Frequently Asked Questions
The below questions are like your questions and others frequently asked:
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How long would this assignment be (to include both the schooling and teaching phases) and will it affect my promotion because of not enough job experience within my AOC?
The whole experience is 5 years. It starts after you leave command when you become BQ as a Captain. Then, you spend 2 years in Grad School and 3 years teaching at West Point.
Your first question says its a five year process, but how much time do you owe the Army after you finish teaching?
Essentially it is a 3 year ADSO for every one 1 year Grad School. So, it would be three years after your three year tour at West Point if you do the normal 2 year Grad School.
What is the approximate number of applicants each year?
It varies, but this year we will have about 190 files competing for about 11 slots.
I won't be able to take the GRE before 1 NOV because it is not offered close to my post within the timeframe I have to take it. Subsequently, my application for the program will not be complete before the deadline. What do you recommend?
Start a file today! We have a formal board to pick our first slate. Then, EVERY YEAR, we go to our alternate list to fill unexpected losses due to changes. The War on Terrorism is making it especially interesting. In addition, the process is now automated and we can go to your file whenever we need it. Unless of course you never bother to fill one out.
I am not slated for command and it leaves me unavailable for a teaching assignment until an unknown date. Is this a major glitch? Given my current time line do you see any issues with me competing in the DEC 2005 board?
Regardless of your timeline, open a packet. We can’t communicate with you if we don’t have a file.
If I receive a follow on assignment to the CCC, I run the risk of being assigned as a TRADOC Commander as my Branch Qualifying Command. Does this limit my chances for consideration to the USMA?
Our department seeks to hire officers who can educate, train, and inspire the next generation of Army officers. We do not care where you command, so much as you do an excellent job in command.
I have not taken the GRE and would be unable to take it prior to 1 November. Can I get a waiver for this requirement?
Due to deployments and the ongoing war on terrorism, we can make accommodations. Bottom line, it’s a strong military record with powerful letters of recommendation. Start a file and we will look at each specific as it comes up. GRE scores are not as important if you have a high GPA.
What type of scores would I need on the GRE to be competitive?
Generally, you need to be in the 600s. Getting over 700 helps even more, but the 500s sometimes hurt. Regardless, your military performance matters more to us. That is reflected in OERs and LORs.
I am still a very long way from command, I would however like to know if command time is waived?
My recommendation would be to fill out the interest website attached below. If your total file is strong enough, anything is possible.
Regardless though, we can stay in touch better if we have your contact data. Check out our website. Be sure to look at the faculty and see all the folks from your same branch. http://www.dean.usma.edu/departments/sosh/ Is there a list of minimum requirements needed to be competitive for these positions?
No. However, it does require a strong military record of service in your evaluations and above average GPA and standardized test scores from your undergrad institution.
When we signed in here we had to agree to a 3 year commitment the Unit of Action. I am assuming I will have a 24 month command if all goes well. Will we be released by DA if selected for position at West Point?
There are always opportunities for a letter of exception. However, we won’t request it unless we choose you to join the department. So apply---- you have to have a file going for us to know who you are.
Are these boards held at the same time each year?
Yes, are primary selection board meets each December. Your goal should be to complete your file by 1 Nov.
I am dual military. Are there other opportunities for my spouse to be able to join me?
Absolutely. Sometimes here in the same department or in any other department or position at USMA.
My final Undergraduate GPA was 3.84. Prior to enlisting in the Army I attended a state college. I was young, immature and quite frankly unmotivated. My grades for that time period reflect this. Those transfer credit grades however were not calculated into my final GPA for my degree, thus the 3.84 GPA. Will my earlier poor grades affect my consideration for the USMA?
Frankly, if they were not carried over, we don’t need them. It is your cumulative GPA at the institution you graduated from that means the most to us. We may never really know (or care) if you started college once, stopped, and then tried again later. We’re more concerned what you have done in the Army since.
I will complete a Master's degree from the University of Oklahoma in Economics this fall. I do not know if this fulfills the requirement for advanced civilian schooling. Will I have to go to school again?
Well, that depends. We assume you want to have a shot at one of the nations top graduate schools. In doing so, it would have to be in a different academic area (the Army will not pay for a repeat degree). However, you might be eligible to start a PhD program to add to your already existing degree. Apply now and see where the chips fall.
I have masters in counseling, do I still qualify for another masters or can you send me to receive a PhD and then instruct?
We will require a degree that allows you to teach in International Relations, Comparative Politics, American Politics, and Economics. If you don’t have a degree in one of those areas, we will send you for another Masters. If you do, we can perhaps send you for a PhD in that same field.
Are there teaching opportunities for my spouse if she has a Master’s Degree as well?
If your spouse is Active duty, best case in the same Year Group, he/she is eligible to compete for this or other departments. There are a number of dual military families at West Point.
