Understanding the Process?

Discussion in 'Military Academy - USMA' started by jlittle94, Nov 14, 2009.

  1. jlittle94

    jlittle94 New Member

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    Hey everybody,

    I'm a sophomore in high school and am seriously intending to pursue attendance at USMA, USAFA, or USNA (in that order). I'm from Indiana and I play Baseball. I also have about a 3.8 GPA (weighted) and am taking 1 AP class this year and more next year. I haven't received my PSAT results yet. As far as my leadership demonstrations go I'm a little lacking. I am in Boy Scouts but unsure of whether I will be able to attain Eagle by the time I'm 18. Later this year I will run for a position in Student Government. Any suggestions for this would be extremely helpful.

    Anyway, on to the real question. I need some help understanding how this whole application process works.

    People say I should start a candidate file. When should I do this and how? I understand one is automatically started when you attend the SLS (which I plan to do). There I will take the CFA and if it's good enough I'll send it in. So after the SLS and possibly the CFA what do I do next? I'm not sure who to contact as it seems most people have somebody who guides them through it. (An officer of some kind?)

    Sorry for the walls of text I'm just a little bit unsure of how to go about applying. Thankfully, I've got a little bit of time.

    Thanks,
    Jeremy

    P.S. I see an awful lot of people getting LOA's. What does this tell them? That if they get a Nomination they're in?
     
  2. vampsoul

    vampsoul Candidate

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    The summer before your senior year you can begin filling out the application. At the end of your junior, find the teachers who will be doing your recommendations and let them know an e-mail will be coming that summer (assuming you fill out the application as soon as it goes online). That way you get your teacher's full attention before the school year starts and everyone wants recommendations. After you start the application, you will be sent information to have your medical evaluations through DODMERB. Do this as early as possible! Medical issues can be the most time consuming part of the application process. Nomination packets for your senators, representative, and VP usually open around April-May of your junior year. Make sure you get them in on time- most deadlines are Oct-Nov.

    An LOA is a contingent appointment. What it is contingent upon depends on the candidate. For me, I am just waiting on a nomination.

    As a sophomore, I can say the best thing you can do right now is pack your resume with good grades, leadership positions, and athletics of some kind. Good luck!
     
  3. WAMom68

    WAMom68 Founding Member

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    If you don't get elected to student government is there a club you belong to that you could get a leadership role in? Another leadership option is team captain in your sport (if that is possible for you).

    There is tons of information on the admissions website so you should read everything there if you haven't already: http://admissions.usma.edu/default.cfm. You can always contact admissions and ask who your regional admissions officer is. They will be the one to handle your file.

    Once USMA knows you are interested you will most likely be contacted by a local field force representative* who will be available to answer questions and help you through the admissions process. If you aren't contacted by someone local call USMA admissions and they will give you information to get in touch with your field force.

    *Field force reps are usually alumni that volunteer to help candidates interested in USMA.

    LOA's are a way for the academy to notify highly qualified candidates that USMA will admit them if they are fully qualified (academically, physically, medically) and get a nomination. Usually LOA's go out before nominations are completed or before a candidate has completed their file...for example they may be waiting on a medical waiver.

    Good luck to you!
     
  4. jlittle94

    jlittle94 New Member

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    Thank you both for the info.

    As far as being elected as a leader of a club I could probably join Spanish Club or something and run for a spot (only has 6 kids but they don't have to know that ;) Unfortunately as far as baseball team captain goes I find it unlikely due to my not playing the catcher position and general lack of popularity with the team (compared to others; they don't hate me by any means.) But I will certainly contact that Officer.

    Thanks,
    Jeremy
     
  5. AVT

    AVT USAFA 2015

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    I'm currently a Junior in highschool, but I've been in the same boat as you. I joined a small club, maybe about 15 people, called Leo Club. It's community service orientated. I won President by a land slide, and I doubt that would have happened somewhere else as I'm not the most popular guy around, just make sure you do well in any office you hold. Being a tutor is also a form of leadership.
    There are numerous opportunities to show your stuff! :smile:
     
  6. WAMom68

    WAMom68 Founding Member

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    I understand completely. It was the same for my son, his teammates liked him but he wasn't one of the "popular" kids.

    Another activity that West Point likes to see is Boys State. Here is the link to information: http://www.boysandgirlsstate.org/boys.html. This is something you apply for in your junior year also. In some states it conflicts with SLS but you may be able to do both. If you don't get into SLS this is a good alternative that will add to your resume.
     
  7. mmb5

    mmb5 Member

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    Scouts also offers leadership positions even if you can't make it to Eagle. Can you be Senior Patrol Leader?
     
