Im sure this is a dumb question but how do the private military colleges work

EEBTTF

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Not a dumb question, but one that is easily answered with a little research. There are many threads that compare and contrast the 6 Senior Military Colleges (SMCs). Take a minute and do some research. In the mean time:

Senior military colleges offer ROTC programs, but they differ from the ROTC programs offered at other institutions. While traditional ROTC programs function as more of an extracurricular activity, senior military colleges are most similar to service academies. Students are part of a Corps of Cadets and live and study in an immersive military environment. Students wear uniforms at all times, receive military training, and participate in physical training and conditioning. They are also subject to military discipline and a cadet code of conduct.

These colleges still are four-year, degree-granting institutions. Not all students attending them will be participating in ROTC or a part of the Corps of Cadets. Students who are participating in ROTC can choose whether to accept commission as an officer in a branch of the U.S. military. Typically those accepting commission will need to take extra courses; check with your prospective institution to learn about their requirements. While there are no Coast Guard ROTC programs, student may be able to directly commission into the Coast Guard upon graduation. Merit-based scholarships are available at all of these institutions.

There are only six senior military colleges:

  • The Citadel (Charleston, South Carolina): Each cadet must complete a course in one of the ROTC branches (Army, Air Force, Marine Corps, or Navy) each semester. They can decide whether to accept a commission after graduation. The Citadel offers direct commissions for students interested in commissioning with the Coast Guard.
  • Norwich University (Northfield, Vermont): Norwich prides itself on being the birthplace of the ROTC program. Students must participate in an ROTC program and complete six semesters of ROTC coursework to maintain their membership in the Corp of Cadets. All ROTC branches are offered but commissioning post-graduation is not required. If a cadet does elect to commission, they must take a fourth year of ROTC courses in their selected branch. Norwich University offers direct commissions for students interested in commissioning with the Coast Guard.
  • Texas A&M University (College Station, Texas): This is a senior military college and a traditional institution. In order to join approximately 2,500 other students in the Corps of Cadets, students must first be accepted to Texas A&M University (current enrollment is over 65,000). Then they must contact the Corps staff. Once admitted, cadets must select an ROTC branch (Army, Air Force, Marine Corps, or Navy) and enroll in ROTC courses for the first two years of their postsecondary education. There is no obligation to accept a commission. Texas A&M University offers direct commissions for students interested in commissioning with the Coast Guard.
  • University of North Georgia (Dahlonega, Georgia): UNG has multiple campuses and does accept students who don’t want to participate in the Corps of Cadets or ROTC programs. This is the only senior military institute that solely offers the Army ROTC program. Students interested in joining the Corps of Cadets must be based at the Dahlonega campus (UNG has multiple campuses). Commissioning is not required, but if chosen, students must commission into the Army. Students cannot commission into the Coast Guard after attending this school.
  • Virginia Military Institute (Lexington, Virginia): If students elect not to commission, they will be enrolled in Army ROTC. Otherwise, they can choose between the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force. Virginia Military Institute offers direct commissions for students interested in commissioning with the Coast Guard.
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Blacksburg, Virginia): The Corps of Cadets at Virginia Tech consists of over 1,000 students, amounting to only 4% of total enrollment. Cadets can choose to participate in an ROTC program (Army, Air Force, Marine Corps or Navy) or the Citizen-Leader Track. The ROTC track requires commissioning with a cadet’s respective branch, while the Citizen-Leader Track requires no commission. Virginia Tech offers direct commissions for students interested in commissioning with the Coast Guard.
 

Landy91

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@jtdavis103, not a dumb question. @EEBTTF has provided useful info, but here’s more. While UNG only offers ROTC commissions in the Army, those who are not Army option may still commission in other services (& Coast Guard) thru OCS, etc. UNG has a storied history and a very active Ranger Challenge and US Army Ranger connection.
VMI is most similar to the service academies (but much smaller) because it’s the only SMC where all students are cadets and all cadets must participate in ROTC for four years. Unique place and challenging daily environment.
Life at Texas A&M and Virginia Tech may be most similar to life at a large University with outstanding ROTC and Corps of Cadet programs, each with their own unique traditions and challenges.
The Citadel and Norwich are similar in the sizes of their Corps of Cadets and their civilian programs. Both schools offer great opportunities both Online and to graduate and undergraduate traditional students. One is in the North with its own ski slope and one is in the South with its own beach house!
All are great choices.
Hope that helps!
 
