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Guide to get into West Point?

mellonmellowmellonmellow Registered User Posts: 2 New Member
edited November 2012 in Military Academy - West Point
Hey everyone, Melanie here. I'm a sophomore in high school and my dream is to become a West Point cadet. I've been looking around here and there for resources. I found this site yesterday: http://www.getintoacademy.com/

Can anyone say if that information is good or valid? I think it seems pretty legitimate. The webpage I'm wondering about is the cadet sergeant's guide here: http://www.getintoacademy.com/5/how-to-prepare-for-west-point-a-cadet-sergeants-guide/

Thanks all, and good luck!
Post edited by mellonmellow on

Replies to: Guide to get into West Point?

  • aspenaspen Registered User Posts: 748 Member

    The information in cadet sargeant's guide is pretty much on target but a little dated.

    The biggest misunderstanding that most people, including myself, had about the USMA application process is the role of the congressional nomination. While the nomination is required and takes some effort to obtain, it is less difficult to obtain than the acceptance offered by the USMA Admissions office. There are over 4000 nominations given each year but only about 1200 candidates accepted by the USMA Admissions Office. What I mean to convey is that getting an acceptance from the admissions office is more difficult than getting a nomination. I suggest you make sure you direct your resources accordingly.

    The summer program is now called the Summer Leadership Seminar. It's intended for candidates who have just completed their junior years. I believe you can begin applying for the SLS around January. It's a great program and should be attended by all candidates if possible.

    There is no longer an official early acceptance program program at USMA. I think the class of 2008 was the last class offered that option. However, the academy does offer letters of assurance to highly qualified candidates. These LOA's are equivalent to an early acceptance and are offered as early as July before your senior year. My unscientific survey of candidates receiving LOA's is that the "highly qualified candidate " has SAT scores of 1400+, top 10% class ranking, several varsity letters and some demonstrated school, sport or civic leadership experience. There are probably 200 or less LOA's offered each year, excluding recruited athletes.

    Major points to remember.

    1.Apply early. This applies for SLS as well as the official application. The "early bird" may not always get the worm but it certainly has a better chance than the late bird.

    2. Put a high priority of your SAT/ACT test scores. While your GPA is important, my personal opinion is that the SAT/ACT scores are of even greater importance. Target a minimum of 1200 but it's best if you can score 1300 and above.

    3. Make sure you can medically qualify. The academies have strict medical requirements and will only give a limited number and scope of formal waivers. Find out early if you have a medical condition that will disqualify you or require a formal waiver. No point getting your hopes up for an appointment only to find out in your senior year that you can't qualify medically. Also if you need a waiver, you want to have as much lead time as possible to obtain it.

    4.Keep physically active and fit. While USMA likes to see participation and excellence in team sports, it's not mandatory. However, being physically fit is mandatory. The requirements aren't complex. You must be proficient in running, situps and pushups. Begin now to build up your capabilities in those areas.

    5. Keep your paperwork organized and follow up on outstanding items. There're a lot of pieces to the USMA application and nomination process. Since virtually everyone is doing it for the first time, it's easy to miss or forget a piece. I recommend making a timeline chart for all the steps along with the various paperwork associated with each step. My son (now a yearling), used an Excel spreadsheet to record and track all the paperwork. It was a lifesaver for him since he could, at a glance, identify if he was current with his paperwork. Equally important it allowed him to politely remind his teachers/school officials that certain recommendations had not yet been sent to USMA or the senators/congress member.

    6. Find someone that has gone through the application process recently and talk with them. Check to see if there is a local USMA parents club. Why reinvent the wheel if you can benefit from the experience of someone who had done it already. Ideally, someone who has done it successfully.

    7. Read the USMA website often, especially the admissions site. It's incredible how many candidates ask questions that are already answered in the USMA admissions website. More and more of the application process is being done on the internet so keep current with the website.

