West Point Chances

West point’s class profile this year says that 1200/1210 people play a varsity sport. I am very interested in going to West Point, but I don’t really play a varsity sport. I am a sophomore and I’m on the varsity air rifle team and will continue to be, but that isn’t very physically demanding. Do they count that, or should I join another sport next year? What if I’m not on the varsity team on that sport? Is there anything that I can do?

@UltraUndecided: The academies exist to prepare officers to lead soldiers (81% of the class of 2019 branched combat arms); it’s a rigorous life both at the academy and in the field. West Point is looking for candidates who are fit and who can withstand the physical rigor of both academy and military life. The Army is quite serious about the fitness level of its officers. In addition to passing the CFA prior to appointment, cadets need to pass the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) twice a year. Fail two times in a row, and you are separated. Fail before graduation, and you will not walk.

Do you need to letter in a varsity sport? Not necessarily, although the majority of cadets were varsity athletes in high school. I posted on another thread that of the 1302 candidates appointed to the class of 2020, for instance, 99% were varsity athletes:

These percentages roughly hold from year to year, so they should tell you that team athletics and leadership on those teams is highly valued. However, this level of fitness as well as leadership can be shown in other ways, so you are not out of the running if you are not formally designated as a varsity athlete as long as you can show these same characteristic in another verifiable way. For example, are you a Boy Scout who will earn Eagle rank? Eagle Scout adds significant leadership points to the Whole Candidate Score (WCS) used to determine appointments and is highly valued by the academies.

Being on the air rifle team in a leadership position would be a good thing, but if there is an athletic sport you could enjoy, even if you don’t letter, I say you should join but not just to check a box. Choose something you can do well at where you can demonstrate team ethics and increased fitness levels. Best of luck to you.