National Waiting List


10-Year Member
5-Year Member
Nov 28, 2007
I just got a letter saying I am on the National Waiting List. That means I did not make the 1st round. Correct? Now what? About how many people are on the list?
There really isn't a "first round" per se. This is good. From what I remember you have a ROTC nomination but not one from your MOC - correct?

So - what this means is you get to wait a while. Please keep updating your file. Make sure your 7th semester grades are sent in pronto.
Go ahead and contact your admissions officer - let that person know that you got the letter and you are very interested in USMA.

The Admissions officers are very nice and helpful. He will give you good advice.

Also, consider if you will accept a prep offer if you don't get in off the NWL - if you will then make sure that postcard is sent in and that your admissions officer knows.

Good Luck!
Yes, I only have a ROTC nomination.

ok thanks for the info... I am going to talk to my guidance counselor tomorrow to sent in my transcript.
I found the following information about the NWL at this website: It is a few years old but still has useful information. Keep updating your file with any new awards, varsity letters, or test scores.

The National Waiting List
Q: We were just notified that our candidate was placed on the national waiting list? Does anyone have information or experience with the list?

A: The National Waiting List is comprised of 150 very qualified young men and women, all of whom USMA wants but cannot offer an appointment to at this time. Basically, it means that he/she did not "win their district/senatorial slot," but in all other areas, shine.
Each Congressman/woman and Senator can nominate TEN candidates to USMA. However, they usually only have ONE slot to fill (Each may have five at the Academy at any given time, which basically comes out to one a year, and once every so often, two in a particular year). So of those ten nominated, all may be great kids, but only ONE will get in from Congressman so and so.... Sometimes one or more of the nominated kids who did not "win the district" will be of such high caliber that West Point places them on the National Waiting List.
Folks DO get in off the National Waiting List .... it may be later than his/her comfort zone, and as I tell my candidates, it's a test of intestinal fortitude (as is the DODMERB process). You wait, and pray, and continue to update your file with your Admissions Officer (any new awards, improved SAT scores, etc) - don't forget, up until the very moment that all files have to be complete, your son/daughter should be looking at ways to make his file even better - those seventh semester grades will hopefully help, winter sports, announcement as a Captaincy for a spring sport heretofore unknown, etc....
I know of many kids who have gotten accepted at West Point (via the National Waiting List) as late as June .... not what every bright, aspiring young man or woman wants to hear, but if he/she REALLY wants West Point, hang in there ....

A: The national waiting list is the top 150 candidates from across the United States whose Whole Candidate Concept ranking is just below that of candidates who are offered admission. The Whole Candidate Concept is the very fair and very careful file scoring system West Point Admissions uses to rank order candidates by overall merit.
The three major areas of the Whole Candidate Concept and their individual weight are: 60% Academics, 30% Leadership Potential and 10% Physical Aptitude. Within each of these areas, and especially the first two, are nuanced sub-and sub-sub-areas for which points are given or not.
Over the years, the Whole Candidate Concept has proven highly successful in identifying candidates who will succeed as Cadets. The goal is a Cadet who graduates as a Commissioned Officer in our United States Army.
Not winning a district/senatorial nomination, or a highly enough ranked district/senatorial nomination if their Congressperson/Senator(s) rank orders their nominees, is a usual but not the only reason for a candidate to be placed on the national waiting list.
The overall reason for being placed on the national waiting list is having a Whole Candidate Concept ranking that is just below the cut off point for offers of admission for a given Class.
All candidates are ranked by the scores receive through Whole Candidate Concept and the first 150 such candidates who rank just below the cut off point for offers of admissions to a given Class automatically are placed on the national waiting list, in rank order.
Thus the importance of retaking SATs/ACTs to bring up one's scores (a major element of the 60% academic component of the Whole Candidate Concept), of varsity sports letters and leadership, of sustained community service and leadership activities, and of passing the PAE (Physical Aptitude Exam) with the highest possible scores in each event.
For recent Classes the rate of acceptances of offers has been so high that few if any candidates are offered admission from the national waiting list. This pattern seems likely to continue. Thus being placed on the national waiting list makes an offer of admission for that Class unlikely. However, as long as the candidate would be under 23 years of age by R-Day for the Class to which they are offered admission, there is always next year.

A: In recent years the competition has been at an exceptionally high level. Those who failed to receive an appointment to the available slot for each of the members of their congressional delegation, are placed on the National Waiting List to await openings. The acceptance rate dictates how far down the list USMA goes in offering appointments. Many of the available slots have been promised to the most highly qualified applicants through letters of assurance (LOA's). Thus the NWL may be tapped for appointments that are declined from LOA holders or appointments that are declined by those who won the congressional slot. It is very important to compete for an LOA by putting your best foot forward early in the process, completing the second step kit ASAP after receipt in August and completing your file promptly. This gives you the greatest chance of an appointment and avoids possible disappointment in a highly competitive year with record acceptance rates. For those on the NWL I suggest continued efforts to improve your scores, patience, prayer and a back-up plan.

