Students in the Virginia Women’s Institute for Leadership at Mary Baldwin College become fully involved in the life of the college as well as in the cadet corps. They are active in student government, varsity sports and clubs and organizations. However, the life of a VWIL cadet differs in some ways from the life of a traditional student. Cadets must stay focused and organized to accomplish their goals.
Cadets are up early and put in a long day. Formations often begin at 6:30 in the morning and class or corps meetings may be scheduled for evenings. VWIL students expect to work hard in order to derive benefits from the program, and they learn to manage time well.
Cadets hold themselves to high academic standards. Cadets achieving a 3.0 GPA or higher wear the coveted academic star. Students are expected to maintain a 2.5 GPA as upper class women. Failure to do so results in academic improvement through support and study hours.
Cadets are accountable; they keep their commitments. Attendance is taken at all mandatory activities. Cadets receive merits for outstanding contributions to the corps and the college and receive demerits for failure to keep commitments.
Cadets agree to focus on their educational priorities. VWIL cadets adhere to curfews, limits on evenings out and mandatory study hours from Sunday evening through Thursday. Privileges increase as cadets advance in class standing. Cadets enjoy free weekends each month.
Cadets care for their residences and uniforms. Cadet uniforms and dormitory rooms are inspected weekly.
“Life as a cadet is both one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences a developing woman could ask for. There are times you want to quit or give up because more often than not during a struggle you lose sight of why you have stayed, but when one challenge is over you get the opportunity to see the effect you have had on someone or something and I can gratefully say that the young female leader I have become and the variety of ways I can deal with different stressors would not have come to fruition without VWIL. It has made me more confident in myself and taught many life lessons that I know will help me in both the military and civilian career path.” –Tisha Wilkerson ’15, Air Force Public Affairs Officer