Homeschoolers and West Point are a perfect fit. Let me tell you about it.
First of all, numerous Army families stationed at West Point homeschool their own children. See also this. Many Graduates of West Point homeschool their children.
Secondly, Mary and I are long-time Washington State homeschooling parents. We participated and contributed locally and nationally through the development and expansion stages of the movement. One of our homeschooled children is a Mountaineer, Diesel Technician and Locomotive Engineer and two are Graduates of West Point and serving Army Officers.
West Point is the worlds premier leadership development institution and is perennially ranked among our nations premier academic institutions. The Academy is our nation's first and still preeminent undergraduate Engineering School and the worlds finest and most prestigious Military Academy. West Point has good experience with homeschoolers. Some homeschoolers are born called to the Profession of Arms. We are here to ensure that they learn about West Point.
Mary and I have served in the West Point Admissions Field Force For Washington State. I co-led the Field Force between 2000 and 2003.
To find your nearest West Point Admissions Representative, check here.
I especially want to encourage homeschoolers who meet these standards:
in the top fifth of their high school-equivalent class;
pursuing a college preparatory curriculum;
above average college entrance test scores
demonstrated leadership potential by participation, election/selection to office and honors earned in extracurricular and organized athletic activities;
and their parents to attend an West Point Admissions Field Force Information Meeting ("AIM for West Point"), which are held periodically. Keep posted on developments through the West Point Admissions Website.
Our general advice for homeschooling students who are preparing for West Point is:
The homeschooling laws of Washington State allow and encourage these methods of preparing for West Point. So, take advantage of your Washington State residency and use the education system of our state to advantage yourself for national education and service.
- At age 16 enroll in a liberal arts program at a Community College, taking courses that can be transferred to a four-year school. Or, enroll in a Technical College, taking courses that will develop your strengths for the Engineering emphasis (Math, English, Science) that typifies West Point, America's first Engineering School.
- Earn a varsity letter in a high school athletics program.
- Explore for and use online primary and secondary education resources, such as the Internet Academy (K-12 Education) provided by the Federal Way School District of Washington State and the iQ Academy Washington provided by the Evergreen School District.
- The Homeschool Advisor may be of use. It happens to be run by parents of a young man who entered West Point from the Army after being homeschooled.
The Running Start Program is also a option for Washington State homeschoolers. Among other benefits, it allows a homeschooling student to enroll in a JROTC/ROTC program. Participation in JROTC/ROTC programs will impress West Point Admissions.
A homeschooling student must be 16 to start the Running Start Program. They also do not have to do strictly the Running Start Program, which is a program that tracks for both High School Diploma and a Community College degree. At 16, a homeschooling student can do strictly Community College or mostly Community College and partly High School or mostly High School and partly Community College. The homeschooling student can tailor the mix to suit their wishes for building a West Point-friendly portfolio.
With regard to certification, please note that whatever is the highest degree a person holds, that only counts and all previous degrees are effectively moot. Also, please be aware of a major technicality: a candidate for West Point does not need either a High School Diploma or a Community College degree to enter West Point. They do not even need a GED!! This is a little known fact. So a homeschooling student should tailor their "Running Start Program" program to fit their needs, and as long as the High School is getting FTE (Full Time Equivalent = the High School's income for a homeschooling student from the state, by that student's going to a High School *AND/OR* to a Community College) they will be happy.
Be sure a homeschooling student's Community College transcripts get to their High School Registrar and that both the Community College and the High School and especially the High School use these to give them a High School class rank. West Point Admissions goes on SATs/ACTs and class rank, not GPA. The High School Registrar can factor the Community College credits/grades into a High School class rank.
Mary and I called this concept "shared schooling," wherein one simply goes to the sources one needs to get the education one desires. The Running Start Program is a great blessing in this regard since it introduces, from age 16 to age 20 something, great flexibility/opportunity in the certification-bearing sources one can use.