Applying to USMA after a year of college?


New Member
Mar 14, 2017
Hi, I'm a college freshman currently on leave from a US university and taking courses at a local school.

Sophomore year of high school I was extremely interested in pursuing candidacy at USMA, only to have a series of hamstring injuries derail those plans. I spent a few months rehabbing my leg and fully recovered, but come senior year I took a non-service academy route.

I strongly disliked my first quarter in college; my school has an overbearing Greek culture and the campus environment is visibly polarized between the super-wealthy and those who are less well off. A combination of financial constraints and minor health issues (I'm long since recovered) prompted me to go on leave for the remainder of the year.

At this point, I am strongly reconsidering applying to the USMA. I feel that the school would offer me so much more than where I currently am, and I have hoped to go into military or intelligence work for much of my life.

But I'm not sure where to proceed from here--information on applying to the USMA once out of high school seems painfully slim. Is it in my best interest to find an ROTC program to participate in? When should I begin my application process? Does anyone have experiences they'd be willing to share regarding applying to the USMA after a year of college?

I'd appreciate any and all input and advice.
OK dacinman...little out of my comfort zone being here on the USMA page but let's see if we can get you a little help with your questions.

I'm going to direct your attention the USNA page, take a look at the very top where the sticky's are and the first one is "Reapplying to USNA" (after turndown). It's certainly not an apples to apples comparison to your situation as it's mostly directed those not appointed this time around but it has a lot of great information for those that will be going to college and plan on being re applicants and what they should be doing (in your case, going to college and what you should have been doing) as well as (N) ROTC options etc.

The processes, requirements, etc. are virtually the same for both SA's and you should be able to glean enough solid information from what's been presented to give you an idea of what you need to do going forward. I hope it helps.

Finally, and what strikes me most in your post, is you taking leave for the balance of the school year. That will take some explaining so be well prepared for that but I'm getting ahead of myself. You now have the time to plan your summer and the fall semester so you can position yourself as a competitive candidate.

Do the homework first and the come back here and ask as many unanswered questions that you have. Folks that are here want to help (even the USMA folks....lame attempt at humor).

We wish you the best!
You need to have a successful year in college first---mimic a plebe schedule with calculus, chemistry, etc., and do well in them. You will need to get to know your professors as well because West Point wants to see recommendations from your college English, physics or chemistry, and math instructors. There is also a required recommendation from a PE teacher. West Point is very difficult so you need to show Admissions that you are capable of the level of work that will face you.

Use the Forum search engine and hunt for "reapply" because most of those involve kids who are currently in college or who will be. Read everything on the USMA Admissions webpage and the stickies at the top of the USMA forum page.

Go to this webpage: catalog.aspx Click on RedBook GY 2018 and go to page 14. Look at "Fourth Class"---that is a plebe year schedule and that's how you need to structure your college classes in order to catch West Point's eye.
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There is not necessarily a one size fits all answer here but the sticky on the Navy page provides some good insight. The first thing you need to do is understand what would be the strengths and weaknesses of your application. If you had a successful high school career and good test scores, then you just need to keep doing what you have always done. You need to do well in challenging classes. I do not necessarily agree that you have to mimic a plebe schedule if that doesn't work for you but your schedule needs to be challenging and most likely some type of STEM major. My DD is a re-applicant who received an appointment this year. She did not take English, History or Calculus as she tested out of these classes. She did replace them with a Biology class, an additional chemistry class, three labs and ROTC because that is what worked for her schedule. She also was an athlete that played a club sport as well as a DIV I sport and got involved in a service organization.

If you did not have the strongest high school performance, you will need to look at ways to improve your test scores and take the basic classes that plebes take in their first year. You will have have to find time to participate in other extracurricular activities to increase your scoring in that area. You will have to retake the CFA and do well. Your college transcripts need to show that you can handle the academic rigors of the academy.

You should find an ROTC program if your goals include serving as an Officer in the armed forces. Please remember that the purpose of the academy and ROTC is to produce officers to lead our soldiers. That needs to be the primary reasons you want to go to West Point or be in ROTC. Doing well in ROTC can lead to an additional nomination source as well. ROTC cadets are eligible for a service connected nomination.

As my Navy friend pointed out, leaving school will be something you have to justify, but you do have time to develop a plan. The academy wants well rounded individuals who do well in most things. Do an honest self-evaluation of your accomplishments so far in your life, decide where you see yourself in 5 -10 years, and make a plan to get there.