United States Military Academy Preparatory School

United States Military Academy Prep School
Motto Desire · Faith · Effort
Established 1947
Type Federal military academy prep school
Commandant Col. Tyge Rugenstein
Admin. staff ~100 faculty
Students ~220
Location West Point, New York, United States
Campus United States Military Academy
Athletics 15 varsity teams, called "Black Knights"
Colors Black , gray , and gold
Website United States Military Academy Prep School

The United States Military Academy Preparatory School (USMAPS), sometimes referred to as West Point Prep, is a preparatory school for the United States Military Academy (USMA) currently located at West Point since 2011. Formally established in 1946, its official mission is "to provide academic, military and physical instruction in a moral-ethical military environment to prepare and motivate candidates for success at the United States Military Academy."[1] Admission to USMAPS is seen as alternate route to get acceptance to attend West Point and ensure that Cadets are better qualified for the academic, and military training there. Indeed, post Prep students at West Point comprise "11% of the Corps of Cadets, yet they have held 25% of the senior leadership positions of the [West Point] Corps."[2]



In 1916, the rules for admission to the US Service Academies changed to include a formal admission process to ensure the appointees' success and excellence. Between the two World Wars, the US was divided into Corps Areas, and each of these maintained its own West Point Preparatory School, all being supervised by the USMA staff.


As with the other United States military academies' prep schools, there is no separate application for USMAPS, only the West Point application. Admission officers will offer USMAPS to potential West Point cadets who have received their Congressional appointments yet may lack the grades or skills necessary for West Point. During the middle of the Prep school year, Cadet Candidates must submit new applications to West Point, including the Congressional nomination. By June, Cadet Candidates will receive word of their application status and West Point acceptance. Most of those who attend the Prep School will go on to West Point contingent on their application, academics and grades, physical training, and military instruction. Some Candidates may transfer to other service academies, or be sent back to United States Army as a regular enlisted soldier.[3]

(For more information on the admissions process, see West Point's Appointment Process.)

Cadet Candidates and USMAPS Instruction

Students at USMAPS are known as Cadet Candidates (often abbreviated to "CCs"); board and tuition are free and they are paid a small stipend as they are active members of the U.S.Army. The course extends over a ten-month scholastic year and aims at training the "CCs” to cope with the academic and military rigors of an army education before attending West Point the following academic year.

Cadet Candidates arrive at the Prep school in mid-July for Cadet Candidate Basic Training or CCBT, a three week program to put them in shape and provide the foundation for West Point and military instruction.


Immediately following CCBT, academic classes start in August and end in mid-May. USMAPS provides instruction in English,General Mathematics, Student Development Course, Military Science, physical and military training among other courses.


USMAPS has an extensive athletic program including football, women's volleyball, fencing, boxing, cross-country, track, men and women's basketball, soccer, lacrosse, swimming, and wrestling.[4] Known as the Black Knights, with black and gold colors, USMAPS primarily participates with the other United States military academy prep schools, especially their rival the Naval Academy Preparatory School. Potential athletes are the most notable group of those sent to USMAPS to upgrade their scholastic abilities.

Types of Cadet Candidates

There are two main types of Cadet Candidates represented at the Prep School: Prior Service (PSs) and Invitational Reservists (IRs).

Prior Service

Prior Service CCs fall within the age range of seventeen to twenty-two, who have already served in the Army as enlisted soldiers. Prior Service can go direct admit (straight into West Point) but many choose to take an extra year to review high school academic skills. Only math and English are taught at the Prep School. CCs are given a chance to take a voluntary science refresher course during their summer leave prior to entering West Point.

Invitational Reservists

Invitational Reservists, or IRs, are Recruited Athletes and are high school athletes who either need to improve their academic grades or require rehabilitation for a sport injury. They are also non-Athletes straight from high school or junior college who, for many reasons, applied to West Point but were not accepted. The Athletes compete against other local colleges, high schools, local leagues, and against the USMA Junior Varsity teams. This also gives the USMA coaches a chance to size up and observe the next year's potentials. Non-recruits may join teams as "walk-ons," and are encouraged so as to keep fit and in shape for West Point. Usually it is a slight deficiency in grades, physical fitness, or extracurricular activities. While not at the top of the list for direct admit, these are the applicants who the Admissions Department has deemed "potential" and so are granted a year at the Prep School to improve the needed areas for admission into West Point of the next year.

Slang and Sayings of USMAPS

Just like West Point, the Prep School has its own jargon and idioms used by the CCs. But a word of caution: It will be well for the new cadet if he has seen these words and perhaps memorized some of them... He should never use such terms until he has heard them authoritatively employed, for he may well... reveal him[self] to all as a student of the glossary.'- E.D.J. Waugh, author of West Point, 1944.

•  "Because twelve grades just weren't enough.":  used to describe how the Prep School is often seen as the "13th grade."

• "And you didn't get in direct?": often used as a sarcastic reply when one CC believes another CC is acting silly or ridiculous, meaning they can't understand why the Admissions Department didn't want them to come directly to the Academy.

• The Cats: Anyone known for various infractions are known as "cats" i.e. someone who violates TAPS regularly is considered a "TAPS cat", or anyone who breaks fraternization policies with a CC of the opposite gender would be called a "Frat Cat".

• The Q: officially the CQ desk, it stands for Charge of Quarters, where CCs are to field phone calls and make announcements for twelve or twenty-four hour shifts, depending on whether it is a duty or non-duty day.

• "The Bubble": The temporary-location for all of the indoor athletic activities at USMAPS; including several locker-rooms, the weight-room, and the wrestling mats.

Location change

West Point was not USMAPS' first location, since it was founded in June 1946 at Stewart Army Air Field, Newburgh, New York (a few miles from West Point), and moved to Fort Belvoir, Virginia in 1957, only moving to Fort Monmouth in 1975. Now in turn, due to the Base Realignment and Closure, 2005, Fort Monmouth was shut down. As of 18 July 2011 USMAPS was located at West Point, New York


External links

Coordinates: 40°18′38″N 74°03′41″W / 40.310626°N 74.061362°W / 40.310626; -74.061362

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