VMI vs. Texas A&M, vs Citadel vs Norwich

Discussion in 'Publicly and Privately Funded Military Colleges' started by pennak, Mar 23, 2011.

  1. pennak

    pennak Member

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    Hi All: DS is still waiting to hear about MO NROTC but he has been admitted to all these schools and, if he doesn't get the MO scholarship, he will have a choice of any of the four (plus the University of Washingon Seattle). He has visited all these schools overnight (except for A&M which we are going to April 8 for the Eagle Scout Scholarship event). I have seen Bruno's remarks about VMI. Would love to see recommendations, experiences, warnings and debate about which school. He loves history and international studies and will do Marine ROTC at any school he attends. Thanks.
     
  2. patentesq

    patentesq Parent

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    I think all of the SMCs are excellent choices. I am not aware of any particular warnings, other than they are NOT party schools. :smile:

    The main distinguishing features are: (1) geographic location, both in terms of weather (Norwich is colder in the winter, but cooler than SC in the fall) and alumni network concentrations (Norwich is heavy in the Northeast, because that's where it draws most of its applicants with roots in that region); and (2) whether civilians are on campus along with cadets (I think VMI and Citadel are exclusively military, while the others have civilians in the mix; Norwich probably has the least number of civilians compared to A&M, VT, etc.).

    One other thing about Norwich: In recent years, it has expanded heavily into on-line graduate education. Currently, the number of graduate-level alums exceeds the number of undergraduate-level alums. In this respect, there may be a broader group of alums, although they aren't traditional Corps alums.

    In terms of active-duty military opportunities, all SMCs are the same. In my Infantry battalion, we had 2LTs from each of the SMCs, ROTC, and USMA -- they were all on the same level. I expect the Marine Corps is the same.

    I think when deciding which school to attend (assuming no MO scholarship pointing to a particular school), you should look at price (NOT the sticker price, but the FINAL price as stated in the Financial Aid offer letter), geography, and most important, "gut feeling" after having visited the school.
     
  3. pennak

    pennak Member

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    Thanks patentesq. Nice words of wisdom. I agree that price is important. DS has partial merit scholarships at two of these SMC schools and is applying for them at the other two. He is out of state for all of them and the bank of Dad doesn't have endless funds. I agree that also important is the feel. DS liked all the schools he visited (we got started early) and would probably be happy at any of them. But there are subtle differences. For example, the Honor Code at VMI appears to be the most strict and that is actually quite attractive to DS. VMI and Norwich are in absolutely beautiful settings. My kid is not a party animal, so that part doesn't bother him at all. Which of all these schools is the most challenging? For example, currently he can probably come close to maxing out all the VMI pt standards and loves to be pushed to the extreme -- wants to see what he can do without cracking. Do these schools seek to find your breaking point?
     
  4. patentesq

    patentesq Parent

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    Here's how I look at the "price" of a school. It shouldn't be determinative, but it is simply a factor to consider along with everything else when making a selection. For example, suppose School B is $10k cheaper than School A. In that case, the benefits of School A should be worth more than $10k to pass up School B.

    It's almost like buying a car. For example, if someone has the choice between a BMW and a Chevy, many folks will choose the BMW over the Chevy for a variety of reasons, some of which may include things like "Brand/Prestige", perceived quality, warranty, etc. So you shouldn't just go with price. That said, if you had a choice between two identical Chevy's, then why pay more for the other?

    Just a thought on the "price" issue. :smile:

    I don't think the SMCs are out to "break" anyone. They simply shave your head and realign your thinking and build you up from nothing to what has worked for hundreds of years. The bottom line is that SMCs are NOT focused on weeding people out, because they want the tuition revenue. However, unlike the SMCs, the Marine Corps (or special ops in other branches) do seek to weed folks out who don't fit their profile.
     
  5. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    I don't know how to quantify which is most "Challenging"- I will tell you that the VMI Pt standards (VFT) are minimal standards and on any given day in your Rat year you could be expected to put out a lot more effort. But the point isn't really to stress you to breaking though I suppose that it does seem that way for those who are grossly unprepared physically and mentally. Rather the goal really is to force you to perform while you are being aggressively deluged with a lot of competing demands. The drop rate for Rat year which is where you would see most of the physical/stress related drops is something like 10-15% and most of that in the first month or so (that's a ball park- don't hold me to exact numbers). That doesn't mean that it isn't really hard sometimes, but they aren't trying to grind you down and physically break you. Lots more drop by the wayside as their cadetship continues but it is a combination of academics, a yearning for more freedom of lifestyle,and just basic loss of desire to be in that environment for 4 years. All told- I think that around 74% of those who matriculate will graduate in 4 years- there will be a few (and it is only a few) who will hang around for another year- but the % of 5th year men is very low- in large part because by the end of 1C year- you are ready to get the heck out of grey or white uniforms and move on- and more importantly nobody wants to be left behind as their Brother Rats leave.

    Unless you are Bill Gates - money is always a consideration and as an out of stater at VMI - It's a lot steeper than I would like to see. It's clear that the number of ROTC scholarships is way down this year -I can't really comment on non-ROTC VMI financial aid packages as I have no visibiity of what they offer or why. I do know some folks on the forum who have received some $- they may be willing to share the scope of the packages with you in a PM.

    The Honor Code is the institution that VMI is most proud of- and it is rigorously enforced and it is a one shot deal. It's hard to really describe how zealous they are about this - but once you have seen a drumout- you understand that this is serious business there. The benefits of that though- while guys play around with getting by the regulations- on matters of your word- "A Cadet does not Lie; Cheat or Steal NOR Tolerate those who do" - people take your word for things. Nothing is locked up- nobody asks you to reat yourself on where you were, your tests are not proctored etc... In short you are trusted to be absolutley honest in your words without weasling or quiblling or half truths. That's an excellent way to live.

