So I've just gotten my acceptance letter to West Point, and even though I've had my mind set on go to West Point my entire life I'm not so sure........ All my friends who are freshman in college this year are saying how awesome all the parties are at college and girls and everything. I've never been a big partier because of my super strict crazy parents and college was going to be like MY four years of fun without them in my life. Anyways they don't have those crazy parties at West Point and only 12% of kids are girls, so I don't know what I'm going to do. On one hand when I graduate from West Point and serve my 5 years I will have actually made money (instead of the college debt most people have) and I will have pretty much any job in law enforcement, which is what I want to do, open to me because I have a West Point diploma. But I feel like I might be missing out. Everyone says how much they loved high school, but I've hated it because of my parents so I want that college experience but I also want to go to one of the most respected colleges in the world..............
Any thoughts, especially from West Point grads?
Congradulations of the acceptance letter, I too have been trying very hard for a long time to get into West Point. I have had a similar high school experience as you, and I took into consideration all the freedoms that are associated with "normal colleges." And like you said, there are hardly any freedoms at West Point, at least for the first two years. But for me, attending and graduating from West Point is so much better than going to college and partying and being crazy. Personally I would rather have the top-notch education, without any debt besides a service commitment. In my opinion no one can tell you what to do concerning this issue, it just comes down to how bad you want it, if you really want to go to West Point and serve as an Army officer, then it will be an easy decision. But I definitely think this deserves a lot of thought and you have to decide if it's what you really want. Plus you're 27 after you fulfill your service commitment, it's not like you have ruined your whole life, you just have a head start on everyone else.
Archery_kid: thought-provoking questions! (and congrats on the LOA!). WMace: nice job on a measured (and nicely nuanced) reply. I'd really be interested to hear some opinions from folks who were in a position to chose between USMA and a "party" (or other) school alternative, and how they think those choices have worked out for them. First bounce, I'm thinking that USMA (and subsequent Army service) would be a tough go if your heart wasn't really into a military environment, but perhaps if you had the initiative and quals in the first place to get accepted at USMA and then went there, you might have a perspective different than beforehand? Not sure, but this sounds like a topic where it might be useful to hear opinions from people who made a choice, have lived with that choice (USMA vs. non-military college) for a year or so, and how they feel about it now.
I would like to dispel the myth that you won't have any fun for the first two years, at least. Although you won't be having a drunken party, you will have a different kind of fun. For example, look up on YouTube "plebe pillow fight." Last weekend, my son watched a football game with his buddies, then played golf for 5 hours at a local course. He seemed pretty happy with his weekend. Maybe it's the definition of fun that needs examining.
Archery-Kid: Others may share their experiences with you but this has to be your decision.
"so I want that college experience but I also want to go to one of the most respected colleges in the world.............."
At West Point you will not have the "normal" college experience that includes "awesome freshman parties and girls and everything". If that makes you feel you will be missing out then you should strongly consider one of the highly respected civilian colleges.
However, be aware that at West Point you will have a different kind of fun, you will be given wonderful opportunities, and you will make friendships that will last a lifetime.
Attending West Point does require a level of sacrifice. However, most cadets feel that the end goal is worth it. Only you can decide if that is true for you.
I only know one cadet who went to a civilian university for a year before being admitted to West Point. He tells me that he tired of the party scene fairly quickly and really appreciates what West Point has to offer. Interestingly, I think he appreciates West Point more than those cadets who have no other frame of reference.
How do you feel about serving as an officer in the Army?
Could you please clarify your opening statement? You indicate that you have already received a Letter of Assurance from West Point - is that correct? The reason that I ask is that I think it would be unusual for West Point to offer admittance to someone who so clearly isn't sure they want to attend. If your stats are strong enough to have a LOA, it would indicate that you are either very serious or very talented (or both) and from your letter you seem to be more interested in partying and not too keen on wanting to serve. Are you really the one who wants to go or is it perhaps your parents who think it would be a great opportunity? Please don't be offended - I am just wondering...It is of no benefit to you or West Point for you to take a space you don't really want because if you drop after I-day no one else gets that space.
