This topic has arisen on another thread so I thought I would address it here - from the "West Point" point of view. It is true that cadets and midshipmen at USMA, USNA, USAFA and USCGA are Active Duty Military. What exactly does this mean? Speaking from the "West Point" perspective (I can't speak for the attitudes at the other academies) - all Cadets are Active Duty Army, with the rank of Cadet and the first Duty station is West Point. If you are a parent whose child has an appointment or a Cadet Candidate - keep saying this to yourself, it will make "I wonder why...." a lot easier. Parents - if you go to R-Day, you will be welcomed into the Army Family and it will be stressed over and over that your child is in the Army. You will soon learn the difference between "Walking Privileges", "OPP's", "Pass" and "Leave". You will discover that your child must sign in and out and the Army will tell them when they have leave and when they don't have leave. You will learn (hopefully not firsthand) that leave can be revoked and a pass may not be issued even if your child has a plane ticket. Welcome to the Army Family. On A-Day ask to see your son/daughter's military ID - When you read "Geneva convention" it may give you the chills. Your son/daughter is no longer "yours". He/she is a independent adult now (haha), with a job and a paycheck. You will learn quickly that your child is not a college student on a college campus but an Army Soldier stationed to an Army Post. Cadet Candidates and those seeking appointments - On R-Day when you take the Oath, you will be a soldier IN the Army, Active Duty. You will NOT be "considered" to be Active Duty, you WILL be Active Duty. Your first post is West Point and your first job is Cadet Basic Training. Your second job is to attend class, athletics and perform your duties in your company. You will have two Chains of Command - the Army (Legal) Chain of Command and the Cadet chain of Command. You are bound to the UCMJ. You have all the rights and responsibilities of being an Active Duty soldier. You will have access to complete health care including eye and dental. There is a cadet clinic and a hospital on post. You will earn a paycheck and your net pay will be direct deposited into your checking account. This is a completely different mind-set than going to "college". West Point does have a college (and an excellent one!) on post and you will attend class. This is your job. Doing your homework and studying is your job. Don't ever think of the 47 month journey at West Point as anything less than being a Soldier who is embarking on a college degree in a leadership laboratory.