How to enter West Point (with pictures)

Table of contents:

How to enter West Point (with pictures)
How to enter West Point (with pictures)

The US Military Academy at West Point (USMA), also known simply as "West Point," located near Highland Falls, New York, is a 4-year federal service academy. Tuition, room and board, and other expenses are funded by the US Army in exchange for service after graduation. West Point is a highly regarded institution and the admission requirements are extremely competitive. To be admitted to this school, you must start planning ahead and excel in academics, fitness, and leadership.


Part 1 of 3: Get a Head Start

Get Into West Point Step 1
Get Into West Point Step 1

Step 1. Gather information about applying to West Point

Learning as much as you can about West Point ahead of time will make you a more competitive applicant. Know that applying to West Point will involve many steps, such as demonstrating academic excellence and leadership skills, writing an application essay, passing fitness tests, and getting a nomination for your application.

  • The West Point website has good information about the school and its admission requirements, as well as the requirements of its academic programs.
  • You can also request brochures and additional information from West Point or speak with your school's counselor or college placement officer about your plans.
Get Into West Point Step 2
Get Into West Point Step 2

Step 2. You must excel academically

Take the most challenging courses you can during school and get very high marks. Taking college preparatory courses or college courses and excelling in them can demonstrate your readiness for a West Point education. In particular, look for courses in the following subjects and perform excellently in them:

  • four years of English (composition, grammar, literature and expression)
  • four years of mathematics (algebra, geometry, trigonometry, calculus)
  • at least two years of a foreign language
  • two years of a laboratory science (biology, chemistry, physics)
  • a year of US history
  • geography and government
  • computing
Get Into West Point Step 3
Get Into West Point Step 3

Step 3. Be an active leader

An education at West Point is about training students to be leaders as well as to be academically successful. You can demonstrate your interest in leadership by taking on a dedicated role in a variety of settings, including:

  • the school
  • church
  • the scouts
  • community organizations
  • the clubs
  • sports
  • the student council
  • the journalism
  • the debate
  • theater and other performing arts
Get Into West Point Step 4
Get Into West Point Step 4

Step 4. Be physically active

West Point emphasizes physical fitness in all of its students and expects applicants to demonstrate a high level of activity. You can start preparing early for the fitness tests you must pass to be admitted by doing the following:

  • to run
  • play intensive sports
  • to swim
  • lifting weights and doing other strength training exercises
Get Into West Point Step 5
Get Into West Point Step 5

Step 5. Join the West Point contact list

Visit West Point's admissions page to enter your contact information and join their contact list. This can provide you with updates on the admissions process and requirements, helping you prepare to complete your own application.

Get Into West Point Step 6
Get Into West Point Step 6

Step 6. Visit the West Point campus

Scheduling an individual or group visit to the West Point campus is a great way to get a feel for the atmosphere of the school and ask questions about it. You could also accompany a current cadet for part of the day or schedule an overnight visit.

  • You can schedule a visit to West Point by contacting the West Point Visitor Center for more details.
  • Whether you visit West Point as a potential applicant or not, you could also participate in admissions events in your region. For example, there may be West Point admissions representatives at college fairs or other events in your area where you can ask questions and find out more information.

Part 2 of 3: Preparing to Apply

Get Into West Point Step 7
Get Into West Point Step 7

Step 1. Take the SAT or ACT test

You should plan to take the SAT or ACT (or both) early in your junior year of high school. You can take these tests more than once as the West Point admissions office will only consider your highest score.

  • Be sure to send West Point your SAT or ACT score.
  • The average West Point admission score on the ACT is 29 (English), 29 (math), and 28 (writing).
  • West Point's average admission score on the SAT is 627 (reading), 645 (math), and 608 (writing).
  • You can take the PSAT during your sophomore year as a way to prepare to take standardized tests during your junior year.
Get Into West Point Step 8
Get Into West Point Step 8

Step 2. Contact your regional field staff representative

A West Point field staff representative can serve as a point of contact for any questions you may have about the application. The West Point website maintains a list of field staff representatives in your area, which you can search using your zip code.

You can interview or email the field staff representative in your area

Get Into West Point Step 9
Get Into West Point Step 9

Step 3. Start your application soon

The West Point application process involves many components, so it is crucial to start early and plan ahead. Application begins in January of your junior year of high school, and you can update it throughout the subsequent year.

Get Into West Point Step 10
Get Into West Point Step 10

Step 4. Fill out the candidate questionnaire

This document serves as an initial filtering point, helping you and West Point determine if you qualify to apply by meeting some basic requirements such as:

  • be at least 17 but under 23;
  • to be single;
  • not be expecting a child or have a legal obligation to support a child;
  • be a U. S. citizen unless you are applying as an international cadet (a process that has additional requirements).
Get Into West Point Step 11
Get Into West Point Step 11

Step 5. Apply as an international cadet

If you are interested in studying at West Point as an international cadet, contact the US Embassy in your area. Each embassy can nominate up to 6 people for admission. West Point limits the number of international cadets that can apply at one time to only 60. If you are applying as an international cadet, you must also do the following:

