Am I a competitive candidate/ what else should i do?

Jd1221

Member
Hello everyone. I know you can't really give me a real chance or anything, but I must admit I am very nervous so I need to ask. Heres the rundown:
Junior in HS
SAT- Taking in November, December, and 2018, probably will get 1400++
Do I need to take the ACT if I take the SAT?
GPA- ~95 Freshman Year (All honors classes), ~93 Sophomore year (all honors/ AP world history, got a 4 on AP test)
This year im taking AP chem, AP US, AP english as well as college precalc and college spanish.
Should I have taken a harder schedule? Not that Im not being challenged, I'm just scared because a lot of people took AP psych because its considered "easy" in my school and it adds weight.
Class rank- Definitely in the 40s, hopefully in the 30s out of about 390. Is this bad? How much does class rank matter to USMA admissions?
Extra curricular: Orchestra in school, chamber orchestra outside of school, Varsity and travel soccer, Varsity fencing (going for captain), varsity track & field, science club VP, Leadership club, Best buddies club, DECA

Of course I will keep trying as hard as possible for grades and SAT, but what do you think of where I am right now in terms of both grades and extra curriculars? What else should I be doing to make myself a competitive candidate?
Thanks in advance for your input.
 

brovol

Member
Class rank counts; GPA doesnt. Top 10% of your class is good. ACT/SAT scores are probably the single most important factor, and Math and English are the key sections. I'm not ever sure how kids say "I will probably get a score of_____". How the heck do you know that? Start taking the exams, and keep taking them. It doesnt matter which test you take; ACT or SAT are assessed equally, and both are super-scored. Becoming a team captain of a varsity team sport is very helpful. Being an officer in the big traditional organizations like student council or NHS, and particularly President or VP, is very helpful. The clubs you listed wont hurt, but "buddies club" wont generate a big expression from anyone I dont think. Look at class profiles, and you will see the things USMA thinks are important enough to list.
 

USMA 1994

Member
You appear to be a competitive candidate but there is no way to know who else you are competing against next year. GPA means little in the process, class rank, the classes you took and school profile are what matter. Keep looking to improve your test scores. I cannot believe that brovol and I agree so much today but your standardized test scores is the easiest way to raise your WCS.

You really only compete against the same people on your nomination slate. You get on nomination from your local MOC, you compete against the other 9 individuals and the highest ranked typically gets the appointment. You get a nomination from your Senator as well, you get to compete for two slots. While not impossible, being pulled from the NWL is difficult for a high school student if you do not have a year of college, are a recruited athlete, or meet some sort of specific diversity target.
 

Jd1221

Member
Class rank counts; GPA doesnt. Top 10% of your class is good. ACT/SAT scores are probably the single most important factor, and Math and English are the key sections. I'm not ever sure how kids say "I will probably get a score of_____". How the heck do you know that? Start taking the exams, and keep taking them. It doesnt matter which test you take; ACT or SAT are assessed equally, and both are super-scored. Becoming a team captain of a varsity team sport is very helpful. Being an officer in the big traditional organizations like student council or NHS, and particularly President or VP, is very helpful. The clubs you listed wont hurt, but "buddies club" wont generate a big expression from anyone I dont think. Look at class profiles, and you will see the things USMA thinks are important enough to list.
To clarifiy, the best buddies club is a club involving a lot of community service where members get a "buddy" which is one of the special ed kids in my school. Also, im basing my SAT scores off of the many practice tests ive taken. Im officially taking it in November though.
 

bopper

Member
I'm not ever sure how kids say "I will probably get a score of_____". How the heck do you know that
If they took the PSAT Sophomore year and got a decent score? But usually they are saying what they want to get, I think.
 

GoArmy2022

USMA 2022
Be careful about estimating your standardized test scores. I had to take the ACT 4 times before I superscored above a 32. Also, make sure you take your tests WITH WRITING, as it is required for the SAs and therefore you will regret it if you don't.

