Virginia Military Institute

Lexington, VA: Virginia Military Institute (VMI) is located in the small college town of Lexington, Virginia. Nestled in the Shenandoah Valley, with a great view of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Lexington is quiet. Its shop-lined streets have a welcoming small-town feel. Once I entered the school’s gates, the world was transformed and I felt like I was watching a kind of living history. The Barracks is where the entire Corps of Cadets resides. It was originally built before the Civil War. Burnt down during the War, the Barracks was rebuilt shortly after.

Tradition is a way of life “on post.” One of the most intriguing traditions is the “Rat-line.” Every first-year student is known as a “rat” and he or she is indoctrinated into the school in such a way that he or she learns what is expected of students at VMI. Another emphasis of the school is the “three-legged stool,” which is comprised of academics, military, and fitness. It teaches each cadet a balance needed to survive in “the real world” this school is preparing cadets to enter.

The cadets welcome all prospective students and were very willing to answer any questions asked by both the prospective cadets and their parents. The dorms were simple, but clean and more than adequate. The athletic facilities were wonderful. They include an enormous weight room, a great pool, a boxing room, a wrestling room, basketball courts, and two indoor tracks. There are more than 60 clubs and organizations for cadets to join. All athletics are Division I except the football team, which is Division I-AA. If you would like to reach admissions to get more information, you can visit them on-line at f

Reviewed in 1998