Ask a plebe.... I'm right here :)

Discussion in 'Military Academy - USMA' started by westpolisgirl2, Oct 17, 2012.

  1. westpolisgirl2

    westpolisgirl2 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2010
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hey guys,
    This forum was an invaluable resource to me during my last two years of high school... it really helped me prepare myself for the admissions process as well as West Point itself.

    The insight I really appreciated was from current cadets who had knowledge of beast, plebe year, etc., fresh in their minds.

    Now that I am a cadet myself, well into plebe year, I've got a pretty good hold on everything and felt that I should give back to the site that helped me out so much. With that, I'd like to invite all you candidates to ask whatever you want about beast, the admissions process, plebe year, class validations, etc. I know a lot about the classes and validations, so I can answer almost any curriculum question, which will be helpful for you guys to determine which AP's to take an what scores to aim for. Also, for the record, I am a female, so if you have any female specific questions, I can try to answer those as well.

    Good luck with the admissions process, everybody.
    :smile:
     
  2. AcademyHopeful_50

    AcademyHopeful_50 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2012
    Messages:
    133
    Likes Received:
    0
    If you major in a non-STEM area, can you earn a minor in a language?

    Hope to see you at USMA one day!
     
  3. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2010
    Messages:
    4,275
    Likes Received:
    606
    Unless they have revamped the system totally, your only option for a "minor" experience is your engineering track. I think they call it a sequence now, actually.
     
  4. westpolisgirl2

    westpolisgirl2 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2010
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    0
    Scoutpilot is correct; technically there are no "minors" at west point. However, a lot of.non stem majors double major in their chosen major and a language. Its really common and not super difficult.. for example, languages coupled with international relationship or history or political science or law really work out well, since a lot of thebrequired classes for both majors overlap. I plan to major in Arabic and international drelations
     
  5. Alice19

    Alice19 Banned

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2012
    Messages:
    25
    Likes Received:
    0
    I`m not a candidate, just an interested person, so excuse me for barging in on a candidate thread.

    Some pf the usual questions asked by everybody who has to chance to ask one of "you", but it`s always good to hear from everyone:

    1) What do you wish you did differently in high school

    2) What do you wish you did differently over the summer?

    3) How`s life? This is in all aspects...academic, social (we all know it`s not as good as any State U`s), etc, etc.

    4) Being a female at USMA isn`t too different from being a male, correct? Any animosity at all directed towards you or any other females?

    5) What classes to best prepare me for (hopeful) entrance and classes to help me do well at West Point? And what AP scores to aim for and all that good stuff about high school in general.
     
  6. CCUSMA17

    CCUSMA17 USMA17

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2012
    Messages:
    35
    Likes Received:
    0
    A lot of questions:

    Thanks for the post, I have a ton of questions about more of the social aspects.

    What was the biggest shock you received?

    Do you suggest validating? (one cadet told me yes and one told me to stick to the lower level classes)

    How hard was the running during beast?

    Female Specific advice? (how to act around guys, how you are treated, dating, anything really)

    Biggest thing you wish you knew going there? Would that have affected your decision?

    How much free time do you have? What do you do in your free time?

    How stressful is the schoolwork? How do you handle the stress?

    Is there a certain type of personality that seems to fit best with the other females? With the other males?

    I know plebes don't have much freedom; so what do you do for 'fun'? (I know that sounds dumb but I mean in the 'making the best of it' kind of fun)


    And the biggest one: Do you think you are happy there? Besides "embracing the suck" what makes it easier to enjoy it there and embrace the little thing?

    Thank you so much if you answer all those! :smile:
     
  7. Alice19

    Alice19 Banned

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2012
    Messages:
    25
    Likes Received:
    0
    ^Really, someone said not to validate??? :confused::confused::confused: I was always told to validate, if at all possible. I heard of one person validating almost a whole semester, and taking pretty much all upper-level classes.
     
