VMI vs. The Citadel dilemma

Discussion in 'Publicly and Privately Funded Military Colleges' started by eagleman, Jan 18, 2012.

  1. eagleman

    eagleman Candidate

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    Yesterday, I received my acceptance letter from VMI. Thus, I have to make the decision between the Citadel and and VMI. For the past couple of months have thought that the Citadel was where I was going to go. However, I think that was mostly due to the Citadel accepting me first. Nonetheless, I turned in my deposit and forms to the Citadel as if I had made up my mind on being a Knob. Now, I am debating with myself over what school I really can see myself attending. Can someone maybe provide some specific insight on what school I should attend

    I feel as if VMI has a better academic reputation, however not by much and I feel as if education comes to a point in which you get as much as you put into it. Therefore, I think this is a moot point, but could be wrong

    I like the weather in South Carolina more than Virginia since I am from Texas

    I like Charleston more for it seems more lively, while Lexington seemed sleepy.

    I like how VMI requires one to take boxing swimming and wrestling.

    The Citadel is a bit cheaper.


    What other specific aspects should I consider? How do the Army ROTC programs compare as far as commissioning goes.

    BTW If it helps, I plan on doing Army ROTC and plan on becoming an officer. I also plan on majoring in business.
     
  2. TurkishRunner

    TurkishRunner Member

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    You should also consider which school has the right major for you. VMI is pretty limited on majors, as it's a small school. Also, you're right about the sleepy town thing. It's a rural area. If you prefer the city to the country, that's definitely something to consider because you're going to be living wherever you go for the better part of four years.
     
  3. honeybadger14

    honeybadger14 Terminal Private

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    I would suggest checking the curricula of an EC/BU major for either school. I say this because I am an English major, and one detail that led me to VMI rather than The Citadel was the fact that I was only required to take one year of a lab science here, whereas The Citadel's curriculum called for two years. As far as Army ROTC programs go, VMI gets a good number of slots for Airborne and Air Assault School in both summer and winter, and even a wayward Mountain Warfare slot.

    Also...when comparing Charleston to Lex Vegas, one must also consider which area has more distractions! :biggrin:
     
  4. citadel11mom

    citadel11mom Member

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    My son looked at both and went to The Citadel. He was a 4 year Army ROTC cadet, history major, XO of the Army ROTC his senior year. He liked the location. We are in Georgia. A number of his friends are from Texas. I can put you in touch with them if you'd like. I have a blog for Citadel families if you'd like to read it go to: doriegriggs.wordprees.com or to offthebase.wordpress.com
     
  5. bob80q

    bob80q bob80q Banned

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    The Citadel has more commissioning slots due to having larger ROTC detachments, this also translates to more scholarship opportunities.
    I am biased of course being a Citadel grad but I went to high school in Virginia and looked hard at both El Cid and VMI, I personally thought it was an easy decision because of the beauty of Charleston and I definitely prefer warm weather over cold.
    Very familiar with both schools and the reality is The Citadel has newer and better facilities but obviously a subjective decision on your part.
     
  6. Blackheart6

    Blackheart6 New Member

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    VMI actually outpaced The Citadel on overall commissioning numbers last year and is at or slightly above again this year. Citadel has a slightly higher "mission", by about 5, and may get an additional scholarship or two per year.....fairly insignificant. The Citadel Corps is much bigger than the VMI Corps, and the Army Dept is also bigger, but overall commissioning is about the same.

    My advice is not to shortchange the academics......no matter what you think you may do in the military, you get to live with your degree forever. Look at the programs available and the rigor that you want from those programs in helping make your choice. Consider the faculty and classroom ratios that you desire as well.
     
  7. bob80q

    bob80q bob80q Banned

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    Citadel vs VMI

    Blackheart: you do not know your facts at all. In 2011 The Citadel commissioned 191, VMI had 122; you can check the school websites for verification. Funny how VMI routinely tries to make themselves look good by making stuff up, like the longstanding myth about being the only school whose entire student body fought in a battle.
     
