Admissions Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
More than 50 FAQs are answered here in the following broad categories:
- ABOUT WEST POINT
What is the United States Military Academy?
The United States Military Academy, founded on March 16, 1802, is a college that educates, trains and inspires the Corps of Cadets so that each graduate is a commissioned leader of character committed to the values of Duty, Honor, Country. Each graduate has the essential attributes for professional growth throughout a career as a U.S. Army officer. West Point graduates earn Bachelor of Science degrees and are commissioned as second lieutenants in the United States Army.
Where is West Point located?
West Point is located approximately 50 miles north of New York City in the picturesque Hudson Valley. There are 16,000 acres of land, a portion of which played an instrumental role during the Revolutionary War. General George Washington considered West Point one of the most important positions on the continent. The high ground above a narrow "S" curve in the Hudson River enabled the Continental Army to control river traffic. The British could have split the colonies in two if they had gained control of this land.
Why is there a military academy?
Following the Revolutionary War, our nation recognized the need to have Americans, with a strong sense of democratic values, trained in the technical arts of war and in engineering. As our nation has grown and matured, the need to inspire and train young Americans to serve as Army officers has endured. West Point's treasured motto "Duty, Honor, Country" embodies these ideals.
What is the West Point Mission?
The West Point mission is “to educate, train, and inspire the Corps of Cadets so that each graduate is a commissioned leader of character committed to the values of Duty, Honor, Country and prepared for a career of professional excellence and service to the nation as an officer in the United States Army.”
How does West Point fulfill its mission?
West Point carries out its mission of developing future leaders through three integrated and complementary programs: academic, military and physical development. Each of these programs is rooted in the principles of ethical-moral development. Every cadet is a leader. From selection based on demonstrated potential through four years as a cadet, leadership development is a total process of preparing young people for their career roles as Army officers.
Who attends West Point?
Men and women who are 17 but not yet 23 years old on July 1 of the year admitted may attend the academy. Cadets come from every state and territory of our country. The Corps of Cadets numbers approximately 4,000. You must meet certain basic requirements specified by public law. You must be a U.S. citizen at the time of enrollment, be unmarried, and not be pregnant or have an obligation to provide support to a dependent. You must receive a nomination from an authorized source to be considered for an appointment. You will be evaluated in the areas of academics, leadership potential and physical aptitude.
What is the Cadet Honor Code all about?
Cadets learn about and prepare for the ethical demands of officership by living under the dictates of an Honor Code. The code states: "A cadet will not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do." Its purpose is to foster a commitment to moral-ethical excellence and an insight into the more comprehensive military professional ethic. The exact origin of the Honor Code is unclear, but it may have evolved from the code of chivalry embraced by the officer corps when the military academy was established. Colonel Sylvanus Thayer, the “Father of the Military Academy,” and General Douglas MacArthur helped make the code an essential vehicle for the development of character. The Honor Code demands and expects all members of the Corps of Cadets to conduct themselves with absolute integrity, both in word and deed. Cadets accept this obligation freely and with great pride.
Why should I consider West Point?
You should consider West Point as a college option if you wish to serve your country as an officer and leader in the U.S. Army. If you do, you will share a strong sense of purpose, pride and satisfaction that comes from meaningful service to others.
How long must I serve in the Army?
You must serve a minimum of eight years after you graduate in a combination of Active Duty and Reserve Component Service. This mandatory service obligation is the nation's return on a West Point graduate's fully funded, four-year college education that is valued in excess of $225,000.
Where do I find the West Point catalog?
You can download our free catalog by visiting our main home page by clicking here.
What is the academic program like?
West Point advocates developing the "whole person" by providing a dynamic and integrated curriculum that balances the physical sciences and engineering with the humanities and social sciences. Graduates should be able to respond effectively to a changing technological, social, political, and economic world. The academy instills in cadets creativity, moral awareness, and a commitment to progressive and continuing educational growth.
Currently 42 majors are offered to cadets so they may pursue academic majors in disciplines of their choice. The two components of the academic program are a broad, general core program that is prescribed and an elective program that is individually selected. West Point is an accredited institution by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, 3624 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104, (267) 284-5000. The Middle States Commission on Higher Education is an institutional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. The Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Engineering Management, Environmental Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Nuclear Engineering and Systems Engineering programs are accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, http://www.abet.org. The Computer Science and Information Technology programs are accredited by the Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET, http://www.abet.org.
Can I validate courses / do my AP scores count?
Cadets may validate courses, but there are a variety of factors that play in these decisions. The latest information about this question can be found on the Dean's Validation and Advanced Placement page.
