West Point Campus Visit

Discussion in 'Military Academy - USMA' started by The Commissioner, Mar 27, 2007.

  1. The Commissioner

    The Commissioner Retired Staff Member Founding Member

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    My son and I visited the West Point campus today. What follows is an overview of the tour:

    Parents and candidates assembled at 0815 in Building 606 which houses the admissions office among other things. We were directed to the Class of 56 room where we sat in front of a large monitor showing USMA videos. Candidates were asked to fill out paperwork about themselves. Not sure why because it seemed all the information requested had already been submitted in the application process.

    The first presentation was given by a Captain in the admissions office. He is a USMA grad, class of 2002, and his talk mixed personal stories with what it takes to get in and succeed at the academy. Most of the candidates in our group today are high school seniors with appointments already so the part about getting in was redundant. During his talk, plebes started showing up to meet their designated candidate. Some of the candidates, like my son, were there just for the day. Others were doing the overnight visits.

    When all the candidates had left, a third-year cadet from Seattle came in to talk with the parents and he was promptly bombarded with questions. I felt sorry for him because he was fielding lots of inquiries from what I felt are 'over-protective' Moms. So much of the discussion kept coming back to "when can my plebe call home?" to "how bad is the hazing?" to "what can I put in the care package I send my son?" Unfortunately the questions dug into our tour time and we parents didn't get the tour I was expecting. This bad luck was especially perturbing because most of the information sought is available online or in publications. It just takes an intellectually curious person to find out.

    The cadet did say, of all the things he's seen and read about the West Point experience, that the book Absolutely American is "absolutely accurate." He was really down on the National Geographic video Surviving West Point because he knew for a fact that scenes were played just for the camera.

    Our tour guide was a well-spoken second-year cadet who, like the 'cow' before him, got waylaid by the over-protective Moms. The best part of the tour for me was arrival at the gift shop in Thayer Hall where the Moms went shopping and I stood outside a classroom door watching and listening to a Military Arts class being taught. Yes, West Point does have the small class sizes they claim. What was odd is the instructor for that particular section was wearing a U.S. Navy uniform. That seemed really out of place.

    My son's tour went better. The cadet he shadowed originally enlisted in the Army, served in Iraq, graduated from USMAPS, and is now a plebe. The one class he observed was boxing class and the instructor invited the candidates to participate if they wanted. The only thing holding my son back, he said, was that he had no undershirt on and boxers needed to wear a shirt. He saw one kid get popped in the nose and his shirt was sporting the blood stains of defeat.

    Lunch was lasagne and garlic bread and cost $5. The firsties (seniors) at the lunch table advised my son to go to a civilian college where he'd have more fun. The parents were warned those kinds of comments would be prevalent during the candidate tours.

    One thing I noticed was what appeared, to me, to be a disproportionate number of injured cadets. There seemed to be quite a few on crutches, or arms in a sling, or in walking foot casts. I know that everyone is an athlete there but at times it felt like more of a rehab ward than an academy.

    I think a candidate will get a much better taste of the academy experience if they do the overnight visit.

    Tomorrow we visit USMAPS at Ft. Monmouth, NJ.
     
  2. sealion

    sealion Member

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    Thanks for the valuable insight regarding your WP visit. My newly minted Eagle is interested in USMA as well as USMMA and USNA. I will refrain from being an overprotective mom if we get that far. Thankfully, I confronted my 'hazing' fears for my sons a few years ago.
     
  3. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    Thanks for the report - we are going up next week for the same visit.

    Did you get to the visitor center? When we went last summer my mapquest directions took us directly to the back gate - haha. that was a little embarrassing to tell the guard - Gee this doesn't look like the visitor's center!
    The cool thing was our journey around took us past Camp Buckner - very cool. That is if you like crawling on your belly in the dirt with face paint and an M-16.

    Can't wait to hear about USMAPS.
     
  4. USNA69

    USNA69 Banned

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    Army-Mud, dirt, MREs, sleeping in a foxhole.

    Navy-Three hot meals a day, sliders for midrats, hot showers, clean sheets, and really cool toys to play with.

    The mind boggles.
     
  5. Zaphod

    Zaphod Founding Member

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    LOL!

    WAVE OFF! WAVE OFF! WRONG FORUM!