  8. bjkuds

    bjkuds Parent

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    :thumbdown:
    :thumbdown::thumbdown::thumbdown: I guess it is a national historical conspiracy among historians and librarians
    http://www.librarypoint.org/virginia_in_the_civil_war_the_battles
     
  9. bjkuds

    bjkuds Parent

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    2 cents from VMI Mom

    Both schools have great reputations and are worthy of consideration. Both commission a similar percentage of those wishing to commission. Differences other than sleepy town vs "active" town and weather is a mix of civilians also at Citadel but limited contact as a Rook so I've been told. They both have really cool rings and you should be proud to attend either.:biggrin: Proximity to parents for breaks may or may not be an issue.. DS was in the same situation last year between Norwich and VMI.. VMI is half the distance and he isn't a fan of winter so VMI won even though the FA package from NU was a little better. Ignore the bantering and baloney posted. Think about where you think you will be the most comfortable for 4 years, the differences about percentages are miniscule at best and can sway back and forth from 1 year to the next. Good Luck
     
  10. solon

    solon Member

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    "I feel as if VMI has a better academic reputation, however not by much and I feel as if education comes to a point in which you get as much as you put into it."

    I'll be at VMI this coming fall. I really looked hard at school RANKINGS when I made my decision. Citadel is a highly ranked REGIONAL school. Business majors like to get MBA's, right? You'll probably be fine if you stay in the south for grad school, but Univ of Michigan would say "huh? Where's the Citadel?" VMI is a NATIONALLY ranked liberal arts college. It's ranked 71st out of over 1,000 colleges. Profs come from some pretty prestigious universities. Even a grad school in California would know about VMI. Thats reputation, man. No doubt you'll get a great education at Citadel, but think beyond to your ability to further your education as an officer.

    I am so pumped about being at VMI. Maybe I'll see you there!
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2012
  11. RahVaMil2009

    RahVaMil2009 Member

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    As a very proud VMI Alum, I have to admit that this simply is not always the case. Very few professors care about rankings other than to see where their Alma Maters and current institutions rate, so they won't automatically recognize VMI when they see it in the rankings.

    I love VMI, and I wouldn't trade my experience there for the world. I can't imagine myself having gone to any other undergraduate institution. But even with the rankings, you'd be surprised at how unknown VMI is outside of Virginia and the military.

    A lot of this will depend on what you want to do. I've been exploring career opportunities in academia and policy analysis, and it's tough. I graduated with a solid GPA (well above a 3.0), but it's no where near the 3.8+ GPA's that my competition is bringing from big name schools like Brown, Tufts, and Georgetown.

    That said, it made for a great connection when I visited a grad school in Ohio and found out the Program Director held a PhD from UVA. I didn't have to explain why my GPA was a little lower than other stand-out applicants; he was simply impressed that I'd graduated.

    Again, much of this will depend on your career field, which will also drive where you go to grad school and what kind of advanced degree you pursue. I believe sprog commissioned Air Force and eventually went to law school; it's possible that his experiences have been very different.

    Here's the point: VMI and The Citadel both have really solid reputations, but that probably won't get you as far as you think it will. Get good grades, gain as much as you can from the co-curriculars, and realize that as soon as you walk through the front gates, you're building your own reputation to pick up where the school's reputation drops off.

    At the end of the day, the people who ask, "Huh? Where's The Citadel?" will probably be just as likely to look at you and ask, "Virginia has a military institute? Why?"


    Jackie M. Briski
    VMI Class of 2009
     
  12. RahVaMil2009

    RahVaMil2009 Member

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    Oh, one more thing: both VMI and The Citadel have very strong Alumni networks, but that doesn't guarantee you anything, either. You have to take the initiative to get plugged in.

