A Lot of Admissions Information

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10-Year Member
Oct 31, 2008
Application Timeline: http://www.usma.edu/admissions/Shared Documents/Admissions Timeline.pdf

- a nomination is the legal authority to consider a candidate for admission
- there is a whole forum on nominations that is an excellent source of information, so I won't go into detail here
- apply to ALL ALL ALL ALL !!! nominations that you are qualified for. ALL!!! Every single one!!!!
- there are two types of nominations: Congressional and Service Connected
- everyone is qualified for at least 4 nominations: the 2 Senators from your state, your District's U.S. Representative and the Vice-President
- the least competitive MOC nomination is usually from your District Representative
- if you are qualified for a Presidential nomination, apply for that as early as you can and then complete your file ASAP. If fully qualified, you have the possibility of receiving an appointment BEFORE the MOC deadlines.
- each MOC has 5 cadetships at WP and can submit a slate of 10 names to fill each vacant cadetship. That means that some years a MOC will be able to submit 2 slates of 10 names thereby nominating 20 candidates.
- the VP also has 5 cadetships at WP. Each VP vacant slot will be filled with a candidate chosen by WP from those that have applied for the VP nomination.
- make sure you keep up with your MOC's deadlines for the nomination application
- if you are on a MOC's slate of 10, then you have a nomination
- getting a MOC nomination does not necessarily mean you are qualified

Reader's Digest version of the 3 ways that a MOC can nominate candidates:
1) Principal with Numbered Alternates:
- Candidates are listed in order of preference with a Principal nominee and then alternates numbered 1-9.
- the Principal is offered admission IF fully qualified
- if Principal is disqualified, then the 1st alternate is evaluated and offered the appointment if found qualified and so on down the list until the highest numbered alternate who is qualified is offered admission.
2) Principal with Competing Alternates:
- principal is listed with alternates 1-9 not numbered.
- the Principal is offered admission IF fully qualified
- if Principal is disqualified then the next fully qualified alternate with the highest WCS (Whole Candidate Score) is offered admission
3) Competitive:
- ten unranked names are submitted
- WP then rank orders those names according to the WCS
- the candidate who is fully qualified with the highest WCS is offered admission
- this is the most common method MOCs use

GPA v Class Rank:
- class rank is weighted heavier than GPA
- if your school doesn't rank, WP will take your ACT/SAT scores, compare them to the National scores to get an idea on how you stack up next to your peers
- even if your school says they don't rank, sometimes they will give WP a rank

By your MALO/FFR:
- Dress nicely. Like it or not, the interviewer will take note. You need not wear a tie, but a young man should know that a collared shirt speaks volumes. Young ladies, well...perhaps I'm dating myself here...whatever finery you wear, make sure it's pleasantly conservative. Plunging necklines and academy interviews do not mix.
- Be early. 5 minutes early is on-time. Don't cut it close and be two minutes late, or even 30 seconds late. Especially if an officer is interviewing you.
- We know you're nervous. Relax as much as you can, but don't think that being nervous will turn the interviewer against you in any way. Nerves tell us that you take this seriously.
- Firm handshake. That's for young ladies and young men.
- Smile. Be happy. As I tell my interviewees, my job is NOT to root out the reasons why Candidate X should not get in. It's to make sure the board has a nice, well-rounded idea of who the person behind the packet is.
- Write your questions down. I can't count how many times I tell the candidate he/she can ask me questions about USMA and their nerves make them forget the questions they had in their head. We know you're nervous. Write them down.
- Honesty, honesty, honesty. If you want to go to USAFA or USNA really badly, don't tell us USMA is number one. Be honest. It's your life, and we want to help you get to the right place.