What is the academic course load like?
The core curriculum is the foundation of the academic program and provides a foundation in mathematics, basic sciences, engineering sciences, information technology, humanities, behavioral sciences and social sciences. This core curriculum, ranging in size from 26 to 30 courses depending on the major, represents the essential broad base of knowledge necessary for success as a commissioned officer, while also supporting each cadet’s choice of academic specialization. It is, in effect, the "professional major" for every cadet, since it prepares each graduate for a career as a commissioned officer in the Army.
What is the student-faculty ratio?
The student-faculty ratio at West Point is approximately 8 to 1. You not only know your professor or instructor, but also have the opportunity to request additional instruction when needed. Classes are small, typically numbering 12 to 18 cadets. West Point's long tradition of daily discussion and frequent grading remains unchanged. Army officers and civilian professors enhance your understanding of an academic concentration. The predominantly military faculty also helps in your professional military development.
How would you describe the faculty?
About 75 percent of the West Point faculty are military personnel who have completed graduate work at the most respected universities in the nation. All faculty members have their master's degrees and more than 30 percent have doctoral qualifications.
How strong are the library and its research collection?
More than 10 reference librarians provide enthusiastic research assistance in a brand-new, $65-million library in Jefferson Hall. Subject specialists work closely with faculty to help cadets prepare for research projects. The West Point collection boasts 460,000 print volumes plus subscriptions to more than 60,000 print and online journals. We share a catalog with 14 academic institutions in New York, including Vassar and Colgate; cadets borrow freely from this virtual collection of over 3 million items. Our Interlibrary Loan Office tracks down other items for cadets and faculty from hundreds of academic libraries in the United States and Europe.
How is the personal computer used in academics?
Cadets and faculty at West Point enjoy the benefits of a first-class information technology environment. With a personal computer at every desk and everyone connected to a large array of powerful academic computing services and with unlimited access to the Internet, West Point has an electronic environment in which every course offered has integrated computer use. This "computer thread" allows cadets to make full use of their personal computers in the place where most learning occurs – the barracks.
Are there any other special academic programs?
West Point has established Centers of Excellence that enhance the quality of the academic program. These centers make full use of professional expertise and technical resources to enrich cadet education. The centers help enhance cadet academic performance, improve faculty teaching, promote faculty and cadet research and provide outreach and support to the U.S. Army. Cadets and faculty conduct research in conjunction with the academic departments through such centers as the Center for Environmental and Geographic Sciences, the Operations Research Center, the Photonics Research Center, the Office of Artificial Intelligence Analysis and Evaluation, and the Information Technology Center, as well as others.
- CADET LIFE
What is cadet life like?
Life at the United States Military Academy is BUSY! Many say cadets are the busiest college students in the country. Classes and study, physical education or athletics, military duties and recreation fill many hours of the day.
Do cadets have time for fun?
Cadets are busy, but there is still time for fun and relaxation. Competitive sports provide one outlet. The description that "every cadet is an athlete" is quite accurate. There is an intercollegiate program with 24 sports. There are numerous competitive club teams, such as rugby, crew and sailing. There is an active intramural sport program all year long with cadet companies competing against other cadet companies. The Cadet Activities Office coordinates more than 100 extracurricular activities. Among those are the Cadet Fine Arts Forum, the Cadet Glee Club, and the Cadet Drill Team. You can be a disk jockey at the cadet radio station or learn to fly.
Are cadets allowed to have cars?
Seniors and juniors (after Spring Break) are permitted to maintain cars at West Point. Others may drive on post, but only under special circumstances. Transportation for group outings is arranged by the academy.
How much vacation and free time is there?
All cadets receive Christmas, spring, and summer leave, along with the four-day Thanksgiving Break. Christmas leave is normally two weeks in length following the completion of first semester final examinations. Spring leave is about 10 days, including the weekends. Summer leave is about 3 or 4 weeks, depending upon the cadet's military leadership training assignment.
When academics begin, “first class” cadets (seniors) get twice as many weekend leaves as “second class” cadets (juniors). A “plebe” (freshman) will have only a few weekend passes. Plebes also may leave West Point for extracurricular or cultural trips and athletic trips. There is also the traditional Plebe-Parent Weekend scheduled each spring.
Do new cadets have free time during Cadet Basic Training?
During Cadet Basic Training, new cadets do not have privilege periods because of the requirements of the intensive military training activities. There is a day set aside for a military family visitation, allowing new cadets a short time of relaxation. New cadets are also given time to call home on the weekend.
What is military life like at West Point?