  8. westpolisgirl2

    westpolisgirl2 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2010
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    0
    Answers

    Sorry guys, I was on emergency leave for grandma's funeral and just got back yesterday. Anyways, I do have answers for you now!

    Alice19:

    1. In high school I wish that I continued playing 3 sports instead of sticking to just one. I'd been a 3-sport athlete for my whole life and for some reason I chose to give up 2 of 3 after freshman year. It'd have been easier to stay active year round, plus helped me to be more well-rounded. Idk if it affected admissions (I still got an LOA playing only one) but I truly wish I'd kept all three.

    2. This past summer (before Beast of course) I wish I spent more time with my closest friends and family rather than surrounded by lots of "acquaintainces". I went to lots of grad parties, etc., which resulted in being in huge groups of people all the time. I regret this because even though I really liked a lot of them, they had no idea what I was about to do in a couple weeks and the simple fact that I wouldn't stay in touch with most of them. It sounds harsh, but that's pretty much how it works for everyone. You keep close with your best friends, and of course family- so I wish I'd spent my last free month more with them. You WILL miss them when you're gone.

    3. Life's pretty good :smile:. I enjoy it. Yes, the "daily grind" of the academic year gets to everyone sometimes, but it's in no way unbearable. If you've explored this forum, you'll have a decent idea of the strictness, discipline, etc. to expect. I've made a good amount of friends, and I really like my company. You'll make your own fun. Compared to beast, us plebes have so much freedom now. I was never wild and crazy and partying in high school, so I don't really feel like I'm missing out on anything now.

    4. Being a girl is pretty close to being a guy here. People have the same expectations of you, and you have the same classes, duties to do, etc. I've never been treated differently- the guys are all really great for the most part. However, if you're overly flirty by nature or just plain annoying and high-maintainance, learn to control it. If you don't, don't expect to have many guy friends. They're all pretty nice, but if they don't respect you, they'll let you know, and that's not a good feeling.

    5. I'd recommend taking at least AP US History, AP Chem, AP Calc, and AP English Lit. I did, and validated all of them here as a result. To validate:
    Chem- 4/5 on AP test, really good performance on placement test during beast
    Calc- same as chem
    English- 4/5 on AP test, write a good essay during beast for the test (roughly top 90 out of 500)
    US History- 5 on AP test
    Bottom line- validate as much as you can. I now have the opportunity to double major much easier than most of my classmates do, which is a really great option to have.

    Okay.. CCUSMA17:

    1. Biggest shock? Honestly, I thought that everyone here was going to be ridiculously smart academically. It's simply just not how it is. The plebe core classes are all classes I took in high school....

    2. I suggest validating everything you can! I validated 5 classes, and it's just so much better this year for me. I have mainly yuk-level classes, so I'm done with core curriculum nearly a semester faster than my classmates. If you've gotten into USMA, you've most likely taken the majority of plebe classes in high school in some capacity. If you don't validate, you'll be taking them all again! :unhappy: It will annoy you that you have to relearn everything, and it'll be easier to blow things off. Just validate. If you have the opportunity to, do it.

    3. Running during Beast. I don't enjoy running, and wasn't as prepared as I should've been for the running. That being said, it wasn't that bad. The runs were all pretty short, and though the pace is quick (the tall guys in front of formation basically set it), it's not too terrible. You'll improve a lot.. my APFT time dropped 3 minutes during Beast. We hardly ran more than a mile at a time.

    4. Female specific advice: google "Minority Report: A Girl's Guide to West Point" and find this girl's post... there's like 9 pages of gold here. It helped me out a lot. I believe the post is on college confidential or something. The author graduated in 2007(i think) but most of the post is still very relevant. Everything about being a girl is there. And just from my experience, maintain femininity! There's a line between being able to be "one of the guys" at times (good) and acting like a total dude- chewing tobacco, etc. (bad).

