Preparing for USMA

Discussion in 'Military Academy - USMA' started by Ferg1025, Jun 2, 2016.

  1. Ferg1025

    Ferg1025 New Member

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    Hello all,
    I've read all over about getting 3.75+ GPAs, or running miles, etc. I'm currently 14, and my goal is to go to West Point. After this summer, I will begin my freshman year in HS. My question to the community is what should I do to prepare/get ready to apply to West Point? Although I have 4 years to go, I'd like to be as prepared as possible. I participate in sports (track, soccer, swimming), do volunteering over the summer, and work a job in the winter. What else should/can I do?

    Thanks,
    Brian
     
  2. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    Search on "Chance Me" threads on all SA sub-forums, to get a feel for the ranges of academics, sports, leadership, community, extra curriculars, etc. That will help you get a baseline and develop a plan of action for yourself over the next few years. There is no magic formula.

    Read every page and follow every link on each SA Admissions site. Many questions are answered there.

    Read about the nomination process.

    Generally understand the timeline for your "campaign" in a few years.

    And, research the career fields available after graduation and commissioning. The SA is a 4-year way station. You have to have some sense of career fields you would be okay with doing for a minimum 5 years afterwards.

    Explore ROTC options, understand the differences, let that simmer along with your SA exploration. If you want to serve as an officer, that is a viable way to go, and a better fit for some.

    Be open to new ideas.

    Good to start early!
     
  3. Ferg1025

    Ferg1025 New Member

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    Thank you very much!
     
  4. Dixieland

    Dixieland Member

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  5. wyeast

    wyeast Member

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    If you live in or near a city with AIM (admission information meetings) I would attend every one. Ours were always led by the RC so you will get the most up to date info and have the chance
    to meet your RC.
     
  6. Ferg1025

    Ferg1025 New Member

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  7. Ferg1025

    Ferg1025 New Member

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    Okay, I'll definitely take that into consideration. Thanks!
     
  8. Dixieland

    Dixieland Member

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    There is so much good information on the USMA website---spend the summer looking over it. If you don't live too far, try to visit West Point someday and take one of the tours that the Visitors Center offers.
     
  9. USMA_ljm

    USMA_ljm Member

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    I'd just like to note that there are different versions of GPA's , weighted and unweighted (weighted takes into account the difficulty of the course being regents, AP or college level). Many have 4.0 weighted GPA's. My son had over a 4.0 weighted but a 96.8 unweighted. Also Class rank is important. You have to excel in 3 towers, leadership, academics and athletics.
     
  10. tug_boat

    tug_boat Member

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    Get involved in a scouting program. By the time your 16, if you apply yourself, you'll be an Eagle Scout. During your scouting experience you'll hike, camp, swim and learn about leadership and working with others. All of these skills will be of benefit to you. This year a few COWs were separated due to the fact they could not jump from a high board during Combat Survival Swim which is a requirement to graduate. These are the small things you'll experience at scout summer camp activities that are fun and enjoyable.

    What I'm trying to express, just don't go and check boxes, go and enjoy the journey of life.

    Push Hard, Press Forward
     
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  11. brovol

    brovol Member

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    For anyone planning to be a West Point candidate, I highly recommend that you read the study done by Rand, which does an assessment of WP's admissions criteria, and draws some conclusions as to whether the current admissions evaluation formula is effective at selecting candidates who are most likely to both succeed at the academy and as officers. The thing that is helpful is that it breaks down the actual current whole candidate scoring system, and litterally tells how many points a candidate receives for every aspect of their application; for all categories, accademics, leadership, and athletics, as well as CFA and other items. You can see the difference between, for example, being secretary for student council vs president for NHS. There are litterally points awarde for each item, and WP then gives you a score, which can change if you improve you resume. Some sports are worth more than others. Playing multiple sports earns you bonus points. Lots of factors in the scoring formula, and it is all described in the report.

    I would give a link to the Rand study, but I don't have it handy. I suspect you can google it though. If not, let me know. PM me and I will locate it.
     
  12. Ted75

    Ted75 Banned

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    Is this it, Brovol?

    Rand Report Link
     
  13. brovol

    brovol Member

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  14. Sam2018

    Sam2018 Member

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    So looking over the report (very interesting btw) I have a question? Would National Merit Commended, or National AP scholar count as a national award? Is that what they are looking for?
     
  15. brovol

    brovol Member

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    I couldn't say for sure, but your Regional Commander could, and I would certainly ask. In our experience the RC's at WP were extremely candid, and gave very straight forward answers. You should know what counts , and where you should focus your energy, and they will outline it for you if/when you meet with them.

    We made visits to USMA and spoke with three different RC's, including our own (great lakes RC). If you schedule a visit they will meet with you after your tour of the campus. They will go over the process, your applications strengths and weaknesses, and where you stand as compared to others in your congressional district.

    In my son's case, he was told during our first visit that his application was strong, but he was currently second in our district, and he was basically told why the other candidate was slightly higher. He was also told that the candidates below him could improve as well, but that his primary challenger for the top spot was the one above him. He was told that if he got a high score on the CFA, and got his ACT up to a 30 they would be effectively tied in the overall whole candidate score assessment, and that if my son brought it up to a 31 he could virtually assure him that "they would find a spot for him regardless". My son got very very motivated after that visit, and worked on both cfa and ACT. Got his ACT superscore to 32+, and although he got injured which slowed his progress on the CFA, ultimately got very good scores there, and received an appointment in January.
     
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  16. Cerberi

    Cerberi Member

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    Here is a completely different perspective from a USAFA grad whose DD earned appointments to both USAFA and USNA (will be attending USNA). She didn't decide until after her junior year and attending Girls State that she would apply to a SA.

    And let me qualify by also adding that I think it is great that you have SA's as a goal and you are putting together a plan early (too often the board sees questions from rising seniors about what they can do to improve and in many respects it is already too late). And there is nothing wrong with having a goal and using that goal as a motivation to work a little harder to attain that goal.

    My DD:

    She loves science and math - so any and all electives she took more of each.
    Doing well has always been important to her, so she worked hard and made excellent grades.
    She joined clubs and took on leadership roles because she enjoyed doing those things.
    She is a talented athlete and played 2 sports at a high level (relative to high school competition) and she simply enjoyed being on the team.

    There are things you need to do to be competitive for an appointment to an SA - make sure you do them. They aren't significantly different than what needs to be done to get into top flight universities and their top programs.

    My point is my DD did what she loved and enjoyed it. She never joined a club to add 3 more points to her Whole Person Score, she never joined a sport simply because it looked good on the application. In the end, it turned out that who she is, what she enjoys and what she wanted from a school made her an excellent fit for service academies which tend to like athletes, leaders, and great (emphasis on STEM) students.
     
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  17. goforspaatz

    goforspaatz USAFA c/o 2020

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    I know West Point probably seems like all you want, but do not neglect "Plans B through M" as is often mentioned. Much of what you do to prepare to apply for USMA will carry over into ROTC Scholarship applications, other colleges, etc. Keep those in the back of your mind because they have different timelines but are very important to have as well.
     
  18. brovol

    brovol Member

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    My son didn't decide to apply to the academies until end of junior year so his resume up to that point was what it was. To be honest though, he probably would not have sought NHS President (which he won) but for the fact that he knew it would help his application. It's not that he wouldn't have wanted to, but that with playing three varsity sports he knows that time would be tight. But he did it, and I am certain it helped his chances.

    You need to be as competitive as possible. I don't think there is any shame in doing what you can do to score admissions points. Some say that is gaming the system. I say, "whatever".
     

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