USMA Motivation

Discussion in 'Military Academy - USMA' started by Rhiwalton, Jul 5, 2016.

  1. Rhiwalton

    Rhiwalton Member

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    I am currently 14 years old and have dreamt of going to West Point for feels like forever. This coming school year I'm going to be a freshman and I've already picked out my classes for high school according to West Points recommendations, I'm not dumb, I was salutatorian when I graduated eighth grade and had to say a speech (my overall gpa throughout Jr high was 3.89 and I want to improve that to a 3.98 during highschool) but there are only 49 people in my class it's not hard to do that! The problem is I'm starting to think I'm not smart enough to go, I'm terrible at tests so my ACT will be horrid, my subject tests like math tests and such aren't bad but state required tests are, they're proficient but West Point would want advanced, I've obviously never taken an ACT so I don't know but I have a feeling I'm not gonna do well, but my goal is to get a 33 which I'm sure won't happen. After reading West Point books and how the curriculum is so hard and how you have tests before you even learn about what's in the test scares me, my comprehension is terrible so I hate to read but I know you have to do a lot of reading there. I'm just starting to worry my life long dream will never come true. What do I do?
     
  2. AlphaBumchang

    AlphaBumchang Member

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    Hey Rhiwalton,

    I'm currently a candidate for USMA 2021 and I'm really glad that you found out about West Point early in your high school year. I only found out about West Point the start of my Junior Year which gave me a very limited amount of time to get ready for West Point's criteria in the academic,leadership, and athletic categories.

    As I was doing my application there were a few things that I really regretted and realized a few important things and I"ll share some of them with you.

    First, grades. In my sophomore year I got greedy and took a bunch of APs and skipped a math level so I took AP Calc BC in my sophomore year. That didn't go very well. On top of that I took Chemistry Honors and it was really hard for me to juggle my courses so I got bad grades in both of the two subjects. So I would really say to only take classes that you're confident in getting A's in. Honestly, I'm really scared that my GPA will disqualify me from the start but I'm still giving it a shot and hoping for the best.

    Second, get involved. Whether it's at school or in your community. I'm involved at my school. I'm an officer in a few clubs and I'm part of an organization on campus that works with the Principal and Vice Principal and I attend conferences and have meetings with them often. I host school events for students and a lot of other things. Thing is, I only have about 100 hours of volunteer service. So this summer I've been volunteering hard and close to 200 now. So start now and volunteer and think about joining your school student government body. It'll really help. You need to really shape up your leadership skills for West Point.

    Third, Boys State!!! or Girls State if you're a girl. Don't be that clown in class. Grab your teacher's attention because in your Junior Year they'll be making the recommendations for Boys/Girls State. If it's your counselor that chooses the delegates, talk to your counselor often about going to Boys/Girls State and so they know that you're interested in it. I went this year and it was absolutely an extraordinary experience. It really was. I knew it'll help for West Point so I told my counselor about it and she already knows my plans for West Point so she chose me so that I can have some points in my application. Anyways, you'll want to go to Boys/Girls State. It's about 3 years away for you, but it's worth going.

    Fourth, SPORT!! Do the sport you enjoy and that you love. You can't force yourself to swim when you don't like to even float on water. Do a sport that intrigues you and go 100% on it. Don't stop half way. Keep going. Get those Varsity Letters, medals at competition, and go far. Not only will it help you for your West Point app, it's just healthy for you. Make it your motivation to exercise. I do Cross Country and this was my first year and I'm already on Varsity and qualified and competed on the national level. I didn't know I was so good at running until I actually ran XC. If you like basketball, practice on your own and make your school team and get good at it.

    Fifth, CFA. Get fit for the CFA. I've been training for 5 months now and I'm at 12 pullups, 50 pushups, 75 situps, 50 ft for basketball throw, and 5:02 mile. If you start practicing now, I guarantee you'll go beyond the maximum scores, but on the actual CFA you don't want to go beyond the max scores. Max for pullups is 19. Even if you do 19+ you'll get the same amount of points. But who said you have to just do the maximum scores. Just workout for fun after you hit the max for all events and get ripped!! And I don't hit the gym. I just go to my local middle school and use the bars there and do calisthenics. You can go to the gym and lift weights if that helps you.

