, 2010.

  1. Flrunning

    Flrunning New Member

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    Hi, I have been poking around here for awhile (great stuff!) and was wondering if anyone had any opinions about STP at VMI. A couple of question I have:

    1. What is the average day like?
    2. Pro/Cons, Is it worth attending?
    3. What kind of benefits does it offer?

    I know there is already several other threads related to this, I just am kinda courious what I can find out. Thank You!
     
  2. TurkishRunner

    TurkishRunner Member

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  3. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    I can only tell you what my son's experience and the experiences of several friends was with STP. I know that his experience was very positive with STP- It had a couple of significant benefits for him and most of the folks that I have talked with:
    1. You wound up being able to take 3 credit hours less in your first semester - which is a big deal because you will definitely need the time for other "extra curricular" activities (ie... for the entire first semester the Ratline will suck down every bit of " free time" you have as well as time that is not free by any other definition of the word).
    2. It allows you to take a tough foundation course and focus exclusively on it- if you have a Calculus or Chemistry phobia or it takes you a week to write 100 words for an English class- this might be the time to take the course because you will not have to negotiate your priorities with another equally as important course. All of your academic energy is able to be devoted to one course- which is a great way to really master a course that may be a critical building block for the rest of your academic path.
    3. You will get a couple of hours daily of focused PT devoted to building your upper body and running ability- it's amazing how many kids on their own haven't ever physically challenged themselves and can't initially do pullups or run for more than a mile- but you will be in much better shape for the coming ordeal. You won't however have to be under a ton of upperclass pressure while you are participating in the guided PT program at STP- the idea is to physically build you up - not to mentally challenge you at the same time (this will come on matriculation day and after) . IF you are already a physical "stud" (generic term implies male or female) this isn't that big a deal but if not- you will find the Ratline much less threatening if you are not just breaking down in the first few minutes- physical readiness equals mental toughness- not to be discounted!
    4. You will get to meet your "about-to- be" fellow rats and have the freedom to just relax with them and get to know them before you are thrown into the blender. My son is rooming with guys who he met and palled around with at STP this year- all thru Rat year they were buddies when they really needed them. This won't take the place of the bonding you will get in the Ratline but it's a little bit of a comfort going in knowing people . BTW - you will discover that some of the folks you met and thought were great in STP turn out to be somewhat different under the stress of rat year, and some of them blossom when faced with pressure- so this is no substitute for the Ratline, but it's nice to have someone you know before things even get rolling- it takes some of the edge off.

    This is a program that started long after I graduated, but I and the classmates of mine who are parents of Cadets or faculty members now, all agree that STP is a very positive experience and strongly urge you to take advantage of it. (It is however expensive if you are an out-of-state Cadet but I can't help you with that).

    Hope this answers some of your questions
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2010
  4. sprog

    sprog Member

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    I went to this program in 1995. We called it "Pre-Strain Summer," but it was officially the Summer Transition Program (or STP) as it is currently called. I echo everything Bruno says about it. It is highly valuable, for no other reason than it allows you to focus on a college class which will reduce your academic load once the fall semester starts. I took math (statistics is required for LA majors), because I am a math-phobic person, and got an A in the course. Not having to take math during first semester was a huge advantage, as the Ratline takes away from being able to focus solely on academics. So if you can, I highly advise going to STP. The course also gives you some idea of what being a Rat will entail (although it is laid-back compared to the Ratline), and you can evaluate if VMI really is what you want during the program. I knew of one or two guys who did STP and then decided that what awaited them come August was not what they had in mind.

    And Bruno is right, STP and the Ratline are very different experiences which produce different results. If you do go to STP, just absorb everything around you and do your best not to make any of the upperclassmen (there for summer school) notice you in a negative way. There were several guys at STP who walked around like they were kings of Barracks, only to be rudely awakened once the Ratline began. I had one of those guys as my roommate/companymate (Cold Steel Charlie) once fall semester began, and he didn't survive hell week (the PC term is "cadre week").
     
  5. larry2013

    larry2013 Member

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    Just wanted to echo the comments bove - my son went to STP last summer.
    VMI recommends it and for good reason. For son it gave him:
    -opportunity to learn the post/campus
    -take his time consuming class - english
    -taking 1 less class during fall semester is HUGE!!!
    My son's STP roommates caqme in all heights, so that was different from fall - company's are arranged by height. That said, yes the field activities and sport time gave him lots of chance to meet and get to know his classmates. When we went in August, first did the NROTC meeting at 7am - I saw and got to meet so many incoming RATS that had been at STP.
    As for the cost, I believe I remember when registering for STP - that IF YOU WERE OUT OF STATE, student Could apply for aid. We live in Virginia so I did not pursue, just felt the money was most important to provide the program and opportunities it had.
    I will finally add, it is a typical summer school type program, 1 class something like 8-2 - I think I recall a lunch break and physical activities in the afternoon. There were also special events - picnic, etc - some free time, etc.
    If at all possible, I would recommend following the guidance of VMI - attend STP - so that you are as prepared for fall as possible!
    good luck,
     
  6. Flrunning

    Flrunning New Member

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    Thanks to everyone for the advice! I went ahead and signed up and am looking forward to it!
     

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