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Cadet Life in the 19th Century
Admissions Documents

VMI Records top level 

 Today's students can look back with envy on the simplicity of the 19th century college admissions process. Typically, the applicant's father wrote a personal letter to Superintendent Francis H. cadetdetail(1)Smith, requesting consideration for an appointment. In addition, the prospective cadet submitted several "testimonials" from community members, neighbors, and teachers. Following formal approval of an appointment by the VMI Board of Visitors, the new cadet was expected to matriculate by mid-July, going directly into a summer encampment before moving into Barracks and beginning classes in the fall. Although Second Classmen were often granted permission to visit home for short periods between academic sessions, furloughs were not automatic and new students could assume that they would not see their families for a year or longer. Vacations during the academic year - at Christmas, for example - did not exist until well into the 20th century.

Letter from parent requesting appointment, 1846
Letter of Recommendation, 1847
Regulations (excerpt), 1848
Appointment document, 1846
Estimate of Expenses, 1846
Course of Studies and Textbooks, 1846