    In terms of class sizes - VMI is a very small college: -like Norwich you will have pretty small classes- usually in the very low double digits or less and the professors only teach. The difference between them- VMI is 24/7 military (you won't have a car till your first class year or any civilian clothes in barracks) and 100% of your fellow students will be Cadets. That has it's plusses (plus= you are truly all in it together) and minuses (your social life will mostly be pretty minimal::eek:). as you noted both Norwich and VMI are in scenic parts of the country- as a Cadet you won't care after about 20 minutes! (you will hardly get to know Lexington for the first year you are there- Norwich is in the middle of great ski country but I don't think that you will be all that free to enjoy that for your first year anyway)

    I'm sure there is much I could add about VMI- bottom line- All of the SMC's have a different feel to them and you should visit and do an overnight to get a snapshot of that feel. I will be happy to add if you have more questions.
    good luck!
     
  6. MorganC

    MorganC Prospective

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    All member of the Corps of Cadets get in state tuition, WHOOP!
    Texas A&M University is the greatest place in the world.
    The traditions, the people, everything.
    I'll be the loudest and proudest member of the Fightin' Texas Aggie Class of 2015
     
  7. jjohnson55

    jjohnson55 Member

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    If at all possible, one parent definitely, preferably both, should attend the info session at Aggie Eagle weekend. At the end of the program you will realize there really is not a question at all, and will be counting down the days until fish camp. gig em:thumb:
     
  8. pennak

    pennak Member

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    Well, his Dad (me) will definitely be there. I am rather looking forward to it. We are from Maryland, and while I have traveled extensively in the Lone Star Republic, my son has not. So this should be an eye opener for him. And ultimately, it is his choice.
     
  9. pennak

    pennak Member

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    Are you sure about that (all members of the Corps get in state tuition)???? That was not my understanding. Why would they make it a possible scholarship for out of state Eagle Scouts during Eagle weekend if that was true? It wouldn't matter, right?
     
  10. bjkuds

    bjkuds Parent

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    VMI financial aid told us that they try to award up to 80% of the remainder after the EFC is figured on the FAFSA for OOS..basically do the FAFSA and look at your EFC..multiply by 120% = amount of subsidized/unsubsidezed and Parent plus loans you are looking at unless you can pay cash ;) at least that is their stated goal..Norwich had a very similar offer for our DS...a little more $$ in scholarships but with the difference in their tuition rates in the end it was a slightly better deal financially, but not by much. If he qualifies for Institute Scholar program you will probably fair better, but I can't say that positively. We just applied to everything and then compared offers. You never know what is possible or not possible until you get the offer statements. We didn't think we could afford it when we started looking at SMC's OOS, but in the end we can. You WILL PAY! but not advertised sticker price:biggrin:
     
  11. Lloyd Edwards

    Lloyd Edwards Parent of ROTC Cad

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    In-State Tutition @ Texas A&M

    Yes - a members of the Corps of Cadets at Texas A&M get in-state tutition. The way it works is the Corps makes sure you get at least one $1000 scholarship. That qualifies you for in-state tutition. The people at the scout weekend can give you more specifics.
     
  12. patentesq

    patentesq Parent

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    Here's how I understand it works with the SMCs.

    1. If you fit the "SMC Profile" (usually as indicated by JROTC involvement or prior military experience, etc.), they know you're looking at all of the other SMCs. And they know what the other SMCs are charging.

    2. If you are competitive to be admitted in any other SMC, they "equalize" the sticker price (by offering scholarships/in-state tuition)

    It's basically market-driven where the SMCs are competing for the same students.
     
  13. pennak

    pennak Member

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    So, did you end up sending DS to VMI? What was the deciding factor(s) for your DS? Thanks.
     
  14. pennak

    pennak Member

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    That's very interesting. I had simply not understood that. Do the rest of the SMCs then try to match it? Can you proceed in such a manner. Eg., Tell the Citadel that you god in state tuition at A&M and golly gee, can they match that? Is that done?
     
  15. bjkuds

    bjkuds Parent

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    He chose VMI and will be matriculating there this fall. We visited there and Norwich...it was a close call, but his preference was for VMI. It just seems like its a better fit for him.
     
  16. pennak

    pennak Member

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    Interesting. My DS liked both Norwich and VMI very much. VMI is a lot closer for us (we are in Maryland). Right now, we need to decide which SMC. We are flying down to Texas A&M on April 7 for their Eagle Scout Scholarship competition. Did you consider A&M at all?
     
  17. bjkuds

    bjkuds Parent

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    Not really..we were limited in where all to visit both in finances and time. VMI is 5 hours south and Norwich is 7 hours north for us. He loved VMI the first time he stepped foot on campus. So we checked out those 2 SMC's along with a few in state schools which were plans c,d,and e if he didn't get in an SMC he liked.
     
  18. pennak

    pennak Member

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    Sounds like you live in PA. Good luck to your son. We still have some decision making to do. I hope that VMI gives him some money, he has applied for the Institute Scholar scholarship, but we won't hear anything until April. Texas A&M makes it really attractive with its in state tuition for its Corps. that's a difference between 22,000 and 8,000. VMI is expensive at 30,000 for out of state vs 12,000 in state/ Cost isn't the only factor, but it does play a role.
     
  19. Devil5891

    Devil5891 Norwich Cadet

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  20. patentesq

    patentesq Parent

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