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 Fort Monmouth, in Eatontown, New Jersey.
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."
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
In 1916, the rules for admission to the US Service Academies
changed to include a formal admission process to ensure that
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
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.
(For more information on the admissions process, see West Point's Appointment
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
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
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.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
. Potential athletes are the most notable group of those
sent to USMAPS to upgrade their scholastic abilities.
Types of Cadet Candidates
There are three main types of Cadet Candidates represented at the
Prep School: Prior Service (PSs) and Invitational Reservists
Prior Service CCs fall within the age range of seventeen to
twenty-two, who have already served several years in the Army as
enlisted soldiers. Usually, a commanding officer will see potential
in the soldier and recommend the said soldier for OCS (Officer
Candidate School), but if the soldier displays exceptional
leadership potential, then the USMA will be notified. Prior Service
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, 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
• "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 GAP: stands for the Go Army Pad, a long block of cement in
the front of the School where formations are conducted.
• The Quad: a space in between the first two buildings, a main CC
• The Smoke Shack: located in the Quad, this is a small enclosure
where CCs can smoke.
• The Grassy Knoll: located between the second and third buildings,
this is a large area of grass usually used by CHARLIE Co. to
conduct company formations.
• The Frat House: nickname given to the top two floors of the
Athletic Building, which are usually male-dominated barracks.
• The Jungle: name given to the top floor of the middle building,
known for the many sounds that CCs often produce at night.
• The Barnyard: name for the second floor of the middle building,
due to the smell.
• 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 Lone-Wolf Desk: name given to the CQ desk located in the
Athletics building, where only one person sits. The Main Q is a
• The Underground: the name for the basement that serves as the
supply room where CCs get fresh linen once a week.
• The Cave: the basement underneath the School auditorium, where
judo and boxing and other fighting sports hold their
Monmouth 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
Virginia in 1957, only moving to Fort Monmouth in
Now in turn, due to the Base Realignment and Closure,
, Fort Monmouth is currently in the process of being shut
down. USMAPS will continue, however, to operate at the Fort
Monmouth campus till 2011 when the school will move to West Point,