The United States Military Academy, also known as West Point, is one of the most prestigious colleges in the nation.
In addition to its top-20 ranking by the US News and World Report, it enjoys an esteemed reputation for educating and preparing for service top-ranking members of the US military and intelligence communities, not to mention former US presidents Ulysses S. Grant and Dwight D. Eisenhower.
It’s also incredibly difficult to gain access into. Its 10% admissions rate rivals some Ivy League colleges — and acceptance is based on both academic and physical requirements.
For instance, applicants cannot be be married, pregnant, or have any children that they have legal responsibility for. They cannot be older that 22 when they apply, and must be at least 17.
The admissions process also starts much sooner than at traditional schools. Beginning in candidates junior year, they must fill out a questionnaire and begin applying for official nominations. These nominations come from members of Congress, US senators, the vice president, as well as other military personnel.
Next, applicants undergo a medical assessment that examines both their physical and mental health, as evaluated by The Department of Defence Medical Examination Review Board.
Then it’s on to the Candidate Fitness Assessment (CFA), a six event exam aimed at judging the applicants’ physical fitness level.
There is a basketball throw, pull-ups (women can do an arm hang), a shuttle run, sit-ups, push-ups, and a 1-mile run, and a set amount of rest time in between each event.
The West Point admissions team has an explainer online for the six events:
The CFA may seem brutal, but it’s nothing compared to what freshman students face during their Cadet Basic Training, which is also referred to as “Beast Barracks.”
They start their day every morning at 5 a.m. with physical conditioning.
For those accepted into West Point, tuition is fully paid by the US Army. In return, West Point graduates have an active-duty service obligation.
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