Summer Leaders Seminar

Each summer, the United States Military Academy offers highly motivated, strongly academic high school juniors an Summer Leaders Seminar. This opportunity lets you experience Cadet life at West Point. This year the SLS will be held in two Sessions: Session I: 4-10 June 2005; Session II: 11-17 June 2005 at West Point.

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GO ARMY!     BEAT NAVY!

WHAT DOES THE SLS OFFER?

The SLS is a week of concentrated programs and events. There are classes, sports, tours, mixers, and even a boat trip on the Hudson River. Cadets who are beginning their final year at West Point escort you to class and meals and lead you during recreation periods at West Pointís athletic facilities and in the Cadet living quarters. You have lots of time to ask questions. Cadets at West Point like to talk about their experiences and you will be surprised at what you learn.

HOW CAN I ATTEND?

Invitations to attend the SLS are based upon an application you must request from the Directorate of Admissions at West Point and submit there before April 1, 2005. Use the URL below to get started. Your application will be evaluated for evidence of scholarship. If you meet the following standards, you should request an application to the SLS:

The fee for the SLS is approximately $250. This covers all expenses at West Point. You must arrange and pay for your travel to West Point. Applications must be submitted to West Point by April 1, 2005. Approximately 400 young Americans nationwide will be selected to attend the SLS and will receive a registration packet by about May 1, 2005.

To visit the SLS homepage, please go here.

To review the SLS brochure, please go here.

To request SLS information online, please go here.


Parent Testimonial on the Value of the SLS

One of the emails on the Prospective-Net caught my eye, so I requested further explanation from the sender, a West Point mom, and got a wonderful response. I think it should be shared and I have obtained the parent's permission to do so, though as I promised her, I have removed her name to protect her privacy.

She reported her son wanted to go to USAFA as a first choice, to USNA second. He added West Point as an afterthought. Then he decided to attend all three SLSs offered by the three academies. After doing so his infatuation with flying fast jets was placed in perspective and he decided WP stood above the rest and that is where he now is, a yearling. An earlier email indicated her son had offers from USAFA and USMA. I attach first the earlier email to which I responded, as well as her subsequent email to me giving further explanation for her son's choice. My humble opinion is that these emails should be given wide distribution among West Point admissions people nationwide. They are testament to the value of the SLS for West Point.

Rod Cameron, '61
President, WPS of Washington and Puget Sound

FIRST EMAIL WHICH INCLUDES AN EMAIL TO WHICH MY CORRESPONDENT IS RESPONDING, DATED 5 FEB 'O3:

I cannot tell you how important SLS week during the summer was to my son. He attended both Navy and Army summer camps. He learned exactly where he wanted to go after attending. He was impressed with everything West Point had to offer, and what he felt he could offer West Point.

Ditto. Our son attended all 3 large service academy workshop sessions (back to back to back) and afterwards, despite a lifelong love of jets and flying, he knew USMA was the place for him...for reasons I'd be happy to expand on privately for anyone. When appointments were later received to both USMA and USAFA, he paused only long enough to decline USAFA before accepting West Point. This result also would most likely have been the same after a candidate visit had he not attended in the summer, so if your son/daughter hasn't ever visited and are "on the fence" about where/which to choose, esp. another academy, they have nothing to loose...and the better academy, et al, to gain.

SECOND EMAIL TO ME RESPONDING TO MY REQUEST WHY HER SON CHOSE WEST POINT OVER HIS ORIGINAL FIRST CHOICE OF USAFA AND SECOND CHOICE OF USNA, DATED 6 FEB O3:

OK, you asked for it. Let me first say that this was my son's personal choice, and the reasons which I relate to you as to why my son chose USMA were the reasons that were best for HIM, as he evaluated them at that time...and not necessarily as someone else might choose...for themselves.

To set the stage: He had lived and breathed the military, airplanes and flying all his life, becoming quite a good aviation resource and artist. As he approached the age of more serious thought about college and serving his country, he began...in part because of his deep faith...to consider "hands-on" leadership careers in the military. When he realized he had the grades and such to at least be competitive for a service academy, naturally (because of flying) the Air Force and Naval Academy ranked one-two in priority, but he went ahead and included USMA to "keep his options open."

So, he researched them, studied them, heard about them, saw pictures/videos of them, etc., but until he visited each...until he could, in person, sense them, feel them, experience them (albeit limited) in the present, but also their past and future...he could not decide.

Now after all was said and done, and insofar as the weeks worth of exposure and experience with everything at each academy's workshop...contact with cadre, instructors, "brass", presentations, classes, counseling, sports, and social...West Point and Army was, by far, the place and service branch he wanted. They were, to a man/woman, a more professional, polished, disciplined, organized, and interested (in the candidates) academy. The classes were better organized, less rushed with more time to ask questions and inquire about things...and therefore more interesting.

My son felt West Point's emphasis was on the development of the individual...the soldier...and not the "thing" (airplanes, ships). You may have heard the reference to West Point having statues of people, while Air Force has statues of airplanes. That pretty much summed it up. West Point was also the more conservative academy in their general philosophies, academics, and discipline...more true to form and not apt to be as politically correct.

Both USAFA and USNA were, unfortunately, way too loose and laid back...even giving the impression to my son that they really didn't want to be doing this (which, individually, they may not have...but professionally it should not have shown). They didn't push the prospective candidates near as much as USMA, physically, and the prosp. candidates ended up with much more social time as opposed to being presented with a more challenging, true environment.

In my son's evaluation, they were holding back so as not to turn off/away anyone. It could have been nothing more than an "off" workshop, with the wrong cadre, etc., but my son felt that since it was the same at both USAFA and USNA in the same summer...but NOT at USMA...that it was most likely representative of the real thing, to wit: If they can't/don't know how to better conduct their showcase recruitment workshop, they may not do much better with their academy. And this from a young man who really wanted to choose AF or N. This was the academy's time to really shine and promote themselves...and only West Point came through.

He was thoroughly impressed, and their environment, history, and cadre/staff there were a cut above. He learned more about Army life, people, opportunities, and Duty, Honor, Country, than he had ever known...and decided it was for him.

One more comment in deciding on two academies...especially if a candidate wants to fly fixed wing aircraft of the jet/fighter type: If your candidate is bent on being a pilot, have him decide from the perspective of NOT being a pilot...will he/she be devastated to the point of loosing interest/dropping out...? Or will there be a second or third choice in that service that they will still like...? Only a small fraction of those who select an academy because they want to fly, untimately end up qualified to do so. Best if they evaluate any academy/service branch for the long haul and not just for their top choice of technical professions. If they are fortunate enough to get it, great...consider it a bonus.

After a year and a half, he is glad he chose West Point/Army...and so are we.