How to Get into West Point: Step-By-Step Guide
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- Overview of West Point Admissions
- How to Apply to West Point
- How Hard is it to Get into West Point?
- What is West Point Looking For?
- What Are Your Chances of Acceptance?
Founded in 1802, the United States Military Academy sits about 50 miles north of New York City and is the oldest federal service academy in the country. Also known simply as West Point, students (cadets) earn a Bachelor of Science degree while working to become an officer in the US Army.
Tuition at West Point is funded by the military in exchange for an active-duty service obligation upon graduation. Every cadet is required to participate in a sport each semester, and live in barracks rather than dorms. The West Point requirements are strict, with only ten percent of applicants making the cut. To have a chance, you must secure a nomination from your Congressperson, be at the top of your class, and show leadership and determination to succeed. Does that sound like you? Then let’s go over how to get into West Point.
Overview of West Point Admissions
Location: West Point, New York
Acceptance Rate: 10%
Average GPA: 3.9
Middle 50% SAT: 1160-1380
Middle 50% ACT: 25-30
West Point is ranked #15 in National Liberal Arts Colleges and #2 in Top Public Schools, showing their commitment not just to military preparation, but academic rigor. West Point’s mission 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.” Many students choose West Point for their proven success in demonstrating this mission.
Cadets also have illustrious alumni to look up to, including Dwight D. Eisenhower, Ulysses S. Grant, Douglas MacArthur, and Jim Kimsey. They hope to embody the same qualities shown by the “Long Gray Line” that came before them and find West Point to be the ideal place to do it.
How to Apply to West Point
Check Your Eligibility
- Aged at least 17 but no older than 23 on July 1 of the year you enter West Point
- A US Citizen
- Not pregnant
- Not legally responsible for child support
Gather Your Personal Information
- Social Security number
- ACT, SAT, PSAT, or PLAN (Pre-ACT) scores
- Your 9-digit zip code
- Your high school’s ETS Code
- Your high school’s address
- Your Congressional District
To begin an application with West Point, you will need to complete the Candidate Questionnaire. The CQ opens in mid-January, and you should try to complete it as soon as possible.
Secure a Nomination
There are two types of nominations you can ask for to get into the school.
To get a Congressional nomination, you will first need to identify your Congressional Representative or Senators. You should send a request to each of these people, as well as the Vice-President of the United States. You should do this as soon as you begin your application to West Point. Most political figures will have some form of nomination request on their website, but everyone differs. Once again, due to those differences and possible deadlines, you need to make sure you request nominations immediately.
A service-connected nomination is a little different. Only certain groups of people can apply for these, included below:
- Children of “career military personnel”—defined as children of members of an armed force (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard) who are currently on active duty with at least eight years of continuous active duty service or who are, or died while retired with pay or granted retired or retainer pay. This can also include Reserve members.
- A current active duty, Reserve, or National Guard soldier
- Children of deceased or disabled Armed Forces veterans
- Children of Medal of Honor recipients
- Applicants currently enrolled in an Army Junior or Senior Reserve Officer Training Corps program or Honor ROTC unit of other services.
Pass the Fitness Test
You will first need to get a medical examination, provided by the Department of Defense Medical Examination Review Board (DoDMERB). You should do this ASAP!
Once you’ve completed the above steps, you’ll receive an email directing you to the CFA Testing Instructions. The Candidate Fitness Assessment consists of six events:
- Basketball throw (from a kneeling position)
- Cadence pull-ups or flexed-arm hang (women’s option)
- 40-yard shuttle run (this is based on time)
- Modified sit-ups (based on the number you can complete in 2 minutes)
- Push-ups (based on the number you can complete in 2 minutes)
- 1-mile run (timed)
Submit Required Materials
All applicants must submit:
- School official evaluation
- Candidate Statement
- Candidate Fitness Assessment
- Medical Exam (DoDMERB)
All required documents must be submitted into the West Point Candidate Portal by January 31 of the year you are applying to enter.
How Hard is it to Get into West Point?
Not to freak you out or anything, but West Point is extremely selective. Their acceptance rate is 10%, comparable to most “regular” schools at their level. Like those “regular” schools, students attempting to gain admission to West Point must do their best in all aspects of school, as well as community service, on top of West Point’s already stringent extra requirements. West Point cadets have an average GPA of 3.9 on a 4.0 scale, as compared to the average 3.0 in the United States as a whole.
Cadets’ test scores are also above average, 1160-1380 and 25-30, compared to a national average of 1051 and 21 respectively. On the low end, 1160 on the SAT would put a student in the 76th percentile, meaning 76% of students score at or lower. Likewise, a 25 on the ACT puts a student in the 79th percentile, meaning 79% of students score at or lower.
What is West Point Looking For?
Academic rigor is a core value at West Point, so you want to make sure you are doing as much as you can to keep a high academic status. Some great ways to do this include:
- Taking honors or AP-level courses—weighting can assist you in developing your GPA!
- Increase your course load- instead of a free period or early dismissal, think about what you can take to show initiative, and excel!
- Take (and retake, if needed) standardized tests. While you are required to submit test scores, know that you can retake these if they are not to your liking. West Point will super score your scores!
Leadership and Service
Think about how you can be of service to your community. Some ways include:
- Identifying a problem, and getting a group of people together to fix it. This also demonstrates leadership!
- Join an already-established volunteer group.
- Work with your church or worship center to assist in the community.
- If you’ve been in Boy or Girl Scouts, that is a great way to beef up your community service resume!
Obviously, fitness is required to gain admission to the school. As a high-school student, you have plenty of opportunities to work on this if you need to!
- Join a school sport- football, volleyball, track and field, soccer- all sports that will get your heart pumping, and develop your teamwork skills.
- Check out YouTube! There are plenty of free, at-home workouts that will get you in shape for your Fitness Exam.
- West Point’s website has detailed instructions on everything expected of you in your exam. This is a valuable resource when preparing.
What Are Your Chances of Acceptance?
Our free Chancing Engine compiles information from hundreds of colleges to help you see your realistic chance of admission. Input your grades, GPA, extracurriculars, and demographics, as well as your preferred schools and majors. We’ll give you a clear idea of how likely you are to get in as you are now, and what areas you could work on to improve your chances.
While West Point does have non-traditional application components that we can’t account for, we can still give you a good idea of your chances. To use the Chancing Engine, all you need to do is sign up for a free CollegeVine account!