DS received the TWE two weeks ago. He was a strong candidate and was 3Q'd. He spoke to his reps in the area and it was interesting to find out the reality he faced. He has a great plan B and is accepted to a very competitive business school (500 per year accepted) and is still considering a ROTC scholarship for that. Here is what he learned. The class he applied for is much smaller due to the 4400 size limit talked about in other threads. This really limited the number of National Wait List candidates this year. He was told that this was fairly recent mandate and LOA's and athletic admits were not based on this number and that hurt the national pool numbers. Crappy deal for this year, but reality. Another reality. Our state has an agreement among the MOC's to only nominate competitive slates to the academys. This really handicaps candidates from competitive districts like ours as he was competing against a very competitive slate. An example; he had a second cousin from a more urban district get the nod with far less than he had for ACT, GPA, and activities. Comparing notes with the DS's Dad he noted that the slate he was against was almost exclusively from a single high school in the District and not all that strong of candidates. Our District appointee is the 33 ACT with a 4.0 and Captain of two sports teams. The reality is that is who he had to beat out to get the appointment. Another reality. Parents and candidates need to understand that the Service Academy process is dependant on many things beyond your qualifications. Race and minorities issues have been kicked around here and the process plays a role in class makeup (I agree with it by the way). My DS went to SLS with many athletes and minorities. His quals were stronger but to a person everyone in those two groups from his squad was admitted and most were LOA recipients. Another does of reality (a good one though). Some MOC's appoint and some only nominate (resulting some really good candidates falling to the NWL). He had a guy in his SLS squad that was very marginal but he got an appointment from his MOC. He is in and DS is not but again that is reality. There are other means such as the VP and Presidential nods, but those are longer shots than the NWL in most years. Again, reality. For parents know the facts and be ready for the TWE and the pain that brings to a high achiever. I was a military guy and know that numbers and policy is nameless and faceless and at times very heartbreaking. The process of applying and interviewing makes them better college students and better people. Hang your hat on that and brief them on the reality they are up against. A friend of mine who went to WP said they don't seek only the best, they seek a cross section of the best. That is cross section is geographicly, race, and gender based. He has called and talked to my DS and provided a great perspective. Last reality. Helicopter parenting doesn't help your DS or DD adjust to the TWE. We had one in our District who was so sure her DD was getting in that when the TWE came it nearly killed her mother. Hope for the best and put on your big boy pants and know that not everyone is going to get in and certainly not in the order of qualification. It may not seem fair (fair is in August) but it is the reality of the application process. Good luck to all and to those that are headed to WP hold your heads high and achieve. You represent a very strong group of candidates.