Many of the new cadets came by train, then the climb started with the first hill.
Each year, all over the United States, high school students begin thinking of
what they will do after their high school graduation – go to college, enter the military, go to work? This was no different for the young men who would consider becoming members of the United States Military Academy Class of 1969. They had to be at least 17 on the day of entry, would request a Candidate Questionnaire and be sent the almost daunting list of requirements to meet in order to be considered for West Point. Most would have to start this process even before their senior year in high school because there would be many steps to take towards a nomination.
According to a pamphlet entitled “Class of 1969, United States Military
Academy”, character and scholarship were among the most important
considerations for a candidate for appointment.
It is difficult to define an outstanding cadet in specific terms. In general,
however, one can say that there is no substitute for scholarship. Furthermore, a cadet must be physically fit, and able to get along with his peers, his seniors, and his juniors. He may have a strong desire to pursue a military career, because lack of motivation frequently results in failure to remain at the Military Academy. A young man of sturdy moral fiber and exemplary principle who stands high in his secondary school class, who excels on standardized tests of scholastic aptitude and achievement, who is liked and respected by his associates and who has materially contributed to school and community activities is excellent cadet material. These characteristics are usually found in the young man who has the unqualified recommendation of his secondary school. The Military Academy hopes that all young men considered for the nomination will have these qualities which make them worthy to represent the district, state or competitive category from which they may receive an appointment.
Besides the standards for character and scholarship, the potential cadet
would have to submit materials to the Admissions Office, have a complete
physical (often given at a nearby military facility by a military doctor), pass a physical fitness test and receive a nomination from his Congressman or an Army related source (active duty recommendation). 75% of the potential Class of 1969 were nominated by their Congressman, while 25% received their appointment from another source. Many Congressmen held interviews before selecting their candidate for admission; many Congressmen nominate 10 candidates for a single vacancy. This long process ends by receipt of an official letter from the Congressman with congratulations on an appointment to the West Point Class of 1969.