West Point’s Summer Seminar (Summer Leaders Experience) is a unique leadership experience for high school students. This program offers hands-on experience in leadership, teamwork, and other essential skills. Participants will also have the opportunity to learn about the admissions process and what it takes to be a successful West Point cadet.

Summer Leaders Experience is an excellent way for students to explore their leadership potential and learn more about what West Point has to offer.

What is West Point summer seminar?

West Point Summer Leaders Experience (SLE) Summer Seminar is a week-long program that gives high school students a taste of what it’s like to be a cadet at the U.S. Military Academy (West Point). Summer Leaders Experience is held every summer at West Point in New York. The program is open to any high school junior who is a U.S. citizen. There is no obligation to join the Army or attend West Point after participating in SLE, but many students do choose to apply to West Point after taking part in the program.

There are many benefits to attending SLE. Some of these benefits include:

  • Gaining leadership experience
  • Learning more about what it takes to be a cadet at West Point
  • Exploring your interest in the military
  • Getting a head start on the West Point admissions process
West Point summer seminar cadets summer leaders experience

When is Summer Leaders Experience?

The West Point Summer Leaders Experience program runs during June. The exact dates vary from year to year, so be sure to check back for updates.

Cost: $625 + travel expenses

Length: 8 days

Dates of West Point SLE for the HS Graduating Class of 2025

  • Session 1 – June 1- June 7, 2024
  • Session 2 – June 8 – June 14, 2024

Why should you apply to summer seminar?

For high school students who are considering attending West Point, summer seminar is the perfect way to get a feel for what life is like at the Academy.

USMA summer seminar gives students the opportunity to experience the rigorous academic and military training that West Point cadets go through on a daily basis.

We highly recommend summer seminar for students who have little to no military exposure so that they can get a better understanding of what they are signing up for.

In addition to attending classes and getting a taste of military life, students will also have the chance to meet with Army officers and learn more about the admissions process.

Students get to hear directly from cadets about what life is like, as well as receive counseling from the West Point admissions team.

If you’re thinking about seeking an appointment to West Point, Summer Leaders Experience is a great way to get started.

What to expect

Get introduced to a completely different college experience by attending our SLE. This is a week-long immersion in West Point academic, military and social life. An action-packed week, it’s the best way for you to gauge the challenges you would encounter and overcome as a West Point cadet.

Typical day:

  • 5:45-6:45 AM Physical Training
  • 7:25-7:40 AM Breakfast in the Cadet Mess Hall
  • The remainder of the day: classes, military training, athletics, and social events
  • 11:00 PM Lights out

Academics Experience – You can choose from a variety of courses in different academic areas, including:

  • Science
  • Mathematics
  • Engineering
  • Humanities
  • Modern Languages
  • Psychology

Military Experience

  • Physical Training
  • Weapons Familiarization
  • Obstacle Courses
  • Leadership Reaction Course
  • Candidate Fitness Assessment

Athletic and Social Experience

You’ll play intramural sports and social events with other SLE students and West Point cadets. You will also have the chance to ask cadets questions about the Academy and the Army. The entire week will give you a good sense of whether West Point is a good fit.

How to Apply to West Point Summer Seminar

The Summer Seminar application process is competitive. Applications are evaluated on a number of factors, including academic achievement, extracurricular activities, and essays.

You’ll complete the online application by first filling out your personal information. This will include where you live, go to high school, and your Congressional District. You’ll also include:

