West Point takes pride in attracting the top talent from across the nation. The extensive application process is one of the many indicators as to the type of student who applies to West Point. Applying to West Point is best described as a process of attrition. Each year, over 10,000 prospective high school juniors and seniors submit requests for information on West Point. Applicants are assessed, and approximately 2,000 are qualified through West Point’s academic, physical, and medical criteria. Of this number, West Point admits between 1,150–1,200 young men and women each year. Candidates are evaluated for admission on the basis of academic performance (high school record and SAT or ACT scores, as well as SAT II subject test scores), demonstrated leadership potential, physical aptitude, and medical qualification. Each candidate must also obtain a nomination from a member of Congress or from the Department of the Army. West Point seeks a class composition of top scholars, leaders, athletes, women, and minorities to maintain a diverse collegiate environment and student body. As you can see, the application process is quite extensive. A result of the difficult admissions procedures and requirements for graduation is that, when most cadets or old grads are asked about their alma mater, it is usually quite obvious that they are excessively proud of the fact they attended West Point.
Even those cadets who have to leave—for reasons ranging from academic failures, integrity violations, or voluntary separation—do not seem to harbor any resentment. After they take the time to reflect on the experiences they had as a cadet, they are usually humbled by the fact that they had the opportunity to either find out West Point wasn’t for them or to experience failure early on in their lives. West Point students tend to quickly learn from their experiences and, if they first don’t succeed, they are normally successful elsewhere. A quick examination of history would show that some of West Point’s most famous cadets are those who did not graduate.
On the other hand, graduates of West Point have been involved first-hand with much of the history that is taught in the classrooms. Students apply to West Point for a variety of reasons. However, all of those who apply share one thing in common: they are patriotic individuals who want to make a difference, people who want to look back on their lives and feel a sense of accomplishment. When you graduate from West Point, you’ll have the skills to do just that—make history!