    Sixth, ACT/SAT score. I would say, top 10% in your class and a 30 on your ACT is a good safe zone. But you can always just focus on math for one test. Do well on that. Then focus on English for your next test. Do well on that. Focus Science for the next test. Do well on that. Then focus on reading for the next test. Do well on that. Super score and tada you got yourself a good score. Of course it's not as easy as I said, but good work ethic should do the job. It might take a while, but start studying now!! Do one test a day and review what you got wrong and do your best to prevent the same mistake in the future. Seeing that you had a high GPA in middle school, I can assume that you have good work ethic and don't procrastinate on your standardized test. Just have a little bit of faith and do your best!!

    Seventh, make a spreadsheet for future reference. In the spreadsheet, mark all the important dates for West Point. Your Congressman and Senator deadlines for their nominations. Make a list of the teachers you have to ask recommendations for. Basically this spreadsheet, just use it as a reference and organization of the long process this application is. Maybe 2 of the more important dates you should note is that the Candidate Questionnaire opens in January of your Junior year and the SLE application date.

    Eighth, visit West Point and contact your Regional Commander. Visiting West Point is a great way to introduce yourself to the campus and see if it's a good school that you want to thrive in. I visited February of this year and it's really pretty. You should try going. But you have to make an appointment on their website. Also, contact your Regional Commander every once in a while. Tell them you're interested in applying. And ask for tips on how to become a competitive applicant. This way you can get on their radar and they know what you've been from 9th grade to the day that you're ready to apply in your Junior year and they'll know you well and not just as an applicant in their section.

    Ninth, enjoy your high school life and hope for the best! Now, we all know West Point is our dream school. That shouldn't mean that you should be always indoors studying your *** off and always working out and working on your essays. Go outside, grab lunch with your friends and hang out with them. Your brain needs constant refreshers and being with your friends and just having alone time is a great way. Sure, make West Point application process in your top priority list, but you need to have some fun too.

    Just a quick tip: West Point follows the 60-30-10 rule. 60% academics, 30% Leadership, and 10% Athletics. They weigh standardized more heavily than your GPA, so get working on all of those 3 sections! And no rush. You have 3 years to prepare.

    It's a long process. Sometimes you'll see yourself clueless and lost. But I promise you that there'll always be people in this forum ready to help. A lot of supportive people you can contact and although I didn't get accepted yet and I'm not the best candidate, feel free to PM me and I can tell you what I know about West Point and its application process.

    Best of luck!
     
  3. brovol

    brovol Member

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    Great advice Alpha. Only modification I would make is the description of the 60-30-10. The 10% is for CFA, which is a little different than athletics in general. The CFA 10% is solely the CFA score, and does not count any of your high school or other athletic achievements. The athletic achievements, like varsity sports, being a captain of a team, making all conference or all state, falls under the 30% leadership category.

    I would also emphasize that ACT score, and the value of the super-scored system. With the right amount of effort you can really improve your ACT scores. It is a skill you can master to the extent that you get the most out of your substantive understanding of the subject. The more times you take it, with some practice in between, the better your scores will get. Those test scores, in my opinion, are the single most important factor for most applicants, and an area where you can make a lot of ground over the course of a year.
     
  4. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    Two cents from a Navy vet, the same advice (in addition to the smart posts above) I would give anyone considering a service academy and military service as an officer:

    - Read everything on the USMA Admissions page, every link, every pull down menu. Many questions about process are answered there, and when the nomination-application process kicks into high gear in a few years, you will be ready.

    - Figure out what nominating sources you are eligible for. Look at your MOC webpage to see what they say about their SA nomination process. You may find a sample resume that could serve as a handy template. Again, never too early to gain understanding on this key part of the process. You might even want to go sit in on one of their SA info nights, soak up what you can.

    - Study up on what Army officer career fields would be available to you for your 5 years of obligated service. I know USMA looms as THE goal from your perspective right now, but it is, in one sense, simply a 4-year way station enroute to active duty service following. You have to know going in there are some Army officer careers that you could see yourself doing.

    - Broaden your perspective and explore the websites of the 4 other Federal service academies and career fields. You may surprise yourself and find other interesting paths to explore. Many start out totally focused on one SA, end up finding their "fit" at another SA and in another service.

    - Explore college ROTC. That is also a fine way to go, and if your overarching goal is to serve as an officer, whether or not you get into USMA, you owe it to yourself to get smart on all the paths.

    It's early days, and you got some excellent practical advice on what to focus on - but invest some time in the "end game" as well, so you feel comfortable with your choice of service. What remains is figuring out the best path for you to get there.

    Browse these forums, especially "Chance Me," keeping in mind this is an unofficial resource. Do not be dismayed by what seem to be "super hero" stats. Many of those don't get in, due to a variety of factors. Use them to give you ideas. Focus on what YOU can bring to the table. That is the only thing you can control.

