How to Get Into West Point

Student typing on her laptop on a white desk researching how to get into West Point
January 27, 2023
About West PointWest Point Initial EligibilityWest Point Acceptance RateWest Point Application RequirementsWest Point Application DeadlinesWest Point EssaysTips to Get Accepted into West PointFAQs: How to Get into West Point


Reviewed by:

Mary Banks

Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University

Reviewed: 01/27/23

Curious about how to get into West Point? Below we’ll discuss eligibility requirements, application deadlines and everything else you’ll need to learn how to get accepted into West Point.

Recognized as one of the nation's leading and oldest military schools, West Point demands academic and physical excellence from its students and alums, alongside a natural aptitude for leadership.

Known as an elite military college, students at West Point receive a rigorous, fully funded four-year university education. Upon enrollment, students are also considered members of the U.S. military and can expect to serve for a minimum of 5 years. 

The school has gained its moniker of "America's Academy" based on its long history of educating future heads of state, cabinet members, high-ranking military officers, and more. 

West Point only accepts the best of the best—and that could include you! Read on to learn how to get accepted into West Point.

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About West Point

West Point was officially established in 1802, but had already made its mark on American history with its involvement in the American Revolution in 1775. Its prime location on the west bank of the Hudson River served as a strategic location for the American patriots and the British.

Many years later, West Point still serves a distinct national purpose. West Point’s mission as an educational and military institution is to “educate, train, and inspire leaders of character who are committed to values that include Duty and Honor and those that are ready to serve their country.” 

Nestled just 50 miles north of the bustling city of New York, the school boasts an enormous 16,080-acre campus. This leaves plenty of room to complete all the physical endurance and military training that all West Point cadets are expected to do!

West Point Initial Eligibility

The admissions requirements for West Point are quite particular. Eligible applicants must meet the following criteria

If you meet these initial requirements, you are encouraged by West Point to submit an application for consideration!

West Point Acceptance Rate

West Point has an average acceptance rate of 11%, meaning they are very particular about who they choose to admit. By following the tips outlined below, you'll be on your way to being a part of that coveted 11%.

West Point Application Requirements

Because West Point is unlike any other college, the application process is also unique. West Point will evaluate you on your academics, as well as your physical strength and leadership skills. 

The process first begins by gathering all of your personal information. You must confirm that you meet the initial eligibility requirements outlined above and submit your SAT or ACT scores.

Hopeful applicants will then need to start by completing questionnaire, which West Point will use to confirm their eligibility. 

Academic Requirements

West Point has a strict reputation for accepting students with high GPAs and test scores. As a result, you'll want to achieve the best scores you can on whichever test you write, and the best possible grades. 

To be competitive, you'll want to aim for an SAT score of 600 in the math and verbal sections. If you're writing the ACT, try focusing on achieving a score of 29 or higher. 

Regarding academics, you will also need to supply what is known as an SOE, or School Official Evaluation. This will include four letters of recommendation from your teachers in subjects like Math, Chemistry, Physics, English, and Physical Education. 

Physical Requirements

Hopeful students applying to West Point must pass a physical aptitude test to be considered for acceptance.

The test consists of the following events:

You will also need to pass a medical examination from a registered doctor.


To receive an acceptance to West Point, you will also need to receive a formal nomination from an appointed U.S. representative, senator, or the Vice-President of the United States. 

A nomination is mandatory unless you are already an active member of the U.S. military or the child of a deceased or disabled veteran/prisoner of war. In this circumstance, you may omit the nomination within your application. 

West Point recommends seeking nominations as soon as you confirm your eligibility as a prospective cadet. Generally speaking, they can take a long time - so the sooner you receive it before the application deadline, the better.  

The Interview

A significant component of the West Point application process is the interview. You will need to prepare for one to two interviews, depending on if you choose to have a recommendation from an appointed U.S. representative. 

Regardless of your choice, it’s important to note that the interview with a representative of the Field Force is mandatory for all applicants.

A local Field Force Representative will be your point of contact and contact you with information about your interview. When the big day comes, you may be asked questions such as:

Regarding your answers to these questions, the representative will evaluate you not only on the quality, length, and clarity of your answers, but also on your  posture, eye contact, and tone, alongside their first impression of you at your introduction.

They may ask themselves, "Did the candidate give a firm handshake? Did they arrive on time?”

Remember to take this opportunity seriously and treat it as you would a job interview. Make sure you are punctual, dressed appropriately and have rehearsed your answers to the questions ahead of time. 

This is your opportunity to make a positive first impression and demonstrate you have all the qualities West Point is looking for. Make sure to get lots of practice!

West Point Application Deadlines

The process for applying to West Point is a longer process than a typical college application. It's recommended that you begin your application journey in your junior year, to accommodate requesting formal nominations, should you choose to.

Junior Year

Your junior year application process will look a little like this:

Source: West Point

While the majority of the preparation happens in junior year, it's essential to be aware of the senior year deadlines to complete the West Point application process.

