On a nearly 16,000 acre expanse of New York land overlooking the Hudson River sits West Point Academy, the United State Military Academy since March 16, 1802. Created to educate American youth while simultaneously training them to serve as commissioned officers in the Army, it has stood for so long that “much of the history [they] teach was made by people [they] taught”.
As one of the service academies, Congressional recommendation is just one of the many highly selective requirements needed for acceptance to West Point, which include an array of not only mental, but physical and potential leadership qualifications. A student body of roughly 4,400 men and women attend tuition free annually to “establish the intellectual foundation for service as a highly educated commissioned officer” at a university that stresses small classes and daily homework requiring students to be “actively responsible for their education”.
West Point offers a Bachelor of Science degree in more than 40 different majors, with military related fields such as mechanical engineering, foreign language, and history. The curriculum operates of a core foundation of 26 arts and science courses, as well as requiring at least one information technologies course and a three-course engineering sequence.
Renowned as one of the “most wired campuses in the nation”, West Point is “the world leader in leveraging information and education technology to develop leaders of character”. Granted, there are no distance learning courses available here as it is a service academy and, therefore, requires attendance, but the Information and Educational Technology Division encompasses a wide array of advanced equipment and technologies designed to better train and prepare cadets. They “educate and empower cadets using technology”, ensuring not only a “safe computing environment”, but also offer cadets all the best available technology in education, including a “rich computing infrastructure”, a faculty/staff always looking to adopt new, innovative technologies to aid in teaching, and in house maintenance of technology systems and continuous design/implementation of new education systems. Though there is no online learning outside of class, it is safe to say that cadets are more than familiar with technology when they exit the academy.
Athletics are ever important in the military life and all students at West Point are required to play a sport each semester, as well as take rigorous physical education classes to maintain peak physical/mental health. Militarily speaking you start right away with “Beast Barracks”, a summer Cadet Basic Training program, and are seeing active duty patrols by your third year. Graduates receive not only a B.S. degree upon graduation, but are trained to be and given commissions as second lieutenants for a required five years (trade off for four years of tuitionless education).
“Duty, Honor, Country” is a motto that’s stood for the US Military Academy’s beliefs for over 200 years, graduating presidents and generals, as well as leaders of business and industry from a disciplined student body of potential officers referred to as the “The Long Gray Line”. West Point is not only a supplier of officers, but stands as an innovative and essential component of the military, actively striving to improve the US both here and abroad.