A: The National Waiting List could also be termed "The Test of Intestinal Fortitude List" .... particularly this year (2003). West Point's acceptance rates are higher than ever and quicker than ever. Basically, candidates are now in the position of *hoping* that someone declines the offer. This week is *the week* that many colleges send out their acceptances, and, as you know, the beginning of May is when all must accept or decline the various offers .... My gut instinct is that there will not be much movement on the National Waiting List until mid-May or later ....
Many have been on the National Waiting List, and some choose to remain steadfast in their commitment to attend - no matter how long the wait. Others will accept another college option and never look back. Your son *could* get an acceptance from the National Waiting List as early as mid May - or as late the day before R Day (and yes, that DOES happen). A friend of my son's was literally attending summer sessions at his state university, had already moved into the dorms, etc. ... and the call came .... He called his folks, asked them to come up to the State U to pack him out, and headed for the airport to report the next day ....
You will *not* receive any solace from the experiences of others in years' past .... His chances will depend on how high up on the list he is, whether there is any movement at all, and how long he is willing to wait .... Hang in there - there are MANY in the same boat .... this is an extremely tough year, but some *will* be among the fortunate few .... Having said that, DON'T reject other colleges - he must have a back up, even if he is willing to wait until the last second ... and he *may* be reapplying next year, or he *may* decide that he absolutely loves his alternative choice ... and at age 17 - 18, life should be about options and choices - and there is no wrong answer ....
Thank you, WAMom68, for all of that information. It's extremely helpful.

My son received nominations from both a Sen. and a Rep. He just heard, however, that he'll likely be on the National Waiting List. He's elected to take the ACTs one more time (he's taken it twice and the SAT three times). Each time he's tested he's raised his scores (which sound pretty solid to me). He's so dedicated to getting into USMA that he's taking the ACT on the day of his varsity wrestling regional tournament! (He's informing his coach of his decision today). It sounds to me like taking the ACTs again will hopefully better his standing on the National Waiting List. My heart goes out to him.

Thanks to all of you who inform and encourage us. It can be agonizing to watch our sons and daughters work through all of these decisions..not to mention the decisions regarding 4yr. ROTC scholarships offered to various colleges as Plan Bs. (Which we're also very proud of!). Keep up with the positive messages and words of wisdom. I, for one, know how much I need them.
Appointments are governed under Federal law. After the appointments are encumbered for the MOC openings the academy then they make appointments using other criteria -

Title 10, 4342:
Each Senator, Representative, and Delegate in Congress, including the Resident Commissioner from Puerto Rico, is entitled to nominate 10 persons for each vacancy that is available to him under this section. Nominees may be submitted without ranking or with a principal candidate and 9 ranked or unranked alternates. Qualified nominees not selected for appointment under this subsection shall be considered qualified alternates for the purposes of selection under other provisions of this chapter.

Appointments are then made via the presidential nominations, active duty and reserve slots available.
After those appointments are made - the Sec of the Army may then select 150 from qualified alternates (above).
After that appointments are made until the class is full.

After it is all said and done - being on the NWL basically means that you didn't get top pick from your MOC.
This is a letter of ENCOURAGEMENT! Keep up the good work!
You are a qualfied candidate with a nomination and eligible for an appointment - in order to offer you an appointment admissions needs to fit you into a "slot" and that is governed by federal law. These are basically done by order of merit (whole candidate score) and anything you can do to raise your score this spring will help your chances in getting an appointment.

Thus the case for continuing to update your file with significant changes. Admissions is a very fluid process and continues right through the spring - if you are on the NWL - keep in contact with your admissions officer showing continued interest especially as we move through the spring.
Some of you who don't get appointments may be offered a scholarship to attend a prep program - that is a whole 'nother topic though!
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That information was extremely helpful, for I recieved word for that I am on the waiting list. Thanks for all the encouragment and helpful information. :smile:
Congratulations! You are fully qualified and able to compete for an appointment - nicely done and good luck!
I found the following information about the NWL at this website: It is a few years old but still has useful information. Keep updating your file with any new awards, varsity letters, or test scores.

The National Waiting List
Q: We were just notified that our candidate was placed on the national waiting list? Does anyone have information or experience with the list?

I was just informed that I was put on the National Waiting List, however, received a nomination from both my Senator and congressman. Does this ever happen? The Regional Commander sent a the notice saying that information will be collected up until February, is there any way to remain competitive?
You are in good company, Timnc............It means that you are still in the running, and it beats the heck out of the TWL!! Try to relax, and enjoy the remainder of the year. I believe that at this point, you have done all that you can, and keep working hard in class, and keep your nose clean. There are many on the forum in the same position as you, my DD included (nom from both Sen and Congressman, and an LOA).