Importance of Athletics/Yet Another "Chances" Post

Coming from me, you look very qualified. Definitely academically and great leadership too. Academics is 60 percent, leadership/athletics 30 percent, and CFA is 10 percent. You already covered a big portion.
Welcome Rhythm!

I am sure you realize that West Point is much more than a college - it is Military training. That military training will lead you to a Commissioned officer in the US Army.

If you have decided to become an Army officer you may also want to consider Army ROTC. Army ROTC is widely available, including Ivy League schools.

The reason I mention this - West Point and A ROTC are two different environments that lead to the same goal.
At West Point - athletics is a way of life. While there are cadets there who are not by nature "athletic" - most have been involved in athletics for most of their lives. You WILL, as a cadet, participate in athletics. It is REQUIRED. So, what I am trying to say is you can get in shape and make a team in high school, but if staying in shape and competing on a team is not something you enjoy then consider Army ROTC. While in A ROTC you will participate in Physical training, team sports is not mandatory.

Either way, you will have to stay in shape enough to pass the Army Physicial Fitness Test twice a year - this can be a daunthing challenge for some cadets - continual failure results in dismissal.
In the Army, you also will have to pass the APFT as well.

I am not trying to discourage you from seeking an appointment to USMA - rather I am trying to point out some very viable options for you to consider as well. If you have any other thoughts or questions - please ask away!
Good luck to you!
In thinking about my post - in no way do I intend to be pessimistic - just think you should know how important fitness and athletics are to the overall West Point experience. It is much more than training to pass the CFA.

If you have not already done so, I encourage you to go to this website and click on the link in the upper right hand corner and get on the USMA mailing list:

They will send you good information through your high school career as well as information on applying to the Summer Leaders Seminar next year.
Thanks everyone,

Would a prep school like USMAPS be a good option (if offered the chance)?
Place the athletic question aside for right now...what is your motivator to change from Ivy to WP?
The idea has been on my mind post-9/11, even though it was back in 4th grade. After that event, I realized that there was more than myself, my interests, my desires. I realized I could put my talents and abilities to the best use of all: serving my country. I feel it my duty as a US citizen, because I have the ability and determination. My greatest passion is leading and I feel that, with some work, I might be able to pull up to WP standards and lead the greatest team of all.
WOW... Thank you for your poem and thank you for your service.
staying a little off topic....(i'll make it up by saying this, hello again rhythm)

come to mention it, i guess 9-ll did affect me a little as well, when i realized the full effect of it(I was in 6th grade and remember it well, few friends family members died) But yeah, it may in some way pointed me to the coast guard.

Don't forget to run rhythm
Thanks everyone,

Would a prep school like USMAPS be a good option (if offered the chance)?

If you apply to USMA and they offer USMAPS, GRAB IT.

For the record, I didn't do any serious sports until my Junior and Senior years, and was offered NAPS. Best thing that ever happened to me up to that point.

Good luck!
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Zaphod said:
If you apply to USMA and they offer USMAPS, GRAB IT.

Please explain how someone, who. as an 8th grader, averaged almost 700 on each of the three sections of the SAT, who is taking AP calculus as a sophmore, and who has won numerous writing awards, would not be bored to tears, and probably disallusioned, at MAPS, where the only two subjects taught are English composition and math.
I don't think they'd accept you to prep school. You have to be academically DQed, and clearly, you wouldn't. Do a couple sports.. that you enjoy, and you will probably have a great shot.

USMAPS will not be an option. It is meant for students who have potential to become great cadets but are deficient in either verbal or math skills. Yes, it's a great opportunity and the population is heavy with prior-enlisted and athletes. Their commitment is so strong that they are willing to spend an extra year in college in order to reach their goal. These students are given intense education in both math and language arts in order to be ready to tackle the academic rigors of WP. And they are quite successful in doing so.

That said, it looks like you are planning in just the right way. You're working out and planning to join the swim team. That's fabulous. Cross country and/or track will be of great benefit in preparing you for life at any service academy. Keep it up and don't worry about not being from an athletic family - you're headed in the right direction.

WP will definitely be interested in your profile. And I think you'll have a great essay to write about your reasons. I also know a cadet with a 36 ACT and no high school athletics - just physical enough to pass the CFA. So, keep up the marvelous work you're already doing, get on their mailing list, and see if you can attend any of the Admissions presentations that will be in your area. Your congressman may even have an event that includes all service academies presenting to high school students from your district. Read the Smallwood book, "The West Point Candidate Book".

