Plebe Year

At other colleges during your first year, you would be referred to as a Freshman; but at West Point, you are a “Plebe”, or a "Fourth Class Cadet."

Plebe Year

At other colleges during your first year, you would be referred to as a Freshman; but at West Point, you are a “Plebe”, or a "Fourth Class Cadet."

Officially known as the Fourth Class year, the word "Plebe" is used to describe cadets in their first year at the United States Military Academy. The use of the word “Plebe” is both symbolic and practical in that plebes must practice and master strong character as a means of achieving merit and earning leadership opportunities. Plebe year is focused on learning to be a follower so that, with time and experience, you will soon have leadership responsibilities and better understand the challenges of being a follower. Plebe year is a rite of passage where you will advance through stages of personal and professional development and grow beyond your own imagination. 

Reception Day

Also known as "R-Day," this is the day cadet candidates report to West Point. Candidates report early in the day to begin their inprocessing for their 47-month experience. Parents and family members are invited to explore certain areas of West Point, visit the Parent Welcome and Information area in Eisenhower Hall, check out Army equipment and vehicles, hear remarks from leadership, and view the Oath Ceremony at the end of the day.

Acceptance Day

Also known as “A-Day,” this ceremony occurs at the end of your first summer at West Point; it marks the end of Cadet Basic Training and it is your passage from “New Cadet” to being accepted as a “Cadet” into the U.S. Corps of Cadets. Many cadets opt to celebrate this transition from New Cadet to Cadet with family or friends. The Academic year begins the Monday after A-Day. 

Plebe Duties

Plebe duties have significantly changed over the years. Plebes now ensure that all cadets get to formation on time by Calling Minutes and have clean laundry by sorting and delivering clean laundry from the Laundry Plant to upperclass rooms, and emptying garbage and recycle bins. Fourth-class cadets also set their table for meals in the Mess Hall and perform other various tasks so that they and their tablemates are able to eat quickly and efficiently. In the past, Plebe duties included delivering a newspaper to each cadet room before breakfast (the newspaper is now online) and delivering personal USPS mail (cadets now each have a keyed mailbox in the basement of Washington Hall).  

Plebe Knowledge

Bugle Notes has existed since 1908 and contains the history, traditions, and heritage of the Academy and the Army. Cadets are also issued a Knowledge Book on R-Day to memorize Academy knowledge and customs. Memorizing Plebe knowledge is a valuable experience for future officers to help them remember specific information under stressful conditions, such as the format for calling for fire or requesting a medevac. 

Major Selection

Cadets choose their academic major before Spring Break of their Plebe year. You may begin to take courses for your selected major during your Yearling year. These classes are a great opportunity to specialize in a field outside of the core curriculum, experience an in-depth understanding of certain subjects, and to expand your network. 

Plebe-Parent Weekend

Plebe-Parent Weekend provides families and special guests a unique opportunity to visit, understand, and appreciate the varied aspects of West Point life for cadets.

Plebes, along with the support of specialist staff, plan the entire weekend for their guests, including events at the Parents Weekend Welcome Center, various briefings by academy leadership, select sporting events, a Plebe review, a dinner banquet, the class crest unveiling, a barracks closeout, and the release for spring break.

This particular weekend is celebrated annually and serves as a critical first step in the Fourth Classʼ leadership development. It provides the cadets with their first opportunity to serve in various leadership roles.