I feel like a bit of an interloper...I've lurked here for ages but now have a few questions about the USMA. FYI, I'm a Brit with an education background and continued lay interest in Higher Education internationally. After reading Absolutely American and watching YouTube videos find myself fascinated. Despite being aware of the many criticisms of the US Service Academy set-up, I find myself inspired by the cadets, their determination, self-management and, as a female, the female cadets' dedication to fitness beyond the norm. Anyhow... 1) If any of you personally knew a top class-ranked cadet- say a top 50 at graduation, did they have any personal qualities that set them apart? 2) Are the students who are selected for immediate grad school studies more or less inclined to leave service at the earliest opportunity? 4) The Congressional/Presidential nomination process seems really odd to me. Do many strong candidates who live in the 'wrong' part of the country find themselves left out in the cold? 5) Are applicants expected to have some initial idea of what Branch they'd like to join eventually? I understand this can change multiple times during their degree. 6) Are there any specifically military experiences/courses that cadets can participate in during their summers which would be much more difficult to get onto if they'd gone the college/OCS route? 7) If fewer dining hall meals are mandatory nowadays, what do students replace them if they choose not to attend? Does it save them time between classes? Do they miss out of anything (aside from the food) if they don't go. 8) When the upperclass cadets head into town of an evening or Saturday afternoon, what do they actually do given they can't afford/ don't have the space in their rooms to buy stuff? Apologies if these are common knowledge.