So im stuck at a crossroads right now between VMI and USMMA. Though I havent officially been accepted to either (and i dont want to sound like a jackass) but both admissions offices made it sound pretty clear that I would be accepted to both. I want to go into the Marines after college and go through OCS.
VMI seems more military oriented but USMMA seems to provide a better education. I am also competeing for an NROTC scholarship so hopefully tuition won't be a problem.
MY high school normally sends a few kids to USMMA every year and the admissions office there looks favorably upon my school's seniors. Unlike USMMA, very few kids apply to VMI so I dont have alot of people to talk to about their experiences there.
Any input would be greatly appreciated.
Kemp7- I'm not sure what you are looking for outside the Marines after graduation so I'm shooting in the dark a little. VMI is (I believe) a more militarily regimented environment than KP- that is - they place a lot
of emphasis on a demanding physical approach (read that as you will be physically and mentally harrassed a lot for most of your 4th class (Rat) year. Socially- no phones, no ipods, almost no off post "liberty" (you get a couple hours on Sunday afternoon to go up town in Lexington) for your 4th class year and no car until your 1st Class year.
Academically - in this years USNEWS ranking- VMI was ranked as the #3 public college behind USMA and USNA. It is a Liberal arts college with a strong engineering component (the Civil and Mechanical Engineering programs are ranked in the top 10 undergrad programs in the same review I believe.)- it's about a 40/60 split engineers to other majors,and the largest major in this years incoming class is International Studies. The Faculty - Student ratio is 10-1 and most of your classes will be very small- less than 20 in almost all cases and significantly less in many as you go along. All cadets will have to take 4 years of ROTC - about 55% of the class took commissions last year- most in the Army followed by the USMC and the Superintendants goal is for that number to increase to 75% commissioned with at least a reserve commission.
So- what is VMI not? Well- it's not a Federal Service Academy which means that unless you have an ROTC scholarship or you get financial aid - it will cost you in line what other State colleges would cost- and that's not cheap if you are not a Virginian (well maybe it's relatively cheap compared to a Private school but it's not free or even close to it as is it's Federal brethren.
I can't really speak to USMMA personally although I have had relatives graduate from there and gone on to careers in the USN and USCG and a friend who graduated and sailed for only a year and then went on into a shore career. It is a great school- it has a professional mission so that it necessarily is focused on producing marine engineers and deck officers, but I don't think that is all that limiting even if you don't end up in the maritime world. I have a young engineer working for me now who got his degree in marine engineering, sailed for a few years and is now working in a completely different field - what he got out of KP and his time at sea was (on top of a load of $$) the ability to take responsibility for large projects with minimum guidance and a dedication to get things accomplished without excuses- not bad lessons to be learned and a tribute to his alma mater in my book! And- while the Sea year is a big challenge academically (Essentially compressing 4 years at a normal college into 3 years)- you have to admit that it is an adventure which you would be hard pressed to duplicate anywhere else and at the one time in your life when you are free to have one.
So I guess - if I were faced with this choice- I would be asking myself- what are my goals? Not only your immediate goal of going into the USMC- but what major do you want to pursue, what are your finances like and what do you value? PM me and I will be happy to give you more detail about VMI.
Good luck- it's nice to have choices!