VMI or The Citadel?

Discussion in 'Publicly and Privately Funded Military Colleges' started by sevensixtytorr, Apr 21, 2018.

  1. sevensixtytorr

    sevensixtytorr New Member

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    Hi all, I'm currently a junior in high school and the time to apply for colleges and get things like that sorted is nearing. I would like to commission into the Army, and I originally was going to go to the University of North Texas and participate in their fairly small ROTC program, however, my counselor suggested military colleges could be a great fit for me and what I'm looking for while getting a degree.

    I have absolutely fallen in love with everything about VMI, however, I noticed the acceptance rate varies greatly with VMI at 53% and The Citadel at 75%. As well as the cost for out of state tuition is quite a big difference at $56,919 and $35,000 or so respectively. I was led to believe both schools essentially produce the same product, so why is VMI more expensive and selective?

    Do any parents or former students have any advice in terms of the cost for someone coming out of state?
     
  2. bruno

    bruno 10-Year Member Retired Staff Member

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    That’s not what the Citadel costs. VMI’s costs that you are showing are all in, while you are only quoting Tuition at the Citadel. If you look at the Citadel web site for Out of State Cadets you will see they are very similar in Cost: “Total COA: $56,490”
    http://www.citadel.edu/root/cost-of-attendance

    Sadly - in both cases it is a lot of money. Whether it is too much is a decision that you need to think hard about. Personally: I no-longer am certain that spending that kind of money for a liberal arts degree is worth it regardless of the source of the degree. So if you are going to spend that much - make sure you get a degree that is immediately marketable at a salary that enables you to move forward with life after graduation as opposed to spending the next decade or two in penury.
     
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  3. parentofhopeful

    parentofhopeful Member

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    If you intend to commission, take the time to look into ROTC scholarships which can greatly reduce out of state costs.
     
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  4. glen

    glen 5-Year Member

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    Bruno is correct, the out of state full cost for a 4th Class Cadet at The Citadel is approximately $56,000 with uniforms. Assuming you are a Texas resident, interested in commissioning into the Army, and committed to attending an SMC, have you considered Texas A&M? This would be an in-state school with an excellent military tradition, and you would not have nearly the high cost of VMI or The Citadel.

    If you are interested in VMI or The Citadel, then clearly applying for an Army ROTC scholarship would be one way to reduce the cost of attendance. Each college also offers merit scholarships based on your standardized scores and high school performance. The Citadel does offer merit based scholarships to non-residents with exceptional credentials, as well as some financial aid grants based on need. The Honors Program offers all participants a merit scholarship, good for 4 years, which last year was worth $10,000 per year. There are also STEM merit scholarships that can provide some reduction in the total cost of attendance, but these require cadets major in selected technical degree programs

    Have you considered applying for an Army ROTC national scholarship through the Army ROTC portal? The Army ROTC scholarship program is one of the largest scholarship programs in the country. Awards are based on your standardized test scores, high school grades, sports and leadership activities and of course your physical and medical qualifications. I believe the portal for applications is now open to Juniors as of April 1. If you secure a 4 year scholarship, this would pay for all tuition, an amount for books and a monthly stipend at either VMI or The Citadel or any college having an Army ROTC program. Tuition at The Citadel is now $35,000 per year, so this is a nice option. Not all awards are 4 years - many are now 3 year scholarships. Some schools with ROTC programs will offer the first year tuition to 3 year scholarship students. The Citadel does not - but if you score above 1200 on the SAT (math and verbal) and have at least a 3.2 GPA, there is an Armed Forces enhancement that is awarded as an incentive to cadets awarded national 3 and 4 year ROTC scholarships. Also, once you arrive at any college with an ROTC program, and enroll in the program, you are eligible to compete for 3.5, 3, and 2 year ROTC scholarships - based on your academic and unit performance.

    Lots of options for you - most will depend on your grades and standardized test scores. Best of luck.
     
  5. Citdad22

    Citdad22 New Member

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    +1 on what Glen said My son focused on Norwich and the Citadel. Both great schools. Both expensive unless you are an SC resident and go to thr Citadel. If you can handle the cold definitely check out Norwich. They have a lot of money available for good students too. My son just fell in love with the Citadel when we visited. The campus, the cadets, the classes everything. We knew we couldn't afford it so he did everything he could to earn an ROTC scholarship. Kept his grades up took the ACT multiple times got as much leadership as he could. Earned a 3 year scholarship and is going to the Citadel in the fall. Work hard and good luck to you
     
  6. Falcon A

    Falcon A Member

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    sevensixtytorr -- great posts above by bruno and glen explaining that there isn't really a price differential -- both schools $56,000+. Great advice as well to get a degree that is immediately marketable. Also agree with glen that if you are a Texan (or even if you are out of state but close), you should check out Texas A&M Corps of Cadets. From our experience, if you are out-of state, but desire to join the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets, you then qualify for "in-state" tuition rates!

