VaTech vs TAMU Corps of Cadets

Discussion in 'Publicly and Privately Funded Military Colleges' started by Amazed, Nov 19, 2017.

  1. Amazed

    Amazed Member

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    Hi
    My daughter has applied for an NROTC scholarship and has applied to TAMU and VaTech, both SMC's. She is an engineering major (aerospace). Which of these 2 schools would you pick and why? We are from the Northeast if that makes a difference.
     
  2. hokiesfan

    hokiesfan 5-Year Member

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    Both are great schools with excellent academic opportunities, but the distance will be a factor. We are also from the northeast and it was hard enough (time and expense) getting our cadet back and forth from VT for required breaks and such, so I'm glad our our son ruled out TAMU early on. We definitely weren't able to get to Blacksburg as often as other cadet parents did, although that had benefits as well as disadvantages.
     
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  3. Lawman32RPD

    Lawman32RPD 5-Year Member

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    Hokiesfan is giving you "Good Bull" (which, in TAMU-speak means good information). If you can, try to visit both schools. Blacksburg is beautiful, as is the setting of Virginia Tech itself. So, if mountains are the kids thing well, VT it is 'cause mountains aren't close to A&M. I-81 can be almost as bad as I-95 during the holiday and back to and end of school madness. It will be closer to home for ya'll. College Station is about an hour and half to two hours from the major aiports in Houston and there is a frequent shuttle bus. Food is probably better at V-Tech. It is warmer in College Station. The schools have a similar feel in some respects, you'll see lots of kids walking around in VT gear around the campus, and lots of kids walking around in A&M gear at their campus. The cadets in both schools are a minority but, because of the uniforms, are the most recognizable subset of students. Both schools have a well respected agricultural heritage and you'll see livestock as you get close to both schools. Both schools have great engineering departments.

    Below are two links for Youtube. The first is longer. It is the Aggie band doing their deal at the last home game of the season – really I have no idea how you get that many people to do that kind of marching. It also includes the annual “Block T” formation of all the cadets on the field, and the annual new video about the Corps.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3YRJPU011Pk

    This shows the sort of thing that goes on for each home football game. The final home game has the cadets wearing their more formal uniform.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qb33K_efG7s

    Aggies are friendly people. There is a higher percentage of out of state folks in the Corps than the school as a whole. Our kids spent their formative years in Northern Virginia including all of middle and high school, and they found A&M a great place. That said, they have many friends who love VT. Each school has its own strengths and challenges. Best of luck and let us know what ya’ll decide.
     
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  4. NavyLady64

    NavyLady64 Member

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    My DD is an NROTC scholar and a freshman Aerospace Engineering major in the Corps at VT. We are from Florida so we can relate on the travel! She really is satisfied with her choice. Being full PhD granting research universities with top engineering programs, we thought both schools were superior to the other SMC's so really, none of the others were in the running. She fell in love with the campus (it is stunningly beautiful) and, of course, her "buds" (her cadet-mates in her training company). She was impressed by the high student satisfaction rating given by VT students vs other schools nationwide. VT has some of the best college traditions around - both as a university and in the Corps of Cadets.

    Overall, she felt VT was a little more "Navy" oriented and TAMU slightly more Army oriented (but with due respect to TAMU folks here, it may be a subjective thing so they might differ from us on that - and I am also not including TAMU Galveston in that opinion since it is a merchant marine academy). She also liked the proximity to the coast and DC. Her NROTC officers are outstanding. Both schools are outstanding on academics and their engineering programs far outrank the other SMCs and even the SA's (they are not rated against VT and TAMU because they only confer bachelor's degrees). So, from a career perspective, the engineering credentials are both top notch. I agree with those above who say to visit if you can. The Corps Life is extremely challenging and she thought that VT gave her the best of both worlds of the SA's and the civilian NROTC programs. Good luck to you!! GO HOKIES!!!
     
  5. NavyLady64

    NavyLady64 Member

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    ADDING MY OWN CLARIFICATION: the other SMC's don't offer PhDs in engineering and thus aren't ranked against VT and TAMU. Some SMC's do offer masters degrees though.
     
  6. tibreaker

    tibreaker Member

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    VTCC all the way!!!
     
  7. usslloyd

    usslloyd Member

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    Does anyone know how many first year nrotc scholarship slots there are at each school, or can make an educated guess from past years?
     
  8. Lawman32RPD

    Lawman32RPD 5-Year Member

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    I don't know but I suspect if you contact the NROTC staff at each of the institutions they can tell you.
     
  9. usslloyd

    usslloyd Member

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    Good idea - we were not successful in first board for Marine Option NROTC, and we know there have been a few Navy boards that have met, so maybe the question of how many are left is not a bad one at this point...
     