Good luck and keep us posted on your activity.
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Thanks for the very moving poem. It did more than bring tears to my eyes.

I think 9/11 was a driver for so many currently at any of the academies. The cadets/mids are quite an inspiration to me.
Hi, Rhythm,

Which athletic teams you choose are important. I totally agree that you need to choose something you will like doing and will want to continue. Swimming is a great choice.

When my daughter had a knee issue last Spring and couldn't run before R-day, her physical therapist pushed her to swim laps to build endurance and keep her muscles toned while she wasn't able to run. He said that runners that try to swim competitively don't do well, but swimmers that go into competitive running don't have a problem.

She loved the freedom of running, and she grumbled the whole time she was swimming that if she had wanted to swim she would have applied to the Naval Academy. lol

Cross-country is a great sport to find out how you feel about running, which you'll do a lot of at WP. If you don't mind being really physical, try flag football, soccer, or even wrestling. (Yes, schools have to allow girls on the school wrestling team, but talk to the coach first and get a feel for what his attitude would be.) If you aren't quite that adventurous, try softball, tennis, or golf. Also, try to do both a Fall sport and a Spring sport.

My d didn't start to compete in sports until she was a sophomore, so you do have time to get involved, but you need to start soon. Check out the Spring sports at your school now.

Good Luck!!!
Another option that USMA may offer you is "civil prep". This is offered to candidates that are academically qualified but fall short in some other area. My son applied for class of 2010. He was triple qualified and was offered civil prep. His only nomination was from our local congressman. Due to how competitive our district is his whole candidate score was not the highest in our district so he was put on national waiting list. His admissions officer asked if he was interest in civil prep, which he was, so the officer submitted his name to be considered. The West Point Assoc. of Graduates picks the candidates that are offered civil prep. They give partial scholarships for the candidate to attend a military junior college for a year. If the candidate successfully completes the year, passes the CFA again, gets another nomination, and completes the application again - they are accepted for the next USMA class. It is not a 100% guarantee you will get in the next year but the success rate is about 95%. There are four military colleges to choose from, the two that most candidates attend are Marion Military Institute (MMI) in Alabama and New Mexico Military Institute (NMMI) in Roswell, NM, but there are two others – one in Georgia and one in Missouri. My son attended NMMI for a year and reapplied for class of 2011. He is now halfway through his plebe year. By the way he only did one sport in high school (football) but was in the sport all 4 years. My advice is find at least one sport you will enjoy and participate. Good luck to you!
Please explain how someone, who. as an 8th grader, averaged almost 700 on each of the three sections of the SAT, who is taking AP calculus as a sophmore, and who has won numerous writing awards, would not be bored to tears, and probably disallusioned, at MAPS, where the only two subjects taught are English composition and math.

One does what one has to in order to achieve ther dream of an appointment.

If, for some unknown reason, she is offered MAPS instead of a straight shot, she is better off taking it than reapplying the following year. You know that as well as I do.

Her chances of MAPS may be zero, but if it's offered, she would be unwise to turn it down.
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Wow... I am touched to read the many fantastic responses this thread has received since my original post! It supplies some much needed encouragement given my current situation, as described:

I've been feeling more than discouraged. The atmosphere surrounding this endeavour of mine is, even after several serious, sit-down family talks, is almost... hostile. The only reason my mom remains the only neutral and not disapproving person is because she knows my dad (who died from cancer last year) would have encouraged my efforts and been supportive. The overused phrase around here is: "you're a scholar, not a soldier" and, although they don't doubt my ability to persevere, they do not quite appreciate my motivation (see post on page 1).

It especially bothers me that my grandpa scoffs at the thought of my applying to usma. He is a 3-star general (retired) in the Chinese army and his disapproval lowers my morale twofold, though he is from a different culture entirely.

There is a constant pressure for me to terminate this goal of mine, and especially coming from a tight-knit family, I cannot help but consider this disapproval very seriously.

I feel the strong urge to talk to some sort of admissions officer, albeit a local one, about my long-term prospects, of course, but for some much needed re-assurance.

Any ideas? I'm totally open to anything from y'all, and sorry for the diatribe :rolleyes: