(Early) Advice to Prospective c/o 2024

Discussion in 'Military Academy - USMA' started by prospective2019, Dec 7, 2018.

  1. prospective2019

    prospective2019 USMA 2023

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2017
    Messages:
    279
    Likes Received:
    269
    I'm sitting in a car on a six-hour drive to Army/Navy for tomorrow's game and was thinking about when I did the same thing last year and where I was in this process. I've got time to kill so I figured I'd write some words of advice for the aspiring USMA Class of 2024 about what I did for West Point admissions that worked well for me.

    Do note that I do not have an official appointment yet, but am 3Q, have two nominations, and an LOA. My regional commander told me to just wait for BFE's to come out. So take anything I say with a grain of salt, but I want to get it out while it's still (relatively) fresh in my head.

    First things first...
    I got interested in AROTC at the end of my sophomore year and eventually got interested in USMA at the beginning of my junior year. After talking to many graduates and a few cadets and doing a LOT of research, I pretty much knew it's what I wanted. I reached out to my Field Force Representative, who came to my school to talk to me and go over what I needed to work on. That's the first thing I think you should do, as they will be your local contact for the next year.

    Take a visit, if you can.
    I did an overnight visit on November 29th of my junior year. I'm fortunate enough to live a manageable 2.5 hours away from USMA, so this was doable for me. You'll know quickly if you want to go to West Point. You'll know quickly if you don't. I had a fantastic experience shadowing a female plebe and I'm sure you will as well. I saw her a few weeks ago at Army/Air Force and was able to tell her that she deserves credit for my desire to go here.

    Go to admissions events... NETWORK!
    This is the single best piece of advice that I can give to anyone serious about this application process.
    Trust me on this one--go to every one of those admissions events that you get emails about within convenient driving distance. I probably went to six. It's not because I wanted to learn more about the school; I could give that PowerPoint presentation at this point. It's to get in front of your Regional Commander, your admissions officer, to ask them questions, to introduce yourself, to get name recognition. Mine knew me by name after the second event, remembered me at SLE, and was happy to see me when I did an overnight last month.

    Networking is so, so, so important in this application process. Your Regional Commander WILL pull strings for you if you show them you are passionate about West Point. They are the ones who decide who gets an LOA, who gets a medical waiver, who they push for an appointment. Thirty-five kids out of several thousand applicants in the Northeast got an LOA. I can tell you right now that I am not the most academically-gifted or most athletic candidate out there. But I took a lot of initiative in this process, and that is 100% why I think I got the LOA. My RC told me he wished more kids showed so much motivation and drive to get to West Point. So if you want it, do that.

    Networking can help get you a nomination, can get your foot in the door, can make you stick out from the crowd of 12,000 applicants. Especially if your district is competitive.

    Build a support system of adults and peers.
    I think one of the best choices I've made over the last year was to reach out on this platform and create a group of prospective cadets to the C/o 2023. We made a GroupMe in January, and a core group of us talk every day. Regardless of what some adults on here said at the start, building that group was probably the most worthwhile things to come out of this. Some have since decided to not continue applying, but they remain as a support system, and we all are the best resource of information to each other. Sometimes it's nervewracking to ask a question on here, but never to each other. There is no more updated source of information than those going through the process right now with you. This can be a lonely application process. Having some friends to back you up and motivate you (even if they're from the other side of the country) will help A LOT.

    Apply for SLE.
    Apply for the Summer Leadership Experience the day it opens. For us, it was January 15th. Admission is competitive, and you may not get accepted. That's completely okay. There is a correlation with kids to go to SLE, but don't get confused, it is not causation. Some of our GroupMe got in and attended, most did not. No one knows the formula for getting in. Whether you go or not is not the be all end all. If you get in, go, I went and had a good time and met some cool people. But if you don't, don't think it's over for you.

    Do extracurricular activities, but don't do anything specifically for West Point.
    If you're applying to West Point, you're already probably a pretty well-rounded kid. Take those activities that you thrive in and thrive extra-hard. Be a leader and a standout in those activities. But don't pile things onto your resume just because you think West Point would like it. Sure, stretch for that extra varsity letter, but don't just participate in a billion activities. You may as well spend that time improving yourself in other areas.

