Prep School and Leadership

Discussion in 'Military Academy - USMA' started by jebdad, Aug 20, 2015.

  1. jebdad

    jebdad Member

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    Whether its prep school, self prep or sponsored prep, it appears that it is mostly viewed as a place where a candidate primarily works on their academic leg of their resume. What if the candidate's weakness is leadership? For example, candidate is a late bloomer whose maturity "light bulb" did not kick in until late in the high school game. (A quiet kid who spent most of their first three years of HS trying not to get noticed). Their resume is strong in academics, a good athlete, but not a lot of exhibited leadership. Just as prep school can help address an academic weakness, can it also help address a leadership weakness? Or, does WP look at leadership as something you exhibited in HS and you either have it or not?
     
  2. 845something

    845something Member

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    Let me flip a question back at you - do you think going to a prep school where you are at the bottom of the chain of command for a year will demonstrate to West Point that you have the leadership qualities that they are looking for?

    Do you think that there is an organization where you can enlist and demonstrate that you are capable of being a leader and progress upwards based on that?
     
  3. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    Candidate evaluation accomplished the Whole Candidate Score. It roughly divided into 60% academics, 30% leaderhsip, and 10% physical.

    So whatever you did in high school to earn leadership points will stand. Whatever you can do to earn leadership points at at prep school will add points.
     
  4. jebdad

    jebdad Member

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    845 - Thanks for your reply. I really respect your feedback on this forum and I appreciate you taking time to respond.

    I may be misunderstanding your response, so bear with me. :) Are you saying that a prep school like NMMI, for example, would not provide opportunities for someone to assume leadership roles and prove and refine their leadership skills? I guess I thought that was one of the opportunities they could offer. I would think leadership opportunities at a school like that would be considerably greater and come along sooner than any leadership opportunities by going the enlisted route. Why would they be at the bottom of the chain of command? Wouldn't they definitely be at the bottom of the chain of command and stay there longer if they enlisted? There is no military background in our family so maybe I am wrong about that.

    I have a child who has really changed in the last several months. He was a very slow starter - the youngest kid in his class. He is really starting to mature, develop confidence and become a leader. The bad part is, he just started his senior year and has a resume in the JROTC program at his school that is nothing notable. To me, that is a real hit to his application. He has made his bed in high school and it is really too late to make a measurable leadership improvement in one semester. He will be captain of his varsity sport, but I would think the lack of a prominent role in JROTC is a killer.
     
  5. 845something

    845something Member

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    The leadership opportunities as a freshman at a prep school are not what West Point is looking for in terms of their application - they are not going to be student body president or team captain of a sport, etc. The second year at these schools usually is the final year before commissioning in the reserves. Basically, if you don't get in that first year, you face the choice of changing to a different school or commissioning/not going to West Point. The question becomes, is the potential college academic boost going to be enough to overcome a lower leadership score and earn them an appointment. In most cases, why bother with a prep school when you can do the same at a normal college.

    You mention late bloomer in that he hasn't done much in the way of JROTC, but only a fraction of cadets did that in high school. What clubs has he led (always opportunities to do that as a senior), has he worked on yearbook or the school newspaper, does he have a job that he puts regular hours into, did he work his way up in scouts, and so on...leadership in extracurricular activities is varied. Having something might not make an individual a standout, but it keeps them in the game. Further that is only a third of the overall leadership evaluation along with the teacher evaluations and athletics. Thinking back to stats, while almost all that gain admission have a varsity letter, only about 60% were a team captain. That means your son stands out more in that dimension of leadership and that helps average out that leadership component.

    As far as enlisting, there are many schools and opportunities to shine as a young Soldier that West Point recognizes. Honor Graduate or Commodant's List at schools like AIT, completing airborne, air assault, etc. It may take more than a year at the enlisted route, but it doesn't close doors so fast or cost so much. Further, they come with their own nomination through their company commander. Finally, it is always an option to determine if being an Army officer is the way to go. After a couple years in the Army, your son will know if that is what they really want to do.

    Really, the individual to have this discussion with is the RC and the time to do it is in January/February when they can make a good recommendation given the competition in your district, the overall strength of the file, and potential for improvements at the different paths. It may not even be necessary if that BFE is already on the way at that point.
     

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