    This can help you overcome many of the challenges I mentioned before, as long as you pick a field that has a strong Alumni presence. There are plenty of VMI Alumni in the broader field of academia who have been great resources for me, but none (that I've found) in my particular subfield. :rolleyes:

    -jmb-
     
  13. bob80q

    bob80q bob80q Banned

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    VMI vs Citadel

    As to the issue of rankings, The Citadel is the #1 public college in the south according to USNews which is the most commonly accepted and regarded standard for rankings, VMI is nationally ranked by Forbes which is not routinely touted by most colleges since it comes from a think tank that uses much different criteria that focuses heavily on economic factors like the amont of debt carried by graduates.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 17, 2012
  14. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    This is the last and only time I am going to say this- This forum will not turn into what one poster apparently wishes it to be: A competition or flame war between schools as to their relative merit. If you can't make your post without denigrating one school to enhance your own- then you can't make your post.


    BTW: Since it was raised in a negative way- Should the reader put a whole bunch of stock in these ratings - (which I don't as they attempt to quantify highly subjective measurements )- you will find both the US News and Forbes ratings for VMI for 2012 below (In the National Category). Bottom line- I don't think that the previous post is accurate (note the first link).

    USNews:
    http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandr...ngs/national-liberal-arts-colleges/top-public

    http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/vmi-3753

    Forbes:

    http://www.forbes.com/top-colleges/list/ /

    All of these Senior Military Colleges have different strengths and feels and they approach things in a different manner- some slightly different , some significantly. Additionally all of them have different academic strengths and weaknesses. The single best way that I can suggest to the OP on how to make the decision between these two or between any of these schools is to visit and spend an overnight,talk with the academic department, read reviews of the schools and the majors you are interested in and then talk IN PERSON to some current and former Cadets or parents (Personally- face to face) about what the school is like and what they value. Finally unless you are very well to do- you need to consider finances. A long period of post graduation debt for you or your parents is not something to be undertaken lightly. All of those factors should weigh into your decision making. By that standard, Confederate battle streamers should probably not be a big factor in your decision making process (Historically interesting though they may be: Attached are links to the Battle of Tulifinney (http://civilwartalk.com/threads/the...-cadets-during-and-after-the-civil-war.48917/ and to the Battle of New Market: http://www.vmi.edu/archives.aspx?id=3911)
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2012
  15. solon

    solon Member

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    Sorry! I was speaking as a STUDENT to another STUDENT, who may not know everything because there's still a lot for me to learn. I respect and appreciate the adult input here, but i was directing my comment to another student. Wasn't trying to say that Citadel is bad, jut not nationally recognized, if that even matters to this person, who may continue schooling in the south, in which case it wouldn't matter. It meant something to me. I am not from the southeast and will probably be back in the "Mitt" for grad school. Big schools, like U of M Law, do look at those national rankings for admission. Obviously, for anyone who doesn't produce solid grades in undergrad, grad school is moot. Almost every career now requires some kind of professional or grad degree and he/she would be smart to think about that.
     
  16. CitadelGrad

    CitadelGrad Member

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    This is nonsense. The regional rankings that you refer to are arbitrary geographic classifications used by U.S. News & World Report. I know many Citadel graduates (including yours truly) who went to a highly ranked graduate school outside of The Citadel's region, specifically a top 15 MBA program. I know very many other Citadel graduates who attended highly ranked grad schools all over the country. I can assure you that engineering majors at The Citadel are recruited nationally and have very good reputations.
     
  17. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    I would agree with you CG- these rankings are really pretty arbitrary and I think it is a real mistake trying to make too much of them. I would guess if you were comparing the 1st and 4th Quartile you might profitably consider them, but otherwise- meh. Consider for example that the CG Academy is also listed as a "Regional" school- these designations are made using some very arcane logic.

    I think what the OP and every other reader should know is that they will be well served regardless of their choice of school. Both have solid reputations and offer a rigorous small college educational experience (ie... Small classes with a low student faculty ratio and classes taught by permanent faculty rather than gta's). I think the OP really should be deciding based on the feel of the school after visiting, along with the availability of the major they want to pursue, and financial considerations if there any. You won't go wrong at either school.

     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2012

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