Daily life at VMI offers cadets much more than a typical college experience. It offers a complete and transformative system that combines superb academics with 24/7 military life, including customs and courtesies, physical training, wearing and caring for uniforms, and shared responsibilities for barracks living.
Throughout the day, cadets share in many regular activities with their "brother rats", including meals, academic classes and projects, intense preparation for parades, physical fitness twice a week, room and uniform inspections, distinguished speaker events, guard duty and penalty tour marches, late-night study sessions, downtime in barracks, and celebrating important milestones and events such as receiving their class rings.
0600: Wake up/Personal Hygiene
0700-0750: Breakfast Roll Call
0800-1550: Academic Time
1100-1300: Dinner Roll Call
1600-1830: NCAA, Club Sport/Rat Challenge
1830-2000: Supper Roll Call
2000-2325: Dean's Evening Study Period
2230: Lights Out and Optional Late Study
0130: Cadets Must Return to Their Own Rooms
Each day, cadets engage in VMI's rigorous academic program by pursuing studies in 14 majors across the arts and humanities, engineering, information and social sciences, as well as life and natural sciences. Faculty-mentored undergraduate research opportunities reward and enhance the cadet experience, from cadet travel grants to presenting at professional meetings, and conducting research in the field. The VMI Bookstore in the lower level of Lejeune Hall supports cadet learning with textbooks for purchase or rental, computers and computer accessories, and other cadet essentials.
“It was a unique experience to present research in an international conference, and it offered me a great experience to use the skills that I have been learning throughout my education.”
Cadets extend their learning beyond the classroom through Leader Development Programs, Summer Programs, Research, Institute Honors Program, International Programs, Civic Engagement, and more. Cultural events, such as Lunar New Year activities organized by the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures and other departments and the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion help foster understanding of other cultures and bring the community together in celebration.
Guest speakers share their wisdom and life lessons with cadets and the community. “Just do the right thing....We have to be honest. We have to be Americans. We’re all immigrants....You have an honor code. That’s very simple. Can you imagine if you followed the honor code how easy your life would be?” - Lt. Col. Enoch “Woody” Woodhouse II, Tuskegee Airman, trial lawyer, and US State Department and city of Boston attorney, responding to cadets' questions.
“Having to balance academics, a job, rifle team schedule, ROTC requirements, and still finding time to have fun and maintain friendships was really difficult for me in the beginning, but I've gotten better at it over the years, and it's a skill I know I will continue to develop after graduation.”
Daily life at VMI revolves around a military system, and all cadets must participate in four years of Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC). By placing all cadets on a uniform plane, it enables them to advance through self-reliance, initiative, and strength of character. The combination of physical training, field and physical exercises, and academics makes cadets strong and capable, and prepares them for the physical, mental, and emotional demands of military service, civilian careers, and life.
VMI's honor code, regimental system, and leadership opportunities in the General Committee and Corps of Cadets carefully develop confidence and prepare cadets to become honorable citizen-soldiers who lead with competence, courage, caring and integrity. Cadets can choose to continue their four years of military training in ROTC at VMI by commissioning in the armed services, or they can choose to take their self-discipline and leadership skills into other professions.
“I talked to the Army ROTC cadre a lot about commissioning in the Army, and they told me I needed a good GPA and PT score. I wasn't really good at PT, but I knew that I would get better if tried every day to be a better version of myself and reach my goals.”
Athletics and Sports Clubs at VMI form an integral part of the Institute's aim to educate the whole person by encouraging a "sound mind and sound body".
NCAA DIV 1 teams include Baseball, Basketball, Cross Country M/W (men’s and women’s), Football, Lacrosse, Rifle M/W, Soccer M/W, Swimming & Diving M/W, Track & Field M/W, Water Polo W, and Wrestling. Keydets fans can purchase gear at the VMI Bookstore.
Club Sports teams vary from year to year. Cadets may join a club sport in full member status after their Rat Line ends. Typical sports include: Baseball, Basketball, Bass Fishing, Boxing, Cross Fit, Equestrian, Golf, Ice Hockey, Jiu-Jitsu, Lacrosse, Marathon (Running Club), Pistol, Powerlifting, Rock Climbing, Rugby- men's and women's, Shotgun (Trap and Skeet), Soccer, Three Gun Club, Triathlon, Women's Rugby, and Wrestling.
“The coolest thing I've gotten to do at VMI is participate in different sports and clubs. I've made many new friends that way, plus it's a fun way to stay active.”
Additional Supports and Services
Dedicated staff at Auxiliary Services provide high quality services and supplies to meet the expanded needs of cadets who balance academics and ROTC, physical fitness, and leadership training at the oldest state-supported military college in the nation. Goods and services are available from the following Auxiliary Services departments: Barber Shop, Tailor Shop, Military Store and Quartermaster Department, Armory, Laundry Department, Mailroom, Bookstore, and Dining Services. Auxiliary Services also leads the Parking Citation Appeals Committee. To appeal, cadets, faculty, staff, and visitors can print and mail a copy of the Parking Appeals Form to: Comptroller, Virginia Military Institute, Smith Hall Room 313, Lexington VA 24450, along with their payment for the citation.
Crozet Hall is open for dining 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week when cadets are on post. Part of Auxiliary Services, the Dining Services team supports the extremely active lifestyle of VMI cadets with nutritious and delicious meals made from fresh ingredients. Cadets, faculty, staff, and visitors also have the opportunity to visit the PX for a variety of delicious, quick, and convenient food made fresh daily to satisfy any craving - from sandwiches to sushi, salads, and healthy snacks for between classes or settling down at a table to enjoy a meal with friends.
Cadets can obtain daily necessities at the VMI Bookstore, part of Auxiliary Services, in the PX on the lower level of Lejeune Hall, including course materials, new and used textbooks for purchase or rental, computers and accessories, hydration systems, shower shoes, shoe and brass polish, health & beauty items, and VMI spirit apparel. Parents, alumni, and fans can shop for VMI-branded merchandise, seasonal gear, graduation items, and more at shopvmi.com and have orders shipped or request items for in-store pickup.
ⓘ Interested in learning more about a cadetship at VMI? Reach out to our Admissions Team.