    Hope this is helpful.
    Thanks for considering a career as a leader in our Armed Forces.
  • mellonmellowmellonmellow Registered User Posts: 2 New Member
    Your points are very insightful. I'll have to print this out for reference. Thanks, aspen.
  • NJNetsFan34NJNetsFan34 Registered User Posts: 44 Junior Member
    I was someone who recently went through the application process and can tell you that it can be a very long road (for me anyways), but if you stay motivated and work hard, then the results will be worth it. I started my application for Summer Leaders Seminar January of my junior year. It wasn't until 17 months later that I recieved my acceptance to USMA (just a few weeks ago). The advice that aspen gave you is great and I wouldn't change any of it.

    The main thing that helped me was that I talked to anyone and everyone I could about the service academy's to try and get the best handle I could on it. I asked questions to cadets, former cadets, candidates applying in front of me, and to parents of current or past cadets. It was a huge payoff as you'll learn a ton of interesting information that will def help you down the road. I know their are quite a bit of people who recently applied on the website, so contact any of them or myself and I'll be glad to help you however I can!
  • SteslaSSteslaS Registered User Posts: 293 Junior Member
    Does anyone have a sample application that I can see?
    I am just interested in the format and how many spaces you can put for sports and clubs
  • futurewarriorfuturewarrior Registered User Posts: 227 Junior Member
    There's plenty of space, trust me. Even more now that future classes will be doing more online. There's the typical "other" box where you can write down all the random stuff that doesn't have its own little check box.
  • SteslaSSteslaS Registered User Posts: 293 Junior Member
  • FewAndProud16FewAndProud16 Registered User Posts: 122 Junior Member
    Good website, legit info, but the video of Beast? I'm pretty sure it's not all fun and games!

    Check out Amazon for a National Geographic documentary called "Surviving West Point." Very, very good and informative, and it'll make your mouth water in anticipation!! They don't butter it up at all; all the "bad" stuff, like yelling, constant work, tight schedules, etc. are all shown.
  • AnnAnn Registered User Posts: 1,477 Senior Member
    "Be physically active and maintain your fitness. While West Point likes to see on your application that you participate in and excel in team sports, it’s not mandatory. However, with that said, being physically in shape is mandatory. The requirements are quite simple, though: You must be able to run and do sit-ups and push-ups."

    Since this statement is now on the advice website http://www.getintoacademy.com/
    it's probably a good idea to qualify that although participation in athletics/sports (not necessarily team, school or varsity sports) is not mandatory for admission, it is the norm for most successful WP candidates. The whole candidate score is 60% academic requirements, 10% CFA, and 30% leadership potential. Athletic participation falls under leadership potential. I would say it is an exceptional candidate who is accepted without any athletic participation.
  • xoxhoops790xoxhoops790 Registered User Posts: 27 New Member
    Definitely go to SLS. I went this year and it was awesome. During SLS, you take the CFA and if you pass it you don't have to take it again for admission into West Point, so it's one less thing to worry about. Even if you fail the CFA at SLS, it doesn't matter at all. It's a free shot. If you do pass the CFA at sls, you can still retake it if you want to improve on your scores even though you already passed.
  • FewAndProud16FewAndProud16 Registered User Posts: 122 Junior Member
    Just a note on the CFA. After you take this, DON'T slack off on physical training! There are new cadets here that can only do one pushup! From what my squad leader told me, only about 30% of the new cadets passed the diagnostic APFT a few days after R-Day. That's pretty sad, considering the CFA is pretty tough, much tougher than the passing scores for the APFT here. Guys should come in able to do 49 pushups, 55 sit-ups, and a 15:54 2-mile. Girls should be able to do 23 pushups, 55 sit-ups, and a 18:06 2-mile. Make Class of 2012 start out better than 2011!
  • lasportive-fillelasportive-fille Registered User Posts: 4 New Member
    Alright....so right now im a Junior in High School....and it is already December 4th....and i really really really need to get started on the application process...but the problem is...i don't know what is supposed to be in the application...plus....my parents don't know that i want to attend this school....(i don't really know if they would approve)...i don't know if i am academically right for it....i do know that i am well qualified for the physical part....and i live in INDIANA.... not exactly the closest part to West Point....what do i do? any advice? PLEASE!!!! before its to late!!!!

