Congratulations! If you’re considering West Point, you are already among a select group of men and women willing to rise to the challenge of applying to a service academy. Every year, West Point admits more than a thousand students to its incoming plebe (freshman) class. But to get to that point, students have to be willing to work hard both in and outside of the classroom. There are no shortcuts. An acceptance to West Point is a major accomplishment, and one that we hope you’ll be motivated to pursue.
Naturally, along the way you’re going to have questions. That’s why we’re here! Below you’ll find 10 of the most frequently asked questions our Field Force representatives get from aspiring candidates. Whether on Facebook, Instagram, or during a live-chat event with one of our Admissions Officers, we’re always listening for your questions. Don’t see your question answered below? Reach out to your Field Force representative. We’ll do our best to get back to you.
1. How much is the application fee and tuition at West Point?
West point offers a very unique opportunity because the cost of tuition is zero. That’s right! Zero. Every student at West Point essentially receives a full ride scholarship and, on top of that, a monthly stipend that can be used for daily needs, starting a financial nest-egg, or just having fun in NYC. In exchange for this free Ivy League level education, West Point graduates commit to serving in the U.S. Army for five years on active duty and three in the individual reserves.
2. What majors does West Point have to offer?
Despite the fact that West Point is a military academy with one of the strongest Engineering departments in the nation, we also offer over 40 different majors and are ranked among the top Liberal Arts colleges. We have students that major in history, foreign languages, English, economics, and sciences; you can find a major for just about anything that you might want to do. But it is important to remember that no matter what major you choose to pursue, every student at West Point is required to take a minimum of three semesters of engineering and several high-level quantitative classes like Chemistry or Probability and Statistics, and every West Point graduate earns a Bachelor of Science degree. That means, while you’re in high school, it’s important to take the highest level math and science classes you can to prepare for the academic rigors of West Point.
3. What opportunities come from attending a service academy?
The number one opportunity that comes from attending a service academy is the chance to serve as a Second Lieutenant in the active duty military. West Point is the premier leadership institution in the world. We’ve been developing leaders of character for more than 200 years. Throughout the West Point experience, cadets are constantly advancing academically, physically, militarily, and in terms of their personal character. Those pillars of excellence help us to ensure that every cadet graduates not just with an ivy-league education, but also with those intangible qualities of leadership. You will leave as someone who can connect with people, motivate teams, and develop innovative solutions to problems in the real world.
4. What is daily life like at West Point?
A typical day for a cadet starts early! After breakfast, the first class of the day is at 0730, and classes and study time continues until lunch. Some students use a free hour in the morning to go to the gym or take a quick nap, but everyone reconvenes at 1150 for formation and then goes together into Washington Hall for lunch. Cadets are served family style, which builds camaraderie and ensures that you have a chance to connect with your classmates. After lunch, there is another block of classes and study time that ends at 1600. In the afternoon, students are either playing a Division I, intramural, or club sport or attending drill practice. At night, you can find students in the library, studying in the dorms, heading out to dinner in the Mess Hall—or simply hanging out together making memories. Taps is between 1130 and midnight, and that’s when cadets go to bed to rest up for the next day.
5. I’m interested in attending West Point, but I am a freshman (or sophomore) in high school. What should I be doing now to be ready?
The application portal for aspiring candidates opens to high school Juniors every January. However, if you’re in your freshman or sophomore year of high school, there is plenty you can do to prepare to be a qualified candidate. First and foremost, it’s important to study hard and to take the highest level AP courses that your school offers. Regional Commanders aren’t just looking for students with a high GPA, but for students who excel in rigorous classes. It’s also important for you to engage in community service and school leadership positions. The earlier you get involved, the better. You don’t have to be the captain of 15 clubs to get accepted to West Point, but we want candidates who demonstrate leadership potential. In other words, we value quality over quantity.
6. How does applying to West Point work?
The application process at West Point is more involved than other schools because of the unique nature of service academies. Every candidate admitted to West Point must qualify academically (showing adequate minimum scores on the ACT/SAT), physically (passing the Candidate Fitness Assessment), medically, and receive a Congressional or Presidential nomination. Once you’ve achieved all four of those milestones, the admissions department will review your full application. Interested applicants should start by filling out the Cadet Questionnaire. Qualified students will receive a step-by-step guide to help you through the process. Field Force representatives are also available to help. The key is to start early – here’s a timeline to help you see the process.
7. How do I get a nomination?
To get a nomination, you will apply to your two senators, local congressman, and the Vice President. Submitting your request to all four of those applications will help increase your chances of receiving a nomination. Nominating offices have their own timelines and suspense dates. Click here for more information on the nomination process.
8. What is the Military Training at West Point like?
For many cadets, military training is one of the most challenging and rewarding parts of the West Point experience. Starting the summer before their first academic year at West Point, cadet candidates come together for several weeks of Cadet Basic Training or “Beast.” The second summer of military training, Cadet Field Training, takes place at Camp Buckner and helps rising sophomores hone their skills on the battlefield while introducing them to the different branches of the military. During the third and fourth West Point summer, uUpperclassmen take the reigns, leading Beast and Buckner for their younger classmates. West Point’s military training requires endurance running, ruck marching, and a host of other mental and physical challenges. But the good news is no cadet ever endures those challenges alone. Our program is designed to help create the teamwork and camaraderie central to the heart of the Corps.
9. How intense is physical training at West Point? How can I prepare?
The best way to prepare for West Point is to focus on passing the Candidate Fitness Assessment which includes a basketball throw, pull ups, shuttle run, sit ups, push ups, and a one-mile run. Beyond that, the physical training at West Point is demanding but feasible for students who are willing to put in the effort. To prepare, work on increasing your running endurance and speed, and consider taking a few practice APFT’s for good measure. Whether you struggle on the pushups, sit-ups, or the 2-mile run—the only way to improve is to practice.
10. How do cadets at West Point have fun?
Don’t worry! Cadets at West Point get all the benefits of a college experience, too. There are so many ways that cadets at West Point have fun. Cadets join volunteer organizations, attend spirit dinners, join clubs and on-campus activities, go on retreats together and spend time at their Sponsor’s houses. On the weekends, if there’s not a football game to attend, they might gather a group of friends together to go to New York City and see a show. There is so much to explore and enjoy on campus too: from our on-campus Ski Slope and Golf Course to taking river boat cruises on the Hudson River. And that’s just the extracurriculars. Here, the opportunities for having fun and making memories are endless.