The transition from civilian life to a military environment is challenging. You learn military courtesies and standards, and you learn to live by those standards every day. You learn how to properly wear the various cadet uniforms. You practice drill and ceremony, and you learn how to prepare for inspections. It’s not always easy, but it serves a purpose by building a solid foundation of leadership.
What is the Cadet Leader Development System like?
The Cadet Leader Development System is a demanding but professional four-year program to develop leaders of character. In order to be a successful leader, you first must learn to follow. During your first year at West Point you do just that.
The Leader Development Program prescribes the relationship between you as a plebe and upper class cadets. As a plebe, you must be able to recall an accumulation of information with precision. You may receive constructive criticism at times during Cadet Basic Training, but upperclass cadets will not treat you in a demeaning manner. You will also carry out specific tasks in your company during your plebe year.
During each succeeding year at West Point, you receive progressive leadership responsibilities, using those cadet experiences to hone your leadership skills. You learn how to be a team leader during the second year at West Point, guiding two or three cadets in your company. In your third year, leadership responsibilities are expanded, helping you learn more about senior noncommissioned officer duties in the U.S. Army. This prepares you for cadet officer responsibility during your senior year. You learn what it takes to lead larger groups. It also prepares you for platoon leadership responsibilities as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army.
What are cadet rooms like?
Cadet barracks are modern, well-lit, and comfortable. There are two or three cadets in each room with space for desks, closets, and beds. Each cadet is required to purchase a personal computer for academic courses and projects. There are some space restrictions that may limit the number of printers in each room. The cadet barracks also feature recreational rooms, lounges and study rooms.
Where do the cadets eat their meals?
All cadets dine together in the Cadet Mess Hall in Washington Hall. Meals are planned to meet the nutritional needs of your busy daily schedule. The food is high quality and is served family style.
How much pay does a cadet receive?
A first-year cadet earns more than $900 a month, and the amount increases each year.. A portion of that cadet pay is deposited into a personal checking account. Another portion of cadet pay is deposited to a "Cadet Account" that is used to help a cadet pay for expenses such as uniforms, books, a computer, activity fees, etc. Each cadet pays a standard amount for laundry, dry cleaning, haircuts, tailoring services and shoe repair. A cadet's gross salary is subject to federal and state withholding taxes and Social Security deductions.
What is the athletic program like?
The athletic program at West Point is respected throughout the nation. It includes 24 intercollegiate teams for men and women. There is also a competitive club sports program and an intramural in which cadet companies establish competitive rivalries. Army football teams attract national interest by playing teams in Conference USA such as Tulane, Cincinnati, Louisville and Southern Mississippi. There are also the traditional encounters against Air Force and Navy. Army basketball, wrestling, hockey, track, baseball, soccer and lacrosse have gained their share of regional and national recognition.
In what intercollegiate sports does West Point field teams?
West Point participates in the following intercollegiate sports:
- Men's Sports
- Cross Country
- Sprint Football
- Track & Field (Indoor)
- Track & Field (Outdoor)
- Women's Sports
- Cross Country
- Track & Field (Indoor)
- Track & Field (Outdoor)
** Men and women compete together on the rifle team.
How often do cadets play intramural sports?
Normally, you compete twice a week in intramurals. This program gives cadets an opportunity to build leadership, strength, coordination and endurance. You also get a chance to blow off steam and have a little fun in intramurals. This program is administered by the Department of Physical Education.
What intramural sports does West Point offer?
West Point’s intramural sports include:
- Basketball (3-on-3)
- Team Handball
- Basketball (5'-10" limit)
- Court Soccer
- Cross Country
What competitive club teams does West Point have?
West Point’s competitive club teams include:
- Karate (Tae Kwon Do)
- Lacrosse (Women)
- Martial Arts
- Skeet and Trap
- Skiing (Alpine)
- Skiing (Nordic)
- Sport Parachute
- Team Handball (Men and Women)
- Volleyball (Men)
- Water Polo
What athletic facilities are available?
Every athletic facility you can think of is available for your use at West Point, and the facilities compare very favorably with those found in the nation's top colleges and universities. Michie Stadium is the home of the Army football team with a seating capacity of over 39,000; it’s generally recognized as one of the most beautiful venues in college football. There are capacity crowds throughout the fall season.
The Holleder Center, adjacent to Michie Stadium, houses 5,000-seat Christl Arena for basketball and 2,650-seat Tate Rink for hockey competitions.