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  10. believe2023

    believe2023 Member

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    Thank you for asking this question! My DS's first choice is the USNA or the USAFA, he is also looking to major in Aerospace engineering. He has visited VTech and absolutely loved it. He would like to visit TAMU as well. We also live in the Northeast and have done a lot of research on the SMC. He also visited VMI, which wasn't his favorite. Thank you to everyone for your insights to both schools
     
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  11. jaglvr

    jaglvr Member

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    Unless DS gets a USMMA appointment, he is all set for TAMU-Galveston. Awaiting to hear if he gets into the Corp/Maritime but has his acceptance to the University framed and loving the maroon... Galveston the better fit because he wants marine biology. College Station is a nicer campus but doesn’t offer the ocean majors or the licensing option.... Hoping the NROTC scholarship comes through then it is a no brainer....

    Think of it this way though...whichever your DS chooses....he will be in maroon and either white or Hokie orange. (Nephew graduated VT but not Corp.). We live in PA....
     
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  12. Lawman32RPD

    Lawman32RPD 5-Year Member

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    Don't have much to add other than what I said before, see above. Both are great schools. She should try to visit both schools, with ya'll if you can swing it, alone if you can't. The ROTC curriculum itself will be the same. So which school feels right for her? If you go to Youtube and pull up Granger Smith's "We Bleed Maroon" you can see a video. Smith was in the Corps as a freshman, left to pursue a music career, and then later returned and got a degree before going back on the road. Both schools have good engineering departments. I wish you and her the best, and let us know what ya'll decide.
     
  13. usslloyd

    usslloyd Member

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    Just read on another site that TAMU classes, particularly early years, are very large (?), can anyone compare class sizes at VTech?
     
  14. Mhparker92

    Mhparker92 New Member

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    Another perspective. Disclaimer - I’m a VTCC female alum and I currently am a VTCC parent.

    Most differences have been discussed above.

    One more I’d like to point out. VTCC does assigned companies. Legacy cadets get some input - but no guarantee. TAMU allows their cadets to pick their companies - so it’s almost like a fraternity situation. Great for legacy cadets. The rest - I’m not so sure. VTCC is also smaller than TAMU so that may be a consideration as well. I will say - my time there changed my life.
     
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  15. NavyLady64

    NavyLady64 Member

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    So my DD (engineering major) reports the following on class sizes:
    Calc classes = 30-40
    Chem = 300 (this is required by many majors)
    Chem lab = 20
    Physics = 120
    Physics lab = 200
    Naval Science = 50
    And in her elective academics (a global philosphy class = 25 and a music appreciation class = 60).

    Hope this helps.
     
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  16. usslloyd

    usslloyd Member

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    wow, thanks for the stats!
     
  17. JAGman

    JAGman 5-Year Member

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    Class sizes at A&M will run about the same as at Virginia Tech based on those statistics above. As someone who participated in the Annual Senior Military Colleges Conference this year and spoke to the cadet leaders at each school, along with sitting in on the conversations with the Superintendents/Presidents, I can tell you that I'm my opinion the Corps at TAMU has greater opportunity right now than VTCC.

    The primary reason for this is simply due to funding. A&M as a University gives more money to the Corps every year than VT and we also have a larger alumni pool which equals more donations. One of the larger opportunities we have is multiple international excursions each May. This year cadets are going on trips to England/France, Australia, and Brazil. Almost all of the trip is covered by the Office of the Commandant. VTCC has something similar but it is smaller and only one trip.

    In addition, we are also the largest commissioning source outside of the service academies (and I know my friends at Citadel will argue against that) so there is definitely a strong flag officer presence thoughout the year, which is very cool for a young cadet to be exposed to.

    I could go on but I'm already being long winded. Gig'em!
     
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  18. usslloyd

    usslloyd Member

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    Thanks!
     
  19. NavyLady64

    NavyLady64 Member

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    Appreciate @JAGman and his post but speaking from VT, I wanted to clarify a few facts on behalf of VTCC in case they are accidentally misinterpreted from his post. There are approximately 30,000 students at Virginia Tech, of which approximately 1,100 are in the Corps of Cadets. Only 8,000 students live on campus, and the Corps makes up 1,100 of those, so it makes the campus feel smaller than it actually is. The faculty/student ratio is 1:17, and most classes beyond the first year classes tend to be about 1:17. The civilian students on campus love the Corps and respectfully embrace its heritage and the cadets (except at the annual "civilians vs. cadets snowball fight", then all bets are off).