Senior Year

In senior year, you’ll have to do the following:

Source: West Point

Remember to keep a close eye on these deadlines and start as early as possible, so that you’re well prepared for the admissions process.

West Point Candidate Statement

While your grades, fitness tests, and nominations tell one story, it's vital that you tell your story in your own words. This is where the essay prompts comes into play.

To help you tell your story, you'll have three essay prompts to choose from. Regardless of your answer to the question you choose, you'll want to aim to answer as authentically as possible. There's no right or wrong answer, so use this to show why your values and beliefs are an excellent match for West Point.

Tips to Get Accepted Into West Point

It's no secret that getting into West Point can be challenging. Despite this, we've gathered some tips below to help you become one of the select few to receive an acceptance. 

Join an Extracurricular Activity

West Point is looking for outstanding community members to admit to their school. What better way to show how outstanding you are than to excel at an extracurricular activity, particularly one where you can demonstrate your leadership skills?

Suppose you're keen on applying to West Point and subsequently joining the military. In that case, consider becoming a part of the American Legion Boys State or the American Legion Auxiliary Girls State. West Point often accepts one applicant per high school enrolled in these programs, so being a part of them will give you a better chance of acceptance!

Of course, you are not limited to clubs in the military family. You may pursue leadership positions on sports teams, academic clubs, or even go after a student government position. 

Become a Member of the U.S. Military Beforehand

Receiving a nomination from a U.S. representative, senator, or VP is required for admission into West Point. However, if you are an active member of the U.S. military, you will not have to seek a nomination from a government official.

For most people, joining the U.S. military beforehand is easier than seeking a nomination. So, if going to school at West Point is your dream, be proactive and join the military beforehand, assuming you meet all of the requirements.

You will already be considered a member of the U.S. military once you are accepted to West Point, so it's just a matter of staying one step ahead!

Make Physical Fitness a Priority

To gain entry into West Point, you'll need to be in tip-top physical shape - arguably, in the best physical shape of your life. This is something that cannot be done in less than one day - instead, you will need to have a workout plan and schedule to achieve the high level of fitness that West Point demands. 

To ensure that you pass the fitness test with flying colors, be consistent with your workouts and push yourself to the limit. You'll also want to make sure you're getting the proper nutrition and dietary needs that having an active lifestyle requires.

It's recommended that you practice the fitness test ahead of time so that you're extra prepared when the big day comes. Historically, most candidates struggle with the basketball throw and the one-mile run, so you'll want to focus on those parts of the fitness test.

Apply and Attend the Summers Leaders Experience (SLE)

West Point offers a taste of what being a cadet is all about during the Summer Leaders Experience. Offered to students in their junior year, this program, run by West Point cadets, allows hopeful applicants to learn valuable leadership skills while participating in practice cadet exercises. 

Applying to this week-long program will show the admissions committee that you are committed, passionate about the program, and possess the skills and values West Point is looking for.

FAQs: How to Get Into West Point

Still looking for answers to your questions about getting into West Point? We've gathered some frequently asked questions, and their answers, to put your mind at ease.

1. What Is West Point Looking for in Its Students?

Regarding admissions, West Point is looking for students with excellent grades, phenomenal critical thinking skills, and the athleticism necessary to meet the demands of West Point's rigorous military training.

Hopeful applicants should have the academic and physical skills needed to thrive at West Point, as well as a natural aptitude for leadership and an imminent responsibility to serve their country.

West Point also looks for applicants that have "grit." They look for applicants that can overcome challenging circumstances and are resilient in their efforts to keep going and reach their goals. This mentality is ideal for the demanding expectations you need to succeed at West Point. 

2. How Hard Is It to Get Into West Point?

West Point is notorious for being very selective, with an 11% acceptance rate. Those admitted are expected to have stellar academics, strong leadership skills and be in peak physical condition to keep up with the school’s intense military training. 

3. What GPA Do You Need to Get Into West Point?

To be accepted to West Point, students will need to aim for a 3.7-4.0 GPA.

4. Can You Go to West Point Without Joining the Army?

Yes, you can receive an acceptance to West Point without joining the army. However, in lieu of this, you will need to receive a formal nomination from an appointed U.S. representative, senator, or the Vice-President of the United States.

5. How Much Does It Cost to Go to West Point?

Successful applicants will receive a four-year, fully funded university education with room and board, so they will not have to worry about tuition.

Final Thoughts

West Point is a military academy with a high reputation for excellence. Given the number of successful alums and the dedication to academics and military duty, it still serves the same purpose it did all those years ago in the American Civil War.

While achieving acceptance into West Point is rare, it is possible if you put in the preparation, time, and effort. The information we've outlined in this article will provide you with the tools necessary to have a stellar application to West Point—now it's up to you to put in the time and effort necessary to receive an acceptance. 

Best of luck!

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