Citadel and VMI


10-Year Member
5-Year Member
Dec 30, 2007

I am only a sophmore in HS so I have a while to go, but I was just wondering about The Citadel and VMI. I would really like to go to either of these schools because my mom says she will not allow me to go to any of the SA's because of the commitment to service. Though I do want to join the military after college she thinks I will change my mind. I am not really sure but based on the things I have looked at VMI seems a little tougher to get into. I was also wondering about the amount of hazing. I know this goes on everywhere and it is going to happen either way but I have heard VMI has a little more. I am not a baby and afraid of this though don't get me wrong I am just wondering. Also I was wondering if anyone really knew what is tougher rat year or knob year. I am hoping I can get into both schools but you never know too. Right now I have an A or A- in everything except for Biology which I have a C+ in and next year I will be able to take honors history and honors english.

If your dream is to attend a SA, you should pursue it. After all, you will legally be an adult and can make your own decisions. You do have until after your sophomore year in the academy to change your mind. If you do, you just walk away. Perhaps telling your mom that will help her be more supportive of your dreams. Moms do not like to think about their kids in harm's way; however, who better to defend our country than those we raised to be concerned with the nation's welfare? It's very tough for moms...but you have time to work on her!
VMI is a great school. There is a ton of prestige surrounding it, and from my perspective, its tougher than the service academies... it has that history. Those rings mean a lot...
Academies and The Citadel

I too have a mother who isn't not REALLY THRILLED about my applying to an academy. However, at then end of the day, your mother should and most likely will support you in whatever you do. Remind her all military academies and schools are well respected and prestegious schools of higher education. If that is what you want to do, you should do it.
In regard to the Citadel, I have been there on several occasions and have been fortunate enough to tour their campus and spend the night (twice) in their barracks. I have also been spoken to by the highly decorated commander there who is a USMA graduate and refers to Westpoint as "the campus to the north." I rather subjectively (as a SC resident) feel it is a wonderful school and beautiful campus. The Citadel has a very long history and is well known among military colleges and for their post graduate programs. I don't know if you are from around here but one of the most prestegious schools to be from is the Citadel, graduates can pick out a class ring a mile away. I do not know much about hazing. However, it is a school and perticullarly a military one, it does and will occur no matter where you go. I do not know much about VMI either but I will tell you two montras I know from the Citadel: From a current (junior) cadet: "it's not a good place to be, but it's a great place to be from"
What does a knob outrank?: "Sir/Ma'am, The President's cat, the Commadant's dog and all the Captains at VMI, Sir/Ma'am."
When I was a senior in college I went to a conference at VMI for Army ROTC (Academies were also invited, but primarily it was for the top performing ROTC ladies and gents). I learned a good deal about the Army that week.

A few things I noticed...VMI has an open campus. No guards, no check points, no huge fence surrounding it. I didn't get any grief from the VMI guys, nor did the Middies, but the West Point guys/gals were not received well...not at all. Apparently the VMI cadets are not huge West Point fans.

Citadel and VMI have a good deal of history. I have trouble overlooking the fact that much of the most celebrated history involves the Civil War...and traitors renouncing their commissions to the US military to fight on the side of their state. I of course also realize that those were different times, and the state meant something more than they do now.

I haven't been to Citadel yet, but VMI was a great campus, and I know one of my best friends "enjoyed" it.
I have trouble overlooking the fact that much of the most celebrated history involves the Civil War...and traitors renouncing their commissions to the US military to fight on the side of their state.

That's one thing I love about it. The Lost Cause was truly amazing. It would take a lot of nerve to renounce your commission and fight for something that you believe in. Their pay was miserable under the CSA, and sometimes they got nothing, but they still felt they were supporting something that was far more grand than their own lives.
Thanks for all the advice the civil war thing doesn't really make a big difference to me but I am from the north.(NJ) Also I was wondering if Norwich is really considered as prestigious as the other two. I was thinking and saw it might be a better fit because of more people from the northeast and they have skiing. How does that school compare to VMI and Citadel and is it as prestigious to have that class ring, i am guessing no but I really have no idea.

Norwich is the oldest private military college in the country (1819, known as the Birthplace of ROTC); it's where I'm applying as a backup to the Naval Academy. My main choice for going there is mostly due to the climate (I'm from Maine, so I'm not a huge fan of heat), but from what I hear it's certainly a good school and has an ROTC options for all branches.

Plus they have the best uniforms. Hah.

As for hazing, I don't think Norwich has much of it. But I haven't done much research into the whole thing.

But I echo what other people have said. If you want truly want to go to a service academy, then don't listen to your mother and apply.
Apparently Norwich and CGA had a rivalry. It would have been nice for them to let us know. As was typical, we were forced to head up there for a football game. Once we got there, we found out they had taken some things from the Academy ealier in the week, including a road barrier (keep it), and an OCS picture (they could have that too). They also managed to do some damage, costly damage, when they cut the halyard to the main flag pole...not a good idea.

I believe we lost the game. Norwich tried to run off with Objee (CGA mascot), and a little dance ensued. In the end Objee was safe.

I do remember walking out, having lost, when a Norwich father let me know that I only went to CGA because I couldn't get into a real academy like USNA (little did he know...).

Knowing my "history" with Norwich, I can say that it is a very nice campus, and it is old. It's also nicely situated near some skiing areas. It has a military component and a civilian component.

In all honesty, if you're going to serve your country, I'd be happy to serve with you, no matter where you're coming from.
I'm an Army retiree and alumnus of VMI, my brother went to Norwich, my Dad and Uncle went to Suny Maritime and another uncle went to USMA and now my son will be entering as a Rat at VMI this summer after applying and getting accepted at SUNY Maritime and Mass Maritime so I have a fair amount of exposure to a pretty broad spectrum of the Military College world. My advice to you would be to visit several of these schools and decide what really appeals to you. The Maritime colleges are excellent engineering schools which are not overly physical in their application of military life to their cadets- however they are certainly more regimented and restrictive than a civilian college- and the post graduation employment rate is virtually 100% in a very high paying industry. Norwich has changed a great deal in the past 25 years since my brother attended- my son and I looked at it and I think that I would have a hard time being in the corps there as it is now only about 50% military- which was my son's opinion as well. VMI and the Citadel- is a toss up- very similar. I think that VMI is the more difficult of the two to get into academically and my opinion - reinforced by US News rankings -is that VMI has a somewhat better academic reputation- but that is an opinion only. Both are very physical compared to the other schools.When I graduated from VMI you were required to take a commission if offered to you- that is no longer the case, but VMI strongly urges its cadets to take a commission and has a goal of 70% of the graduates being commissioned and you will be required to take ROTC whether you take a commission or not. Finally Mitch- you will be an adult and whether your mother likes the idea or not, you need to make grown up decisions when the time comes. Being a soldier is an honorable and necessary profession and ithere are lots of mothers sons and daughters doing so right now-f you feel called to serve them as an officer and a leader then any of the schools above will prepare you well to do so. Good luck