    Learn about West Point's culture.
    I've done a lot of "stuff" with West Point. I go up whenever I can find an excuse, have been to a couple home football games, follow all the Army accounts I can find on Instagram, and watched Austin LaChance's videos religiously. It's not that I just want to do all these things, but they give you a general idea of what you are getting into. It's in times when I doubt myself that I think back on these things for motivation.

    Build relationships and talk to people outside of admissions.
    Talk to veterans. I can almost guarantee you that some teacher at your high school served in some way shape or form. Learn about their story, or stories, and really listen. No matter if you want to serve for five or forty-five years, that will be you eventually. They will help you figure out what you might want to do in the Army. Be friendly with your teachers, those SOE's are a pain in the butt to get, but if your teachers know you personally they'll help you more. Find a mentor, or three, and learn from them too. Talk to cadets, Old Grads, parents of cadets, whoever is willing. Learn everything about this process.

    Other miscellaneous advice...
    Start everything EARLY. Nomination applications, CFAs, homework, and candidate statements will pile up. They're not kidding when they say this.
    If you have questions about DoDMERB, email lawrence.e.mullen.civ@mail.mil (Larry Mullen). He'll get back to you usually within 24 hours.
    For your basketball throw on the CFA, look up how a soccer goalkeeper throws a ball. Do that.
    Ask questions. GoArmy2022 was super helpful for me on here. This forum is a great resource.
    Don't get discouraged. This process is a test of grit.

    If you have any questions about what I did, feel free to ask. I hope this helps someone--I had wished there were more resources out there for kids super early in the process when I was in that position last year.
     
  2. Ems410

    Ems410 Go2024

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2018
    Messages:
    34
    Likes Received:
    16
    Thank you for this! I have about one more month until my portal opens and I can start applying to SLE. I have done everything possible until this point to make me the best candidate possible. What I’m most worried about is my interviews. The good thing is that my school has many connections with West Point through a foundation. Any tips for that?
     
    prospective2019 likes this.
  3. Monarchs'19

    Monarchs'19 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2018
    Messages:
    124
    Likes Received:
    57
    @prospective2019, As a father (and a family with deep rooted military background), I must say, I am so proud of you to see such a nice post. That's what is called "Service before self" - in action.
    Wish you continued success. Remember it's just the beginning... you’re going to go far, do great things and continue to make your family and country proud.
     
    prospective2019 and Yankee23 like this.
  4. Monarchs'19

    Monarchs'19 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2018
    Messages:
    124
    Likes Received:
    57
    ....ahhh.. after posting, realized that I am sounding like a father. Oh well ... :)
     
    Goat 965 likes this.
  5. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ 10-Year Member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2008
    Messages:
    5,768
    Likes Received:
    8,156
    If you were Navy - inclined, I’d call you a sea daddy. Or a sea mommy. It’s a good thing. Passing down acquired knowledge and helping those who follow are time-honored military practices.
     
    Kendall and prospective2019 like this.
  6. Yankee23

    Yankee23 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2018
    Messages:
    44
    Likes Received:
    31
    Justin Taylor is also a really good YouTuber who has posted a lot of good content about West Point. His content really scratches the surface of everyday life at the Academy and is more explanatory and, say, informal than Lachance’s videos.
     
    WP2023, Ems410 and prospective2019 like this.
  7. prospective2019

    prospective2019 USMA 2023

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2017
    Messages:
    279
    Likes Received:
    269
    I’m not sure if you’re talking about nomination interviews or FFR interviews, but I had both so I can probably help a little.

    They weren’t bad at all, at least for me. I was a little nervous going into my nomination interview, but there was really no reason for it. I’d met my FFR many times before (see original post) which made that one a piece of cake. The best advice I can give on the interviews is to treat it like a conversation—I bet I can speak for any CC in saying that people love to talk about the academies with you, so just treat it like another one of those times. If you have the right motivations, passions, and leadership skill set that I’m sure you have, then the questions will come naturally. Anyone on the board is going to be enthusiastic about USMA, whether it is their alma mater or their child’s, and reciprocating that enthusiasm will win them over.
     