Momathome is right, of course. I am also bothered that you seem to already be planning for the "5 and fly." Although many go that route, West Point wants to train officers to lead in the Army for an entire career of service. Perhaps you might want to consider a ROTC scholarship at your top "party" school. You need to search your motives, and attend for the right reasons...which would be primarily because you want to train to be an Army officer at the premiere leadership institution.
"I want that college experience but I also want to go to one of the most respected colleges in the world............"
Pretty simple. Decide which you want more.
I will echo the sentiments of the posters who have suggested that if you KNOW you are not going to be a career Army Officer, enroll in AROTC FAR from home at a school that has a decent Law Enforcement program and that offers the girls / partying / social experience that you seem to desire. It is difficult for me to believe that someone bright enough to gain admittance at WP can't get into a GREAT Law Enforcement undergraduate program and then get "pretty much any job in law enforcement" that you want after ROTC and 4 years of military experience.
Just my opinion....
Ok so really I'm posting this because my best friend is in this situation and he's really confused but won't go to ANYONE for help in his decision. He applied when we were juniors and now he's heard all the stories our friends who are college freshmans are talking about and isn't sure. So I thought I would post this and talk to him about what you guys say. I just thought I would get more responses if I said it was me. Thanks for all the replies.
aglages: He's insane, he got accepted into Dartmouth and Amherst too. He's like a genius
Momathome: He's extremely talented. We've both been in the LEO Explorer program and he is (as I said before) pretty much a scientific genius, but not a nerd
Fair enough. Although, it would have been best for you to just say what the situation was in the beginning rather than the ruse, you would have received the same responses. No point in being sneaky or deceitful with your postings, all it will do is reflect poorly on you. No need for that since your motives appear to be altruistic.
The academies are not necessarily looking for geniuses or even those who are like them.
Leaders need to be whole persons who excel in many areas, not just academics.
So why don't you apply for admission? You seem to have an interest.
OK - fair enough that you're trying to help your friend...but I am still not sure that he has a LOA from West Point. "Genius but not a nerd" is all well and good and LEO Scout is nice but unless there is more than you have mentioned I still think he has a preliminary application but not a LOA. What are his athletics, his ECs...has he done a CFA? If he has already heard from Dartmouth it sounds like Early Action so he has said he would attend if offered admission, which would negate West Point as an option.
Why don't you tell us the rest of the story? If your friend really has applied and does want WP, it may be something about which he feels very strongly and you don't understand it, which is why you're trying to push him to party with you - a true friend would encourage and support, not try to destroy his friend's dream.
Yes I am interested in WP or may choose to go the ROTC way, but I'm going to take a year off to do some humanitarian work in South America.
He got accepted to Dartmouth like last year but was set on WP. To clarify they sought him out after he did very well in a science competition.
When I say hes a genius not nerd I mean he's insanely smart but is athletic and a leader.
And I didn't want to explain how it was my friend so i just took an AIM conversation that we had about this and put it into 1st person.
Anyways getting back to the original question..... before he really wanted to go to WP but now after people started to talk about all the great times they've had in college he isn't sure
"Why don't you tell us the rest of the story? If your friend really has applied and does want WP, it may be something about which he feels very strongly and you don't understand it, which is why you're trying to push him to party with you - a true friend would encourage and support, not try to destroy his friend's dream."
This is a serious reach and IMHO did not need to be said.
Thanks aglages, I didnt see that in Momathome's post. I do like to party but (as I said above) will probably be applying to WP in a year or so after I do humanitarian aid work. I'm not as smart or well qualified as my friend so I might do the ROTC program but I'm going to wait and see. Either way I'm only trying to help him decided as he is pretty much having a panic attack about this.
archery_kid: You're welcome. One minor point and it may not be valid. Check with someone at WP before walking away for a year and going out of the country. I'm not sure if this will hurt or even effect your chances for consideration, but because it deviates from the usual applicant you may want to confirm that it won't be a problem. Just don't tell them "your friend" wants to know.