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FAQ - About West Point
  
Answer
What is the United States Military Academy?
The United States Military Academy, founded on March 16, 1802, is a college that educates, trains and inspires the Corps of Cadets so that each graduate is a commissioned leader of character committed to the values of Duty, Honor, Country. Each graduate has the essential attributes for professional growth throughout a career as a U.S. Army officer. West Point graduates earn Bachelor of Science degrees and are commissioned as second lieutenants in the United States Army.
Where is West Point located?
West Point is located approximately 50 miles north of New York City in the picturesque Hudson Valley. There are 16,000 acres of land, a portion of which played an instrumental role during the Revolutionary War. General George Washington considered West Point one of the most important positions on the continent. The high ground above a narrow "S" curve in the Hudson River enabled the Continental Army to control river traffic. The British could have split the colonies in two if they had gained control of this land.
Why is there a military academy?
Following the Revolutionary War, our nation recognized the need to have Americans, with a strong sense of democratic values, trained in the technical arts of war and in engineering. As our nation has grown and matured, the need to inspire and train young Americans to serve as Army officers has endured. West Point's treasured motto "Duty, Honor, Country" embodies these ideals.
What is the West Point Mission?
The West Point mission is “to educate, train, and inspire the Corps of Cadets so that each graduate is a commissioned leader of character committed to the values of Duty, Honor, Country and prepared for a career of professional excellence and service to the nation as an officer in the United States Army.”
How does West Point fulfill its mission?
West Point carries out its mission of developing future leaders through three integrated and complementary programs: academic, military and physical development. Each of these programs is rooted in the principles of ethical-moral development. Every cadet is a leader. From selection based on demonstrated potential through four years as a cadet, leadership development is a total process of preparing young people for their career roles as Army officers.
Who attends West Point?
Men and women who are 17 but not yet 23 years old on July 1 of the year admitted may attend the academy. Cadets come from every state and territory of our country. The Corps of Cadets numbers approximately 4,000. You must meet certain basic requirements specified by public law. You must be a U.S. citizen at the time of enrollment, be unmarried, and not be pregnant or have an obligation to provide support to a dependent. You must receive a nomination from an authorized source to be considered for an appointment. You will be evaluated in the areas of academics, leadership potential and physical aptitude.
What is the Cadet Honor Code all about?
Cadets learn about and prepare for the ethical demands of officership by living under the dictates of an Honor Code. The code states: "A cadet will not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do." Its purpose is to foster a commitment to moral-ethical excellence and an insight into the more comprehensive military professional ethic. The exact origin of the Honor Code is unclear, but it may have evolved from the code of chivalry embraced by the officer corps when the military academy was established. Colonel Sylvanus Thayer, the “Father of the Military Academy,” and General Douglas MacArthur helped make the code an essential vehicle for the development of character. The Honor Code demands and expects all members of the Corps of Cadets to conduct themselves with absolute integrity, both in word and deed. Cadets accept this obligation freely and with great pride.
Why should I consider West Point?
You should consider West Point as a college option if you wish to serve your country as an officer and leader in the U.S. Army. If you do, you will share a strong sense of purpose, pride and satisfaction that comes from meaningful service to others.
How long must I serve in the Army?
You must serve at least five years of active duty and three years in a Reserve Component, a total of eight years, after you graduate. The active duty obligation is the nation's return on a West Point graduate's fully funded, four-year college education that is valued in excess of $225,000.
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