    From your post it seems you are interested in most of the Senior Military Colleges (SMCs). VMI, Citadel, Norwich, Texas A&M, Virginia Tech and Univ North Georgia comprise the 6 SMCs -- each is a little bit different, but all have great military traditions.

    As far as VMI, it is a great choice, but a challenging path.

    The 53% acceptance rate you mention is a bit deceiving. It comes from the statistics where there are about 2000 applicants each year to VMI for about 500 slots for the entering class of freshmen. http://www.vmi.edu/media/content-assets/documents/admissions/Profile2021.pdf

    VMI will make about 1000 offers over the acceptance period to fill its 500 slots, hence the ~50% acceptance number. VMI gets many applicants that are also applying to the Service Academies (SAs), many from Northern Virginia which is one of the most competitive areas in the country to gain an SA appointment. VMI makes its offers for appointment in a rolling fashion, so many of the early offers go to applicants with SA quality records. If the SA appointment comes through, those candidates then cancel their VMI appointment, and then VMI goes down its ranking list and makes a new appointment offer to a new VMI applicant. If you calculate the VMI acceptance rate the way the SAs do [number of applications completed (~2000) vs number of applicants that enter (~500)], the VMI acceptance rate is between 25%-28%. The thing about VMI, however, isn't necessarily the "acceptance rate", it is the "staying rate" -- attrition runs between 30%-40% for most classes (500 enter as freshmen, typically about 350 graduate as seniors), about half of those (~125 of the 350) choose to commission into one of the military services.). If you choose VMI, make sure you are committed.

    Best wishes to you in gaining entry to VMI or any of the SMCs and thank you for your willingness to serve.
     
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  7. Lawman32RPD

    Lawman32RPD 5-Year Member

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    If you are thinking of UNT you probably live in Texas. Consider A&M, or A&M-Galveston for year. You can find an earlier series of comments I recently posted in that regard. Don't forget about the University of North Georgia, which is unique among the SMCs in that it, to my understanding, only offers Army ROTC. If you are not a Texas resident please check the prices. It used to be that virtually every out-of-state cadet at TAMU got a $1,000 scholarship which qualified them for in-state rates - that is no longer the case. I believe (and you'll want to check with the Corps about this) that the policy is now that a student must receive $4,000 in scholarships to qualify for in-state tuition. Again, many different ways to get where you want to go. Good luck and Godspeed.
     
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  8. C76706340

    C76706340 VMI '2019+3, AROTC Scholarship Winner

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    Not sure if this is true. However...

    Seeking a commission will likely increase your chances of admission to VMI as the Board of Visitors has a goal of eventually having 70% of the graduating class to accept a commission.

    The VMI class of 2017 graduated 300 cadets of which 172 (or 57%) commissioned as officers in the United States Military.

    Source: VMI Wikipedia Page
     
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  9. Landy91

    Landy91 Member

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    "The thing about VMI, however, isn't necessarily the "acceptance rate", it is the "staying rate" -- attrition runs between 30%-40% for most classes (500 enter as freshmen, typically about 350 graduate as seniors), about half of those (~125 of the 350) choose to commission into one of the military services.). If you choose VMI, make sure you are committed." -Quote by Falcon A
    True statement.
     
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  10. Humey

    Humey Member

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    Well the first thing I would do would be to visit both places. Take a tour and then just walk around and talk to students and even professors. See what the vibe is like. Comparing two universities based on the their brochure (i am exaggerating) isnt the best way to go. On paper one may seem better and yet experiencing it may tell you something different.
     
  11. AROTC-dad

    AROTC-dad Moderator

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    Don't neglect the setting between the two schools. Lexington is beautiful and snowy in winter. Charleston is right on the water and a major tourist town.

    They are very different.
     
  12. FutureAFDad

    FutureAFDad New Member

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    I've been reading this board for a few years now as my DS decided coming out of HS that AFROTC, commissioning into the Air Force, through a military college is the path he wanted to take. These forums have been fantastically informative for a parent trying to understand what his decision meant and the lingo around military, military life, and hurdles to clear to reach goals.

    I've seen questions pop up semi-frequently about VMI v The Citadel ????? I'll put my $.02 in. Full disclosure, I learned a lot more about The Citadel than I know about VMI.

    Cost of out-of-state hurts most peoples' budgets. If you know you want to serve and your goal is to commission, go to the branches' (Army in your case) ROTC website and look at the timelines and know what you have to do to apply for a ROTC scholarship. That combined with what scholarship award the school may offer might make it far more affordable.

    As far as the cost to value, '56K a year for four years and what kind of job/income you'll have from that' there probably aren't many jobs out of school that will cover >$200K in student loan debt (Doctor maybe and they even struggle in the beginning with that debt.) Most entry level jobs struggle to pay $60K in loan debt. If your job is going to be a 2nd Lt coming out of school, you can google and find the pay grades easily. Unless your family is fortunate that they've got the money for a >$200K degree debt or near debt-free, think long and hard about borrowing that. Scholarships?

    Both schools' graduates are in demand in the career they choose at a higher percentage than 'normal college.' I don't know the stats from VMI but The Citadel class of '17 (and my memory may be off by a few percent here) had 83% of grads with either an accepted job offer, a commission, or are on to attend grad school. The national average was <40%. I believe employers know that the discipline and leadership each of these military colleges effects on their cadets sets them apart from most 22-23 year men and women. I believe I'd seen that The Citadel business school '17 grads with financial related subfield had starting salaries near $90K, or it was a bit over $60K... memory has aged.

    What if something happened that prevented you from commissioning into the Army? What is your job backup plan? Talk to the dean and professors in that course of study at a school and get a feel if it those are the people you want to learn from and with for four years. Talk to the school's career center and ask about historical job placement success in that field.

    To echo AROTC-dad, there are a lot of differences. Mountains v coast. Colder winters v humid summers (and falls and early springs.) Barracks are different at each. Cadet traditions are different at each. Only you know what appeals to you more and feels right.

    I have a hypothesis on the acceptance rate. First, each school has a long list of successful alumni in military and civilian careers. And each has a strong alumni network post college years. Why 53% v 75%? Maybe percentages are some of the easiest numbers to play with. If you manage the inputs that you count, you can get the percentage that you want. I don't think this is why...

    My hypothesis is size of state - mostly. Most of the time I mention The Citadel, people think it's a private school and that probably happens with VMI too. It's a state school, thus the in-state versus out-of-state rates (not a SC resident here.) The large majority of high school students apply in-state; cost being part of the reason, going away from home but not too far being part of the reason, scholarships specific to residents, etc... If you couldn't guess, if you haven't asked your high school classmates how many of them are going to apply SMC, SMC's do not get nearly the number of college applicants as 'regular college.' Not a surprise a small set of teens want to voluntarily be 'Rats' or 'Knobs' and live 4 years being regimented as part of their college experience. Each school is dealing with a smaller sized pool of applicants than other colleges receiving 10's of 1000's of applications. So, the hypothesis... when you have a small number of applicants and even though each school pulls from many, many other states and even countries the majority of applicants are still coming from in-state. VA 2017 population was just shy of 8.5 million. SC 2017 population was just barely over 5M. VMI has about 1700 cadets. The Citadel has about 2300 cadets. So it's very likely that VMI receives more applications from it's VA student population than The Citadel receives from it's SC population; combined with VMI having fewer open bunks (hays) and you'd get a smaller accepted percentage.

    IMO, forget the accepted percentage and find a way to visit each. Do the overnight visits, interview the schools as much as they'd interview you and you'll get the feel for which is right for you.
     
  13. glen

    glen 5-Year Member

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    FutureAFDad is fairly accurate on both cost and acceptance rates. I have been volunteering as an alumni volunteer for Admissions for over 20 years now. First as to cost. The 2018/19 full cost (tuition plus room & board, fees etc) is ~ $56,400 for the first year which includes uniforms. For the last 3 years the full cost drops to ~ $51,200. This does not include incidentals and travel. See the College website for acutal costs.

    Private colleges do have an advantage over public colleges in that they can charge all students a level tuition and thereby offer exceptionally promising students discounts based on their credentials. Public colleges like The Citadel and VMI are often required to offer preference to in-state applicants and constrained in raising in-state tuition as well as offering tuition discounts to out-of-state applicants. The Citadel in-state tuition for first year cadets for example in 2017/18 is: $14,135 vs $36,500 for out-of-state. All other costs are the same (e.g. room & board, fees, uniforms, etc).

    As for ROI - cost vs results - The Citadel and VMI both rank high in post graduate employment as well as compensation. In SC average compensation of Citadel alumni tops that of every other college public and private - including Clemson, USC, the Medical University, Furman, Wofford, etc. See PayScale.com for comparisons.

    The degree major you choose has a lot to do with what you will earn - engineering majors have an annual average starting salary of over $65,000 nationally. A Business School graduate averages ~ $52,000 starting compensation.

    As for acceptance rates of VMI vs The Citadel, FutureAFDad has pretty much stated the facts - SMCs where you are 24/7 in a military environment for 4 years are not on the top of the list of most HS students. The gene pool of students interested in this type of education - and for which they face a large tuition bill - is not expanding much in today's world. Applications to The Citadel remain fairly constant going up maybe 1 or 2% a year. Add to this the fact that The Citadel Corps of Cadets has always been larger than VMI Corps of Cadets. Several years ago The Citadel increased the size of its Corps to 2,300 from 1970. Then two years ago, The Citadel began an aggressive program to have upper class cadets do a semester abroad. This has opened up space in the barracks for first year cadets from ~ 750 to over 820 during the last two admissions years. What is important for students considering either college is visiting the campus, talking to cadets and professors, and alumni on their experience. Take a look at the profile of cadets at each and see if you think you fit in.
     
  14. Falcon A

    Falcon A Member

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    FutureAFDad -- great post up above . . . in answer to your question on VMI post graduation employment stats . . .

    Like Citadel, VMI stats are very good . . . the following is an excerpt from a recent VMI Superintendent News Letter:

    "Dear Parents, VMI is a vibrant, thriving college delivering a splendid undergraduate education in a military environment. It is not standing still. While ensuring the basics and fundamentals in its core curriculum, academic offerings have evolved enormously over the past decade to support the expectations of 21st century cadets and the needs of the nation. VMI performs superbly among the best colleges in the nation in terms of employment as measured nationally on Oct. 1 each year after summer graduations with 99 percent employed annually, and greater than 50 percent commissioned into the armed services. Similarly, the Institute is a national leader when compared for best value and salary levels at the eight-year mark after graduation. Our admissions office continues to receive applications in large numbers from outstanding young people who want this unique education."

    http://www.vmi.edu/media/content-as...tion/2017-Superintendent-Newsletter_small.pdf

    Good luck you and your DS
     
  15. Sargon

    Sargon Member

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    My DS had that same choice. He was offered a 4 year AROTC scholarship to VMI, VT or El Cid. He chose VMI because all students are in the corps, closer to home, much cooler temperature for doing PT (which you'll be doing often) and he prefers the mountains to the beach. If you love the idea of a small, charming town in the mountains while attending a top-notch, difficult military school, go to VMI, if you want to live in an awesome city (Charleston is one of my favorite, and I've been to a lot of places) go to the beach on your rare day off while attending a difficult military school go to the Citadel. Both schools are rated highly and both will serve you well if you want to be a military officer.

    This is a neat website in terms of career earnings divided by state or otherwise.
    https://www.payscale.com/college-salary-report/best-schools-by-state/bachelors/new-york
    VMI is number two in Virginia, behind Washington and Lee, which borders VMI and the Citadel is number one in South Carolina. It's relevant to divide them by state due to cost of living adjustments geographically speaking. Good luck in your search, that senior year is probably more stressful than it needs to be. Things will work out and everything happens for a reason.
     
  16. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe 5-Year Member

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    Putting the question of which school would be a better fit for you aside for a moment.

    If your financial situation is such that you would graduate with significant student loan debt as high as 175K and above, you should think very hard on whether this is something you want to take on. While salaries out of the Citadel and VMI may seem higher, if you commission your first four years out of school will be on a set military salary. Student loans such as these can take up to 20 years to pay off even with making fairly high payments every month. That higher salary to start won't seem that high when up to 10K is going to repay your student loans every year.

    The financial burden of very high student loan debt should factor in when selecting a school.
     
  17. Wishful

    Wishful "Land of the free, because of the brave..." 5-Year Member

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    Many of our young people struggle with this burden. Some say that your school only counts for your 1st job, after that, you have a resume. Please consider @Jcleppe's entire post. Good luck!!
     
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  18. Landy91

    Landy91 Member

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    Always interesting to see how people answer this question, and seems certain folks always talk similarities instead of differences.
    Here are some differences:
    -Location
    -Size
    -It's easier to get into one than the other. (Doesn't matter why.)
    -One is a mix of cadets, civilians, etc. while one is all-cadet.
    -One has larger classes and more majors than the other.
    -While costs of attending are similar, one has more money than the other.
    -Living conditions are more sparse at one than at the other.
    -One has several different barracks for housing while one has just a singular barracks.
    -Regarding military service, one commissions 60% of its grads, while the other commissions 30% of its cadet grads.
    These differences are worth mentioning and indicate some fundamental contrasts between life at the schools. Check all the facts, don't go deeply into debt, and choose wisely!
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2018