It means the applicant went to a military college such as GMC or Marion for a year to prep to get into the academy. Sometimes this is "self prep" meaning the applicant takes the initiative and pays the tuition. It could also be "sponsored prep", see info below from WP AOG pageWhat does Civil Prep mean in line 85 under the Direct/ Non-direct appointment tab?
PREPARATORY PATHS BESIDES USMAPS: DID YOU KNOW?Admission to the United States Military Academy at West Point is one of the most competitive and rigorous such processes in the Nation. Every year, there are more “fully qualified” candidates pursuing admission than nomination slots available. But thanks to the West Point Preparatory Scholarship Program (WPPSP), established in 1979 and administered and funded by the West Point Association of Graduates, a number of carefully selected and highly motivated candidates and recruited athletes are allowed to continue on the path to West Point.
Each January, the Director of Admissions prepares a list of candidates who have demonstrated outstanding qualities as scholars and leaders, but who might not be deemed “best qualified” because they come from a highly competitive congressional district. This list is then given to the WPPSP Director, who offers a partial scholarship for the coming academic year to these candidates to attend one of four military junior colleges, or Northwestern Preparatory School in the San Bernardino Mountains in California or Greystone at Shreiner University in Kerrville, TX:
- Georgia Military College (Milledgeville, GA)
- Hargrave Military Academy (Chatham, VA)
- Marion Military Institute (Marion, AL)
- New Mexico Military Institute (Roswell, NM)
- American History
- Chemistry (w/lab)
- Math (pre-calculus or calculus)
- English Composition
This might sound like the United States Military Preparatory School (USMAPS), but it is not. WPPSP supplements USMAPS, which only teaches math and English and emphasizes student development through USMA’s Center for Enhanced Performance, and offers an alternative path to West Point for candidates who do not need the specialized preparation provided by USMAPS.
A very high percentage of the candidates who are awarded scholarships in WPPSP are offered admission to the Academy, which they have both a moral commitment and a legal obligation to accept. If a candidate doesn’t take the tendered offer or voluntarily leaves the program during the preparatory year, he or she must repay the scholarship grant; however, if a candidate fails to gain admission to USMA, then he or she is not required to repay.
Interestingly, while the academic grades of WPPSP cadets are not statistically different from the average of their USMA class, their graduation rate is higher than cadets entering the Academy from other sources, including USMAPS.