The United States Military Academy (West Point) is one of the most prestigious and most difficult universities to be admitted to. Since being founded on March 16, 1802, among its alumni are two U.S. Presidents, 37 State Governors, 33 Members of Congress, 20 astronauts, and 93 Rhodes Scholars. The Academy focuses on four developmental domains: academic, physical, military, and character. West Point seeks well-rounded candidates who demonstrate excellent academic ability (60 percent), leadership potential (30 percent), and successful Candidate Fitness Assessment (10 percent). Upon graduation, cadets will serve five years on active duty. There is no cost to the cadet to attend; everything is paid for by the United States Army. Academic ability is based upon high school rank, SAT and/or ACT scores, and academic transcripts. Leadership ability includes extracurricular activities such as Boys or Girls State or Eagle Scout. Athletic participation is valued with a preference for team captain, as well as successful completion of the Candidate Fitness Assessment which includes basketball throw, 40-yard shuttle run, pull-ups, modified sit-ups, one-mile run, and push-ups. Candidates must receive a Congressional nomination from the U.S. House of Representatives, Senate, or Vice President. Candidates must communicate early with local Field Force Representatives to schedule an interview. The overall admission strategy for a candidate is to be proactive and aggressive throughout the process. Always use the candidate’s email and phone number and not the parents’ information. Apply to all available nomination sources early, and complete the application process early. There are at least 15,000 applicants in an average year, and class size is usually 1,200 cadets. Candidates are strongly encouraged to consider all other service academies, as well as all ROTC Scholarship opportunities as well. A candidate must want to go to a military academy for themselves and not for anyone else. This is an immersive environment that requires a deep and genuine commitment to succeed.
Colonel (Retired) Steven L. Hartman spent 30 years in the United States Army and for the last 12 years has been teaching Army JROTC at Canoga Park High School in Canoga Park, California. Colonel Hartman is a West Point Admissions Field Force Officer for California Congressional District 26.