The Arvin Cadet Physical Development Center, which features five gymnasiums and three swimming pools recently underwent a major renovation. It features Crandall Pool, an Olympic-size 50-meter pool. There are numerous special purpose rooms for squash, handball, racquetball, rock climbing, wrestling and weight training.
Gillis Field House is used for varsity and intramural indoor track and volleyball competitions. During baseball and softball's offseason period, spacious Gillis Field House transforms into the Black Knights' part-time diamond. The recently-renovated field house features a tartan surface, three indoor pitching mounds, two pitching machines, batting cages, and a fully-equipped weight room.
The Foley Athletic Center is a massive, 77,000 square-foot structure that provides Army athletic teams with a state-of-the-art, climate-controlled indoor practice facility. On the banks of the Hudson, there is an all-weather outdoor track oval and football field at the renovated Shea Stadium complex that is used for daylight and evening competitive events.
The Truxtun Lacrosse Center, just a stone’s throw away from Michie Stadium, houses the men’s lacrosse team’s locker room, equipment and sports medicine areas, a spacious weight room and coach and team meeting rooms.
The Lichtenberg Tennis Center features a sophisticated synthetic indoor hardcourt surface, state-of-the-art lighting, locker facilities, coaches' offices and meeting rooms, and an elevated spectator area that gives Army tennis fans a bird's-eye view of all seven courts. The Gross Center, located adjacent to the Lichtenberg Center, is the state-of-the-art home of West Point’s nationally ranked gymnastics team.
The Tronsrue Marksmanship Center, located next to Gillis Field House along the banks of the Hudson, houses three ranges: pistol, rifle and air rifle. There are also numerous outdoor tennis courts, the Victor Constant Ski Center and an 18-hole golf course.
- MILITARY TRAINING
When do cadets take military training?
On the first day you arrive at West Point you experience a military environment. You quickly learn to live by military standards, render proper military courtesies and complete a rigorous military training program. The purpose is to develop leaders with a strong moral-ethical foundation who have an appreciation for discipline, sensitivity to the needs of others and a commitment to a demanding code of ethics as professional Soldiers.
You are instructed in fundamental military tactics and leadership during a 2-week intercession period between the first and second semester each year. A strong physical education program helps develop your strength and endurance. These attributes are essential to the physical demands of service life in the U.S. Army and combat. Field training is conducted during the summer months at West Point and at military installations located throughout the United States and parts of Europe and the Far East.
What is Cadet Basic Training like?
Cadet Basic Training is a 6-week program that helps you make a rapid transition to military life. You are physically challenged with daily physical fitness training that helps prepare you for long footmarches, mountaineering, rifle marksmanship and tactical maneuvers. "Beast Barracks", as it is commonly called, is challenging, stressful, physically demanding and rewarding. It establishes a foundation for your basic military skills. to prepare yourself physically for the rigors of CBT read the Department of Physical Education's CBT Preparation Guide by clicking here.
What training follows basic training?
Cadet Field Training is conducted during your second summer at West Point. Eight weeks of field training is given at Camp Buckner, various locations throughout the West Point military Reservation, and at Fort Knox, Kentucky. It is designed to familiarize and train each Third Class cadet in basic and advanced individual Soldier skills. Training is conducted in combined arms operations, introducing the cadets to the combat, combat support and combat service support branches of the U.S. Army. First and Second Class cadets develop their leadership skills by serving as officers and noncommissioned officers for the Cadet Training Regiment during the summer.
What military training occurs during your third year?
As a Second Classman, or junior, you receive leadership experience in active Army units, serve as squad leaders at Cadet Basic Training and Cadet Field Training, or participate in military specialty training. A portion of the class participates in Drill Cadet Leader training at U.S. Army training centers, guiding new U.S. Army recruits. Another group participates in Cadet Troop Leader Training at U.S. Army posts and in locations around the world. The remainder of the class participates in Cadet Basic Training at West Point or Cadet Field Training at Camp Buckner.
Cadets also participate in Military Individual Advanced Development training courses in such programs as Air Assault, Airborne, Mountain Warfare, Northern Warfare, Special Reaction Team Course, Sapper Leader, and Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape (SERE) training courses. There may be duty at the National Training Center, the Joint Readiness Training Center, or Combat Maneuver Training Center. Attending these schools helps motivate and build your confidence while learning usable military skills and developing individual leader proficiency.
Many cadets say these are the most valuable experiences of their four years at the Academy.
What about training for First Class cadets?
With the First Class year comes more privileges, latitude, and much greater responsibility. Approximately half of the first class leads the training of the third class cadets at Camp Buckner and the New Cadets during Cadet Basic Training. The balance of the first class receives leadership experience in active Army units in Cadet Troop Leader Training. They may join United States Army units in Germany, Panama, Alaska, Hawaii, Korea or the continental United States. First classmen also participate in Military Individual Advance Development training courses.
