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academics at USMA

PBWriterPBWriter 2 replies4 threads New Member
I have read various comments about the academics at WP the first 2 years. I am aware the curriculum includes may core courses and is math-science heavy. Is there anyone or resource that will give an indication of how intense these courses are ? I can see a candidate who may have certain strengths struggle with some courses where they may not be as ...prepared or comfortable.
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Replies to: academics at USMA

  • ChoatieMomChoatieMom 5300 replies246 threads Senior Member
    edited November 6
    For those wishing to understand the core curriculum at USMA, see pages 13-20 of the most recent Red Book:

    https://westpoint.edu/sites/default/files/pdfs/RedBook_GY2020_20170803.pdfp

    As for intensity, that depends on how well-prepared each cadet is for actual college-level work in each required course area, and that differs from student to student based on the high school experience. Because USMA understands that GPAs and standardized test scores are not always indicative of subject mastery, the academy administers its own assessments prior to the start of the Plebe academic year to ensure proper placement in the curriculum streams. Where a student is strong and shows mastery, s/he may validate corresponding courses and begin with more advanced work. Conversely, where mastery is not indicated, the student will be placed appropriately as well.

    The academy is vested in the academic success of each student with a student-faculty ratio of 8 to 1. You not only know your professors and instructors, but also have the opportunity to request additional instruction when needed. Classes are small, typically 12 to 18 cadets, and are taught using the Thayer Method in which students are responsible for their own learning. They study material prior to attending class and classroom time is spent reinforcing/clarifying lesson material.

    I would say that getting used to the Thayer Method along with balancing all of the military responsibilities, sports, physical fitness, and field work is what causes Plebe year to be viewed as incredibly "intense." There is very, very little downtime; every part of the day is regimented. It's a tough way to get through college and requires a lot of adjustment. Each incoming class will see roughly 200-300 cadets separate for various reasons before graduation day. (277 separated from the class of 2019.) It's not for everyone, and that's OK. For those who do stay the course, the resources are there to enable each cadet to successfully reach graduation and commission into one of the Army's 17 branches.

    A good resource for any and all of your questions is serviceacademyforums.com (CC for military applicants) where, right now, a Plebe and a Firstie are taking questions:

    https://www.serviceacademyforums.com/index.php?threads/a-plebe-class-of-2023-ask-me-anything.70358/

    https://www.serviceacademyforums.com/index.php?threads/i-am-a-firstie-class-of-2020-ask-me-anything.70239/

    Go ask the source! Good luck to you.
    edited November 6
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