Need info about cadet life at SMCs

Discussion in 'Publicly and Privately Funded Military Colleges' started by Buckeyefan, Oct 27, 2017.

  1. Buckeyefan

    Buckeyefan New Member

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    Hi - I have been lurking for a while and reading old posts, but have never posted myself. My story: my son is a junior in high school and prior to this year had been struggling in school (despite many tutors we hired) plus he had a major attitude problem at home. To make a long story short, we made the tough decision this year to send him to a military high school in South Carolina. He has only been there for 2 months but we are already seeing changes. His first quarter grades are fantastic (5 As and 2 Bs) and he seems to be working his way up the chain and doing well, according to his TAC officer. All of this has made me think that a SMC may be the way to go for college. Because his high school is in SC (we are from Ohio) about 20% of the kids at his school end up at the Citadel. I don't think the Citadel will be an option for us because the out of state tuition is ridiculous (and we don't want him to have loans) and I have read about the hazing, etc that goes on there. One of the moms of a cadet that went to my son's HS, has a freshman at the Citadel. He was assaulted in his own room by an upper classman and has a concussion. It wasn't a fight- he was assaulted by someone he didn't know. He will be medically discharged from the Citadel due to this (kid that did it to him was expelled). Anyway, this made me wonder - what is cadet life like at the other SMCs? I don't mind the yelling and discipline, but I am not going to pay money for my son to be hazed or abused. Does anyone have insight into how cadets are treated at the other SMCs? Any info is appreciated. Specifically I think we would be considering UNG, Norwich and maybe VMI.
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2017
  2. AJC

    AJC Member

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    Norwich and VMI are no bargain either.
    UNG and TAMU cadets pay in state tuition.
    Norwich offers very generous merit scholarships based SAT scores and GPA but still not a cheap as in state at the other schools
    Regarding hazing, some of what you may hear is true, some legend.
    The best thing to do is to visit the school.
    When my son and I did that the cadets that gave us the tours were very up front about what goes on.
    But anytime 20 year olds are cadre for 19 year olds some stupid stuff happens.
    My son attends Norwich and I would be happy to answer any question I can.
     
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  3. Buckeyefan

    Buckeyefan New Member

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    Thanks AJC. I have heard that Norwich does offers some decent discounts off of tuition so that should make it affordable to us. I have heard VMI sometimes offers accomodations as well. Anyway, according to several moms I have talked with from my sons' school that have sons at the Citadel, the hazing and abuse are fairly rampant, so I am pretty much ruling it out for that reason and cost. I actually think Norwich would be a good match for my son- he likes cold weather/skiing, etc so the climate would be good and he is interested in game design and similar majors and I know Norwich has a great cyber program. So I am just curious if, at the other SMCs, there is the rampant abuse of the cadet system by upperclassmen. Has your son mentioned any of this? What does your son like most/least about Norwich? My son is really thriving in the military atmosphere with structure and discipline at his high school and I think this atmosphere may be what is needed for my son in college (he doesn't totally agree yet but I am working on him).
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2017
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  4. AJC

    AJC Member

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    The Commandant of the Corp of Cadets is very quick to clamp down on what he considers unprofessional behavior by cadre.
    I saw a letter he sent to the cadre emphasizing that abuse in not leadership. That they should do more building up, less tearing down of the recruits in their charge. Of course reactions are mixed.
    From what has been shared with me "old school" hazing is non-existent. In Vermont hazing is a criminal offense.
    My son is focused on his goal of commissioning, which means good grades, good APFT score, good evaluations in his ROTC work.
    He is trying to take advantage of anything that will improve his OML score. he has earned his "Black Hat" as a member of the Mountain and Cold Weather Company and has applied for CULP.
    And I feel his GPA is higher (he has earned University Scholar designation) than it would have been had he attended a traditional university.
    With decent SAT scores you could do Norwich for less than the $30k you mention. In addition to the merit scholarship if your son does FLC (Future Leaders Camp) in the summer he could get an additional scholarship of $1k per semester. It is also a good way to see the school and lifestyle. I believe they also have a Cyber program in the summer. But Vermont in the summer is not Vermont in the winter.
    We visited the Citadel once and that is all i know about it. They have an interesting tradition that the last cadet alphabetically gives a speech at graduation. this one is worth viewing; I think it helps explain the traditions at SMCs.
     