Final preparation for the first class before graduation and a commission as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army includes courses in the profession of arms. These courses educate cadets on military justice issues, ethics, Army organization and standard operating procedures. The courses are designed to show a cadet how a junior officer takes charge of a platoon, protects against terrorist measures and develops a professional military role with noncommissioned officers.
First class cadets also receive information on the various Army branches of service, assisting them in selecting a branch and a first unit assignment.
What are my Army career options?
After graduating from West Point, you will be commissioned in one of several Army branches. You may want a combat arms branch such as Infantry, Field Artillery, Armor, Air Defense Artillery, Aviation or Combat Engineers. You also may choose a combat support branch such as Signal, Military Police, Chemical or Military Intelligence. You may also want to choose one of the combat service support branches such as Ordnance, Quartermaster, Transportation, Adjutant General or Finance. Opportunities are also available for the Medical Service Corps or the Judge Advocate General Corps later in your service career. You will advance to positions of greater responsibility in each branch based on your abilities.
What is the Tattoo Policy at West Point?
West Point's Tattoo Policy is dictated by Army Regulation 670-1. Below is a synopsis of the Army policy, to include tattoo placement and a description of tattoos that are not authorized.
Unauthorized Tattoo Locations:
- On the head, neck, and face (anything above the T-shirt line to include on/inside the eyelids, mouth, and ears).
- On the hands, fingers, and wrists (below the wrist bone).
Categories of Unauthorized Tattoos:
- Extremist tattoos or brands are those affiliated with, depicting, or symbolizing extremist philosophies, organizations, or activities.
- Indecent tattoos or brands are those that are grossly offensive to modesty, decency, propriety, or professionalism.
- Sexist tattoos or brands are those that advocate a philosophy that degrades or demeans a person based on gender, but may not meet the same definition of "indecent".
- Racist tattoos or brands are those that advocate a philosophy that degrades or demeans a person based on race, ethnicity, or national origin.
What are the admission requirements?
You must meet certain requirements specified by public law in order to be considered for admission to West Point. You will be evaluated in three areas: academic performance, demonstrated leadership potential, and physical aptitude. You must also meet strict medical qualification requirements. First of all, you must be a United States citizen, at least 17 and not yet 23 years of age on July 1 of your year of admission. You must not be married, pregnant, or have a legal obligation to support a child or children. If you are a naturalized citizen, you must provide documentation.
What are the academic requirements?
To qualify academically at West Point you should have an above average high school or college academic record. A complete transcript of your academic achievement will be evaluated to determine your qualification. You should perform well on the ACT, Inc. Assessment Program Test (ACT) or the SAT Reasoning Test. These tests demonstrate an indication of your potential for academic success during your first year in college.
What courses should I take?
To prepare yourself for the academic curriculum at West Point, you should complete four years of English with a strong emphasis on composition, grammar, literature and speech; four years of college preparatory mathematics, to include algebra, geometry, intermediate algebra, and trigonometry as a minimum; two years of a foreign language; two years of a laboratory science such as chemistry and physics, and one year of U.S. history, including courses in geography, government and economics. If your school includes a course in precalculus and calculus in its curriculum, and a basic computing course, these courses will be helpful in preparing you for your first year at West Point.
What else should I do to prepare?
A well-rounded high school background in academics, athletics and extracurricular activities is a good way to prepare to enter West Point. Participation in student government, clubs, and other community activities provides leadership experiences that also reflect favorably on developing your leadership potential as an Army officer.
What are the medical requirements?
You must be in good physical and mental health and pass a Department of Defense qualifying medical examination. Medical standards are discussed in more detail in the West Point Admissions Bulletin and the West Point catalog.
Is 20/20 eyesight required for qualification?
No, but your eyesight must be correctable to 20/20 with glasses or contact lenses.
What is the Candidate Fitness Assessment like?
The Candidate Fitness Assessment (CFA) consists of six events: basketball throw, pull-ups (men & women)/flexed-arm hang (women who cannot do one pull-up), shuttle run, modified sit-ups, push-ups, and one mile run. You are permitted just one examination, and you should practice the six events prior to taking the examination.
How do I apply to West Point?