Being a competitive candidate is so much more than GPA and schedule rigor, but if you've done your research, you already know this. I have a very average GPA with a schedule that is challenging for me, but not exactly for students who perform naturally better in the classroom than I do, and I received an LOA from USMA. Why?

Well, consider this:

Candidates who have the true desire to go to West Point and have the potential to do so will, even if they have to re-apply. Work hard. If your test scores are not "high enough," take the tests again. Train for your CFA 6 days a week. Be an active leader in your community. Keeping your grades up should not be your biggest concern right now, though you should be using the time management skills that West Point wants you to have to set aside a couple of hours for studying and homework each night.

You should take your CFA in August and request SOEs from your Physics/Chem, PE, math, and English teachers at the end of your junior year so that they know what to expect in the middle of the summer and can fill them out quickly. It's going to be important to complete as much of your candidate kit as you can AS SOON AS IT OPENS so that you can be reviewed by admissions early.

You're a junior, you said? Great! Now is the time to check out Boys/Girls State and SLE (Summer Leaders Experience). Sometime in January, the portal for West Point's SLE opens. Go to the USMA website to learn more about that. As for Boys/Girls State, search "____ State," followed by your state into Google. An example: "Boys State Wyoming." Your program should pop up and the website will lend you some information about how to apply. Boys/Girls State boosts your file's leadership score while SLE does not. If they occur at the same date, ATTEND BOYS/GIRLS STATE!

Good luck, and go Army!
 

tiger8

Member
I was wondering the same thing.
I am a senior.
I scored a 1330 on the SAT and a 29 on the ACT
I am the Student Body President, was the class president for three years.
NHS President
4 time letter in baseball, 3 time letter in football and one year team captain, 1 letter in track, and 2 years playing basketball.
Boys State Delegate and 2nd in the governor race
5th in my class and 4.19 GPA.
5 years of math, 4 sciences, 3 semesters of college English, and 3 semesters of college Social Studies (2 Us History and government)
I live in East Texas
Also I received an LOE this past week.
Am I competitive and is there anything that I can do to make myself more competitive?
 

Jd1221

Member
Be careful about estimating your standardized test scores. I had to take the ACT 4 times before I superscored above a 32. Also, make sure you take your tests WITH WRITING, as it is required for the SAs and therefore you will regret it if you don't.

Being a competitive candidate is so much more than GPA and schedule rigor, but if you've done your research, you already know this. I have a very average GPA with a schedule that is challenging for me, but not exactly for students who perform naturally better in the classroom than I do, and I received an LOA from USMA. Why?

Well, consider this:

Candidates who have the true desire to go to West Point and have the potential to do so will, even if they have to re-apply. Work hard. If your test scores are not "high enough," take the tests again. Train for your CFA 6 days a week. Be an active leader in your community. Keeping your grades up should not be your biggest concern right now, though you should be using the time management skills that West Point wants you to have to set aside a couple of hours for studying and homework each night.

You should take your CFA in August and request SOEs from your Physics/Chem, PE, math, and English teachers at the end of your junior year so that they know what to expect in the middle of the summer and can fill them out quickly. It's going to be important to complete as much of your candidate kit as you can AS SOON AS IT OPENS so that you can be reviewed by admissions early.

You're a junior, you said? Great! Now is the time to check out Boys/Girls State and SLE (Summer Leaders Experience). Sometime in January, the portal for West Point's SLE opens. Go to the USMA website to learn more about that. As for Boys/Girls State, search "____ State," followed by your state into Google. An example: "Boys State Wyoming." Your program should pop up and the website will lend you some information about how to apply. Boys/Girls State boosts your file's leadership score while SLE does not. If they occur at the same date, ATTEND BOYS/GIRLS STATE!

Good luck, and go Army!
Thanks for the reply. Do the SOEs have to be done by current (junior year) teachers or can they be done by former high school teachers?
 

