Virginia Military Institute

The Virginia Military Institute (VMI) is a state-supported military college in Lexington, Virginia. VMI offers its students, all of whom are cadets, strict military discipline combined with a spartan, physically and academically demanding environment. The institute grants degrees in 14 disciplines in engineering, the sciences, and liberal arts. The campus is referred to as the "Post," a tradition that reflects the school's military focus and the uniformed service of its alumni. A training area of several hundred additional acres is located near the post. All cadets are housed on campus in a large five-story building, called the "barracks". 


Prospective cadets, in addition to other strict criteria, must be between 16 and 22 years of age. 

Admission of women

In August 1997, VMI enrolled its first female cadets. The first co-ed class consisted of thirty women, and matriculated as part of the class of 2001. 

Student life

The Regimental Commander gives commands to the Corps of Cadets during a parade in coatee. Just as cadets did nearly 200 years ago, today's cadets give up such comforts as beds, instead lying upon cots also referred to as "hays". These hays are little more than foam mats that must be rolled every morning and aired every Monday. Further, cadet uniforms have changed little; the coatee worn in parades dates to the War of 1812. New cadets, known as "Rats", experience even further deprivations from many "creature comforts" common to college life at other schools: they are not permitted to watch TV or listen to music outside of an academic setting. To this end, living conditions are considered more austere here than other service academies. 

Clubs and activities 

VMI currently offers over 50 school-sponsored clubs and organizations, including recreational activities, military organizations, musical and performance groups, religious organizations and service groups. Although VMI prohibited cadet membership in fraternal organizations starting in 1885, VMI cadets were instrumental in starting several fraternities. 


There are also several athletic programs for students to participate in as Virginia Military Institute fields 14 sports teams on the NCAA Division I level. Varsity sports include baseball, basketball, men's and women's cross country, football, lacrosse, men's and women's rifle, men's and women's soccer, men's and women's swimming & diving, men's and women's track & field, and wrestling. The best way to get to know VMI is to visit. You may visit on your own, schedule a time to chat with our admissions counselors, come as part of a group, or stay overnight at an Open House.

Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Lexington, VA - Hotel Exterior
1.14 mi / 1.83 km from Virginia Military Institute
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