  • SAT and/or ACT scores
  • Other colleges you’re planning to apply to
  • College majors you’re interested in
  • Athletic experience while in high school
    • Football
    • Area Hockey
    • Baseball
    • Basketball
    • Boxing
    • Cheerleading
    • Crew
    • Cross Country
    • Cycling
    • Diving
    • Equestrian
    • Excused
    • Fencing
    • Field Hockey
    • Fitness/Wellness
    • Flickerball
    • Football
    • Golf
    • Gymnastics
    • Handball
    • Ice Hockey
    • JV Sports
    • Lacrosse
    • Marathon
    • Martial Arts
    • Mountaineering
    • Non-school League
    • Orienteering
    • Other
    • Pistol
    • Power Lifting
    • Rabble Rousers (motivating others at sports events)
    • Racquetball
    • Rifle
    • Rugby
    • Sailing
    • Sandhurst
    • Skeet and Trap
    • Skiing
    • Soccer
    • Softball
    • Sport Parachute
    • Squash
    • Swimming
    • Team Handball
    • Tennis
    • Track
    • Triathlon
    • Volleyball
    • Wallyball
    • Water Polo
    • Weight Training
    • Wrestling
  • Extracurriculars outside of athletics in high school (here are your choices):
    • 4H/Future Farmers of America
    • All State Band/Chorus
    • Band Director/Officer
    • Band/Orchestra Member
    • Band/Orchestra/Chorus Other Honors
    • Beta Club Attendee
    • Beta Club President
    • Boys/Girls Nation Attendee
    • Boys/Girls Nation President
    • Boys/Girls State Attendee
    • Boys/Girls State Governor
    • Camp Counselor
    • Camp Fire Girls Camp Counselor
    • Camp Fire Girls Horizon Club Member
    • Camp Fire Girls Representative National Meetings
    • Certified EMT/EMS
    • Chorus Director/Officer
    • Chorus Member
    • Church Group Member
    • Church Group Officer
    • Church Group President
    • Civil Air Patrol Eaker Award(C/LTC)
    • Civil Air Patrol Member
    • Civil Air Patrol Officer/1SG
    • Civil Air Patrol Spaatz Award (C/COL)
    • Civil Air Patrol/ROTC Member
    • Class President/Chairperson
    • Class Representative
    • Class Secretary/Treasurer
    • Class Vice President
    • County, City, or State Government Awards
    • Debate Honors
    • Debate President/Officer
    • Debate Team Member
    • Dramatic Leading Role in a Public Performance
    • Dramatic Participation in a Public Performance
    • Dramatics Honors
    • Foreign Study One Month or More
    • Jr Achieve/4H/Future Farmers of America Member
    • Jr Achieve/4H/Future Farmers of America Officer
    • Jr Achieve/4H/Future Farmers of America President
    • JROTC Regimental/Brigade Commander
    • JROTC/ROTC Battalion Commander
    • JROTC/ROTC Member
    • JROTC/ROTC Officer/CSM/1SG
    • Junior Achievement Member
    • Master of Ceremonies/Chairperson
    • Model United Nations Member
    • Model United Nations Officer
    • Model United Nations President
    • National Honor Soc. VP/Treasurer/Secretary
    • National Honor Society Attendee
    • National Honor Society President
    • Newspaper Editor-in-Chief
    • Newspaper Writer/Reporter/Staff
    • Officer Non-School Club
    • Other Scholastic Awards
    • Pom-Pom/Flag Team Member
    • Publication Editor-in-Chief
    • Publication Writer/Reporter/Staff
    • School Band/Chorus Member
    • School Club Officer
    • School Club President
    • School Club Representative
    • School Club Secretary/Treasurer
    • School Club Vice President
    • Scouting Eagle/Gold Award
    • Scouting Member
    • Senior Patrol Leader/Junior Assistant Scoutmaster
    • Student Body Officer
    • Student Body President/Chairperson
    • Student Body Representative
    • Student Body Secretary/Treasurer
    • Student Body Vice President
    • Volunteer Firefighter
    • Yearbook Editor-in-Chief
    • Yearbook Writer/Reporter/Staff

You’ll fill out the Part I USMA Candidate Questionnaire of the West Point application and the workshop/week preference (Part II) to apply for SLE.

West Point has provided the following averages for SLE attendees:

  • SAT 1200-1300 or ACT 26-30
  • Top 20% of the class
  • Member of the National Honor Society
  • Participates in high school clubs
  • Participates in extracurricular leadership activities such as Student Council, Boy/Girl Scouts, Boys/Girls State,
  • Is in very good physical condition and/or a varsity letter winner and/or team captain in at least one sport.

Still apply if you don’t meet these criteria if you are dedicated to going to West Point! Find out more on the Summer Leaders Experience page.

Summer Seminar Cost

The cost varies from year to year, but generally is around $625 plus travel expenses. You will also be asked to submit a deposit to reserve your spot in the program. There are needs-based scholarships available to students, so don’t let cost prevent you from applying.

When does the West Point summer seminar application open?

The West Point Summer Leaders Experience application for the class of 2029 opens February 1, 2024 and closes on March 15th, 2024.

Make sure you’ve taken the SAT/ACT/PSAT to increase your chances of being selected, and plan to apply early in the application cycle.

Make sure your application is complete before submitting it.

The application is closed for 2023 (the West Point class of 2028).

To apply, complete the online application.

If I apply to summer seminar, what do I have to do to apply to West Point?

Typically, students must complete a candidate questionnaire to determine if they are granted candidate status by West Point. This is the first portion of the application. If you apply for summer seminar, your application counts as this first step in the application process. You won’t have to do anything else until the second half of the application opens up.

When will I find out if I’ve been accepted into West Point’s Summer Leaders Experience?

Once you have submitted your application, you’ll find out if you were selected by visiting the application portal by April 15th. You should also receive an email. Make sure you fill out all the paperwork on time, otherwise USMA will give your slot to someone else.

Forms are typically due within a week of finding out if you were selected or not.

How many students are accepted?

About 1,100 students are selected to attend West Point summer seminar each summer. This is much higher than the 600 students selected to attend the Air Force Academy summer seminar in person, but less than the 2,500 students selected to attend Naval Academy summer seminar.

We can’t stress enough the importance of still pursuing an appointment even if you weren’t selected for summer seminar.

What if I’m waitlisted?

Many students are waitlisted. Waitlisted students can find out as late as 2 weeks before session start dates that they’ve been accepted.

If you are accepted, congratulations! You will then need to verify medical information and provide your insurance information.

Be sure to check out the Summer Seminar page to learn more.

You can also learn more about the West Point application process with our guide on getting into West Point.

West Point Summer Seminar Summer Leaders Experience blog post graphic

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LTC Kirkland and Captain Dach

Lieutenant Colonel Robert Kirkland (USA, Ret.) is an expert on military admissions and leadership. He served for over 25 years in the United States Army, including stints as an instructor at West Point and as a commander of two Army ROTC programs. Former Air Force Captain Trisha Dach served as an Intelligence Officer from 2011-2018. A graduate of the Air Force Academy. They have helped hundreds of candidates secure appointments and ROTC scholarships. Together, they help educate parents and students on military propensity, leadership, and Academy admissions.

Want to maximize your potential of earning a West Point appointment?