Start getting ready now.
VMI is a physically demanding place. Cadets must be in excellent health and be physically fit. Your mental and physical preparation should begin as soon as you accept your appointment to VMI. Training should include running, sit-ups, and pull-ups as required for the VMI Fitness Test (VFT) and a general fitness program that will prepare you for calisthenics, marching, running on hilly terrain, and tests of stamina and agility such as the obstacle course. The VFT will be administered during your first week at VMI.
Mental preparation should involve ways to improve self-discipline, emotional discipline, anger management, dealing with fatigue, and any other area you may have a weakness. You must be mentally prepared to control your behavior when being pushed to your physical and emotional limits.
Do not cut your hair to VMI standards prior to matriculation. Arriving with a conservative haircut, however, is encouraged. The VMI barbershop will take care of your first cadet haircut. Some cadets donate their hair if it is at least 10 inches long to Locks of Love or other similar charities. Let your VMI barber know if you want to donate your hair.
What to pack
Each cadet may bring one hard-sided trunk (approximate size 12” high x 17” wide x 36” long) or another piece of luggage of similar size (all other luggage must fit inside). Limited storage space is available in the trunk room after unpacking. It is recommended that the piece of luggage be lockable. Sensitive and expensive items should not be stored in the barracks trunk room.
VMI does not have insurance to cover damage, loss, or theft. The number of clothing items recommended is based on having to change clothes two or three times a day during the August heat. Laundry is sent out once a week. Please refer to the cadet handbook for a specific packing list
Your first nine days...(matriculation)
Your first nine days at VMI include Matriculation Day and Cadre Week. Matriculation is the day you report to VMI’s Cameron Hall to register for classes and sign the Matriculation Book. You will also receive company and room assignments, a laundry number, and one of the uniforms that will be worn throughout the first week of training. After matriculating, you can have lunch with your family in Crozet Hall and move your belongings into barracks.
After you say “good-bye” to your family and form up with your company for the first time, you will march into barracks to meet your Cadre. Twelve upper class cadets from each company known as “Cadre” are responsible for the training Rats need to become VMI cadets.
Collectively you are known as a Rat mass. You will not earn the status of 4th Class Cadet until after breakout when the Rat Line is complete for your class.
Meeting your Cadre will be the first in a long series of events designed to train and test you as you prepare for assuming the responsibilities of cadetship. During Cadre Week, you will participate in numerous training activities, get your Rat haircut, engage in daily physical fitness routines, learn about the history of VMI, and become familiar with the requirements of cadet life.