GoArmy2022

USMA 2022
I was wondering the same thing.
I am a senior.
I scored a 1330 on the SAT and a 29 on the ACT
I am the Student Body President, was the class president for three years.
NHS President
4 time letter in baseball, 3 time letter in football and one year team captain, 1 letter in track, and 2 years playing basketball.
Boys State Delegate and 2nd in the governor race
5th in my class and 4.19 GPA.
5 years of math, 4 sciences, 3 semesters of college English, and 3 semesters of college Social Studies (2 Us History and government)
I live in East Texas
Also I received an LOE this past week.
Am I competitive and is there anything that I can do to make myself more competitive?
@tiger8,

Your involvement in sports is impressive. The SAs want strong kids who have many leadership positions in sports (at least one captain position and varsity letter with a combination of strength-building and cardio sports, specifically). The fact that you attended Boys State suggests that you've done your homework, too. You want West Point. Good. Here's what you can do to increase USMA's interest in you:

1. VISIT WEST POINT. You have obtained an LOE, which means that you likely fit into the "competitive" or even "very competitive" candidate category. Take advantage of your opportunity and attend an overnight visit. This will assist you in deciding whether or not West Point is for you. Before I received my LOA, I was an LOE candidate, too. During my overnight visit, I discovered that I fit into West Point incredibly well--this could be you, or you could take home an alternate perception of USMA, deciding that you'd rather do ROTC or abandon the idea of a military career altogether. Make sure you ask questions during your visit. You'd be surprised with how helpful the Plebes are with the admissions process. REMEMBER, THEY WERE CADET CANDIDATES ONCE, JUST LIKE YOU AND I.

2. FOCUS MORE ON YOUR PHYSICAL FITNESS. Based on your grades and class rank (not to mention the NHS President), I can infer that your LOE was likely awarded on an academic basis. If you have not passed your CFA, WORK ON THIS ASAP. Practice 6 times a week! West Point's website offers some help with the CFA. Make sure you watch the video instructions before taking it. PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!!! So many otherwise qualified candidates fall off the admissions chart physically each year... Your grades and class rank are awesome, but don't make them your first priority! Lift weights, practice SPECIFICALLY push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups, and running. If you're done with the CFA and you know your score is passing, that's 1Q down, but now you have to start preparing for CBT... One foot after the other, but still getting an honorable head start, tiger8... that is the military way.

3. RE-TAKE THE COLLEGE ENTRANCE EXAMS. Seriously. 29 is good (26 is where competitiveness begins), but you want above a 30. I took the ACT 4 times before I superscored above a 32. After submission of my most recent test scores, I obtained my LOA. Even one point higher helps. You CANNOT LOSE by taking it again! In fact, that one ACT point could be the difference between an offer or no offer... You can send scores until the deadline in February, so get it done. If you can't afford it, apply through your school for a cost waiver. STUDY. Order the SAT or ACT books by the Princeton Review; they contain REAL tests. If you have money, hire a tutor. I have a phone number I can give you in a private conversation if you'd like, but he costs $100 for an hour-long session. If you want to take this route, CONSIDER A TUTOR AN INVESTMENT. Not having to pay for college because you hired a fancy tutor really doesn't sound like the worst thing in the world, and I'm glad my parents had this mentality, especially considering that my parents wanted me to go to an Ivy League civilian school (I didn't listen). This is truly a test of your mental determination, but it feels incredible when you're done taking these 4-hour long exams. Don't forget to take the ACT OR SAT WITH WRITING because the SAs require a writing score.

4. BECOME 3Qed. If you are lacking a medical or physical qualification, obtain those immediately. I can already tell you're academically qualified--USMA would not have otherwise sent you an LOE. I provided you advice on the CFA, so I'll briefly feed you some DoDMERB information. If you're medically qualified, fantastic! Medical + Physical + Academic = 3Q. If you were DQed by DoDMERB, DO NOT PANIC (YET). Find out what your problem is and do some research. Send DoDMERB paperwork regarding your situation that is tailored to the guidelines. For example, if you are DQed for vision that's worse than 20/20 and it is, in fact, correctable to 20/20, have your doctor send them a little note that your vision is correctable. This might get rid of your DQ (I'm not a doctor. In fact, I'm not even an adult, so understand that I do not fully understand DoDMERB guidelines). Since you're an LOE candidate, if you need a waiver, USMA will almost surely request one on your behalf. If you think you may have a problem, take care of it ahead of time. Time is your friend if you use it wisely, and you need to lure it to your side if you want good fortune in your SA applications. Even if your waiver is denied, the Supe can override that and grant you one (though I'm not sure how common that is).