You apply to West Point by completing the Candidate Questionnaire (CQ) using the “Apply” link on the Admissions main page. Applicants for admission complete the CQ between January of their Junior year through about the January of their Senior year in high school. Application completion deadline is usually the middle of March, but since the application process is length and includes physical exams and Congressional Nominations, you must start the process well in advance of March. As a general rule, apply as soon as you can after your class year opens on our website. Competitive applicants will usually have the candidate portal opened to them the August between their Junior and Senior years of high school. If you attempt to apply too early or you are younger than a Junior, you will be entered into our contact database to receive periodic updates and informational emails. You will be informed if you are too young to apply when you attempt to complete the CQ. At that time you will be given an opportunity to join our the mailing list.
What happens after I fill out the Candidate Questionnaire?
Your Candidate Questionnaire will be evaluated by the Admissions Office to determine whether or not you will be competitive for admission. If you are a competitive candidate, you will receive additional forms to complete. Fill out those forms as quickly as possible. The Admissions Committee will only evaluate your application file when every requirement has been completed.
When should I apply for a nomination?
a: You should apply for a nomination at the same time you open a candidate file at West Point, preferably during the spring of your junior year. Write a letter to your congressional representative and request a nomination. Members of Congress determine their own application deadlines, so apply early. A candidate cannot be offered admission without a nomination.
Do you accept transfer students?
No. Students in college or with previous college credit may apply to West Point if they meet the basic requirements. However, those students still enter West Point as plebes (freshmen) and must complete the four-year program.
Do women cadets do the same things as the men?
Yes. Cadet women are required to meet the same standards as their male counterparts in academics, leadership and military development. There is one exception. Women are required to take a self-defense course rather than boxing and wrestling during their first year at West Point.
Are there admissions opportunities for minorities?
Admission to West Point is open to all students. There are no appointments, vacancies, or nominations designed exclusively for minority groups. However, cultural and socio-economic backgrounds are given appropriate consideration while evaluating all applicants. West Point makes a concerted effort to inform minorities of admissions opportunities, reaching many that might not otherwise apply for admission. Today, minorities represent about 15-20 percent of the Corps of Cadets.
If I have an alternate nomination, can I be admitted?
Yes. The majority of the Members of Congress use a competitive nomination process, whereby 10 candidates are named to compete for a single vacancy. A minority of the members of Congress names a single candidate as their primary nomination, and some choose to number, or rank order the alternates. If you have an excellent academic and extracurricular activity record, however, you have a good chance of gaining admission with an alternate nomination. Each year several hundred of the best qualified alternate Congressional and military service nominees are offered admission from the West Point waiting list.
- SUMMER PROGRAM AFTER JUNIOR YEAR OF HIGH SCHOOL
What summer program does West Point offer for high school students?
West Point conducts the Summer Leaders Experience (SLE) for high school juniors going into their senior year. It is a fast-paced program of academic classes, military training, physical fitness training and intramural athletics conducted during the first couple of weeks in June each year. West Point cadets serve as squad leaders for all aspects of the week-long seminar. Approximately 1100 high school juniors are selected to attend the seminar each year from an applicant pool of approximately 6000 students.
What is a typical day like during SLE?
5:45-6:45 AM Physical Training
7:25-7:40 AM Breakfast in the Cadet Mess Hall
Remainder of the day: classes, military training, athletics, and social events
11:00 PM Lights out
How do students apply for the Summer Leaders Experience?
Applicants must be a high school junior (current year), be a US citizen and reach the age of 17 by 1 July during your applying year to West Point.
Step 1: Complete Part I (USMA Candidate Questionnaire) of the West Point application.
Step 2: Complete Part II (Workshop/Week preference) in order to submit your SLE application.
Competitive applicants should also be physically fit and have no serious medical issues. It is important to fill out the complete application, have good grades and valid test scores.
There are only 1100 slots (550 slots per session) and entry into the SLE program is highly competitive. The average attendee has:
SAT 1200-1300 or
ACT 26-30 and is in the
Top 20% of their class,
Member of the National Honor Society
Participates in high school clubs
Participates in extracurricular leadership activities such as Student Council, Boy/Girl Scouts, Boys/Girls State,
Is in very good physical condition and/or a varsity letter winner and/or team captain in at least one sport.
If you don't fit those categories, STILL APPLY. You have to try! If your dream is to attend the United States Military Academy as a cadet and become an Army Officer you are in the right place. Many who attend SLE end up joining the Long Gray Line.
SLE applications are accepted from January through April of your junior year in high school.
How do students get selected/invited to the Summer Leaders Experience?
Invitations to the seminar are awarded on a competitive basis using the academic, athletic and extracurricular information provided in the SLE application.
What does the SLE cost?