    Heatherg21 and Ems410 like this.
  8. Zunty

    Zunty Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2018
    Messages:
    22
    Likes Received:
    12
    This is some really great advice.

    One thing I would also highly recommend would be to get organized and stay organized. I keep a 3 x 4 ft whiteboard in my room with all the deadlines because soon enough those deadlines will sneak up on you and it's just about impossible to keep track of them all without some sort of organization method. Other ways I have found that work are excel sheets or paper calendars so you can visually see your overall progress.
     
    Dino10 likes this.
  9. WP2023

    WP2023 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2018
    Messages:
    41
    Likes Received:
    27
    +1. His videos are honest and pretty funny, yet positive about the academy. Really great if you enjoy humor and want to learn more about WP. He graduated last year but you can watch his older videos.
     
  10. prospective2019

    prospective2019 USMA 2023

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2017
    Messages:
    279
    Likes Received:
    269
    Yes! I did this too! I have a big whiteboard with some admissions brochures held on with magnets and all my due dates. It was pretty helpful.
     
    Dino10 likes this.
  11. Dino10

    Dino10 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2017
    Messages:
    63
    Likes Received:
    58
    Ahhhh, the white board! I love seeing changes happen on it. Through this process it’s went through many many changes! It’s funny the odd things that happen...... portal update? Let’s meet at the white board and see what can be erased and updated!! Lol! Hope to watch my Son wipe it clean w an Appointment and let my daughter start writing her stuff on it.
     
  12. prospective2019

    prospective2019 USMA 2023

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2017
    Messages:
    279
    Likes Received:
    269
    As the SLE portal opens tomorrow, I’d like to add that if anyone has any specific questions regarding that I am happy to answer considering our class is the most recently removed from that process.
     
  13. WishfulThinking

    WishfulThinking Member

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2018
    Messages:
    44
    Likes Received:
    23
    Did you get accepted? If so, what did most people add to their applications?
     
  14. prospective2019

    prospective2019 USMA 2023

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2017
    Messages:
    279
    Likes Received:
    269
    Yes, I was fortunate to be accepted and had the privilege to attend. It’s a very simple application, if I remember correctly just your SAT/ACT scores (or PSAT) and your activities. Nowhere close to the actual USMA application, but it does serve as a preliminary to it.
     
  15. Ems410

    Ems410 Go2024

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2018
    Messages:
    34
    Likes Received:
    16
    How do you get the USMA ID? Does the admissions team send it to you in an email? I'm afraid I won't be able to pen my portal.
     
  16. prospective2019

    prospective2019 USMA 2023

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2017
    Messages:
    279
    Likes Received:
    269
    I received it in an email after I applied to SLE, subject Candidate Info For Admission to West Point - LASTNAME, FIRST MIDDLE - Class of 2023. You’ll then be able to login to your portal and view your SLE admissions status (which didn’t change until February 15th).
     
    Ems410 likes this.
  17. Ironclad22

    Ironclad22 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2018
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    16
    For my 2, 2022 and 2023 , we took updated screen shots of the portal and mark it up as the lights turn green. It’s a nice visual for the candidate’s motivation and the iphone makes it easy to instantly shared in our family group text.
     
  18. prospective2019

    prospective2019 USMA 2023

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2017
    Messages:
    279
    Likes Received:
    269
    I realize now that I applied for SLE on 15 JAN 2018 and received an appointment on 15 JAN 2019—exactly a year later. It goes fast! Get on those applications as early as you can and alleviate the stress later.
     
  19. CrewDad

    CrewDad Member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2018
    Messages:
    613
    Likes Received:
    604
    I’m glad you plowed through since 2017. Will you enroll at West Point or wait to see others.
     
    prospective2019 likes this.
  20. prospective2019

    prospective2019 USMA 2023

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2017
    Messages:
    279
    Likes Received:
    269
    I will be accepting as soon as it shows up in my portal without hesitation. I’ve been set on USMA since I the beginning and stopped applying to the other academies after I was lucky enough to receive an LOA in August.

    I did apply to five “civilian” colleges as well, and plan on completing my AROTC applications to them. These are just so I have options should I become medically disqualified between now and July 1st. But in my eyes I don’t want to go anywhere else than Army.