    :yllol: :yllol:
     
  6. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    Z - you have my permission to move/delete or blow up his post. :smile:

    :tank:
     
  7. WAMom68

    WAMom68 Founding Member

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    My experience visiting West Point last year was similar to the Commissioner’s. I think they make all visiting candidates fill out the questionnaire just in case they hadn’t opened a file yet. The day I was there some visitors were freshman and sophomores in high school just coming for a day visit to see if they really were interested in pursuing admission.

    Luckily we had a small group of parents and so there where less over-protective Mom’s to listen too. Our Firstie that came in to answer questions was very nice and gave us the usual “there are no dumb questions” spiel. I would have loved to be able to hear his real thoughts about some of the questions! :rolleyes:

    Note to parents of prospective candidates – EDUCATE YOURSELVES. Read everything you can about the academy (especially the USMA website) and go to informational meetings with your son or daughter. That way you are less likely to embarrass your kid with stupid questions.

    If you get the chance to do the overnight, go for it. My son only got to do the day visit which is really just through lunch. I think an overnight would give a much better idea of cadet life.
     
  8. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    At West Point the overnight visit is for candidtes who have been give an LOA or offered admission. Don't know if there are any exceptions to this rule.
    Our itinerary suggest a time (at the end) for high school seniors or college student with open files to meet with an admissions rep. Commissioner - did you have time for this?
     
  9. The Commissioner

    The Commissioner Retired Staff Member Founding Member

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    I had my son ask at the reception desk for an opportunity to meet his admissions officer, even if just a for a minute to put a face with a name, and was told he was "in meetings all day," i.e., a blow-off.
     
  10. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    Oh Darn. Did you visit on Tuesday? I think the admissions board meets on Tuesdays.

    Tell us about USMAPS - what does he think?
     
  11. The Commissioner

    The Commissioner Retired Staff Member Founding Member

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    Yes, Tuesday visit. Stay tuned for the USMAPS report. That will be posted in its own thread.
     
  12. wpmom2011

    wpmom2011 Member

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    Just a Mom: Which day are you going?

    Just_A_Mom:

    "Thanks for the report - we are going up next week for the same visit."

    My daughter and I will be there next Tuesday, April 3. She's doing an overnight.
    Which day are you going?
     
  13. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    We are going Friday April 6th, for a day visit. If you have never been there, go to the Visitor's center and take the bus tour. I hope the weather is great for your trip!
     
  14. nosmileysforme

    nosmileysforme Member

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    The bus tour will only give you the outsiders view. Better yet bring a comfortable pair of walking shoes and walk around the campus (yeah, it's a bit hilly). Say hello to the cadets passing by (they're the best looking bunch of kids you'll see anywere), visit the library (don't forget to rub Lincolns head), take a peek into Washington hall and watch the 4,000 or so cadets assemble there for lunch to the sound of fife and drums, eat at the Officers Club perched on a ledge overlooking the Hudson, and have a look into the classrooms to see how small the class sizes are and how the cadets and teachers interact. It's an amazing experience and one you'll never forget.
     
  15. Zaphod

    Zaphod Founding Member

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    I'm going to do all that......




    While wearing a Navy shirt. :shake:
     
  16. jamzmom

    jamzmom Founding Member

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    Better wear your underamor under that t-shirt. Can't have you sweating making those nasty rashes while you're trying to do a 5 minute mile back to the car (if need be). :shake:

    We want the full report JAM when you return!
     
  17. Antoinette

    Antoinette Founding Member

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    West Point Museum

    I thought I would bump this thread for fun....The Commissioner, Just_A_Mom, and others may enjoy reminiscing :wink:....candidates are probably thinking about academy visits....and because there is one more stop all West Point visitors will enjoy: The West Point Museum.

    This is a good article about the museum. Be sure to click on the online pictures link and watch the video.

    http://lohud.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080801/NEWS03/808010356/-1/SPORTS
     
  18. wpmom2011

    wpmom2011 Member

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    I highly recommend the overnight orientation if possible.

    My daughter did the overnight orientation and was able to sit in on (and was "invited" to participate in) all but one of her plebe's classes, go to the gym to workout, be in the mess hall for 4 meals, and be rousted at 5 am for a contraband search. She truly got a good look at what she was getting into.
     
  19. usma 2013 hopeful

    usma 2013 hopeful Prospective

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    go army!sinknavy!!!!!!!!!!
     
  20. swimmerguy09

    swimmerguy09 Member

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    What do you wear for the overnight visit? I'm planning on wearing a button up shirt and slacks. Is a jacket and tie also necessary?
     

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