  • You must be sponsored by a national government official.
  • You must be between 17 and 22 years old.
  • You must not be married or expecting a child.
  • You should not have legal obligations to support your children.
Get Into West Point Step 12
Get Into West Point Step 12

Step 6. Apply as a current soldier

You may qualify for admission to West Point if you currently serve in the US Army Applicants who are currently Soldiers must meet the regular West Point admission requirements. In addition, they must do the following:

  • You must be recommending by your company or unit commander at the lowest level. Your commander can fill out a special recommendation form on your behalf.
  • You are encouraged to have a recommendation from a member of Congress (a senator, representative, territorial delegate, the vice president, etc.). You can start contacting these members early in the West Point application process.
  • If you do not qualify academically for admission to West Point, as a soldier you may automatically be considered for admission to the US Military Academy Preparatory School (USMAPS). After attending USMAPS, you may be considered later for admission to West Point.
Get Into West Point Step 13
Get Into West Point Step 13

Step 7. Apply to attend the Summer Leaders Experience (SLE)

SLE is an optional one-week program that selected applicants attend the summer before their senior year of high school. It's a great way to get a feel for what life is like as a student at West Point.

  • The SLE provides a variety of academic, athletic, military, and social activities that exemplify what West Point offers.
  • The SLE accepts a limited number of applicants.
  • The deadline to apply to the SLE is April 1.

Part 3 of 3: Finish and submit your application

Get Into West Point Step 14
Get Into West Point Step 14

Step 1. Gather nomination letters

Admission to West Point is highly selective. To apply, you must first obtain either a congressional nomination or a service connected nomination. Visit West Point's admissions page for the most up-to-date information on how to apply for and submit these nominations.

  • You can request a congressional nomination from people such as a senator or representative, the vice president and the territorial delegates of the congress.
  • Children of career military personnel, reservists, children of deceased or disabled veterans of the army, children of persons who have been awarded the Medal of Honor, and certain members of the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC, for can get a service connected nomination.
Get Into West Point Step 15
Get Into West Point Step 15

Step 2. Submit school records

You should request records of all academic programs you have attended (that is, high school and any college credits you have earned) and have them sent to West Point as part of your application. You will send updated initial files at the time of applying. Once you have finished high school or another program, you will have to submit a final transcript.

Get Into West Point Step 16
Get Into West Point Step 16

Step 3. Submit the Official School Assessment (SOE)

The SOE is a document submitted by your school counselor (or equivalent) that describes your academic performance, curricular and extracurricular activities, and your overall character. Please review the West Point admissions website, your application, or informational emails to learn how to receive the most up-to-date SOE form. Let your counselor know ahead of time that you will need to submit that form on your behalf.

Get Into West Point Step 17
Get Into West Point Step 17

Step 4. Fill out and submit the Candidate Statement

The Candidate Statement is an important part of your application because it is an opportunity for you to explain in writing your motivations for wanting to attend West Point, how it fits into your future plans, etc. Your application for admission will include detailed instructions on how to fill out and submit the declaration.

  • Don't try to flatter the admissions department. Instead, focus on describing as vividly and specifically why you want to attend West Point.
  • Avoid cliches like "I've wanted to attend West Point since I was a little kid."
  • Ask someone you trust (like a teacher or counselor) to read your statement and give you feedback on how to improve it.
  • Review and correct your return before submitting it.
Get Into West Point Step 18
Get Into West Point Step 18

Step 5. Fill out the Candidate Fitness Assessment (CFA)

The CFA is a multi-part fitness test that you must pass in order to be admitted to West Point (in addition to academic and other requirements). The assessment can be administered by PE teachers, military officers, military science teachers, and ROTC instructors (see application for details). The CFA has six components:

  • throwing a basketball (average distance: 31 m or 102 ft [men] and 12.5 m or 41 ft [women])
  • chin-ups with cadence (average number in 2 minutes: 9 [men] and 3 [women])
  • a stage race (average time: 9, 1 seconds [men] and 10 seconds [women])
  • modified abs (average number in 2 minutes: 72 [men] and 68 [women])
  • push-ups (average number in two minutes: 54 [men] and 33 [women])
  • a 1.5 km or 1 mile run (average time: 6:43 [men] and 8:06 [women])
Get Into West Point Step 19
Get Into West Point Step 19

Step 6. Take the Qualifying Medical Exam (QME)

The QME measures your general health to assess your readiness for West Point requirements and for military service. After you start the application, you will receive a notification from the Department of Defense Medical Examination Review Committee (DoDMERB) giving you the location and date of your exam. The QME can be conducted at a civilian facility or military base near you.

Get Into West Point Step 20
Get Into West Point Step 20

Step 7. Submit your application

Once all the components of your application are ready and you have completed all the necessary exams, you are ready to submit your application for admission to West Point. Make sure to do it before the deadline (usually in March of each application year).

You don't have to wait until the deadline to submit your application. It is encouraged that you present it soon, as soon as you have all the components ready

Get Into West Point Step 21
Get Into West Point Step 21

Step 8. Receive your admission decision notice

The West Point admissions committee makes offers of admission between January and May of the year you apply (usually your senior year of high school).

Even if you are not admitted at first, you can be informed that you have been placed on a waiting list. Each year, many candidates are admitted to West Point from this list

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