5. GET A NOMINATION. I hope you applied to your nominating sources. There are a ton of kids (I won't even call them candidates) who do not fully understand the admission process and apply to the SA, completely forgetting the MOCs. If you are awarded an interview from an MOC board, conduct a practice interview before attending. Candidates feel significantly more confident and perform better the second time they are interviewed than the first. Be genuine--the board can detect falseness better than you'd believe.

6. STAY QUALIFIED. After you get your 3Q and your nom, stay qualified. Don't lose your physical abilities and keep your grades up. West Point asks for all 8 semesters of high school, and if you're a college student, they'll want those, too. Obviously, don't get arrested for a felony. Camo doesn't look good over orange--they won't give a potential criminal an appointment to a school that will produce military leaders.

7. BREATHE AND REMAIN FOCUSED. The application process is long and difficult! Breathe a little and balance work with play. Stay happy, on task, and remember what you need to do. Your objective is an appointment to the United States Military Academy, and don't you dare forget it. The fact that you're here asking about your competitiveness suggests that you really want this. Don't lose that alacrity or you'll regret it.

And remember,

Go Army, beat Navy!
 

GoArmy2022

USMA 2022
Thanks for the reply. Do the SOEs have to be done by current (junior year) teachers or can they be done by former high school teachers?
The USMA portal SUPPOSEDLY opens on July 1. The reason I said "supposedly" is because for the past 2 years, the portal has actually opened in early August. The answer for when they "have to be done" is the application deadline, but don't be that candidate, because most of the time, that candidate doesn't even care about his/her application... EARLY IS A SIGN OF MOTIVATION, ALWAYS. USMA will provide you with a place to record the emails of the instructors that are filling out your SOEs. Request SOEs from these teachers at the end of your Junior year (I have already specified the teachers that West Point wants you to ask) and record their emails somewhere you will remember to look for them when the time comes. Log these emails in your candidate kit the first day it opens. DON'T HESITATE, as you never know when your teachers will actually get them done. One of mine took half a month. This will occur during the summer before your senior year.
 
Last edited:
Thanks for the reply. Do the SOEs have to be done by current (junior year) teachers or can they be done by former high school teachers?
The USMA portal SUPPOSEDLY opens on July 1. The reason I said "supposedly" is because for the past 2 years, the portal has actually opened in early August. The answer for when they "have to be done" is the application deadline, but don't be that candidate, because most of the time, that candidate doesn't even care about his/her application... EARLY IS A SIGN OF MOTIVATION, ALWAYS. USMA will provide you with a place to record the emails of the instructors that are filling out your SOEs. Request SOEs from these teachers at the end of your Junior year (I have already specified the teachers that West Point wants you to ask) and record their emails somewhere you will remember to look for them when the time comes. Log these emails in your candidate kit the first day it opens. DON'T HESITATE, as you never know when your teachers will actually get them done. One of mine took half a month. This will occur during the summer before your senior year.
Are you a current cadet or candidate?
 

GoArmy2022

USMA 2022
I am a current applicant with a 3Q and an LOA who went through the waiver process and have had an overnight visit--I did not go to SLE. Chose Boys/Girls State instead. I hope to find out if I was nominated by a senator (the interview was about half a month ago) in two weeks. So I can't legally get my offer yet due to current lack of a nom (I don't qualify for anything except for the regular 4). This is my first time applying. My success in the application process came from hard work (of course) and the same research that you guys are doing. As much as I know, there is still much that I don't. However, I hope that you heed my words. The SA application process is long and excruciating, and I wish someone had helped me along, but I was left do to the process on my own--this is what inspired me to make an account on the SA forums and help my fellow candidates--hoping to see you two CCs in the class of 2022 and 2023!
 
Last edited:
Top