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  5. AROTC-dad

    AROTC-dad Moderator

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    I believe that both Texas A&M (TAMU) and University of North Georgia both offer opportunities for reduced tuition for out of state members of the Corps of Cadets. This might make these two SMC's more affordable along with considering Norwich.

    Back in 2015, my own DS visited both VMI, and The Citadel. By far, he felt that for him, El Cid was a better fit, as he spent quite a bit of time speaking with cadets from both institutions. (I wish he considered Norwich in retrospect).

    However, the cost and the distance from the West Coast ultimately led him to choose a college closer to home (and near snowboard country). It worked out as he earned a campus based AROTC scholarship shortly after beginning his freshman year.

    Bottom line, as AJC said, visiting the colleges will help your DS make the best decision. The key is making it work without going into debt!
     
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  6. VMI.MOM

    VMI.MOM New Member

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    I would have your Son go visit and do an overnight at VMI. My Son is a 4th Year/Rat at VMI right now. I have asked him about hazing etc...He said "Mom it is tough, but they do not physically harm us. We work hard and there is a lot of yelling, pushing and I am exhausted, but it is all good." My Rat visited the Citadel and was accepted there, but he felt there was more discipline and better opportunity at VMI. So I would say to have your Son apply for all High School ROTC Scholarships early the fall of his Senior Year and go visit VMI, you will not be disappointed. They do offer scholarships from the school and alumni and if your Son works hard he could earn a 4 yr, 3yr, or 2yr ROTC Scholarship. Good luck to you and your son.
     
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  7. skismuggs

    skismuggs 5-Year Member

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    Why not the service academies? No loans. Lol. He Would have a nice essay on how he turned his life around etc. Get good grades and great SATs while there.
     
  8. Buckeyefan

    Buckeyefan New Member

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    Thanks all for the input. Appreciate it. My son is not at all interesting in commissioning into or serving in any of the armed forces, so I don't believe ROTC scholarships or the others would be appropriate for him. We plan on paying fully for his college out of pocket and maybe a scholarship here or there - but doubtful because his grades haven't been great (up until military school this year) and he tests horribly so guessing the ACT/SAT will not be much better. And to @skismuggs -why not the SA? Well he doesn't have an interest in working that hard. LOL. He has no interest in a SMC at this time, but since mommy and daddy are paying for college we have a good bit of say so in where he goes and I have no interest in throwing my money in the toilet for him to party or get crappy grades for 4+ years. LOL. I just feel the structure and discipline are what my son needs to complete college. Maybe that will change after 2 years in military high school, but I just doubt it. He needs that environment in my opinion. Definitely planning on looking into visits, but wanted to get input as to cadet life as well. Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2017
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  9. AJC

    AJC Member

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    He could always earn a campus based scholarship if if gets to school and does really well.
    Then you could buy a boat.
     
  10. Dadof2

    Dadof2 Member

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    Buckeyefan, if your DS is interested in and can benefit from the military environment, SMC's are a great choice. Visit any he is interested in as others have suggested. He may find the place that speaks to him as the place he should be. He has the unique perspective of having seen traditional and military high schools, so he is probably better informed than most in his position.

    With the military environment at an SMC he will be facing some form of the 4th class system. It can be tough. Really, really tough. It should not rise to the point of hazing, but as AJC pointed out, when you have 20 somethings as cadre, there are bound to be a few stupid decisions made. The Citadel example you mentioned is clearly one of those stupid decisions that crossed the line to hazing, but it's great that the Citadel did not tolerate the behavior.

    Check out any SMC he is interested in and don't let the sticker price scare you yet. Though the out of state tuition for some SMC's is high, many offer aid of some sort to make it more affordable. Not sure about all SMC's, but at VMI you must be part of one of the ROTC programs. If you don't choose the default is Army. This does not mean you must commission. The number that commission is somewhere around 50%.

    Good luck to your DS. Sounds like he is on a better path. If you have specific questions about VMI, feel free to PM me when you have enough posts.
     
  11. lifelearner

    lifelearner Member

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    My DS is attending UNG as a member of the Boar's Head Brigade. This is his first year, but he seems to really enjoy it, so much so that he decided not to reapply to the Academies. He is attending as an out-of-state student, but pays in-state tuition. UNG is unique among the SMCs as it is Army ROTC only. He enjoyed a a ruck march this morning at 6 AM in brisk temperatures before attending classes. He stays busy with various obligations (I haven't learned all of the acronyms yet). He still has time for the fun stuff. He started over the summer on a Project GO scholarship that allowed him to pick up 8 credits in Arabic. He will be minoring in Arabic due to that experience. UNG has an event called National Leadership Challenge in the Fall and Spring. The Fall visit is scheduled for the weekend of Nov. 5. The Spring event is in April. I strongly suggest that he attend one of these visits. Mine attended in April and sealed the deal for him. Feel free to send a PM if you would like more information.
     