    And, read the Stickies at the top of each Forum here. The Acronym and Nominations Stickies are especially handy.

    Finally, burn your goal into your brain so that it overrides the bad impulse part of your brain, which might lead you to poor decisions with unintended consequences.
     
  5. brovol

    brovol Member

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    CaptMJ's comments are spot on, based on my son's experiences to three academies and ROTC over the past year or so. Each of the service academies have great information on their web pages, and it is pretty well laid out. AROTC also has a lot of info online, but probably leaves some questions unanswered.

    ROTC is a tremendous option, and was very tough for my son to decline after reviewing the scholarship.

    If someone wants to become an expert at this process, there are plenty of resources available.
     
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  6. LongAgoPlebe

    LongAgoPlebe Member

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    Just a little something to add in what I hope will be reassurance. It's really easy, right now, as a rising 9th grader, to look at what's going to happen in four years and think, "there's no way I can do that." Well, you're right - right now! But you have four years.

    Don't think (only) about a 4.0 throughout your high school years. Think about earning As in your freshman math class. What's it going to take? Doing homework probably every night, right? Doing the hard problems over again. What's it going to take to earn an A in English? Writing and revising an essay once a week (or something like that). Those aren't abstract goals any more - that's a plan. You can follow a plan!

    What will it take to kill the ACT? Well, this one's tougher because you don't know yet. So you have to find that out by taking practice tests. Don't assume your math score will be terrible - you need data. Do a practice test, under testing conditions, and find out where you are. THEN decide what to do. Get an ACT prep book and do some grade-appropriate but hard problems every week. What if you find out your reading/writing scores are low? That one is easier: the single best predictor of how well people do on the ACT is how much they read - biographies, mysteries, literature, histories, science non-fiction, science fiction, fantasy, it doesn't seem to matter what, as long as you read for pleasure and you read a wide variety of stuff. I promise I'm not making that up. It's through reading that you learn vocabulary, and your mind learns the discipline of following a story or an argument.

    Overall point: break these big goals down into small, achievable mile-markers. Ask for help from trusted adults; you are not expected to know what "achievable" looks like in all things yet. That strategy alone will serve you in a highly-selective college like USMA, and will also be a daily activity as an adult.
     
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  7. Rhiwalton

    Rhiwalton Member

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    Thanks alphabumchang I appreciate your reply and I really hope and pray you get in!
     
  8. Rhiwalton

    Rhiwalton Member

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    Thank you brovol
     
  9. Rhiwalton

    Rhiwalton Member

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    Thank you longagoplebe I appreciate it!
     
  10. Rhiwalton

    Rhiwalton Member

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    - AlphaBumchang

    I have looked in to contacting a field force rep but i don't know if I should I don't really know what a regional commander is, I thought they were the same thing but I don't really know, but there are no FFR in my area so I don't know what to do to get a head start, I have already mailed my representative about how in the upcoming years I would greatly appreciate a nomination and my history teacher helped with that a now retired lieutenant colonel. I have done everything I can think of to do for being an upcoming freshman.
     
  11. brovol

    brovol Member

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    A Regional Commander is different than a field Force representative. The Field Force representative is kind of a liaison between the school and the applicant. The regional Commander is the person who is in charge of a particular geographical area of the United States, and all of the applicants in that area in terms of the application process. RC is just short of the highest rung on the ladder in admissions at west point.

    FFRs are essentially volunteers who help in the process locally.
     
  12. mike6

    mike6 Member

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    Going into my SAT (post-March, so out of 1600) I felt very anxious, like I was going to do poorly.

    Then I forgot to answer the free response math questions. I went back and reviewed all my multiple choice, not even realizing I had more questions.

    At this point I was thinking it couldn't really get any worse.. During the break all I could think was "how am I going to explain this low score without making excuses"

    Then a couple months later my score came back, I had gotten a 1330 - which was a lot better than I expected.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is - don't give up on yourself!! Trust that you know the material and put your best foot forward. You are still young, and have a couple years to learn and practice. You can take the test multiple times, and super-scoring works to your advantage.

    Good luck and don't give up!
     
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  13. buff81

    buff81 Moderator

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    I am a FFR and can locate who the closest FFR is to you. All I need is your State and your Congressional District. Send me a PM with this information and I will look it up for you.
     
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  14. brovol

    brovol Member

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    Very nice. The West Point people are the best . We are learning this more every day.
     
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