Where should I have my college transcripts sent?
Upload them first into WEST (see below) and then mail a copy to us.
Department of Social Sciences
Lincoln Hall, Room B115
U.S. Military Academy
607 Cullum Road
West Point, NY 10996
Should the recommendations be sent to the department head or should they be posted on digits on WEST?
At least 3 Letters of Recommendation for the Social Sciences Department Head. (Letters from your chain of command, former academic instructors, and former instructors in the Department of Social Sciences are all very helpful. Also, letters should be addressed to the department head: COL Meese's Bio) You will then upload them into WEST
I am gathering the final documents for my application, and was wondering if there was a specific format for the letters of recommendation or for my statement?
We select first and foremost, strong military files. Therefore, the bulk of the LORs should discuss leadership performance and potential. Next, academic potential should be addressed. Finally, would he/she be someone that would educate, train, and inspire cadets for a lifetime of service to nation. There is no set format, but those are common themes in the best LORs. As for the Statement, see below.
I don't have a senior rater as I'm currently in school. Will past commanders and instructors be acceptable?
Yes, LORs should be people who know you well and can speak about your potential.
How did my name come to light when you sent the email, do I have a legitimate shot or does everyone pretty much receive these emails?
If you received something straight from us, yes, you are very competitive. We send out invitations to apply to people for various reasons--- recommendations from your Chain of Command, attendance at the Marshall Conference, USMA SCUSA, or high undergraduate GPAs.
Lastly, when I talked with you before I deployed to Iraq, you mentioned that coming to USMA for an interview is a good way to put a face on my packet. I will be coming back to the US sometime in November and I know the board meets in December. Is there a cut-off point for when it would be too late to arrange a meeting at West Point?
It is ALWAYS a good idea to stop into West Point if you are anywhere close. We are in the people business. No matter when you can, its always good. Contact me and I’ll set up an interview schedule.
Questions about the WEST System:
I took the GRE in AUG '04 (last month), and listed as one of the places to send the scores to (USMA Social Sciences Dept). My scores were a 6.0 on the essay writing, 740 on the quantitative, and 660 on the verbal. I attempted to upload these scores to the West Point Instructor Candidate Website (on my personal file page), yet the page did not accept the date of AUG '04 or the scores for the essay. Also, I noticed at the bottom of my page that I am still listed as "scores not sent." Should I fax or email a copy to someone at the SOSH Dept, or is this done automatically from the copy sent from the GRE scores?
Please just put in your verbal and math scores and then send us a copy. WEST won't accept the date and essay score, and we should have that fixed soon.
I took the GRE in 2002 for grad school, but did not include West Point in the recipients. Do you want me to work with the GRE testing folks to have the scores sent or is a copy alright? If a copy is fine, I uploaded one under the "Transcripts" category.
Yes, we will need a hard copy. If you are chosen, HRC will not process your packet without a GRE score from the last five years, in hardcopy.
Where do you want our GMAT scores uploaded? There is no "upload button" under the GMAT category. It just says that "GRE scores have not been received yet". All the other categories have a little button to upload the info.
You type in your score. Then send a copy/ and or originals to me in the event we select you. We will need the original for HRC. I will change your status to “received.”
I have a hard copy of my transcript, and I was wondering if you would prefer to obtain it via fax or if you want me to scan it and upload it in my WEST file in that format.
Upload the digits now. Send the official later when/if we accept you.
I will not have my AER from CCC until the 28th or 29th of this month, so it will not be on my OMPF by 1 Nov 06. Could I fax or scan this document as well?
Upload it as an OER.
The earliest the local Sylvan Learning Center could give the GRE is 22 OCT. I will be taking the test that day, and even though I will not get the final results for 10-14 days, could I at least report my verbal and mathematics scores on WEST?
Yes, knowledge is good.
On WEST, there is an upload link called "statement". What is this for? Is that where we tell you our command plans or does that only go in the bio? Is there any other required information for the "statement" category?
The statement is meant to give you a chance to explain why you want to come to the Department of Social Sciences. Be sure to review our website to see our mission and activities. Essentially, we hope you will want to educate, train, and inspire cadets.
I have tried to view them after I uploaded them, and I can't bring them up. Can you tell me if they were successfully uploaded on your end?
Keep trying. The system is new and you should try back in a few days. If you still have problems, notify the site administrator.
Is the informal photo military or civilian?
Our requirement is informal. The formal photo already sits on your new ORB.
Are you looking for transcripts from the graduating institution or all schools up to that point?
Yes, we need your undergraduate transcripts from where you graduated. It will usually include reference to your transfer credits. If you started and stopped college 2 or 3 times, that will likely need an explanation.
Do you need my Warrant OERs also or just commissioned?
We only need your Commissioned OERS.