1. What year groups are currently under consideration and when can those officers selected expect to start graduate school?
We are currently considering officers from Year Groups 09, 10, and 11. If your career timeline does not meet these requirements by year group, but you are still interested in applying, please contact the XO listed above to see if an exception is possible and/ or appropriate.
Selected officers can expect to receive offers from the Department between February and March of 2016. Those officers can then expect to apply to graduate programs with an anticipated start date during August or September of 2017. All officers selected must be available to start school according to that timeline. Depending upon an officer’s year group and career timeline, a one year deferment may be offered at the discretion of the department.
2. Is there a list of minimum requirements needed to be competitive for these positions?
No. However, you must have a strong military record of service (generally an above center of mass evaluation profile), an undergraduate grade point average of 3.0 or higher, and competitive scores on the Graduate Readiness Examination (GRE).
3. What is the approximate number of applicants each year?
The total number varies from year to year, but we generally have about 70 fully-qualified candidates competing for 7-8 slots.
4. What is the deadline for completing my application through WEST?
Completed applications should be submitted to WEST NLT 1 January 2016.
5. Where should I have official copies of my GRE scores and transcripts sent?
The Department may request official GRE scores and transcripts for selected applicants. In the event that those items are requested, a mailing address will be provided at that time.
6. I already completed a Master’s Degree; do I still need GRE scores to compete for selection?
In short, yes. If you are applying to our program and intend to study through the Advanced Civil Schooling program, you must complete the GRE. Previous graduate-level study reflects positively on a candidate, but does not alleviate the requirement to take the Graduate Record Exam.
The only exception to this rule is for those applicants that have already completed a discipline-appropriate degree and wish to teach in the Department as direct-hire candidates. Direct-hire candidates do not attend Army funded schooling. The Department has discretion as to whether a degree is satisfactory for consideration as a direct hire candidate. If you have any questions in this regard, direct them to the point of contact listed above.
7. What is your Active Duty Service Obligation (ADSO) for participation in this program?
There is a 3 year ADSO for every year of graduate school. Accepting the ACS nomination effectively obligates you for 8 years; 2 years in graduate school, 3 years at USMA, 3 years in follow-on assignments.
8. What type of scores would I need on the GRE to be competitive?
Generally, your individual scores need to be above 157 to be competitive. Getting over 166 distinguishes you in the discipline, while a score below 153 sometimes hurts. Regardless, your military performance, your ability to write well, and your undergraduate record contribute significantly to the overall portrait of candidate files.
9. What guidance can you give me with respect to completing my candidate statement?
The best way to think of the candidate statement is your opportunity to express to the Department Head (Colonel David Harper) and the rest of the selection board why you want to teach in the Department and what scholarly interests you wish to pursue through your graduate studies. Keep in mind that the candidate statement provides an opportunity to present a strong, professional image as well. Please take appropriate care to proofread your statement.
Although there is no requirement for the form or length or the candidate statement, officers frequently submit the statement in memorandum format. With respect to length, it is worth noting that length is not valued over substance.
10. Is there any particular form I should use for completing my letters of recommendation?
There is no preferred form for the letters of recommendation, but a format is attached below for your use. More importantly, the letters of recommendation should address the candidate’s potential for success as a military officer, but also their potential for success studying at the graduate level. Obviously, not every letter must address each of these (as letters of recommendation from military service members may not be well situated to evaluate academic potential and visa versa). However, as applicants solicit letters, it is recommended that they provide references capable of speaking to both.