First Year

The Ratline

First year cadets are referred to as rats and live within the rat system which teaches unity, military conduct, self-control, respect for authority, cleanliness and VMI culture.


Mental and Physical

Mental and physical preparation should begin as soon as students accept their appointment. Students should arrive healthy, physically fit, and ready to train.


Support Systems

VMI provides various lines of support to new cadets during their first year. Academic support includes advising and various resource centers while first class mentors offer more social and morale support. 


Lifelong Friendships

Graduating cadets say it over and over again. What they'll miss about VMI, what they'll miss about living for so long so close together in such Spartan quarters, is the people.


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