How can I get the most out of my time at West Point?

army2021

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Jan 4, 2015
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299
Hello everyone. I know West Point has some of the greatest opportunities in the world and me being the planner that I am I was wondering what I can do from the start to capitalize on what'd be best for me and my future. So a little about me, I want to commission into Combat Arms and as of now, Infantry is most likely my #1 branch with Armor being my #2. Assuming everything continues to go as planned, staying qualified, etc., I'll be c/o 2021. The main things I'm wanting to know and guidance I'm looking for is stuff such as what clubs or teams are best preparation (whether for combat arms, ranger school, army career, etc), what MIADs would be most useful to shoot for, what would be a good agenda as to what I should try and do each individual summer at the Academy (ex. Airborne first, CTLT second summer, ect.), if any majors would provide any advantage or more opportunities (I'm thinking Defense & Strategic Studies looks pretty cool), and any other pointers as to what to do to start capitalizing from day 1? Sorry for the run on sentence and thank you for any and all help. Would be more than happy to answer any questions about myself too if anyone would like further information.
 

scoutpilot

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Combat Arms do not exist.

Worry about getting there and finishing Beast. The rest you'll receive plenty of guidance on when the time comes.
 

army2021

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Combat Arms do not exist.

Worry about getting there and finishing Beast. The rest you'll receive plenty of guidance on when the time comes.
Sorry. To clarify I meant branch into one that would be considered within the boundaries of a "combat arms role," or at least I thought that's what they were called, such as IN, AR, FA, etc. Will do and thank you.
 

shock-n-awe

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May 12, 2015
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Combat Arms do not exist.

Worry about getting there and finishing Beast. The rest you'll receive plenty of guidance on when the time comes.

As an infantryman, not sure what you mean by combat arms don't exist?
The kid is simply looking for info as as to what he/she would like to be if gaining an appointment .....
Obviously, focusing on main objective of gaining an appointment is job one.
Best of luck army2021!
I recommend Infantry!
 

army2021

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Jan 4, 2015
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As an infantryman, not sure what you mean by combat arms don't exist?
The kid is simply looking for info as as to what he/she would like to be if gaining an appointment .....
Obviously, focusing on main objective of gaining an appointment is job one.
Best of luck army2021!
I recommend Infantry!
Thank you very much!
 

mom3boys

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Nov 3, 2007
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2,184
Assuming you get accepted, arrive in excellent physical shape. Stay in excellent shape through workouts. Make friends, build relationships. Find activities you enjoy. Apply for MIADS, PIADS, and IADS that you find interesting. Study and seek AI even if you don't think you need it. There are no "best." There are opportunities that you can take advantage of or not...good luck.
 

scoutpilot

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Apr 29, 2010
Messages
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As an infantryman, not sure what you mean by combat arms don't exist?
The kid is simply looking for info as as to what he/she would like to be if gaining an appointment .....
Obviously, focusing on main objective of gaining an appointment is job one.
Best of luck army2021!
I recommend Infantry!
Combat Arms was simply a classification of branches that came into use in the 20th century and changed many times. It is no longer used, and has not been since about 2010. We are actually on our second classification system since the old days of Combat Arms/Combat Support/Combat Service Support.

As for the MIADs, none really "help" you for any one branch. They're basically skill schools for fun. 90% of the cadets who go to Airborne will never jump again after their 5th jump. 100% of cadets who go to air assault will never rappel out of a helicopter again.

Again, worry about being a good teammate and not quitting and succeeding in school. Don't worry about your second and third summers yet.
 

time2

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Jul 17, 2007
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Good to read what the Op has posted even though it is about USNA and not WP. I think you are in for a surprise if you think you can 'plan' out your entire SA experience before ever starting. I would first focus on being physically fit and then see how difficult you find the academics along with all of the other requirements placed on you. Obviously your first priority should be on getting an appointment.

Every SA will provide you ample time to learn about the various service branches being offered and remember you may NOT get your first choice for a variety of reasons.

https://www.serviceacademyforums.com/index.php?threads/the-first-semester-what-to-expect.53112/
 

NavyHoops

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I would recommend you take advantage of the opportunities USMA provides. Many Cadets and Mids will only do the minimum and not get involved with activities that aren't mandatory. There is a balance of not getting involved in too much also. Get out of your comfort zone, make friends, be a good teammate, push yourself, get involved.
 

mike6

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Jan 25, 2016
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Combat Arms was simply a classification of branches that came into use in the 20th century and changed many times. It is no longer used, and has not been since about 2010. We are actually on our second classification system since the old days of Combat Arms/Combat Support/Combat Service Support.

As for the MIADs, none really "help" you for any one branch. They're basically skill schools for fun. 90% of the cadets who go to Airborne will never jump again after their 5th jump. 100% of cadets who go to air assault will never rappel out of a helicopter again.

Again, worry about being a good teammate and not quitting and succeeding in school. Don't worry about your second and third summers yet.

Combat arms is still a very often used term.

Everyone understands what he means when he says it, even if it "hasn't been used since 2010."
 

scoutpilot

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Combat arms is still a very often used term.

Everyone understands what he means when he says it, even if it "hasn't been used since 2010."

I merely provide the copious bounty of correct information. What you do with it is your business, though I might suggest trying to start your career off by paying attention to details.
 

billyb

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Jun 17, 2010
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Here is a piece of honest advice.... put academics first. Period. Spend the majority of your time on academics. Getting good grades is priority #1 and not everyone thinks that way. There are the gung-ho cadets that do airborne, sandhurst, have perfect looking uniforms and spit shined shoes but have a 2.0. Don't be that cadet.
 

army2021

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Here is a piece of honest advice.... put academics first. Period. Spend the majority of your time on academics. Getting good grades is priority #1 and not everyone thinks that way. There are the gung-ho cadets that do airborne, sandhurst, have perfect looking uniforms and spit shined shoes but have a 2.0. Don't be that cadet.
Thank you very much
 

LineInTheSand

USCGA 2006
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Nov 25, 2007
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Hey, 2.0, good to go!

But a 2.0 will make your options tighter...


Of course, those 2.0 guys are your future generals (the others get out).
 

Brawny77

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Jun 9, 2015
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A mid at USNA just posted a "what to expect the first semester" thread on the USNA forum. You might check that out. I think a lot is applicable at any SA.
 

billyb

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Jun 17, 2010
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You have plenty of time to get all your military training in during the summers and once you join the Army. You only have 1 shot at academics. A 3.0+ opens a lot more options down the road for grad school etc.....

I am not saying to slack on the military portion, but if you have to choose to shine your shoes or study for Calc......make sure your priorities are in place.
 
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