A bit of an odd question

Discussion in 'Military Academy - USMA' started by Runt, Feb 10, 2013.

  1. Runt

    Runt Member

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    Hello everybody, I'm a junior in high school, and I'm in a bit of a predicament. West Point has been my dream school since freshman year, based on academics, leadership preparation, cost, location, reputation and rigor. Currently, I believe myself very well qualified, with a 34 ACT score (will retake through school), strong, although by no means unbelievable grades, rigorous curriculum undertaking, and probable NMSF, based on my score and previous cutoffs. I have good leadership undertakings, have been selected to attend boys state, and participate in athletics at a pretty high level. I do feel, however, that I lack the emotional maturity to allow me to be successful at west point. From talking to a friend who is doing a 'postgraduate' year at Phillips Exeter to better his chances and study habits for and ivy league school. I have talked to the coaches from four top-tier prep schools, all of whom would be interested in me participating athletically for them. I don't come from a ton of money, so I made sure that every school I talked to either gives copious financial aid or completely absolves students in my income bracket of any contribution. This extra year would probably enable me to compete for WP, as well as sharpen some academic skills. As I am graduating HS in 2014, would I be able to defer admission for a year, so I know I am not futilely completing the year at prep school? Would I be able to write to the admission officer explaining my situation?
     
  2. AcademyFriend1

    AcademyFriend1 Member

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    No, they don't do such deferred admissions of the type you are imagining (you are admitted to West Point but can defer and attend after a PG year at a Prep School). For recruited athletes, West Point may effectively redshirt them by sending them to the West Point prep school (USMAPS). There are also unsuccessful candidates who do a PG year at a prep school and then re-apply.

    If you truly do not feel mature enough, you could take the PG year you describe but you would have no guarantee of an offer on the other end. If you do pursue a PG year, I would probably emphasize the aspect of working on your academics/study skills rather than saying you are not emotionally mature enough (it may be honest but it could have an odd ring to some). But remember, you would be 18 months older on R-Day than you are right now, and the effort/process of applying is, for many students, a maturing process in and of itself.
     
  3. Runt

    Runt Member

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    Thank you for your advice. I guess I wouldn't quite say emotional immaturity, but I feel like I could use another year to hone my study skills. Also, I believe if I had another year of preparation, I could compete athletically at west point... How would they respond to that? Also, to be honest, after I saw dead poet's society, I wanted to experience a New England prep school. If I was accepted, would it reflect badly on me to reapply the next year, even if I had my individual circumstances explained?
     
  4. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    Why not just apply to WP. If your accepted great. If not, do plan B and re-apply. You don't need to be perfect to attend the academy. In fact, I'd be willing to bet most, if not all, aren't. :biggrin: If you already think you need to work on study skills, you're halfway there. Why not work on it from now through senior year and just be ready? What do you think an extra year buys you? Besides, you'll have plenty of opportunity to work on study skills at the Academy!
     
  5. another13mom

    another13mom Member

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    A gap year at a prep school is a great idea. A large proportion of cadets are older when they start (prior service, prep school kids, kids applying for the second time around after a year at college), and I think it will serve you well to delay a year. I think a lot of guys coming straight out of high school are at a bit of a disadvantage because of the percentage of older cadets in their class year.

    With your stats, w/ National Merit and a 34 composite ACT, boys state and sports, you will be very competitive regardless of when you apply. I would wait till the 2017 cycle is over (after March 1) and call your regional admissions coordinator at West Point and explain that you want to apply but wonder about the perception of kids who take a "gap year" or go to private prep school for a year on their own. I can't imagine anyone thinking negatively of the delay for a year given your overall profile.
     
  6. My3Sons2017

    My3Sons2017 Member

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    Study Skills?

    Runt,

    How can anybody who scores 34 on their ACT and be a NMSF have a problem with study skills? You are doing great in this area! Good luck in the application process. :thumb:
     
  7. AcademyFriend1

    AcademyFriend1 Member

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    Hi, Runt --

    I'm a teacher at a private day school but did back in the day teach at a New England boarding school for a couple of years -- they are pretty neat environments although quite different from the Dead Poets' Society model by this point in time. It sounds like you are talking to a couple of schools with well-established PG programs -- you might check with those coaches to see if they've had PGs go on to the service academies in your sport (they could have helpful information on your chances of being able to play at West Point).

    I also coach at my high school so I have some experience with the recruiting process, but that varies a great deal by sport, of course. Some sports it's all about objective times; in some sports the recruiting process is heavily focused on club teams/summer camps/showcases tournaments; etc. Although as a general matter the center of gravity for recruiting has shifted away from high schools, there are exceptions (football, for example), and your current high school or club coach could be a valuable source of information about your prospects for playing at the Division I level or West Point in particular (you may have already talked to current coaches, of course). Sometimes a high school or club coach can reach out to the coaches at the college program to gauge your chances -- I've done this on occasion for some of my athletes to try to help see if they are being realistic if they have their sights set on DI in general or a particular DI school.

    In general, I would think using a PG year to try to get more competitive to play your sport, if you are also working on study skills, would not be looked down upon, but a prior poster makes a good suggestion about trying to get a sense from WP Admissions later in the year. My godson played golf at the Naval Academy and several of his teammates had done PG years (not NAPS), as I recall.

    Finally, as a current teacher I can say that high SAT scores with grades that don't "match" can be a red flag for the most selective schools (I'd assume the same is true for West Point). You seem like you're already aware that you need to make sure your grades hold up well when looked at next to your very impressive scores, but as prior poster Kinnem advises, there is no time like the present! At a minimum, you have two semesters to bring up your GPA in terms of what would be looked at for a regular application with no PG option; if you do a PG year, you've got three semesters at your current HS to work on the HS GPA, rather than putting all of the eggs in the PG basket by way of showing day-to-day improvement.

    Good luck!
     
  8. Sawndog

    Sawndog Member

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    Runt,

    It is not study skills necessarily, but more time management that is the killer (or saver). If USMA thinks you have what it takes, they will accept you and you are 99% able to be competitive here. I came here and hadn't been in school for 2-3 years and when I was in school didn't take any AP courses or any calculus and due to my time management, I'm in the top 10% of my class despite my shortcomings.

    ^might help you decide.
     
  9. CadetMoore

    CadetMoore Member

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    In my opinion, any emotional immaturity you may feel you'll have going into USMA will be taken care of while at Cadet Basic Training. As a recent graduate of Basic Training on the enlisted side, I can tell you that you become very mature and focused in a small amount of time. Everything they have you do builds character and helps you to become a better overall person. I wouldn't worry about using up an extra year at a prep school. If you're smart and athletic with a little bit of resilience, you'll make it through no problem.
     
  10. Runt

    Runt Member

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    Hey everyone, thanks for the intelligent and thoughtful feedback. Much different than some boards I've used previously. Definitely have hunkered down on my grades... My gpa/class rank are pretty decent because I'm taking mostly honors or AP classes, but I've gotten B's in the majority of them, besides English(pretty decent at that). I feel into a bit of a trap from an older friend (coincidently at USNA now lol) who told me that at our school, it's quite easy to get B's in the ap curriculum, but very challenging to get A's. It's pretty true, haha. But I'm working on it.
     

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