    5. I wish I knew that I'd have to carry around a rifle for ALL of beast. It wasn't a big deal and wasn't super heavy or anything, but for me it was a constant annoyance. We weren't even allowed to go to the bathroom without it. I came close to throwing at a wall multiple times. Just know that you will be lugging an M-16 everywhere you go, and sometimes it will hit you in the face when you're sprinting up and down mountains, etc. Shooting it, etc., was great! I just got frustrated with always having it on me.

    6. Free time... compared to Beast, I now feel like the free-est person on the freaking planet. Weekends are nearly completely free unless there's a home football game/parade or SAMI. Use weekends to catch up on homework, sleep, and FUN.

    7.) How stressful is schoolwork? It's not too bad. I juggled a pretty ridiculous courseload throughout high school, and this isn't really any harder. The schoolwork itself is actually pretty straightforward and simple- it's the combination of everything we're required to do here (academics, physical stuff, military tasks) that makes it stressful at times. Just be proactive in completing work, asking for help, etc., and you'll be fine.

    8.) Personality to get along with other females: I've gotten lucky during Beast and this semester and have great roommates, so I'll give you some things about them that help us get along. First, they are flexible, and expect me to do the same. If I'm still awake doing hw and they're ready for bed or vice versa, they dont mind me keeping the light on until I'm done, and expect that I'd give them the same courtesy. Second, they want to be good cadets, which makes me try harder as well. Third, they are genuine, honest, and unpretentious. Just be yourself and don't try to fake anything... this place exposes everyone's best and worst sides, and you want someone to pick you up when you're down as well as you wanting to be able to help your friends when they're not having the best time. I'm a very independent person, don't mind being alone, etc., but I honestly don't think I'd be as happy here without my roommate. You can't be successful here on your own- everyone always says "cooperate and graduate", and it couldn't be more true.

    Being a girl, getting along with the guys: Don't be a flirt, be accepting, don't talk about periods, etc. in front of them (there's just no reason for it), help them out when they need it. Work hard and be friendly, and they'll respect you. Don't be the girl that goes on pass with a bunch of guys and does... you know what I mean. People gossip here, just like high school, and you will get a reputation.

    9. For fun? Just hanging out in rooms can be fun. Get 3 or 4 friends to come in your room and talk while doing hw on a saturday afternoon. Highland falls something nice if you want to go out to eat. My company has "plebe movie night" every Fri and Sat night, which is always a good time. Some of the guys in my company go hiking, etc., on weekends which I've heard is cool if that's your thing. Go to meals in the mess hall with big groups (for optional dinners and weekend meals).. it's a great way to get to know your company-mates.

    10. Am I happy? YES. I'm totally sure I made the right choice in picking WP, and this is the worst it's ever going to be. It's tough at times, no doubt, and I've had a couple bad days, but I'm thrilled that I'm here instead of civilian college. The institutional pride here is really great, and the comraderie with classmates is something you won't find any place else.

    Hope that helps, guys. Also, go to SLS if it's not too late! It's a great experience that will help you with your admissions decision.
     
  9. Alice19

    Alice19 Banned

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2012
    Messages:
    25
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thank you so much for taking the time to answer our questions! And sorry to hear about your grandmother.

    It`s good to hear that it`s definitely something that isn`t unbearable, because I`ve heard of people before saying how it`s SO boring, and grinding, and etc.

    A couple more questions if you don`t mind:

    1) What do you think West Point has that the other academies don`t (Besides the fact they commission Army officers :))? Obviously it`s probably hard for you to say, since you only are at WP, but any general idea(s)?

    2) Just out of curiosity, what`s your favorite part about West Point, and what`s your favorite class you`re taking right now?
     
  10. robinhood17

    robinhood17 USMA Cadet

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2010
    Messages:
    215
    Likes Received:
    0
    1) What do you wish you did differently in high school
    -Worked a little harder freshman and sophomore years. I didn't realize at the time that those grades would have such an impact on my admissions. I wish I would have immersed myself in SAT/ACT practice starting in 9th grade..learning as I went. Also..I wish I had a little more fun. I loaded myself up with things I loved..community service,sports,leadership..all good..but I lost time to be a kid,and be a little crazy.