Lastly...the interviewer is there to help. Always. This is a volunteer gig that takes time away from our lives. If we didn't want to help you, we wouldn't be doing it!
Posted by: Scoutpilot

By your MOC:
A smart applicant will talk to the particular congressional offices first:
-When and where is the interview?
-What is the interview room like (very small; mid-size; large) anything that's unique about the room or furniture that you should know about?
-How many folks are on the panel that will interview me?
-Does your office have any general interview guidelines that pertain to that specific congressional panel?
-Is there anything else I should know about the interview to set myself up for success? To which, dress for success. If you do not know what that means, ask your parents and/or the staffer that is setting up your interview.
-Know why you wish to attend a service academy. Don't give them the answers you think they want to hear. They'll see through that immediately. Therefore, think long and hard about it in the days and weeks preceding the interview.
-Look each questioner directly in the eye when responding to them. Respond in a voice that all in the room will hear your answer.
Posted by: MullenLE

I'm a Freshman/Sophomore and I want to go West Point:
- make sure that West Point/Army is what you want. Learn all you can about West Point and the Army
- do this by reading books, watching videos, youtube and series/movies about West Point
- talk to grads and your MALO/FFR

After that:
- go to http://admissions.usma.edu/. Devour this site. Click on the 'Start Young' tab to the left. You can sign up to be on the mailing list off of this page.
- make a day visit to West Point. Go to: http://admissions.usma.edu/ and follow instructions to schedule a day visit.
- prepare yourself for the PSAT. If you do well enough - West Point will start contacting you via snail mail.
- keep your grades up. Class rank is important!
- here is the profile of the Class of 2016: http://www.usma.edu/classes/SiteAssets/SitePages/2016/Profile2016.pdf. It will give you a good idea of the scores of that class and what you need to be aiming for. IOW - these are the stats of those that West Point accepted for 2016.
- take the hardest classes you can take and make an A or B in
- make sure that in High School, you take 4 years of math (including Trig and Pre-Cal), 4 years of English, 4 years of science (including 2 years of lab science), 1 year of US history, 2 years of foreign language. Geography, economics, government and a basic computing class are recommended as well.
- you will need recommendations from your math, English and chemistry or physics teachers, so get to know these teachers !
- excel in your sport(s). Strive towards being Captain of team sports. Contact team sports are rated higher than individual sports.
- stay involved in extracurriculars
- don't join every club in your school because you think it will look good on your application. It won't. Find clubs/causes that you enjoy and are passionate about and assume leadership positions in those clubs/causes.
- start working on your resume. Keep an accounting of everything that you have earned or done. When you are a Senior, you may have forgetten about an award you got or an activity that you were involved with while in the 9th grade.
- call your Representative's office and find out when they are having their All-Academy Day. This is a very informational meeting where all of the academies will have representatives for you to talk to and answer your questions. Usually, the Representative will speak about the nomination process.

If you are a Junior:
All of the above plus-
- plan on taking ACT/SAT at least twice - at the end of your Junior year and the beginning of your Senior year. Study for them with an emphasis on math and English. West Point superscores test scores. IOW - they take the highest score on each segment of the exam each time you take it, so there is no penalty to taking the tests as many times as possible.
- apply to SLE in January of your Junior year. Watch the USMA website for the latest information about exactly when the application will open. Applying to SLS will automatically open a file for you with Admissions.
- make a 'Plan B' on what you will do if not offered admission. Look into AROTC at colleges that you are interested in AND plan on applying to those schools and the AROTC scholarships. A good reference is: www.goarmy.com
- consider applying to Boys/Girls State
- start looking at your Senators' and Representative's web sites. Prepare yourself by determining what is their deadline for the nomination and what kind of information they require on the application.
- you can open a file on-line in January of your Junior year
- breathe! The application process is a long one.

The Process:
- open a file - by either on-line candidate questionnaire, athletic candidate questionnaire or SLE application
- initial evaluation is made by RC once he/she has at a minimum a test score (either PSAT/ACT/SAT) AND class rank
- RC opens SSK (Second Step Kit) via candidate's portal for those who pass this first evaluation. SSK is the on-line application for West Point.
- when the SSK is opened, WP will then request the medical test through DoDMERB for the candidate as well as the CFA.
- if you are NOT found to be a competitive candidate, you will be sent a letter telling you that your file is closed until your file improves. This letter will tell you which areas need improvement. Leaves the door open to re-apply if file improves.
- complete your file ASAP!
- once your file is complete (all icons are green on your candidate portal), it will reviewed for qualification by 3 sets of eyes: your RC, another RC and and a member of the Admissions committee
- when your file has gone through this qualifying process, you will receive a letter telling you of your status
- once the noms come in, fully qualified candidates (academically, medically and physically) with a nom can be offered appointments or placed on the NWL
- fully qualified candidates with a MOC nomination but are not a MOC vacancy winner will go on the NWL
- the Admissions committee meets every Tuesday
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10-Year Member
Oct 31, 2008
Admissions: The Acronyms

