Nomination, SAT Essay, and LOR Confusion


Oct 29, 2020
Hello, I am currently a senior applying to USMA and I have three things I'm confused about.

First, I am still very confused about how nominations work. I have already secured a JROTC Nomination and have applied for my congressional ones as well because I read that having more than one nomination increases your chances of getting in. However, now I am reading that having one nomination is the same as having 3. if I don't get any of the congressional ones what are my chances of just getting in with the JROTC nomination and is having multiple nominations better?

Second, I have taken and am satisfied with my SAT scores however my essay score is OK... How much is the Essay weighted for admissions, what is a good score, and should I retake the entire sat just to bring my essay score up?

Third, should I upload a LOR from my swim coach to the upload docks tab in my portal?

I know these are a lot of questions, and I would greatly appreciate anyone who can help!
Nominations. Take USMA’s recommendation and apply for all noms for which eligible, including the VP. That gives them maximum flexibility in choices of where to charge your appointment, should they desire to give you one.

Let’s say you have one and only one nom, the JROTC. You are competing against every other fully qualified applicant with that nom in the country for one of the designated number of appointments charged to that nominating authority. If you do not get one of those, and you don’t get a VP nom, and you don’t get any of the Superintendent’s discretionary noms, and don’t earn a nom/are eligible for a service-connected nom/get one from any other source and end up with no nom at all - it only takes one - then no appointment.

The more noms you have, the more opportunity to be considered for an appointment. Don’t overthink it. Go after every one you can, submit your best application, tend to your alternate plans, don’t think about “chances,” work out to manage stress, see how it all works out.
First off, really good information in the other threads so keep looking around for more information even after the responses.

Secondly, Nominations work kinda off like a lottery but based on experience instead of luck. So if you have one nomination that's one ticket. If you have 5 possible nominations that's 5 tickets. 5 is better than one. When they evaluate candidates they may have 10 other applicants that are better for the nomination than you. Which means you won't get accepted on that nomination. If you only have one nomination that means you won't be accepted because ten others took the spot. However, if you had 5 nominations you have 4 other chances to fall back on which means more people would have to be better than you.

Thirdly, From what I gather the essay isn't as important as math for SAT and ACT. If you want to retake it to get your math and English up then retake the essay go for it! But I don't think you have to retake it only for the essay. IF that's the one thing on your application that brings it down eh, You'll be fine. I would say it's up to you on this one. If you want to bring it up and retake it's your call.
With those first two things there's nothing to worry about. Like you said you completed all the available nomination applications and that it definitely the right move.

You also already finished the SAT and you're good with the score so don't worry about it unless you decide to take it again. I did really good on the Math and Reading parts but only got 5/8 on the essay which I think is a decent but not great score. They understand that the math and reading sections are clear cut while the writing is much more dependent on different variables.

Upload the Letter if you know your coach will highlight what makes you stand out as a leader. I met with the people I had write letters for me to help them understand my motivation and what it meant for me to gain acceptance to West Point which I think is a really good thing to do and will make it easier for them to write something genuine rather than generic.