Virginia Tech Magazine
Virginia Tech

A cadet's first priority

by DAVE MILLER Ph.D. '10

Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets during Cadet Leader School
Capt. Jim Snyder, a deputy commandant of cadets, instructs members of the Second Battalion during Cadet Leader School, a leader development class that goes toward the academic minor in leadership studies.
Young men and women come to Virginia Tech and join the corps of cadets for a multitude of reasons. Some want to start their own business or rise to executive level in government or the corporate world. Many want to fulfill a lifelong dream of serving as a commissioned officer in one of the uniformed services. Regardless of where they want to go in life, cadets know their first priority is to earn a degree in their chosen field—which is not an easy task.

The commandant and staff demonstrate their commitment to helping cadets achieve their goals through a robust academic success program that consists of many initiatives tailored to a cadet's specific academic needs.

The program begins the first week of classes for freshmen cadets, when they receive a daily planner and training on how to use it. Freshmen also attend specialized classes addressing time management, detailed planning of the semester, improving study skills, test-taking strategies, rest and recreation management, a mid-semester "reality check," and preparing for final exams. All cadets have an opportunity to study in a quiet environment in the barracks during evening call-to-quarters and can take advantage of on-site tutoring in math, chemistry, and physics.

Cadets who are having difficulty with their academics are counseled and helped with designing a "get-well" program, which includes specialized tutoring. Academic officers—cadets who are academically successful—are assigned at company and battalion levels and are supervised by the regimental academics officer. These cadets are responsible for identifying cadets in academic need and ensuring that they receive help.

These and other support initiatives comprise the academic success program designed to help cadets reach their academic potential. The goal for the program is an overall corps average GPA of 3.0 or higher. In the spring 2010 semester, the cadets reached that goal, with a corps average GPA of 3.03, a significant achievement for almost 800 students with demanding schedules.

Academic achievement is recognized each semester at a regimental awards ceremony. Each company's average GPA is a key criterion for the Gold Cord, awarded annually to the top company. In addition, individual cadets are recognized with the award of a ribbon designating a semester GPA of 3.75-4.0, 3.4-3.75, or 3.0-3.4.

The Virginia Tech community can take great pride in the accomplishments of the cadets in the corps. They have a bright future and, by keeping academics as their first priority, they will undoubtedly realize their goals.

Col. Dave Miller (Ph.D. instructional design and technology '10) is the corps' deputy commandant for leader development.


digital edition
Go to digital edition »
Winter 2010-11