SLE - Summer Leaders Experience:
- two 1-week sessions held in the summer
- program consists of: daily morning physical training, academic classes, afternoon sports, a day of military training, CFA test, a West Point tour and social functions. You will be housed in the cadet barracks and meals are in the Cadet Mess.
- only rising Seniors attend
- application opens in January of Junior year
- very competitive
- SLS selection process is an abbreviated version of WP admissions
- participants are selected based on high academics and leadership potential as well as class composition goals ( athletes, minorities, leaders, etc.)
- applying to SLE will automatically open an admissions file
- WP tries to admit 1 candidate from each Congressional District to SLS
- being accepted to SLE does not mean that you will be offered an appointment
- being rejected to SLE does not mean that you will not be offered an appointment

ACT/SAT - Standardized Tests:
- will accept either the ACT or SAT. They are weighted the same.
- must take the ACT WITH Writing test
- math SAT is the biggest indicator of success (Graduation) rate at WP. Math score is VERY important!
- risk level: SAT - below 560 on Math or Verbal; ACT - about a 22 composite
- take BOTH tests - you may do better on one than the other
- at a minimum - take both tests twice (at the end of Junior year and again in the Fall of Senior year)
- take tests multiple times
- prep courses can help. March2Success is an on-line free prep course sponsored by the Army (https://www.march2success.com/index.cfm).
- West Point superscores which means they take the best subscore from each test. Therefore, there is no penalty in taking these tests more than once.

LOA - Letter of Assurance:
- definition: a contingent offer of admission
- ensures that an outstanding candidate will be admitted if qualified
- LOAs can be based solely on 6th semester transcript and SAT/ACT scores
- contingent on completing your file (within 45-60 days) + medical qualification (by April 15) + obtaining a Nomination (by January 31) + passing the CFA
- very few candidates receive these
- a LOA letter will have the words, 'letter of assurance' in the body of the letter. You will know if it is a LOA letter.
- LOAs can be used to identify candidates early on that will help WP meet their composition goals (scholors, athletes, minorities, leaders etc).
- the LOA line is adjusted up or down throughout the admissions cycle depending on the progress of the admissions process. The LOA line usually gets higher over time, which is why it is to your advantage to get your file completed as soon as possible.
- getting a LOA is more competitive as time goes on due to more applicants and higher LOA line
- if you receive a LOA, continue to update your file
- an overnight visit is offered to those who have a LOA. It is highly recommended that anyone offered an overnight visit take advantage of it, even if they have participated in a daily visit. The overnight helps the candidate determine if they want to attend USMA.

CFA - Candidate Fitness Assessment:
- purpose is to make sure that the candidate has the ability to complete the rigorous physical and military training at West Point
- there are minimum requirements for each event as well as an overall passing score
- this comprises 10% of your Whole Candidate Score
- practice, practice, practice !
- don't think you can sail through this just because you are a superstar athlete. It is taken in sequential order and is specifically designed to test your strength, endurance, speed, agility and coordination. It tests skills that the normal athlete doesn't routinely do. How many of you regularly do a kneeling basketball throw?
- the test that is failed the most is also the easiest to fix - sit-ups!
- do NOT go over max score. You do not get bonus points for going over the max. All you are doing is tiring your self out. Save the energy for the next test.
- ONLY submit your test if you have at least met the average scores on each event. If you score average on all events, then you will pass.
- if you fail ONE event, you fail the whole test even if you maxed the other five
- failing the CFA = NO appointment
- the maximum and average scores are published. The minimum scores are not.
- CFA scores from USAFA or USNA summer programs are accepted if they meet West Point standards
- RC CAN ask for you to retest.

WCS - Whole Candidate Score:
- scoring system that WP uses to rank order candidates by overall merit
- 60% academic - ACT/SAT scores, transcript, class rank
- 30% leadership - extracurricular activities, athletic participation, teacher appraisals
- 10% physical - CFA test

NWL - National Waiting List:
- Title X of the US Code mandates that WP must admit 150 candidates from the NWL by WCS
- fully qualified (which includes being medically qualified) non-vacancy winners of MOC nominations will go on the NWL
- IOW - if you are on the NWL, then you are fully qualified (scholastically, physically{CFA} and medically{DoDMERB}) AND have a MOC nomination
- about 450 slots of the class will come from the NWL
- the NWL helps WP achieve their class composition goals thereby making sure the class has a balance of athletes, minorities, leaders, scholars, etc.
- continue to update your file (even if you have a LOA). The more points you can add to you WCS, the higher you move up on the NWL. Update your file anytime you receive an award, honor, named Captain of a team, lettered in a sport, improved ACT/SAT scores, leadership activities etc.