The cost to attend SLE is $400 (will be payable online). This cost covers clothing, supplies, meals, lodging and instructor expenses for one week. It does not cover travel to and from West Point (if flying, buses pick up attendees from Newark Airport).
- SOLDIERS INTERESTED IN BECOMING CADETS
How is the application process different for Soldiers?
The application steps are the same for Soldiers and civilians who apply. However, Soldiers can obtain a nomination from their company commanders and are automatically considered for the Preparatory School if not directly admitted to West Point.
Can I come straight to West Point?
Yes. Soldiers are directly admitted to West Point each year. One has to have a strong academic, leadership and physical background. Most Regular Army Soldiers have been out of high school for a while which makes the Prep School a logical start.
When should I apply?
You can apply at anytime. The class starts each year in July which means admissions decisions are made usually no later than April. It is best to apply early (Aug/Sep) to give yourself time to complete required tests and evaluations and to complete the admissions packet.
What happens after I complete the candidate questionnaire (CQ)?
Once you complete your CQ and the admissions office reviews it, you will receive some type of correspondence. Competitive candidates will receive an admissions packet that must be completed by mid-March. Other Soldiers will need to turn in more information (e.g., SAT/ACT scores, high school transcripts).
Where can I take a SAT or ACT? Can I use the ASVAB instead?
West Point only accepts the SAT or ACT. You can use your post education center for the test. They have study materials and offer more test dates than are available for civilians. No ASVAB scores are required.
Who completes my commander's assessment
Your first-line commander should complete the assessment form (i.e., company commander).
While at the Prep School do I get paid?
Yes. You will receive pay at your current enlistment grade (Regular Army Soldiers only). The time at USMAPS counts as time in service, too. At West Point, you receive cadet pay, but your time at West Point is not counted as time in service.
Is there a Service Remaining Requirement for the Prep School and/or Do I have to reenlist to go to USMA/USMAPS?
Yes, you must have enough time remaining in your enlistment that extends 13 months past the scheduled USMAPS graduation (usually late May). If directly admitted to West Point, you must have enough time to complete one year.
Is it hard to get accepted?
You will never know unless you apply. West Point values the life experiences Soldiers have and how they enhance the Corps of Cadets. Take your SAT/ACT early and often if need be, and complete your packet ASAP. If you want to be an officer in the US Army, West Point will give you a comprehensive education and training to lead Soldiers.
What must I score on the SAT/ACT?
Keep in mind there is not a dedicated score as we evaluate several areas. Academics are 60% of our evaluation while 30% is your leadership potential (based on high school and solider experiences) and 10% is your physical aptitude. Competitive scores for USMAPS in the past were SAT 1100 and ACT 23.
Are there any out-of-pocket expenses?
Tuition at USMAPS and West Point are fully funded by the Army.
If I am eligible for G.I. Bill benefits, can I collect them while at West Point?
No, but the value of your education at West Point (over $250K) will far exceed your GI Bill benefits. Additionally, you can use the GI Bill for graduate school after West Point.
Are there age waivers?
No, there are no age waivers for soldiers. We used to offer a very limited number of waivers for soldiers at the height of the Global War on Terrorism in consideration of the successive deployments soldiers often endured. However, now that the Army's operation tempo has slowed considerably in this area, we no longer offer such waivers. Soldiers, like all candidates must not be older than 22 years of age on July 1st of the year entering West Point (21 on July 1 of the year entering the Prep School).
What if I do not have a high school diploma?
You can apply with a GED. Be aware your SAT/ACT score will carry more weight in your academic evaluation.
What do I do if my unit is deploying?
Every year we work with Soldiers who are forward deployed. Many of these areas have education centers and medical facilities. You still can complete the admissions process while deployed. It is imperative to start early and do as much as possible while in garrison.
How long is the Prep School?
It is ten months long and is located at West Point, New York.
How can I learn more about the Prep School?
Click here for more information.
What happens to my current service obligation?
Soldiers admitted to West Point are exempted their prior service obligations when they graduate. Those who do not graduate may be required to serve the remainder of their commitment left when they reported to West Point.
How do I apply?
You may begin the application process from the "Apply" link on the homepage or by simply clicking here.
- CANDIDATES PREPARING FOR CADET BASIC TRAINING
What is the best way to prepare physically for Cadet Basic Training (CBT), commonly referred to as “Beast Barracks”?