    2) What do you wish you did differently over the summer?
    -Stopped worrying about coming here. I wasted my last civilian hours worrying about what to pack..how much to work out..and if you relax a little, keep on a good schedule, and spend time with the people who matter..you will enjoy your summer more.
    3) How`s life? This is in all aspects...academic, social (we all know it`s not as good as any State U`s), etc, etc.
    -I never wanted to have the life of a state university. That's why I came here..because it was different than everywhere else. Every day is a challenge..but when you get to taps each night, you feel accomplished. There is a saying in the army that goes something like this "We do more before 8am than most do in their entire day." I like being challenged and productive. Your view on life determines how good it is. I focus on the little things that make me happy. (I.e getting mail, crispitos in the mess hall..my favorite)

    4) Being a female at USMA isn`t too different from being a male, correct? Any animosity at all directed towards you or any other females?
    -In a perfect world, being a female here would not matter at all. In reality, it does matter. I am the only female in most of my classes. I will be completely honest, some animosity is directed towards PT standards for females because the requirements are different. If you are athletic, it's not a problem. The guys here are like brothers to me..they watch out for me, and I watch out for them.

    5) What classes to best prepare me for (hopeful) entrance and classes to help me do well at West Point? And what AP scores to aim for and all that good stuff about high school in general.
    -Calculus, History...are the main two. Definitely validate history if you can. Validating history= get into American politics which= better time. I should have sent in my scores. You will need a 4-5. As for calculus..its up to you. validating calculus= getting into harder math class for same credit vs. staying in easier math class for same credit.

    What was the biggest shock you received?
    -The campus. I had never visited..it's a lot to take in in one day. :)

    Do you suggest validating? (one cadet told me yes and one told me to stick to the lower level classes)
    -See above #5

    How hard was the running during beast?
    -Run hills. not the baby ones in your neighborhood..hills where you feel like you are walking to get up. The more you run before..the easier beast will be for you. If you come into beast running 4 miles at a 8 minute or better pace..PT will be very smooth and almost fun for you.

    Female Specific advice? (how to act around guys, how you are treated, dating, anything really)
    -I am myself. There are certain things I filter with the guys..period problems or makeup choices and whatnot.. but I am completely myself. The guys here do not want to see a fake girl, they understand that it sucks not to be able to wear our hair down or act feminine all of the time. On the same hand, I don't have a boyfriend, and it does make it easier. Dating=studying together or going bowling lol. They treat me really well.

    Biggest thing you wish you knew going there? Would that have affected your decision?
    -Nothing major. I have liked everything so far and nothing here was big enough to make me reconsider my decision.

    How much free time do you have? What do you do in your free time?
    -Not very much..but I am on staff on 3 different clubs which is unusual for a plebe. It keeps me very very busy.

    How stressful is the schoolwork? How do you handle the stress?
    -Pretty stressful..it is all about time management. If you take everything in small chunks..you will survive..everyone here wants you to succeed. Your teachers will coach you through if you are having trouble.

    Is there a certain type of personality that seems to fit best with the other females? With the other males?
    -We are all very similar here. Athletic, competitive, energetic (for the most part) If we talk to one another..we find we all have a lot in common.

    I know plebes don't have much freedom; so what do you do for 'fun'? (I know that sounds dumb but I mean in the 'making the best of it' kind of fun)
    -I am on a traveling club. That means I get to leave west point a lot. For example, I just came back from a 4 day trip to another state. I take the day one step at a time, and allow for some relaxing (an hour of my favorite show,etc) get involved.

    And the biggest one: Do you think you are happy there? Besides "embracing the suck" what makes it easier to enjoy it there and embrace the little thing?
    -I am happy here. It's all about your attitude towards life. I accepted the fact that I will have four years of suck, which will lead to many years of happiness. It's worth it to me. I enjoy it here because I am involved in so many things that keep me busy that I love.

