The West Point admissions interview is a mandatory requirement for applicants. It is also usually required by the Member of Congress for nomination. The tips and sample questions described here apply equally to nomination interviews. For information on all West Point admissions requirements, read our article on How to Get Into West Point.
We’ve also given several helpful West Point essay examples and provided commentary on what makes them great and how to model your essays.
West Point officially states that the interview is invaluable in the admissions process as it gives them the best chance to get a subjective look at a candidate. They are attempting to measure the candidate’s character, resilience, the desire to serve Candidates could be everything on paper, but nothing in front of an audience. Contrastingly, they may be that individual that had a rough family life that affected them academically but emerged a stronger individual capable of leading others.
Most interviews are done by a West Point Field Force Representative at the candidate’s home, at the representative’s home or office, in a neutral location or by telephone/Skype when there is too much distance between the representative and the candidate. You can find your local Field Force Representative here.
Others who can conduct the interview are Military Academy Liaison Officers (MALOs), USMA Admission Officers, ROTC Professors of Military Science, and Summer Leader Experience (SLE) cadre.
The interview is slated for 30-45 minutes. Parents are encouraged to meet the interviewer, but the interview should be conducted only with the interviewer and candidate.
West Point Admissions Interview Questions – Rating Criteria
Candidates are rated on a scale of 1 (strongly agree) to 5 (disagree strongly).
Candidates will be evaluated throughout the interview in the following areas:
- Eye contact
- Tone of voice and delivery
- Quality of answers
- Full and intended to engage/inform the interviewer? Or, brief and hoping to get through the interview?
- First impression at introduction
- Good handshake/greeting? Did the interviewer get the sense that the candidate wanted to be there and to impress?
West Point interview questions will center on the following areas:
Knowledge of West Point and the Army
The path to an Army officer’s commission through West Point is challenging. A cadet has to complete a rigorous undergraduate program while they are learning the distinctly military elements of their chosen career. Success takes drive and motivation. Candidates for West Point need to understand why they are making the commitment to serve their country. These questions attempt to get at how much legwork the applicant did ahead of time to learn about West Point and the Army and what life would be like as an officer in the United States Army.
Typical Question: Why do you want to be an Army officer?
Sample above average answer: I believe that American values and our way of life are worth fighting for. One of the finest ways one can demonstrate this commitment is by becoming an officer in the United States Army. This commitment is not something to be taken lightly and I needed to explore what the duties and responsibilities of both a cadet and a lieutenant were. I had a plan.
I visited the Somerset Army National Guard unit near my home in New Jersey. There, I was introduced to a group of officers, non-commissioned officers, and ROTC cadets. I learned from my visit that officers lead by example and need to take care of their soldiers. Non-commissioned officers are the “backbone” of the Army and it is important that new lieutenants learn from their sergeants.
Once I become a lieutenant, I hope to deploy overseas. An important aspect is to understand the local culture in the execution of my duties as an officer. I hope that my intended major of international relations helps me gain a deeper understanding of the people I will be interacting with overseas.
Overall, through my experience in visiting a National Guard unit and talking to current Army officers, I understand what it takes to be an Army officer and I am prepared for this challenge.