  • WAMom68WAMom68 Registered User Posts: 481 Member
    Maria -
    It sounds like you need to do some more research. Read every thing on the USMA admissions website: USMA Admissions: Home

    There are also some good books that will give you an idea of what the academy is like. See this thread: http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/military-academy-west-point/521255-best-sources.html?highlight=books

    The DVD called "Surviving West Point" is also a good source.

    Since you are a junior you should apply for SLS (Summer Leadership Seminar). See the admissions website for information. If you don't get into SLS you should at least go for a day visit to West Point.
  • aprouddadaprouddad Registered User Posts: 34 Junior Member

    Relax and take a deep breath. If you are a junior, you don't need to sweat the application process. Read the post from Aspen above. All good info. I would add/emphasize the following:

    1. USMA Admissions website. Read it. All of it. It tells you what they are looking for and how the admissions process works.

    2. SLS. The online application will open soon (15 December according to USMA Admissions: Home). Apply as soon as you can. My son applied the first day and had his SLS acceptance by 15 January. SLS is a great way to learn more about the academy. Not everyone who goes is 100% sure they want to attend so it's not just for "candidates". You SLS application actually starts your USMA application. You will start getting mail from them especially if your stats look good. Don't worry if you are not selected for SLS. Remember, more people get into WP each year than get into SLS.

    3. SAT/ACT. Start taking the tests NOW. Take the "with Writing" version (now required by USMA). Take both SAT and ACT. Some do better on one than the other. Take them as many times as you can. USMA "super scores" the test results. That means that not only will they take your best score, they will take your best sub-scores. My son took both and preferred the ACT. He eventually took the ACT 6 or 7 times inching his scores up a little each time.

    4. CFA. Practice the Basketball throw. Information is at USMA Admissions: Apply to USMA: Prospectus: Steps to West Point: 6: Complete Testing. Did I mention that you should practice the Basketball throw... a lot?

    5. Nominations. The admissions web site has a lot of good information about the nomination process. Applying for nominations is actually more complex than the USMA application process. Each Senator/Congressman has their own process. Some are online, some are not. Some require letters of recommendation. Some require interviews, some don't. Some will take the supporting information piecemeal, some want it all in one package. Some are helpful about letting you know when your file is complete, some are like a black hole unless you call and ask. Don't forget the VP nomination. My son was in JROTC. He applied for and received a JROTC nomination. That nomination came through on 17 Oct. Have not heard anything from the Senators/MOC yet. Most nomination applications do not open until the spring of your junior year. Deadlines will typically be Oct/Nov of your senior year. Give yourself plenty of time to round up those letters, etc.

    6. Medical Exam. Once you reach a certain point in the application process, USMA will notify DoDMERB and they will contact you with information on how to schedule your exam. Get those exams completed as soon as possible.

    7. Have a backup plan. No matter how good your stats look, you might not get in. If you want to got to WP, it's because you want to be an army officer. Right? If not, you don't want to go to WP. WP is a great choice but there are other ways to become an army officer. Apply for an ROTC scholarship. Apply to multiple schools that have ROTC programs. Pursue your backup options with the same seriousness that you pursue WP. My son went to SLS, loved it, passed the CFA, passed his medical, got an LOA, got the JROTC nomination and an Offer of Admission. AFTER all this, he suffered a hearing loss in his right ear and this might keep him from being able to go. Have a backup plan for not getting in WP. Have a backup plan for not getting an ROTC scholarship. Have a backup plan for not being able to serve in the military.

    You've got plenty of time. Just start taking things one step at a time and you'll do fine.
  • peteyflowpeteyflow Registered User Posts: 387 Member
    To aspen and aprouddad. Do you guys mind if I put both of your points in my website: www.beastandwestpoint.blogspot

    I will put both of your name since it wasn't me that wrote those awesome points. Please let me know!
  • aprouddadaprouddad Registered User Posts: 34 Junior Member
    No problem but you've been through all this and I'm sure you could go a great job writing up your own experiences to make these same points with a first person touch.
This discussion has been closed.