Each year thousands of high school graduates choose to attend a military academy instead of a traditional four-year college. This choice not only provides students with the opportunity to earn an excellent education, but also the opportunity to train and commission as an officer in the United States Military. Although each academy equally prepares cadets for a future in the military, each is very unique in its own right. Here’s all you need to know about West Point Admissions and the Academy.
West Point Academy Fast Facts
Official Name: United States Military Academy (USMA) West Point
Founded: March 16, 1802
Location: West Point, New York
Number of Cadets: Roughly 4,200
School Colors: Black, Grey and Gold
Athletics: 25 Division 1 sports
Education: Students receive a fully paid four year college education valued at $225,000
Student Pay: First-year cadets earn more than $900 a month (each year pay will increase)
West Point Admissions Eligibility
- At least 17 years of age (but not older than 23)
- Not married
- Not pregnant nor have a legal obligation to support a child
- A U.S. citizen (some exceptions may apply)
West Point Admissions Application Process
Applying to West Point Academy, or any other service academy, is very extensive process. Students interested in applying should begin the process their junior year in high school. About half way through junior year, students will want to reach out and contact their regional Field Force representative.
Connecting with a Field Force Representative
A Field Force representative is a West Point Academy admissions representative that will help you answer any questions you may have about the academy as well as assist you with the application process. Find your designated Field Force representative to help you begin the process of applying to West Point Academy.
Next students will want to complete and submit their Candidate Questionnaire, that is similar to a typical college application, no later than the summer before their senior year in high school. It’s important to make sure you fill out your Candidate Questionnaire with the most accurate information, and check over it before submitting for review.
Once you’ve submitted your Candidate Questionnaire you will want to start working on securing a nomination for your application. You can receive a nomination from any of the following:
- Your congress representative
- Either of your state senators
- The vice president of the United States
You will want to begin applying for a nomination during the spring of your junior year in high school.
Once Candidate Questionnaires are reviewed by admissions, candidates that are chosen will receive instructions about the remainder of their application process. To see a full list of steps of the application process visit the West Point Academy Admissions page, you can also see a timeline of the application process to help keep you on track when applying to West Point Academy.
West Point Academy Summer Leaders Experience
High school juniors, who are considering applying for West Point Academy, can apply to attend the Summer Leaders Experience (SLE) during the summer before their senior year.
SLE is a week long summer program that gives high school juniors the opportunity to experience what being a cadet at the academy would be like. Those that attend will attend academic classes, receive an introduction to military training, and physical fitness.
Applying for Summer Leaders Experience is very competitive, the academy receives nearly 6,000 applications every year but only 1,000 will be selected to attend. Learn more about the Summer Leaders Experience and how to apply on the Military Academy’s website.
Attending West Point Academy
Those that are chosen and accept admission at West Point Academy will become Cadets and go through four years of school, and if successful graduate and commission as an officer in the United States Army. The mission of West Point Academy is:
“To educate, train, and inspire the Corps of Cadets so that each graduate is a commissioned leader of character committed to the values of Duty, Honor, Country and prepared for a career of professional excellence and service to the nation as an officer in the United States Army.”
Cadets will spend their time at the academy preparing for their role as an officer through academic, military and physical training.
Cadets that attend West Point Academy will graduate with a Bachelor of Science Degree in 1 of 42 different majors. The academic courses Cadets take will help prepare them for their role as a commissioned officer in the United States Army, as well as preparing them for life after the Army.
Over the course of four years West Point Academy Cadets will learn military courtesies and standards that will help them transition from civilian life into a military environment. The training Cadets receive will help build a solid foundation of leadership that will be essential for them as an officer in the Army.
Cadet Basic Training
Cadets’ four years at West Point Academy will begin with a 6-week program that will transition cadets from a civilian lifestyle into a military one. Cadet Basic Training, also known as Beast Barracks, will challenge cadets physically and mentally as it lays the foundation for the next four years to come.
Cadet Basic Training consists of high intensity physical training paired with learning military standards and courtesies. Cadets will begin to learn what it means to be a leader and begin living by a code of ethics and honor that they will continue to live by for the duration of their time at the academy as well as for the rest of their life.
During Cadet Basic Training, cadets will not have access to their computers and will have limited to no access to their phones. Sending encouragement and support during their training is highly encouraged. It is common for families and friends to send Letters to their Cadets over the course of the six weeks.
You can send Letters to Cadet Basic Training at West Point Academy via Sandboxx. Sandboxx allows you to send letters to your Cadet from your phone or computer. Learn more about Sandboxx and how Letters work.
Cadet Basic Training will be demanding and one of the toughest challenges cadets face. It’s important that cadets arrive prepared. West Point Academy offers many ways to help prepare physically for Cadet Basic Training.
After Graduation at West Point Academy
After four rigorous years at West Point Academy, graduates will commission as Officers in the United States Army. They will be required to serve for five years as active duty.
Graduates will attend Basic Officer Leader Course for some more training in their area of specialty. Once they finish training officers are sent to their Army Unit where they will be for the next three years.
After five years of active duty service are completed, officers have two choices. They can either continue with an Army career and receive more advanced training, or pursue a civilian career. For those that choose to pursue a career in the civilian community, they will be required to serve three years in the Inactive Ready Reserve (IRR).
Notable West Point Academy Alumni
- Jefferson Davis President of the Confederate States of America
- Robert E. Lee – General in Chief of the Confederate Armies
- Ulysses S. Grant – President of the United States (1869-1877)
- George S. Patton Jr. – Commanding General of the 7th Army 1942-44
- Dwight D. Eisenhower – President of the United States (1953-1961)
- Edwin E. Aldrin – Astronaut
- H. Norman Schwarzkopf – Commander-in-chief, United States Central Command
- Kristin Baker – First woman Brigade Commander, U.S. Corps of Cadets
Are you considering attending the United States Air Force Academy or another service academy? Let us know in the comments below.
Heading to West Point Academythis summer? Tell your friends and family to download Sandboxx to send you Letters during your Cadet Basic Training.