top of page
  • Writer's pictureNancy Adis

Virginia Tech –Steeped in Tradition & Offering Unique Corps of Cadets Program

This comprehensive public research university serves over 28,000 undergraduate students on a beautiful 2,600-acre main campus near Blacksburg, Virginia, providing a wide variety of offerings. There are over 100 majors in seven undergraduate colleges, as well as a University Studies, Explore Technology, or Exploring Science major for those yet undecided. With well-known sports teams (64,000 passionate fans filling the football stadium), over 300 clubs and organizations, an honors college, and hands-on learning activities (research, internships, study abroad), there may be a little something for everyone at Virginia Tech.

One offering that is very unique is the Corps of Cadets program. For women and men looking for a structured educational program, filled with leadership training, and character development, this military-style training may be a good fit. While the program has evolved over its long history at Virginia Tech, today, this group of 1,100+ students live together in corps residence halls and participate in the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets’ 24/7 leader development program. Cadets choose one of two tracks: Military-Leader Track (Air Force ROTC, Army ROTC, or Naval ROTC) or Citizen-Leader Track, for students who aren't seeking a military career. All cadets, regardless of track, prepare to be leaders of character for the nation and the world.

When I visited campus and drove along Drillfield Drive, there were cadets marching in formation and preparing to welcome the new cadets who are moving in later this week. I visited the War Memorial with the eight pylons which describe the core values all students strive for: Brotherhood, Honor, Leadership, Sacrifice, Service, Loyalty, Duty, and Ut Prosim. With their strong military background, it is no surprise that Virginia Tech’s motto is Ut Prosim (That I May Serve). They place an emphasis on giving back to the Blacksburg community and the world in general.

When new cadet week begins (a week before school starts), these students will experience a highly structured routine designed to train them, mold them into a working community, and provide them with high levels of support as they transition to college. Daily physical exercises (leading to two 13-mile hikes early on), no electronics for the first week (so they can really get to know their roommate), structured schedules and group study sessions (15 hours weekly in class, with 30 hours of studying weekly), and commitment to the honor code.

Besides their military traditions, Virginia Tech also has many interesting long-standing traditions. Each class designs their own class ring and there’s a formal Ring Dance for a class celebration. There’s a Game-Ball Run for homecoming, the Hokie Stone the buildings are made of, the hidden “gargoyles” (at least 15 of them) all over campus, and more!

Admission at Virginia Tech is competitive, and while they are test-optional, they do pay particular attention to finding a good match between the classes taken in high school and the intended major, as well as how students answer the short answer essay questions. Those who are interested in admission to the Corps of Cadets can apply at no cost and applications received by the priority deadline of November 15th are automatically considered for an emerging leader scholarship ($8k for in-state, $12k out-of-state).

There are so many colleges to choose from! Every student has their own unique needs and interests and Confident College Planning guides families along the college selection journey. Whether you’re just starting the process and need some guidance on steps to complete, would like help researching colleges for your specific interests, are looking for strategies to get scholarship money, or need help fine-tuning your application and essay – we can help! Contact me today at to set up a meeting and find out more about what I can do for you.


bottom of page