wikiHow to Get Into West Point

Three Parts:Getting a Head StartPreparing to ApplyCompleting and Submitting Your Application

The United States 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 U.S. Army in return for service post-graduation. West Point is a highly regarded institution, and admission requirements are extremely competitive. To be admitted to this school, you must begin planning early and excel in academics, physical fitness, and leadership.[1]

Part 1
Getting a Head Start

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    Gather information about applying to West Point.[2] 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, like showing academic excellence and leadership skills, writing an application essay, taking physical fitness tests, and getting a nomination for your application.
    • The West Point website maintains good information about the school and its admissions requirements, as well as the requirements of its academic programs.[3]
    • You can also request brochures and additional information from West Point, or talk to your school counseler/college placement officer about your plans.
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    Excel academically. Take the most challenging courses you can during high school, and earn very high grades.[4] Taking college preparatory and/or advanced placement courses, and excelling in them, can demonstrate your readiness for a West Point education. In particular, seek out and perform excellently in courses in the following subjects:[5]
    • Four years of English (composition, grammar, literature, and speech)
    • Four years of math (algebra, geometry trigonometry, calculus)
    • At least two years of a foreign language
    • Two years of laboratory science (biology, chemistry, physics)
    • One year of U.S. History
    • Geography and government
    • Computing
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    Be an active leader.[6] A West Point education is about training students to be leaders as well as academic successes. You can demonstrate your interest in leadership by taking on a dedicated role in a variety of settings, including:[7]
    • School
    • Church
    • Scouting
    • Community organizations
    • Clubs
    • Sports
    • Student government
    • Journalism
    • Debate
    • Drama or other performing arts
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    Be physically active.[8][9] West Point emphasizes physical fitness for all students, and expects applicants to demonstrate a high level of activity. You can begin preparing early for the physical fitness tests you must pass for admission by:
    • Running
    • Playing intensive sports
    • Swimming
    • Lifting weights and doing other strength training exercises
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    Join the West Point mailing list.[10] Visit the West Point admissions page to enter your contact information and join its mailing list. This can provide you with updates on the admissions process and requirements, helping you to prepare to complete your own application.
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    Visit the West Point campus.[11] Scheduling an individual and/or group visit to the West Point campus is an excellent way to get a sense of the school’s atmosphere, and to ask questions about it. You may also be able to shadow 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’s Center for details.[12]
    • Whether or not you visit West Point as a prospective applicant, you may also be able to participate in admissions events in your region.[13] For example, West Point admissions representatives may be available at college fairs or other events in your area, where you can ask questions and find out more information.

Part 2
Preparing to Apply

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    Take the SAT or ACT. You should plan to take the SAT or ACT test (or both) early in your junior year.[14][15][16] You can take these tests more than once; West Point admissions will only consider your highest scores.
    • Make sure to have your SAT or ACT scores sent to West Point.[17]
    • The average ACT scores of those admitted to West Point are 29 (English), 29 (Math), 28 (Writing).[18]
    • The average SAT scores of those admitted to West Point are 627 (Reading), 645 (Math), and 608 (Writing).[19]
    • You can take the PSAT during your sophomore year as a way of preparing to take standardized tests during your junior year.[20]
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    Contact your regional field force representative.[21] A West Point field force representative can serve as a contact point for any questions you may have about applying. The West Point website maintains a list of field force representatives in your area, which you can search by ZIP code.[22]
    • You can interview or email the field force representative in your area.[23]
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    Start your application early.[24] The West Point application process entails many components, so it is critical to start early and plan ahead. The application opens in January of your Junior year, and you can update it throughout the subsequent year.
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    Complete the candidate questionnaire.[25] This document serves as an initial screening point, helping you and West Point determine if you are eligible to apply, by meeting some basic requirements such as:
    • You must be at least 17 but not yet 23
    • You must not be married
    • You cannot be pregnant or have a legal obligation to support a child
    • You must be a U.S. citizen unless you are applying as an international cadet (a process that has additional requirements)
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    Apply as an international cadet. If you are a interested in studying at West Point as an international cadet, contact the U.S. Embassy in your area; each embassy can nominate up to 6 individuals for admission.[26] West Point limits the number of international cadets at any one time to 60. If you are applying as an international cadet, you must also:
    • Be sponsored by a national-level government official
    • Be between the ages of 17 and 22
    • Not be married or pregnant
    • Have no legal obligation to support children
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    Apply as a current soldier. You may be eligible for admission to West Point if you are currently serving in the U.S. Army.[27] Applicants who are currently soldiers must meet West Point’s regular admissions requirements. In addition:
    • You must be recommended by your company or lowest-level unit commander. Your commander can fill out a special recommendation form on your behalf.[28]
    • You are encouraged to have a recommendation from a member of congress (a senator, representative, territorial delegate, the Vice President, etc.). You can begin contacting these members early in the process of applying to West Point.[29]
    • If you do not qualify academically for admission to West Point, as a Soldier you can be automatically considered for admission to the United States Military Academy Preparatory School (USMAPS). After attending USMAPS, you can later be considered for admission to West Point.
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    Apply to attend the Summer Leaders Experience (SLE).[30] The SLE is an optional, week-long program attended by certain applicants the summer before their senior year of high school. It is a good way to get a sense of what life as a student at West Point is like.[31]
    • The SLE provides a variety of academic, athletic, military and social activities that exemplify the offerings at West Point.
    • The SLE accepts a limited number of applicants.
    • The deadline to apply to the SLE is April 1st.