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EEBTTF

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Good addition from @Landy91 - there is a big difference between UNG, VA Tech, TAMU vs VMI, Citadel, Norwich. 1st question is what kind of college experience are you looking for. Semi traditional vs immersive military. If you pick the latter then look at VMI, Citadel and Norwich. Of those 3, VMI (from what I have heard) is the most spartan. Citadel is in arguably the greatest college town (Charleston) and Norwich is cold and snowy, but has the best financial aid.

For the non-immersive - TAMU is an absolute special place. Storied Corps of Cadets, SEC Football, 65,000+ college kids on 1 campus. My time at TAMU was great and in my opinion the entire campus revolves around the Corps. VATECH - we visited there with my DS and did not have the best of experiences. Blacksburg is a beautiful town and the campus is very nice. Was not impressed with the overall vibe on campus.....The COC have 2 brand new barracks. I live in GA and we visited UNG. Beautiful campus in the GA Mountains. New, updated facilities for the COC. Legendary reputation for Army officers. Much smaller than TAMU or VATECH.

There are also many posts that cover commissioning rates for each of the schools. Don't hesitate to reach out to us if you have further questions. @Landy91 has VMI covered and I can give you some input on The Citadel and Norwich. Good luck!

One correction to @Landy91 - Norwich USED to have a ski slope. It was shut down to skiing in 1993. We used to have a blast on that hill! I don't think I ever went skiing, but it was a favorite spot for an un-planned ruck at 2am in 2 feet of snow.
 
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QC1

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how do they work compared to public colleges with ROTC and the service academies
Texas A&M and Virginia Tech are similar to large public colleges with ROTC. Both Corps at these schools have great histories and very tight alumni bonds.
UNG is unique because it is Army only, cool "mountainy" location, and tight alumni bonds.
Norwich and The Citadel are alike and have both a Corps of Cadets and mix of other students. They are also alike in size and alumni bonds.
VMI is most like a service academy geared mostly towards Marine Corps/Army. VMI has very tight alumni bonds and network.
Each one is a great school where you will get out of it what you put into it.
 

banjoppd

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TAMU is a beautiful campus. We make visits to the "motherland" several times a year. If anyone visits stay at the TAMU Hotel on campus across the street from Kyle Field. DS was brought home from the hospital wearing a TAMU Corp shirt. "But" he just didn't feel it and it wasn't "home" on his actual college visits. 65k student body with a C of C of 2k cadets. Campus is huge, bigger than many small cities. It gave DS the feeling of a SMC housed on a very large SEC campus. I will always be an "AGGIE" till the day I die. My biggest problem is every HS 12th grader in Texas in trying to get into TAMU. So that means ZERO financial aid. We know several families whose children pay full price even though they are top 10 not top 10% but top 10 in class. My DS best friend is graduating #2 in a class of 800 and has ZERO FA. It is less expensive to send a kid to UNG from Texas than to send a kid to TAMU with in-state fees.
 

Landy91

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Costs aside, Texas A&M has an incredible network of graduates and they are always more than willing to share their experience. TAMU grads have attained the highest ranks across nearly all the services and have a distinguished history. Definitely a unique experience, a tight-knit and service minded Corps, and a great place to graduate from!
 

banjoppd

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Costs aside, Texas A&M has an incredible network of graduates and they are always more than willing to share their experience. TAMU grads have attained the highest ranks across nearly all the services and have a distinguished history. Definitely a unique experience, a tight-knit and service minded Corps, and a great place to graduate from!
The Aggie War Hymn and Noble Men of Kyle is played at every wedding and funeral in my family. It was a different time in my day, my uncle and grandfather's day. A family could send their son to TAMU cash flow tuition and not have cadet go into debt to March to the Brazos.
The Nation needs SMC's and the concept of citizen-soldiers. There is a crisis in the country with the huge rise in the cost for an undergrad degree.
My DS plan B was UNG "best bang for your buck" for a working class family to help send their son-daughter attend a SMC.
 

Landy91

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Great point, and couldn’t agree more. Both Texas A&M and North Georgia are excellent schools and North Georgia is an exceptional value.
 
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