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  12. theroyz71

    theroyz71 Member

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    Maybe you should take a look at Virginia Tech's Corps of Cadets Citizen Leader Track program.
     
  13. Lawman32RPD

    Lawman32RPD 5-Year Member

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    Sadly, at least at TAMU, this isn't as easily true as it used to be. The Corps used to award $1,000 scholarships to virtually all out-of-state cadets which qualified them under TAMU rules to in-state tuition. Starting with this academic year TAMU raised the bar to $4,000 worth of scholarships to get the in-state tuition. You'd need to talk to the Corps staff (as opposed to students) to see how the Corps is handling that, whether ROTC scholarships are
     
  14. turtlerunnernc

    turtlerunnernc Member

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    My son is a Second (junior) at VMI. I cannot speak for other SMC's but cannot say enough good things about VMI.

    The Ratline is hard, and it is hard for a reason. I have not heard of any incidents that I would consider having, although there may be many folks who would consider being made to do push ups, Getting yelled at, mandatory workouts, and some of the other restrictions as hazing in this day and age.

    VMI does try to offer tuition assistance. I highly recommend visiting the schools.

    One thing you said above concerns me. You said you aren't considering SA's because he doesn't want to work that hard. Please know that these SMC's are not easy. Some say VMI is harder physically and academically than West Point ( I cannot attest if this is true or not). I can tell you that VMI is very demanding academically as well as physically and mentally. If he is not willing to work hard, he will not make it at VMI. I don't mean to sound rude, but these schools are not w a walk in the park.
     
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  15. 3boysmom

    3boysmom New Member

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    To lifelearner did your son do the summer lang program at UNG on campus? How did he feel about it? Did he feel it was a big challenge? Would he recommend it to an incoming freshman?
     
  16. payitforward

    payitforward Member

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    My son recently graduated from UNG. He also did summer language institute, for Chinese, then was a foreign exchange cadet at the Republic of China Military Academy in Taiwan, then spent the summer at an internship in Beijing followed by a 1500-mile backpacking trip throughout mainland China. He majored in International Affairs with a minor in Chinese, and commissioned in May. Normally he'd be happy to answer questions about UNG but he just started Army Ranger School (no phones). He picked UNG after visiting The Citadel, Norwich, VMI and VT. After attending National Leadership Challenge Weekend and spending two days in the mountains with cadets, he was more than ready to finish high school and get started in the Corps. UNG works hard to match non-commissioning cadets with alumni mentors now too. Worth looking into if your son wouldn't be trying to earn a commission. Feel free to PM me.
     
  17. lifelearner

    lifelearner Member

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    He started over the summer with a Project GO scholarship to study Arabic. He was ready to leave home and enjoyed the new found freedom, but there was some normal adjustment issues. It was pretty intense coursework, and a difficult language to learn, but he loved it enough to work it into his coursework as a minor. I think it was a great way to start at UNG because he is met other cadets, got the down-low before fall semester, and learned to live on his own. It made parting in August easier for me as well. He is hoping to complete a semester overseas. He says, yes, he recommends it for an incoming freshman.
     
  18. 3boysmom

    3boysmom New Member

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    Thank you very much!
     
  19. SGTLee

    SGTLee Member

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    I am back! Sorry folks but it's been a crazy past 5 months with work and life. Having a cadet (MS III) at TAMU and being out-of-state, just want to give a bit more detail regarding the "in state" rate at TAMU. To receive "in state" at A&M, you have to apply with certain standardized test scores, be from a JROTC program (3 years), or have achieved an Eagle Scout rank. In addition, these designations afford you very small scholarships that trigger your "in state" status. TAMU has raised the amount of scholarships needed to trigger this status. I can explain more if anyone has specific interest in A&M (PM me). It is my understanding that UNG is the only program offering true "in state" status for being a member (in good standing) of the Corps.
     
  20. conrack

    conrack Member

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    Claims that hazing is "rampant" at The Citadel are mostly based on what people read in "The Lords of Discipline", while there are occasional incidents most reports are grossly sensationalized and exaggerated. I know many cadets at the school and none of them have ever witnessed or been aware of any physical abuse.