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Frquently Asked Questions


  • Q. What is the United States Military Academy at West Point?

    The United States Military Academy, founded on March 16, 1802, is a college that educates, trains and inspires the Corps of Cadets so that each graduate is a commissioned leader of character committed to the values of Duty, Honor, Country. Each graduate has the essential attributes for professional growth throughout a career as a U.S. Army officer. West Point graduates earn Bachelor of Science degrees and are commissioned as second lieutenants in the United States Army.

  • Q. Where is West Point located?

    West Point is located approximately 50 miles north of New York City in the picturesque Hudson Valley. There are 16,000 acres of land, a portion of which played an instrumental role during the Revolutionary War. General George Washington considered West Point one of the most important positions on the continent. The high ground above a narrow "S" curve in the Hudson River enabled the Continental Army to control river traffic. The British could have split the colonies in two if they had gained control of this land.

  • Q. Why is there a military academy?

    Following the Revolutionary War, our nation recognized the need to have Americans, with a strong sense of democratic values, trained in the technical arts of war and in engineering. As our nation has grown and matured, the need to inspire and train young Americans to serve as Army officers has endured. West Point's treasured motto "Duty, Honor, Country" embodies these ideals.

  • Q. What is the West Point Mission?

    The West Point 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.”

  • Q. How does the West Point fulfill its Mission?

    West Point carries out its mission of developing future leaders through three integrated and complementary programs: academic, military and physical development. Each of these programs is rooted in the principles of ethical-moral development. Every cadet is a leader. From selection based on demonstrated potential through four years as a cadet, leadership development is a total process of preparing young people for their career roles as Army officers.

  • Q. Who attends the United States Military Academy?

    Men and women who are 17 but not yet 23 years old on July 1 of the year admitted may attend the academy. Cadets come from every state and territory of our country. The Corps of Cadets numbers approximately 4,000. You must meet certain basic requirements specified by public law. You must be a U.S. citizen at the time of enrollment, be unmarried, and not be pregnant or have an obligation to provide support to a dependent. You must receive a nomination from an authorized source to be considered for an appointment. You will be evaluated in the areas of academics, leadership potential and physical aptitude.

  • Q. what is the Cadet Honor Code all about?

    Cadets learn about and prepare for the ethical demands of officership by living under the dictates of an Honor Code. The code states: "A cadet will not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do." Its purpose is to foster a commitment to moral-ethical excellence and an insight into the more comprehensive military professional ethic. The exact origin of the Honor Code is unclear, but it may have evolved from the code of chivalry embraced by the officer corps when the military academy was established. Colonel Sylvanus Thayer, the “Father of the Military Academy,” and General Douglas MacArthur helped make the code an essential vehicle for the development of character. The Honor Code demands and expects all members of the Corps of Cadets to conduct themselves with absolute integrity, both in word and deed. Cadets accept this obligation freely and with great pride.

  • Q. How long must I serve in the Army after graduation?

    You must serve at least five years of active duty and three years in a Reserve Component, a total of eight years, after you graduate. The active duty obligation is the nation's return on a West Point graduate's fully funded, four-year college education that is valued in excess of $350,000.

  • Q. why should I consider West Point over other academies or colleges?

    You should consider West Point as a college option if you wish to serve your country as an officer and leader in the U.S. Army. If you do, you will share a strong sense of purpose, pride and satisfaction that comes from meaningful service to others.

  • Q. Do prior college courses transfer to USMA?

    No. The United States Military Academy’s curriculum has two primary structural features. The first is a solid core of twenty-six courses that USMA considers essential to the broad based of knowledge necessary for all graduates in today’s Army. These are courses in Information Technology, for all but engineering majors; and a three course core engineering sequence for those who do not elect a major in engineering. This core curriculum, when combined with physical education training and military science, constitutes the Military Academy’s professional major. The second structural feature is the opportunity to specialize and explore an area in depth through the selection of an academic major. This portion of the curriculum is supported by not less than ten courses.

  • Q. What post–graduate scholarships are available?

    West Point Cadets have had tremendous success in all of the major national scholarship competitions, including the Rhodes, Marshall, Truman, Gates, Mitchell, East-West, Rotary, Fulbright, Hertz, and the National Science foundation scholarships. For more information, see Scholarships.

  • Q. Can graduates be considered for medical school scholarships?

    Yes, click HERE for information.

  • Q. When do cadets receive progress or interim grades?

    Informally after each graded event and formally at the six, ten, and fifteen week periods.

  • Q. Can new cadets have their final grades sent to parents?

    Yes, on the cadet’s website (Cadet Information System), cadet’s can list the name and address of those who are to receive a copy of grades. This is the cadet’s responsibility to enter.