Stay active! During the final year or so of high school students often feel a growing urgency to "enjoy life" because that chapter of their lives are coming to a close, never to be seen again. In the military however, first impressions of leaders are often formed based on appearance and these impressions are validated by performance during the first physical training (PT) session. It is critical for success to remain active and in good shape by running, performing light calisthenics, and participating in moderate strength training. The USMA Department of Physical Education has prepared a guide which will greatly assist you in preparing yourself physically for CBT. You will find the guide here.
How does CBT differ from the basic training for enlisted personnel?
Overall, beast is exciting! The upper class cadets are professional and knowledgeable, and there will be a great focus on overcoming fears and forging a unit. The physical training is very similar in many ways to what you would experience in basic training.
Should I get my Wisdom Teeth Removed before CBT?
If a dentist recommends removal, get the teeth removed. If they are not bothering the candidate, they can leave them alone. Cadets will miss at a minimum, two days of classes if they have them removed while at West Point. There is NO need to worry about being disqualified by DODMERB due to wisdom tooth/teeth removal.
Do my accomplishments in CBT affect my company or standing once the academic year begins?
Your performance during CBT will be evaluated by your Chain of Command. You will be graded and assigned a letter grade for the two details performed during that time period. Those two letter grades will factor into your military development grade, which affects your cumulative standing. After CBT you will be assigned to one of the 36 companies in the Corps and start with a clean slate once the academic year starts.
Term Definition Barracks The residence facilities where Cadets live while at West Point Beast The last week of the 6-week basic training for Cadets Bugle Notes The “plebe bible” Cadet Honor Code The pledge that all cadets live by, that a cadet will not lie, cheat, or steal, or tolerate those who do Cadre Upper Class cadets orienting new Cadets Candidate Someone, typically High school seniors and/or juniors applying for West Point Candidate Kit An online “package” of forms and instructions you need to complete your application Candidate Portal A portal where current candidates can access their application files online, a password-protected site where you find your Candidate Kit Candidate Questionnaire An initial candidate application which is considered "starting a file" Candidate Statement Three questions that the applicant (Candidate) answers in essay form as part of the application package (Candidate Kit) CFA Candidate Fitness Physical assessment that you must pass to be considered for admission to West Point Companies The groups of cadets that you live with Corps of Cadets The population of Cadets at West Point Corps of Cadets The student body at West Point Cow Cadets in their 3rd year at West Point, similar to being a college junior Cullum Number Reference and identification number assigned to each graduate, often referred to as the "C-number" DAD Directorate of Admissions or the Admissions Office DMI Department of Military Instruction DoDMERB Department of Defense Medical Examination Review Board which schedules the required medical exam prior to acceptance consideration at West Point First Captain Highest ranking Firstie, also known as the Brigade Commander Firstie Cadets in their 4th Year at West Point, similar to being a college senior Full Bird A Colonel in the US Army Goat Engineer Game A football game between the "Goats" (the bottom half of the senior (Firstie) class academically), and the "Engineers" (the top half). Held just before the Army-Navy game IOTC Indoor Obstacle Course Test JAG Judge Advocate General - the ‘law firm’ of the Army Letter of Assurance Communication to an applicant (Candidate) that he or she will most likely be offered admission upon completion of their application (Candidate Kit) Ma'am How to address a female officer Mess The Mess Hall is the facility where cadets eat their meals every day Nomination A formal recommendation from a Congressional member or other authorized official that is required for admission ODIA Athletics Parents Almanac Helpful information for parents that is posted on the Candidate Portal, usually in February or March Parents Club A support network for families of cadets located throughout the U.S. Personal Data Record A basic form that the applicant (Candidate) fills out as part of the application process (Candidate Kit) Plebe Cadets in their 1st year at West Point, similar to being a college freshman Prospectus The "viewbook" is available in print and online, it explains requirements and important aspects of a West Point education. Reception Day or R-Day The day that the incoming class of cadets reports to West Point, usually the last Monday in June Scrambling The changing of companies Sir How to address a male officer SLS Summer Leadership Seminar, a week-long immersion experience for prospective students the summer before their senior year of high school Thayer Award Given annually by the academy since 1958, the award honors an outstanding citizen whose service and accomplishments in the national interest exemplify the academy’s motto, “Duty, Honor, Country” The Area Designated area of the cadet barracks courtyard The Howitzer Annual yearbook The Long Gray Line The prestigious corps of West Point graduates who represent high achievement and the promise of outstanding, ethical leadership USMA United States Military Academy, also synonymous with West Point USMAPS United States Military Academy Prep School West Point Field Force Active duty, retired Army officers, or civilian members who help recruit future cadets WPPSP West Point Preparatory School Program Yucks or Yearlings Cadets in their 2nd year at West Point , similar to being a college sophomore