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Getting into West Point is more difficult than any other prestigious college or university. This holds true for other service academies as well and there are thousands of applicants that get rejected every year. The Army published a very interesting article that discusses some slots left specifically for active duty Soldiers, which end up being left vacant. Each academic year, 85 seats for activity-duty and another 85 for Reserve and Guard Soldiers are reserved. Oddly, only about 50 in each category get filled. To get the rest of the fascinating article: http://www.army.mil/-news/2010/02/25/34977-some-west-point-seats-for-soldiers-go-vacant/index.html?ref=myarmy-headlines-title7?ref=myarmy-headlines-title7
While some of these reserved slots go unfilled, it is important the Army is looking into making sure they will be filled every year. The fact that some of these slots go unfilled has gotten me thinking about another issue, those that don’t make it into the Academy. Each year, all those that don’t make the cut to West Point or another service academy, the question is, what happens to those applicants? Surely, some must make it into ROTC but is there a system that keeps track of all those applicants? Are they encouraged to continue pursing a career in service even if they didn’t get their top choice school? Some of the most qualified applicants don’t make it into West Point or other service academies because of the rigorous process and the sheer amount of applicants, but those individuals would still most likely make great leaders and service members. It would be interesting to take a look at the percentages of those that don’t get into a federal academy if they still continue on the service path either through an ROTC commissioning or enlisting into their desired branch. Completely losing those applicants would be a loss for the military, so the question remains is there a formal system in place to keep track of all these applicants?