I am going to be a Freshman at Penn State this year. I considered applying to USMA when I was a junior, but at the age of 16 making such a big commitment seemed scary to me. My dad was also pushing me to, and I didn't want to pursue an appointment just because he wanted me to. I recently went to R-Day to drop off my girlfriend, and I was amazed at everything USMA had to offer. The structure, the idea that everything you did was to reach the goal of becoming an officer, and the fact that the new cadets made the switch from civilian to new cadet in under 12 hours was mind blowing. No civilian university/college in the country compares in those areas. Being a cadet seems like it would bring a great amount of pride and satisfaction. I know it is extremely difficult to be a cadet, but I am willing to put in the work after I saw a bit of it first hand. I wish I visited/had this eye opening experience two years ago..... I have two major questions: What is protocol for dating older cadets at USMA? Is it too late to apply for the class of 2017? Would it be worth it to rush the process, or is it even possible? Would it be better to get a year of college under my belt? I would really appreciate ANY kind of advice.