World famous as a premier leadership development institution, the US Military Academy, or West Point, occupies a unique place among US colleges. In many ways, West Point’s history mirrors US history. Since its founding in 1802, the academy has been educating the great leaders who make history: Grant, Lee, Pershing, MacArthur, Eisenhower, Patton, Schwarzkopf, and Petraeus.
Forbes.com recently pronounced West Point to be the Best Public College for undergraduate education, while U.S. News and World Report called it the Best Public Liberal Arts College in the country. The Princeton Review designated it as one of the 100 Best Value Colleges and rated it number one for the most accessible professors.
Following graduation, all of West Point’s cadets enter military service as 2nd lieutenants, and must serve at least five years. The Academic Program consists of 31 core courses, balanced in the arts and sciences, and a required five-course engineering sequence. Cadets may select from 36 majors and 19 minors. Classes are small, as 98% have fewer than 20 students and no classes have more than 30 students. The student-to-faculty ratio is 6.8. All cadets graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree.
Every cadet participates in an intercollegiate, club or intramural level sport each semester and cadets receive military training during the summer. New cadets start with Cadet Basic Training and second years participate in Cadet Field Training. US Military Academy cadets spend their third and fourth summers serving in active Army units around the world; attending advanced training courses such as airborne, air assault or northern warfare; or training the first and second year cadets as members of the leadership cadre.
But cadets get to have fun too. In fact, the US Military Academy was ranked #3 for “More to Do on Campus.” On-campus facilities include a ski slope, skating rink, and golf course. Clubs include DJ club, orienteering, rock climbing, and Big Brother-Big Sister. Cadets have also had opportunities to sing backup for Billy Joel at Shea Stadium and parade the American flag at the Major League Baseball All-Star game at Yankee Stadium.
The admissions process for military academies is unique. In addition to grades and SAT scores, applicants are also evaluated on their physical readiness (a military physical is part of the application process), mental readiness, and leadership potential. All US Military Academy applicants must receive a recommendation from a member of the U.S. Congress or another government official.