Part 3
Completing and Submitting Your Application

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    Gather letters of nomination. Admission to West Point is highly selective; to apply, you must first gain either a Congressional nomination or a Service-Connected nomination. Visit the West Point admissions page for the most current information on how to solicit and submit these nominations. [32]
    • You can request a Congressional nomination from individuals such as a Senator or Representative, the Vice President, and territorial delegates to Congress.
    • Children of career military personnel, Reservists, children of deceased or disabled Army veterans, children of persons awarded the Medal of Honor, and certain members of the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) can obtain a Service-Connected nomination.
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    Submit school transcripts.[33] You must request transcripts from all academic programs you have attended (i.e., high school and any college credits), and arrange to have them sent to West Point as part of your application. You will send initial transcripts that are up-to-date at the time you apply. Once you have completed high school or another program, you will need to send a final transcript.[34]
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    Submit the School Official Evaluation (SOE).[35] An SOE is a document submitted by your school counselor (or equivalent) that describes your academic performance, curricular and extracurricular activities, and overall character. Check the West Point admissions website, your application, or informational emails about how to receive the most up to date SOE form. Let your counselor know well ahead of time that you will need him or her to submit this form on your behalf.
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    Complete and submit the Candidate Statement.[36] 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 complete and submit the statement.
    • Don't try to flatter the Admissions department. Instead, focus on describing why you want to attend West Point as vividly and specifically as you can.[37]
    • Avoid cliches like "Ever since I was a young child, I have wanted to attend West Point."
    • Have someone you trust (such as a teacher or counselor) read your statement and give you feedback on how to improve it.
    • Revise and proofread your statement before submitting it.
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    Complete the Candidate Fitness Assessment (CFA).[38] The CFA is a multi-part physical fitness test that you must pass in order to be admitted to West Point (in addition to academic and other requirements). It can be administered by Physical Education teachers, military officers, professors of military science, and J/ROTC instructors; see your application for details. The CFA has six components:
    • A Basketball throw [average distance: 102 (male)/41 (female)]
    • Cadence pull-ups [average number in 2 minutes: 9 (m)/3 (f)]
    • A shuttle run [average time: 9.1 seconds (m)/10 seconds (f)]
    • Modified sit-ups [average number in 2 minutes: 72 (m)/68 (f)]
    • Push-ups [average number in two minutes: 54 (m)/33 (f)]
    • A one-mile run [average time: 6:43 (m)/8:06 (f)
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    Complete the Qualifying Medical Examination (QME).[39] The QME measures your overall health, to assess your readiness for requirements at West Point and for military service. After beginning your application, you will receive a notification from the Department of Defense Medical Examination Review Board (DoDMERB), giving the location and date of your examination. The QME may take place at a civilian or facility or at a military base near you.
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    Submit your application. Once all of your application components are prepared, and all examinations have been completed, you will be ready to submit your application for admission to West Point. Make sure to do so by the stated deadline (typically sometime in March of each application year).[40]
    • You do not have to wait until the deadline to submit your application. You are encouraged to submit your application early, as soon as all of its components are finished.
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    Receive your admissions decision notification. The West Point admissions committee makes offers of admission between January and May of the year in which you apply (typically your senior year of high school).[41]
    • Even if you are not admitted at first, you may be informed that you have been placed on a wait list. Each year, many candidates are admitted to West Point from this wait list.[42]


  • You can begin preparing for admission to West Point even earlier than high school.[43] During your middle school years, for instance, you can begin seeking out the most challenging academic courses you can, as well as leadership opportunities.

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