Answering the Inevitable Questions: Input, Please!

Discussion in 'Military Academy - USMA' started by VU2011, Jun 22, 2010.

  1. VU2011

    VU2011 New Member

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    I have posted my situation on this forum, and others, before and have received some negative and overly critical input on my intentions to attend West Point. If you do not have any helpful advice, which is given in the spirit of helping me attain admission to USMA, I would appreciate it if you refrain from this discussion.

    Okay, here's my situation - I'm graduating from college in the spring but I am attempting to gain admission to USMA. There are many reasons for this decision - desire to be a military officer, desire to have the life experience of going through West Point, my personal commitment to honor, my dissatisfaction with my undergraduate educational experience, and the fact that I've always wanted to serve my country.

    Here are some potential questions that I know I will need to answer in interviews, but about which I'm having difficulty formulating an answer (potential answers/musings below bold questions):

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    If your goal is to become a military officer, why not just go the OCS route?

    Becoming a military officer is one of my main objectives, but it is not my only one. I intend to serve in the military for a large duration of my life, but I also want to maximize my educational opportunities; I transferred schools due in part to family difficulties, so my focus became graduating on time rather than pursuing what truly piques my intellectual curiosity (granted, my interests have evolved over time). I also want the West Point Experience and everything that goes along with it. Still, the main objective is to become a military officer - if that wasn't the purpose of starting over college, why would I even burden myself with this process? I believe in trying to achieve everything I want out of life - it's America, after all - so, while I understand the concerns some have about my situation, I do not see the issue with an academically-proven, enthusiastic, qualified individual trying to serve his country and attain a world-class education.

    You have changed your life goals a lot; why should we assume this isn't a spur-of-the-moment decision?

    On the surface, this may be a reasonable concern, but I do not believe it's valid. I entered a college which I did not want to attend (selected because it was the cheapest) uncertain about my course of study, so predictably my interests have evolved during undergraduate studies. I did not originally apply to USMA for many reasons, such as my inability to commit to service at that point in my life (the correct choice at the time for me, I would argue). However, I have tried many different courses of study, along with jobs and internships in medicine, law, public policy, film, writing, etc., but none have really satisfied me. I am drawn to service, but I do want to serve in the most meaningful capacity available to me. Somewhat arrogantly, I guess, I believe I can do whatever I wish, as long as I apply myself to that endeavor. After careful consideration, I have determined (rationally, not in a rush) that I want to enter a military career.

    As far as transferring schools (which I did after my sophomore year): I changed for many reasons. First, my new school is much better academically and offers me unique opportunities not available at my old institution. Secondly, the cost of my new school is less than at my old school, due to a newly-established, generous financial aid plan. Finally, my family was going through an extremely stressful and uncertain time (and still is), so I wanted to be close to home; my school is 20 minutes away from home. The choice to transfer schools was completely rational, just as my decision to gain admission to West Point is.

    Why should we nominate/admit you to USMA over a traditional, 18-year-old candidate straight from high school?

    I do not have an exact answer formulated for this question yet, but I believe I should approach it from a maturity/qualification perspective. Admittedly, I am older than the average candidate, but I would argue that my resulting maturity makes me a more desirable candidate than a younger person (unless he or she possesses extraordinary life experiences). I have paid my way through college, held my own apartment, worked while attending an elite university, and dealt with numerous life experiences that go along with college that, quite frankly, most high school applicants have not experienced.

    Also, I have better perspective on the world than most applicants. I understand the world better (I can say this with certainty, now that I remember how naive my world-view was in 2007). I appreciate this opportunity more than most, for I have squandered the chance previously. Still, I do not think I should be disqualified from consideration because of that decision - if I should be, then there would be a stipulation against admitting those who have not previously applied and earned a college degree. Alas, there isn't.

    Finally, I believe I have demonstrated my abilities to a greater degree than most other applicants. I currently hold a job and internship concurrently, both which require the completion of quality work on deadlines. I have also earned a 3.90 undergraduate GPA, admission into my departmental honors program, and numerous scholarships. Many admitted students struggle academically at West Point; at the very least, you know I will excel in this fashion.

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    Thanks to anyone who has stuck with this post and finished it! If you have any helpful advice/input/etc., please post it.
     
  2. djfrro

    djfrro Member

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    I think you're crazy, but if it is what you want go for it. If your accepted I think you would be an asset to both West Point and the United States Army.
     
  3. CPT_Claw

    CPT_Claw Member

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    Assuming you will still meet the age requirement, I say go for it.

    People recognize 'what they want to be when they grow up' at different points in their life. And as for maturity, I think that's more a journey than a destination.

    You've perservered through challenges and came through them with a better sense of what you want to do and recognize that you want to serve. Give the nomination process your best shot and I wish you luck.

    That being said, if the nomination process does not pan out for you, I would encourage you to investigate the OCS route. Military service is also a journey, and the routes followed during that journey are myriad. But it is one of the most rewarding journeys you can ever take.

    Again, good luck.
     
  4. TheKnight

    TheKnight Class of 2014

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    I read your post and I don't really understand why you would have a problem getting into USMA?
     
  5. tucker92

    tucker92 Member

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    Don't be surprised if you are asked whether you will go OCS if you are not admitted to West Point.
     
  6. billyb

    billyb Member

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    when I went to West Point (in the 90s) there was a cadet I knew that already had earned a bachelor's degree at another college. She made it in and graduated WP. If she could do it, I don't see why you couldn't do it.
     
  7. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    This young man is facing a pretty competitive environment, and lives in a very competitive district. I think he may find it difficult to receive a nomination. Admission might not be quite as big a hurdle, but with the number they turned away this year, it's not a cakewalk either.
     
  8. VU2011

    VU2011 New Member

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    I appreciate that compliment... just out of curiosity, why do you think I'm crazy?
     
  9. VU2011

    VU2011 New Member

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    I have been told by a few people online that my situation makes it challenging for me to gain admission.
     
  10. VU2011

    VU2011 New Member

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    Yeah, I figured that would be asked... fortunately, I am also looking into OCS and plan on applying for admission to OCS as well.
     
  11. VU2011

    VU2011 New Member

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    Did you receive my PM earlier today?
     

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