TWE - (Thin White Envelope):
When a candidate is mathematically eliminated from the competition, then a TWE is sent. For a demonstration in simplest terms, let's say a candidate can only have one nomination from a MOC. That MOC nominates 10 individuals, and sends a competitive slate.
#1 will get the offer if they become medically qualified.
#2 gets an offer in this case because their WCS is high enough for NWL, but they have not accepted because USAFA is their priority.
#3 is fully qualified and waiting on one or both of the above to decide
#4 and #5 go to the same school. #5 is a recruited athlete with a LOA, so both 4 and 5 get an offer (too easy for #4 to lodge a complaint of why their DS or DD was better and didn't get an offer)
#6, and #7 get QNS because there is no way with all individuals above them with offers accepted and pending that they will fill that vacancy
#8 is DQ'd already because of academics
#9 is coming from USMAPS and will get an offer towards April
#10 didn't even have an application open because they didn't understand the process and West Point gladly closed the file they failed to complete in the month from the time the nomination came in and file deadline.

West Point will hold off on sending a QNS to #3 until they can make the determination who will bring the most to the class...a lot of that revolves around #1 and #2 obviously, but also the rest of the class in comparison to #3. Likely scenario:

April 15th roles around and #1 is not medically Q'd, then that vacancy would go to #2. Even if #2 declines because USAFA came through, #3 may or may not get an offer depending on how the class fill looks at that point in time. If it is full, #4 fills the vacancy, and #3 gets a QNS. If #3 is close to being a NWL candidate or fits a scholar or leadership class composition goal that is lacking, they may get an offer. With three accepted offers already, this district is on the high end of their proportional share of cadets for that class. Depending on the skill of the RC to see how the class fill and composition is shaping up relative to that #3, the RC may not even wait until the resolution of #1 and #2 to send the QNS. It is even more complex with multiple nominations with different candidates on each/multiple slates.

This is the art side behind filling a class that you do not see. If you are 3Q with a nomination and waiting on an offer, this is what is going on behind the scenes. The longer it takes to get your QNS, the closer on the bubble you are to an offer (for NWL, your MOC, or an additional appointee spot if you fit a class composition goal). At this point with almost 800 accepted, and 200 Prepsters still to be offered, most of the spots are filled or pending for this next class as we can safely assume that there are offers out for a significant portion of the remaining 200 spots. Given the number on this forum waiting on a med waiver or another service academy to make a decision on an offer, that number of available spots could quickly diminish in a matter of weeks/days as other TWEs come in and med waivers are approved. It could go the other way as well with med waivers not approved and offers from other service academies leading to declinations.
- Posted by: 845something

- MALO - Military Academy Liaison Officer
- an US Army Reserve Officer who earns points towards retirement for Admissions service

- FFR - Field Force Representative
- a volunteer

West Point has scaled down using MALOs recently because being in 2 wars, Reservists were needed in other roles. So they turned to recruiting volunteers (FFRs) to help with admissions. A force of 400 MALOs has now been reduced to around 60. They are being replaced with FFRs.

Both serve the same role - that is to be the bridge between our district and Admissions at West Point, namely the Regional Commander (RC) for our region.

Our job is to :
- help candidates with the admissions process
- inform and educate candidates about West Point to help them make the best decision for them
- represent West Point at college fairs and Academy Days ( sponsored by MOCs)
- serve as liaisons with schools and school counselors
- interview qualified candidates
- host By-Invites (Admissions Information Meetings)
- help identify potential candidates and
- whatever else we need to do to help Admissions in our district.

How do you find your MALO/FFR?
- contact Admissions
- it's not the candidate's responsibility to find out who their MALO/FFR is. Once you have a file opened (ie through SLS application or on-line application), we will know about you once it is posted to us. If you want to contact us before that time - that is fine.

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