I recently picked up a copy of this book and I thought it was excellent, so I thought I'd share some of it. It contains quotes and stories from West Point grads. It contains advice for people interested, applying, and current cadets. Also if anyone could verify any of this it would be appreciated. It is authored by Sue Ross (AFA Grad) and Randy Lee (USMA Grad ) and is the third edition (2009). This is from the book by the way, not my personal opinion. Preparation: -This book has a large section on motivation. There are many many reasons of an individual's motivation/interest in going but money, self recognition, or other people wanting you to go are not good reasons. The best reason is obviously to serve the country by becoming an officer in the United States Army. -Many cadets' grades drop to C's; even the straight A students from high school. The reason for this is many could very easily get A's without much effort. -It is more important to learn the material then doing whatever is neccessary for the grade. Some are often concerned with impressing the teacher. -Since West Point classes are small, participation in class is expected. -Are you a "Copier"? Do you simply answer the questions to an assignment or do you read the chapter? Simply answering does not teach very well and promotes word-to-word copying. - Senioritis - Seniors often tend to slack off; especially after being accepted. -Often, teachers explain much of the topic in class. This discourages self learning as most students expect to just show up to class and be "spoon-fed", so to speak. -Great classes to take in high school are Calculus, chemistry, physics, computer programming, speech/debating/reading classes. Also Algebra. -Always get help when neccessary. -Physical aspects are big. It is advised to be in good condition. -Extracurriculars are a huge component as well. The Application Process: - The sooner, the better! Getting started early is important as there is a lot to do. - MALO's are a key asset. They evaluate candidates and also help in the process. - Don't forget anything or be too vague. Anything can help but it needs to be explained or at least mentioned. - Be neat. Some staff have claimed to received coffee stained forms. - Best to be early or at least on time (For interviews or paperwork). - Proofread your papers. There's a difference between Winslow, AZ and Winslow, AR. - You, not your parents, are applying. Most of the application process should be personal. - Have other options. The ultimate goal is to serve for the country as an army officer, not only to attend West Point. - Seek all nomination paths (Senators, Representative, Vice President, children of military/veterans/Medal of Honor recipients, ROTC/JROTC, current active/guard/reserve. - You do not have to be in the same political party or have helped your nomination source. There are no political favors. It is based on qualifications. - Check your senators/reps' nomination processes. - Do it yourself. It does not look that good if a parent calls on a candidate's behalf. - Letter of Recommendations. Make sure the writer has what they need from you (Information, mailing addresses). Simply asking them to write the letter is a poor effort. Tips from the Nominations Staff: - "Show commitment. Follow up and check on your file." - "I want them to bug me, to bother me." - Staffers on your side can help you sometimes. - Obey instructions. "It is really dumb when they submit a whole pile of letters - one had sixteen sent; another had twenty and I was about to kill him!" - "An Arizona staffer told of one mother who became angry and created a scene because she could not accompany her son into an interview." - Tip: Writing letters opposed to calling shows initiative. Most people hate writing letters. - Questions in interviews: Why do you want to go? What are your other choices if you aren't accepted? Would you turn in your friend for cheating (*Honor Code*)? Can you handle the stress? Who is your hero (Caution: Remember political bias. Also rap artists may not be a wise choice)? Are you in a relationship? Current events? Strong/Weak Points? How are you preparing physically/academically? How do you handle failure? - Tips: Practice interview. Choose appropriate attire (JROTC uniform is highly recommended). Be on time. - "I'll never forget one girl who came teetering on three-inch high heels; the panel was not impressed." - "Several panelists laughed about some candidates who come in jeans, T-shirt, without socks or in a sweat suit. One staffer, laughing and shaking her head, remembered a candidate who came in shorts and sandals." - Don't under consider prepatory schools or college. It can help a lot academically. There's also a lot on surviving West Point itself which I could post parts of if anyone is interested.