  • Q. Where does my cadet get help if he or she is struggling in courses?

    They should always see their course instructor for additional instruction and assistance. The cadet can always seek additional help and guidance with the chief, academic counselor in the Operation and Registrar’s office, room 112 in Taylor Hall. Cadets are all invited to the Center for Enhanced Performance (CEP) where there are instructors skilled in assisting cadets with how to better prepare for classes, taking better notes, and prepare for additional instruction. CEP is located in Jefferson Hall on the first floor. Each cadet company has company level tutors as well as mentoring by upperclassmen. Academic Advising is a key to success at any institution of higher learning and the United States Military Academy is no exception to providing many opportunities.

  • Q. Are there study abroad opportunities at the Academy?

    Yes. The Study Abroad Program currently sends approximately 140 cadets each year to study language, culture and regional topics in eight languages in thirteen countries. All academic majors are eligible to participate in this program. Your cadet should contact their department academic advisor or the International Intellectual Development Division for more information. There also many summer immersion opportunities organized through the individual academic departments that your cadet can pursue. Cadets travel to over 50 countries as part of these departmental academic experiences. The contact number for this department is 845-938-0210.

  • Q. When will a cadet receive his/her final class schedule?

    Normally the last day of add and drop functions during each Reorganization Week

  • Q. What courses will a cadet be enrolled in?

    Freshman English, Chemistry, Math, Psychology or Introduction to Computers/Information technology, and History. There are also courses in Military Science and Physical education. Click HERE for additional information.

  • Q. What determines the best mathematics course for a new cadet?

    The Mathematics Department will test all Plebes for Math course placement during Cadet Basic Training.

  • Q. Are high school Advance Placement courses recognized?

    Yes, as part of the criteria for placement, or validation of course.

  • Q. Are College Board Advance Placement test scores recognized?

    Yes, along with the results obtained from placement tests in Chemistry, English, Information Technology, History, and Mathematics.

  • Q. How does the United States Military Academy receive the College Board Advance Placement scores?

    Electronically, early in July, followed by paper scores.

  • Q. When are finals scheduled for a new cadet?

    Finals, or Term End Examinations at the Academy, are normally scheduled the third week of December and May

  • Q. If a new cadet had taken prior college courses, how will they be used?

    As part of the criteria used by individual departments to determine placement or validation.

  • Q. What if a cadet is undecided about a major? Is this a problem and when will he or she be required to select a major? Is there help available to select a major?

    Advisors in each department assists Cadets at the beginning of their Second year of instruction and will assist in understanding the many requirements necessary to complete their chosen major, inform them about appropriate course sequences and course content and provide information and graduate opportunities and career opportunities in the united States Army using their majors. The Operations and Registrar’s office, located in Taylor Hall, will work closely with your cadet and the department on major selection orientation. Your cadet can also take advantage of opportunities for tutoring, academic coaching and other learning assistance associated with major selection in the Center for Enhanced Performance in Jefferson Hall.

  • Q. How large are classes at the Academy?

    Normally no more than 18.

  • Q. Can Plebes be directly admitted to a major?

    No, but Plebes are free to visit the Operations and Registrar Department or meet with individual department advisors to discuss curriculum.

  • Q. How much time will a Plebe spend in class and studying outside of class?

    Courses are measured in credit hours. Generally, cadets spend one hour in class for every credit hour they take. Cadets should expect to average about two hours of studying (including library work, term papers, group projects, etc.) for each hour spent in the classroom. This is an appropriate and realistic guideline, though, obviously there are exceptions. Factors that play into this equation include study skills, subject matter, time-management skills, academic background, and self-discipline. Still, many cadets will do well to plan for the 2 to 1 ratio.

  • Q. Are cadets able to get the courses they need in order to graduate on time?

    The Academy does not have a problem with course availability. Occasionally, class sections do close or fill up; however, the Academy will accommodate the number of cadets by adding classes if necessary.

  • Q. Does the Academy offer any special programs for new cadets?

    USMA offers Plebes 3 elective courses offered by the Center for Enhanced Performance: RS 101, Student Success course, which includes study skills, time management, organization, test taking, confidence building, goal setting and a variety of other materials in only 20 lessons. RS 102, Reading Efficiency Course which in 10 lessons allows any cadet the opportunity to increase reading by at least 100 words per minute, without additional homework; RS 103, Information and Literacy and Critical Thinking, another 20 lesson course, touching on time management and is taught with library staff providing cadets an introduction to research at USMA and critical thinking. CEP also provides cadets with multiple appointments to meet their personal needs with academic and athletic programs at USMA.