West Point Summer Leaders Seminar


10-Year Member
Aug 11, 2006
It was my first experience with anything military but I liked it a lot and made USMA a sure thing for me. I got a good idea of what the cadets and faculty were like. Definitely didn't expect a dance on the first night, but that was fun. Getting to talk to soldiers and firing a howitzer were great, too.
High/low point: Airborne Rangers decide to join our dodgeball game and decimate my thumb (nothing broken, somehow)

A lot of kids said the USNA week was better and the PT was tougher- though USMA PT was fine by me :)

Did anybody else go? Just wondering what you all thought of it.
What was your itinerary for the week? I'm going to apply for this next year. This also really helps your odds of getting in, being that you know what to expect and still decided to apply. It means that you have less of a chance of dropping out during Beast than someone without the prior experience.
i was jsut woner how sls works. i assume u have to apply for it ans they select you? If you get into sls do u have a pretty good shot at getting into the academy?
"i was jsut woner how sls works. i assume u have to apply for it ans they select you? If you get into sls do u have a pretty good shot at getting into the academy?"

What did he say?
To apply- go to usma.edu and I believe there is a "summer" button somewhere. You fill out the same form that starts your West Point file- Personal info and your sports, extracurriculars, and PSAT score. Apparently the PSAT score is a very important factor. You also rank how much you want each course

The whole thing is run by cadets. The candidates (thats us!) are organized into squads led by cadets, into platoons, etc.

Itinerary- You show up Saturday, they teach you how to march and form up (about face, all that) though I missed that part! You get your room and a ton of free clothing to wear while you're there. Just to warn you, there was a dance that night! The 6:1 boy:girl ratio was pretty realistic for West Point and I could already see "grey goggles" happening.

Sunday- Take the CFA. There were some barfers! Extremely helpful for me, I got to see how much work there was to do! If you want you can use the score from that day, or, like me, take the CFA again a few months later.

Mon, Tues, Wed- PT in the morning, academic classes you signed up fore before and after lunch, and later on an activity with your squad/platoon, e.g. dodgeball or playing America's Army.

Thursday- Military "training" day! We spent time with the 82nd Airborne arty guys and learned all about artillery. We got to fire a howitzer and learn how a crew operates it. Other than the howitzer, that part was not particularly scintillating. MRE for lunch! I discovered that I love those (just don't chew the gum too long :shake: ).
Other rangers taught us about land nav, IEDs, engineer stuff, MOUT (room-clearing), and the most popular: playing around with M4s ad night vision and shooting blanks out of machine guns.

There were also a ton of speeches and Q/A sessions about USMA, applying, nominations, etc. We marched around and got in formation everywhere. My voice and many others were hoarse from calling cadence (I could hardly speak by the third day). The food was great... getting up at 5:30 to be ready for PT by 5:35 was also challenging :)
The classes were usually interesting and not at all difficult. Stuff that seemed like it would be boring wasn't- Math=shooting a ball out of a cannon and using computers/equations to calculate the trajectory. History=messing around with WWII guns.

They said about half the kids who do the Seminar get in to USMA. I don't know if that's because admissions likes it or because those kids who apply and are admitted to SLS are more motivated/better test scores.

OK I wrote a mountain, I hope it helps (if you could stay awake) and that I didn't ruin any suprises for you.

BOTTOM LINE: Apply! I'm glad I went, I got to see what the faculty, cadets and future cadets are like. It made me want to go to USMA
God, a lot of it sounds like mock R day. That **** was intense. Awesome post, I really appreciate it

How the heck are you? Did you have a pleasant summer? :shake:
Well, at least he uses accurate terminology. :shake:
Aronson said:
God, a lot of it sounds like mock R day. That **** was intense.

I think in no way was it as tough as R-Day! It was basically just to give us a taste. They didn't sugarcoat things, but they didn't go out of their way to upset us. One cadet did yell at some girl until she cried, but I tihnk that was an isolated incedent.
Yeah. Were you there for Mock R? It was really sweet. I loved every minute of it, especially reporting in to the 1SG (First Sergeant) (not the red sash, the First Sergeant). I was in Charlie Co. (Rock of the Marne!)
Heh. TN was making S'mores around the camp fire.
:thumb: This thumbs for you buddy. Way to knock it out.