  8. aprouddad

    aprouddad Parent

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    Stay involved in scouts.

    When my son filled out his initial application for WP, there was a checklist of extra-curricular activities. Of the items on that list (and it was not a huge list), three were scouting related: involved in scouting, Eagle Scout, and Senior Patrol Leader.

    Work towards serving as Senior Patrol Leader of your troop. Depending on how your troop fills leadership positions, you should have more than one shot at filling that position between now and your senior year. Talk to your scoutmaster and your fellow scouts. Let them know in advance that you want to be considered for SPL and let them know why.

    Why do you think you can't make Eagle by the time you are 18? Assuming you are about 16 now, I bet it can be done. What is your current rank? How many eagle required merit badges do you lack? Making Eagle would be huge and well worth the effort (whether you apply to a service academy or not).

    Not to put down other leadership positions but what does it really mean to say you were president of xyz club or captain of whatever team? Did you have actual responsibilities or was it just an honorary position? Was it one of those teams where every senior is one of the "captains"? Again, I'm not dismissing those opportunities for leadership but look for positions where you have actual responsibility. "What were your duties while in that position?" is a great interview question.

    Because it is a national organization with national standards, Scouting is more or less a known quantity. If you tell me you did manage to become captain of your baseball team, I have no idea what that means at your school. Each scout troop is different but if you tell me you served as Senior Patrol Leader or that you made Eagle, I know what that means. Look at the entering profile of any recent WP class and I think you will see that they value scouting experience. http://www.usma.edu/Class/2013/profile.asp
     
  9. jlittle94

    jlittle94 New Member

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    Thanks for the encouragement everybody!

    That's a good idea WAMom68 I will definitely look into that. I spoke to my counselor today about what I should do as far as extracurriculars to demonstrate leadership and she suggested several things. Mostly stuff like Running for an Officer position in Spanish Club, Key Club, and getting as far as I can in Scouts. She also informed me that as long as I kept my GPA up I would be inducted into the National Honor Society and according the info aprouddad supplied (Thanks by the way!) this looks to be a plus. Also my community is building a YMCA nearby so she suggested I volunteer there and see what I can do. There is also an organization called FCCLA which stands for "Future Career and Community Leaders" that does charity work often.

    aprouddad: I turned 15 in July so I am a bit young as a Sophomore. However, I only joined scouting 3 months or so ago so I'm just a humble Tenderfoot. Note: I didn't join specifically for WP; more like one of my friends suggested I go camping with him and I liked the atmosphere so I joined up. It was a little later I even became seriously interested in WP.

    However, I am actively working with my Scoutmaster on the requirements and I'll certainly get as far as I can seeing as if I make Star I'm sure I can get SPL.

    If anyone has any comments/suggestions feel free to post them I'm all ears for all the help I can get.

    Respectfully,
    Jeremy
     
  10. rotorhd

    rotorhd Member

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    Scouts / WP Admission

    Jeremy - As an academy grad, father of an Eagle and current USMA cadet, former Scoutmaster and current Eagle Advisor in my troop, I can tell you that Eagle is entirely within your reach if you use your time wisely. I say this because I see a lot of Scouts who aspire to the Eagle Rank, but wait until they are 17 1/2 to start working seriously on it. Some make it...most don't. You have plenty of time. Chart out a plan and stick to it. Trust me, this will save you and your Eagle advisor a lot of stress.

    USMA and all the other SA's look very favorably on candidates who are Eagle Scouts ...it sends a message that you have persevered and "gone the extra mile" - not to mention the leadership experience you have picked up along the way. Also gives you some real "meat" to put in you essays.

    I wish you the best of luck. Keep us posted on your progress.
     
  11. mom3boys

    mom3boys Parent

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    Jeremy, you should be rushing through the ranks until you hit one that has a time requirement. You need to plan on as many advance-a-ramas as you can find and also summer camp. We had a good friend who quit after cubs, but later joined a troop at your age to honor his father who had passed away. Eagle was important to his dad, so he persevered and made it just shy of his 18th birthday. Go for it!! I bet you can do it if you try!
     
  12. freedom

    freedom Member

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    Best piece of advice I got

    Get your application complete EARLY. USNA opened in June this year - get it complete by Aug. 1st. USMA opened in August -- get it done by Sept 1. You will need to be prepared BEFORE they open. Talk to teachers to get them working on letters so they can upload them as soon as they receive email from academy. Also have counselor ready to send transcript over the summer.

    Also start taking SAT/ACT spring of sophomore year or no later than fall of junior year. This gives you opportunity to see what you need to work on and have a great score ready to go when the application opens. Take and retake the test.

    Good Luck!
     

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