    1) What do you think West Point has that the other academies don`t -(Besides the fact they commission Army officers :))? Obviously it`s probably hard for you to say, since you only are at WP, but any general idea(s)?
    West Point has the most majors out of all the academies, is the oldest academy, and is "the army" I am biased because I never wanted to fly planes, or be on ships...I liked being out in the woods and shooting.
    2) Just out of curiosity, what`s your favorite part about West Point, and -what`s your favorite class you`re taking right now?
    My favorite part is the people here. Anyone would help you if you needed it. I could walk up to a random cadet and ask for help, and they would drop what they were doing to do what they could. My favorite class is Pl100..or psychology for leaders. It's perfect for those that like puzzles and solving problems. :)
     
  11. stlcards2012

    stlcards2012 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2012
    Messages:
    73
    Likes Received:
    0
    This may be a stupid question, and you may not know the answer, but here it goes.

    Right now I am not sure exactly I want to do in the Army, but I am leaning towards infantry at the moment. I know that the USNA has a BUD/S Prep program, so does the USMA have a Ranger/SF Prep or Physical Fitness program that I would be able to join?
     
  12. GoArmyBeatNavy

    GoArmyBeatNavy Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2010
    Messages:
    668
    Likes Received:
    8
    West Point has an extensive fitness education program for all of its Cadets as fitness is a key part of leading in any Army Branch.

    Special Forces selects male officers who have demonstrated success in platoon leader and junior staff positions. This is generally done when they are in the rank of 1LT promotable. They have a selection course that interested applicants have to pass before they begin their Special Forces selection.

    The Ranger Regiment selects primarily Ranger School Qualified Infantry LTs who have demonstrated successful Platoon Leader time in an Infantry Company. Other branches also have officers that serve in the The Ranger Regiment and they have to go through a selection process as well and be Ranger School Qualified.

    In order to prepare yourself for the Infantry Branch when you graduate, self-directed physical fitness development while you are at West Point is important. I do know there is crossfit programs there and a number of physical and tactical oriented clubs and teams. A Combat Arms Officer is expected to be able to manage his/her own fitness program and still develop fitness programs for his/her unit.

    Good luck:thumb:
     
  13. stlcards2012

    stlcards2012 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2012
    Messages:
    73
    Likes Received:
    0


    Thanks:) I am busting my butt right now trying to get in tip top shape so that is a possibility. Over the course of four years I should have plenty of time!

    Also, I guess they do not have a specific program because you cannot go directly to either of them? You can go directly to BUD/S I think. My end goal at the moment is to go to the 75th, so I am trying to get a head start in researching the process and preparing.
     
  14. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2007
    Messages:
    8,753
    Likes Received:
    1,004
    What has been the biggest surprise (positive) and biggest disappointment so far?
     
  15. Alice19

    Alice19 Banned

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2012
    Messages:
    25
    Likes Received:
    0
    robinhood17, thank you for all of that! Great to have another POV on the subject.
     
  16. CCUSMA17

    CCUSMA17 USMA17

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2012
    Messages:
    35
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thank you guys for both of your answers! :shake:

    Any other general advice for the admissions decision and life there? Any good insight?
     
  17. BigBear

    BigBear Class of 2015

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2011
    Messages:
    699
    Likes Received:
    1
    Actually, there is a Counter-Terrorism minor available.
     
  18. bpq42

    bpq42 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2012
    Messages:
    21
    Likes Received:
    0
    I am very interested in the field of biomedical engineering, but I know this major is not offered at West Point. If I am admitted, is there the option that I could major in mechanical engineering and minor in kinesiology?... Or do you know of an option that is closer to the field of biomedical engineering?
     
  19. lotrjedi13

    lotrjedi13 _

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2008
    Messages:
    203
    Likes Received:
    2
  20. BigBear

    BigBear Class of 2015

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2011
    Messages:
    699
    Likes Received:
    1
    Mech majors don't get enough sleep to function properly as it is.
     

Share This Page