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Academics : FAQs

Frequently Asked Academic Questions by New Cadet Parents
Q. When will my new cadet receive his/her final class schedule?
A. Normally the last day of add and drop functions during each Reorganization Week.

Q. What courses will my new cadet be enrolled in?
A. Freshman English, Chemistry, Math, Psychology or Introduction to Computers/Information technology, and History. There are also courses in Military Science and Physical education. Go to this site for a complete Academic Program Description.

Q. What determines the best mathematics course for my new cadet?
A. The Mathematics Department will test all Plebes for Math course placement during Cadet Basic Training.

Q Are high school Advance Placement courses recognized?
A. Yes, as part of the criteria for placement, or validation of course.

Q. Are College Board Advance Placement test scores recognized?
A Yes, along with the results obtained from placement tests in Chemistry, English, Information Technology, History, and Mathematics.

Q. How does the United States Military Academy receive the College Board Advance Placement scores?
A. electronically, early in July, followed by paper scores.

Q. When are finals scheduled for my new cadet?
A. Finals, or Term End Examinations at the Academy, are normally scheduled the third week of December and May.

Q. If my new cadet had taken prior college courses, how will they be used?
A. As part of the criteria used by individual departments to determine placement or validation.

Q. Do prior college courses transfer to USMA?
A. No. The United States Military Academy’s curriculum has two primary structural features. The first is a solid core of twenty-six courses that USMA considers essential to the broad based of knowledge necessary for all graduates in today’s Army. These are courses in Information Technology, for all but engineering majors; and a three course core engineering sequence for those who do not elect a major in engineering. This core curriculum, when combined with physical education training and military science, constitutes the Military Academy’s professional major. The second structural feature is the opportunity to specialize and explore an area in depth through the selection of an academic major. This portion of the curriculum is supported by not less than ten courses.

Q. What post – graduate scholarships are available?
A. West Point Cadets have had tremendous success in all of the major national scholarship competitions, including the Rhodes, Marshall, Truman, Gates, Mitchell, East-West, Rotary, Fulbright, Hertz, and the National Science foundation scholarships. For more information, see Scholarships.

Q. Can graduates be considered for medical school scholarships?
A. Yes, see this site for information.

Q. When do cadets receive progress or interim grades?
A. Informally after each graded event and formally at the six, ten, and fifteen week periods.

Q. Can new cadets have their final grades sent to parents?
A. Yes, on the cadet’s website (Cadet Information System), cadet’s can list the name and address of those who are to receive a copy of grades. This is the cadet’s responsibility to enter.

Q. When would the final grades be sent to parents?
A. 3 to 5 weeks after term ends.

Q. Where does my cadet get help if he or she is struggling in courses?
A. They should always see their course instructor for additional instruction and assistance. The cadet can always seek additional help and guidance with the chief, academic counselor in the Operation and Registrar’s office, room 112 in Taylor Hall. Cadets are all invited to the Center for Enhanced Performance (CEP) where there are instructors skilled in assisting cadets with how to better prepare for classes, taking better notes, and prepare for additional instruction. CEP is located in Jefferson Hall on the first floor. Each cadet company has company level tutors as well as mentoring by upperclassmen. Academic Advising is a key to success at any institution of higher learning and the United States Military Academy is no exception to providing many opportunities.

Q. Are there study abroad opportunities at the Academy?
A. Yes. The Study Abroad Program currently sends approximately 140 cadets each year to study language, culture and regional topics in eight languages in thirteen countries. All academic majors are eligible to participate in this program. Your cadet should contact their department academic advisor or the International Intellectual Development Division for more information. There also many summer immersion opportunities organized through the individual academic departments that your cadet can pursue. Cadets travel to over 50 countries as part of these departmental academic experiences. The contact number for this department is 845-938-0210.

Q. What if my child is undecided about a major? Is this a problem and when will he or she be required to select a major? Is there help available to select a major?
A. Advisors in each department assists Cadets at the beginning of their Second year of instruction and will assist in understanding the many requirements necessary to complete their chosen major, inform them about appropriate course sequences and course content and provide information and graduate opportunities and career opportunities in the united States Army using their majors. The Operations and Registrar’s office, located in Taylor Hall, will work closely with your cadet and the department on major selection orientation. Your cadet can also take advantage of opportunities for tutoring, academic coaching and other learning assistance associated with major selection in the Center for Enhanced Performance in Jefferson Hall.

Q. How large are classes at the Academy?
A. Normally no more than 18.

Q. Can Plebes be directly admitted to a major?
A. No, but Plebes are free to visit the Operations and Registrar Department or meet with individual department advisors to discuss curriculum.

Q. How much time will my Plebe spend in class and studying outside of class?
A. Courses are measured in credit hours. Generally, cadets spend one hour in class for every credit hour they take. Cadets should expect to average about two hours of studying (including library work, term papers, group projects, etc.) for each hour spent in the classroom. This is an appropriate and realistic guideline, though, obviously there are exceptions. Factors that play into this equation include study skills, subject matter, time-management skills, academic background, and self-discipline. Still, many cadets will do well to plan for the 2 to 1 ratio.

Q. Are cadets able to get the courses they need in order to graduate on time?
A. The Academy does not have a problem with course availability. Occasionally, class sections do close or fill up; however, the Academy will accommodate the number of cadets by adding classes if necessary.

Q. Does the Academy offer any special programs for new cadets?
A. USMA offers Plebes 3 elective courses offered by the Center for Enhanced Performance: RS 101, Student Success course, which includes study skills, time management, organization, test taking, confidence building, goal setting and a variety of other materials in only 20 lessons. RS 102, Reading Efficiency Course which in 10 lessons allows any cadet the opportunity to increase reading by at least 100 words per minute, without additional homework; RS 103, Information and Literacy and Critical Thinking, another 20 lesson course, touching on time management and is taught with library staff providing cadets an introduction to research at USMA and critical thinking. CEP also provides cadets with multiple appointments to meet their personal needs with academic and athletic programs at USMA.


Nondiscrimination Policy

The United States Military Academy is fully committed to affirmative action and to its policies of nondiscrimination and equal opportunity in all programs, and activities without regard to race, color, national original, sex, religion, and sexual orientation. Evidence of practices not consistent with these policies should be reported to the office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action.