Visit to USMA Prep School

Discussion in 'Military Academy - USMA' started by The Commissioner, Mar 29, 2007.

  1. The Commissioner

    The Commissioner Retired Staff Member Founding Member

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    My son and I visited the United States Military Academy Prepatory School at Ft. Monmouth, New Jersey yesterday. What follows is a summary of the visit:

    The day started off with an embarrassment because of being late due to trying to gain admittance to the post through the wrong gates. Finally, at the third gate, we met a Sgt. First Class from the school who shepherded us through the security check.

    We were on the post from 0830 to 1230. I've been on campus visits before with my oldest son and this visit to USMAPS was, pound for pound, by far the best one of all. We were the only people visiting that morning and we were treated like royalty. Everyone we met from the Commandant on down to several of the cadet candidates were gracious hosts, and extraordinarily informative. I came away with a much better understanding of what goes on there and a very positive impression of the school.

    Our first stop at the collection of buildings that comprise the school was the headquarters building and we were ushered into a nicely appointed conference room where we were met by the school's operations officer: a female Major dressed in black sweat pants and sweat shirt. A male Major in the normal office uniform joined us.

    The operations officer showed us the obligatory PowerPoint presentation about the school and she added a lot of information not on the slides. It was all professionally done. There were only four of us in the room so the atmosphere was conducive to discussion. One of the interesting tidbits revealed to us dealt with why a few cadet candidates will fail the school for physical reasons. She never said anyone cheated, but the implied message is that not everyone takes the CFA the same way and that's discovered when they get to USMAPS.

    Bottom line to the prep school and the way they measure their performance is by how many cadet candidates become part of next year's USMA class. My numbers may be off a little here but they are sending about 86% of the prep class to West Point. Of those 86%, roughly 78% graduate from USMA which is lower than the Academy's overall graduation rate. The difference is attributable to a lack of chemistry and physics classes in high school and an overall less demanding math background. The prep school does not offer chemistry or physics instruction. That may change in the future.

    USMAPS is a very small facility. There are only four buildings plus the athletic facilities. A small HQ building, two barracks buildings, and an academic building. The three large buildings are connected by enclosed corridors which is nice in the winter. A small cafeteria or 'DFAC' is in one of the barracks.

    Each of the three companies of cadet candidates has their own recreation room equipped with pool tables, ping pong table, big screen television, etc. Individual living quarters are very nice compared to most dormitory arrangements. Some rooms have their own bathroom, others a bathroom for two rooms. Cadet candidates' rooms definitely take a step down when they move up to West Point. The SFC taking me on my tour was very serious when talking about the rules against male and female cadet candidates ('cc') getting intimate.

    Classrooms are small because classes are small. The instructors and other staff members I met were uniformly friendly and interested in my son. I could tell by watching the interaction between staff and students that it's like a big family has formed by this time in the school year.

    One of the great advantages to USMAPS over the AOG scholarship schools is how closely tied USMAPS is to West Point. There is a lot of communication going on between the two organizations. Reminders of West Point such as photos on the walls are everywhere.

    A message that kept coming though during our time there was every cc who truly wants to go to West Point will go to West Point. CC's are absolutely the masters of their own destiny and the staff will do whatever it takes to help the cc achieve his/her goal. All the cc has to do is comply with conduct regulations, stay physically fit, and pass their courses.

    USMAPS is a nicer facility than I imagined and it offers an outstanding opportunity for admission and survival at West Point for the candidate who has a math or english (writing) deficiency. An offer of admission there is nothing to look down at.
     
  2. bossf51

    bossf51 Parent

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    Very nice report commissh.

    Questions:I had heard a while back that USMAPS was going to be relocated to the West Point campus. Is this still in the works?

    Surprised there is no physics or chemistry on the curriculum. These two are major bugaboos for even direct admits to the academies. I know they are part of the NAPS curriculum.

    There is no shame in being admitted through one of the preps. I think these kids have a big advantage once they get to the academies.
     
  3. The Commissioner

    The Commissioner Retired Staff Member Founding Member

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    Yes, Ft. Monmouth is a 'casualty' of the latest BRAC round and will be closing in five years or so. The Prep School will be moved to West Point. Not sure exactly where on the post.

    Speaking of an advantage: the Commandant told us that the West Point class officers are usually always prep school grads. He said the prepsters vote as a bloc and 'take care of their own.' :smile:
     
  4. momoftwins

    momoftwins Founding Member

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    commissioner,

    This would be a great addition to the "College Visits" section of that other college discussion forum. Thanks for the info.
     

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