Information for Parents
Most new cadets come to VMI with strong high school credentials. Yet though their high SAT scores and strong high school GPAs suggest that they are ready for college, this is not always true. College students, and VMI cadets especially, are expected to think critically, navigate changing schedules, and practice self-advocacy and self-responsibility. Many students who devoted little time to study but excelled in high school find themselves unprepared for college academics, especially when combined with the military lifestyle at VMI. AC101/102 is a proactive answer to this challenge.
In AC101, faculty and upper-class cadets offer information and insights on the transition from high school to VMI academics. Cadets learn to manage time, prioritize, and design goals that can be achieved. AC101 helps new cadets apply effective study strategies – where quality matters more than quantity – in their other courses.
There is then a four week break called On Your Own (OYO). The AC Rats do not meet for the AC courses but rather see how well they can do without the weekly prompts from the instructors and cadet facilitators.
The AC Rats then return for the last five weeks with AC 102 class meetings. In AC 102, the focus turns from weekly interactions and activities overseen by the instructors to five weeks of individual integration and application. New cadets use the tools, information, and insights offered in AC101 to enhance academic performance, and they reflect on this experience in weekly journal entries. Feedback from the instructors and the cadet facilitators engage the cadets in a substantive exchange. The instructors are available, but this is the time for new cadets to assume ownership of their cadetship.They are offered opportunities to demonstrate their integration of AC101’s lessons into daily life, and they learn how to prepare for their first college final exams. Discussion and activities also look toward the transition from rat to cadet through successful navigation of Breakout in the spring.
Please be aware that new parents and students at VMI should redefine the term "academic success." VMI is not high school. The average high school GPA for the Class of 2017 was 3.61. The end of first year GPA for this class was 2.70 - the highest end of first year GPA since the data were first collected in Fall 2000. The best way to support your new cadet in FYI@VMI and AC101/102 is to encourage – but not require – him or her to apply for this course. Whether or not your cadet enrolls in AC101/102, he or she will benefit from your support and encouragement to use resources, be proactive, and to stay focused.