US Military Academy at West Point/Bad Freshmen Year

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Question
I was a real slacker my freshmen year of high school. I got a 3.357 GPA, which was largely dragged down by a D and C semester grades in Spanish 1 ; and had gotten a D in Algebra 1, a high school class, from the 8th grade. I didn't participate in any sports or extracurricular activities; and I was often truant. Not to mention I was overweight and generally unhappy.

Towards the end of the year I realized that I was setting myself up for failure and decided I was going to change that. I redid the Spanish class online over the summer and got an A+ grade; and began getting in shape in hopes of joining the cross country team. When my sophomore year started I made the cross country team and later in the year the crew team, maintained an unweighted 4.0 GPA including 2 AP classes, and joined the history and debate clubs. That summer I redid Algebra 1 online and got an A+. This year, my junior year, I made varsity for both my sports, maintained an unweighted 4.0 GPA in classes that were a mixture of IB and AP, with the exception of a SAT/ACT prep course and Navy JROTC, continued to participate in the history and debate teams, and joined my JROTC academic team. I recently found out I was elected school Treasurer and was appointed captain of the varsity crew team for next year. Next year, my senior year, I plan to participate in the same clubs and sports, and maintain a 4.0 with a similar course load. Also, in my NJROTC program I was appointed platoon leader Junior year and will be 1st Lieutenant next year.

I was motivated to change my life around by a cousin who recently had graduated from West Point. I explained this in my essay.

I know my performance excluding freshmen year is competitive for West Point. Nonetheless, I am afraid I wont even be considered to be admitted do to the school just on the grounds of my freshmen performance. Would you have any insight on this? Honestly, do I have any chance of being admitted?

Thanks!!!

Answer
It's good to hear from you Tom.  Thanks for your interest in West Point.

Congratulations on turning your life around.  That is a significant accomplishment that is NOT lost on the Admissions team. To answer your fundamental question, I believe that you CAN be competitive for admission, IF you are committed to that and are willing to persevere until you achieve your goal.

Now, what should you do about it?  First off, continue to perform to the best of your ability in EVERYTHING you do.  Class sizes are smaller with the drawdown in forces overseas and the competition pool coming from high school remains very strong.  But don't let that intimidate you.

A little known fact is that almost 1/3 of every incoming class at West Point is NOT coming directly from high school.  They come from the Army, prep schools and from one or more years of college!  IF you are really serious about admission, then you need to be prepared to persevere past high school if you don't make it next year, and even after one or two years of college.  Frankly, those with some college experience generally do very well at West Point as they are more mature and experienced than those coming directly from high school.

Take BOTH the SAT and ACT as many times as you can stand it.  That will ensure that your score is maximized and will make you more competitive.

In addition, you should contact your Regional Admissions Commander this week.  Call Admissions at 845-938-4041 and connect with your Region.  Explain your situation and ask them for their best recommendation how to maximize your competitiveness for admission.

You have the right attitude now, Tom.  Now just continue down that path and persevere to achieve your goal.  Good luck in your quest.

Best Regards,

US Military Academy at West Point

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Bill Taylor

Expertise

I can answer questions about admissions to West Point; about the history of West Point; about how to travel to West Point, where to eat, where to stay, etc.; and about West Point`s alumni organization, the West Point Association of Graduates.

Experience

I am a 1970 Graduate of West Point. I served six years on active duty and another 8 years in the active reserve. I have been actively involved as a Field Admissions Representative for over 20 years and have participated on my Congressman's Academy Selection Panel for over 25 years. I am actively involved in West Point Alumni affairs, serving in roles both with the West Point Association of Graduates and the local alumni chapter in Annapolis, MD. I also have two sons who graduated from West Point in 1995 and 2001. Both are veterans of the Iraq War and Afghanistan War. The 1995 Grad continues to serve on Active Duty in the Army.

Education/Credentials
Bachelor of Science, US Military Academy, 1970 Master of Science (Computer Science), The Johns Hopkins University, 1980

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