    Also, my NROTC DD is interested in study abroad and here are the facts --VTCC cadets can attend any study abroad program offered by the university - and there are 100s (literally). The majority are broken up into programs you pay VT tuition for and programs where you pay tuition at the host university (there are also self-funded and organized study abroads and faculty-led study abroads). The VTCC supports two study abroad programs- one studying WWI and one studying WWII the spring semester prior, followed by a mostly funded trip to Europe. The Corps also organizes and leads an Olmsted Foundation study abroad, typically to Panama - which funds ROTC cadets and two Citizen-Leader Track cadets. Corps ROTCs also earn many Project GO slots each year- Project GO is a DOD-funded summer study abroad language program available to contracted ROTC cadets, and cadets may apply and attend any school's Project GO study abroad. Parents whose cadets have done this say it's an amazing experience and a very effective way to gain expertise in critical languages the school may not offer and that the Army wants.

    Of course, like at the other SMC's, college ROTC programs, and even the SA's - all three ROTC programs offer their own versions of study abroad for scholarship cadets - like Navy cruises, Air Force sends many students to China to study abroad as their summer training, and Army has a program called Cultural Understanding and Leadership Program (CULP) with all kinds of amazing places to go. (Apparently, Latvia is especially popular right now). These opportunities are available to all ROTC cadets across the nation, but senior military colleges like TAMU and VT tend to push their cadets to apply to them more.

    As for the funding, I think it depends on how you view it and so @JAGman is only partially correct. Virginia Tech has just poured *enormous* resources into a complete overhaul of the Upper Quad and the entire residential and learning experience for the Corps - including tearing down old dorms and building two huge, state of the art Corps-dedicated residence halls (complete with special spaces that only the Corps needs - like mudrooms). Next, they are restoring the original original "Barracks 1" - the historic Lane Hall (1872) at the center of the UQ and have committed the funding to building a spectacular new Corps/Military Science building in the future to complete the Upper Quad overhaul. We visited two summers ago when they were completing the second hall and prior to them tearing down two older ones and we have seen the plans for the new Corps/Military Science building. All the Corps lives in these new halls now. If you have seen the pictures on the VTCC webpages, you can see these incredible spaces.

    The Corps has also reported to us parents that the university also added investment in to new obstacles to the obstacle course that apparently more accurately reflects the different training standards across ROTC programs and they have started work on a new underwater obstacle course the VTCC's former-SEAL Deputy Commandant has been able to work with the university to install. They tell us a new high ropes course is in the works, and in conjunction with the university, a new "Extreme Sports Team" that combines the best cadets with the best civilian students from across campus to compete in national extreme sports competitions.

    So, like I said, it depends on how you define funding support at any given time - it can be that in a given year the funding per cadet may vary, but regardless I think it is unmistakable the financial support and commitment that the university has to the VTCC given these recent investments.

    As a parent, I can say that in our research, commissioning source numbers seemed to be *very fluid* depending on the source. What we did learn was this: if you have more cadets in your program, you will, on a headcount basis, commission more officers. But we also found this out - so much of the ROTC commissioning -- to active duty -- is dictated by their own regulations, that the percentages between SMCs is minimal as a result. And even then, there are just so many variables involved. So when we ask the question "what are the chances my cadet will have an active duty commission after graduation?" the answer we found was this - all senior military colleges fall under the same rules. Air Force and Navy commission active duty officers - they may have a delay between graduation and starting with pay, but they will be active duty. (And excuse me if I get this part not 100% since we are Navy but an Army parent confirmed) - my understanding is that Army is regulated by Title X law which says that all senior military college graduates will get active duty IF they receive their Professor of Military Sciences' recommendation. At VTCC, the recommendations seem to be about the top 90-95% of the ROTC class receive a recommendation to commission on active duty for the Army.

    There are differences between the SMC's but I don't think we ever saw it as one is better than the other. TAMU is a great school, so is VMI, Citadel and VTCC and the others - and this is something on which I think @JAGman and I would agree -- that at all senior military colleges you will receive more leadership opportunities in an 24/7 environment compared to an ROTC-only program. You need to visit the SMC's you are considering and see which one is the best fit for you. I don't think you can go wrong with any of them, if a senior military college is the right fit for you. TAMU and VT share the heritage of founding and traditions as a senior military college but also adds the major research university component with it. Both are extremely good academic institutions and the diploma from them is well-respected. In the end, you have to see which one speaks to you. My DD walked onto the Upper Quad at VT and it just felt like "home."

    To all of you here - good luck and BZ to you and your future cadets - they sound like unbelievable kids and their desire to serve humbles us all. Oh, and GO HOKIES!
     
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  20. JAGman

    JAGman 5-Year Member

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    I apologise if I sounded like I was putting down Virginia Tech. The SMCs are all great schools and have all produced extraordinary officers!
     
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