Soldiers leverage USMA RACE program to further their careers

By 1st Lt. Jordan BalzanoApril 17, 2023

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii — Soldiers from across the 25th Infantry Division sat down with members of the West Point admissions team to complete their cadet applications through the Rapid Application Completion Exercise, shortened as RACE, April 11-13, 2023 on Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.

U.S. Army Maj. Nargis Kabiri from the USMA admission team assists a prospective Service-connected Application (SCA) Canidate on their application through the Rapid Application Completion Exercise (RACE) at F-Quad, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, April 13, 2023. Twenty-one Soldiers completed their application through the RACE process, investing in their future as prospective Army officers.
U.S. Army Maj. Nargis Kabiri from the USMA admission team assists a prospective Service-connected Application (SCA) Canidate on their application through the Rapid Application Completion Exercise (RACE) at F-Quad, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, April 13, 2023. Twenty-one Soldiers completed their application through the RACE process, investing in their future as prospective Army officers. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

The RACE program offers Army Soldiers the unique opportunity to complete their service-connected admissions, or SCA, with members of the West Point admissions team to ensure they have all their questions answered and a competitive application submitted. The admissions team hosted two informational sessions chaired by Lt Col. Rance Lee, head of the West Point admissions team, along with the physical fitness test. These events culminated in a faculty-led form completion session giving Soldiers ample time to complete their application.

A U.S. Army Solider assigned to the 25th Infantry Division completes the push-up portion of the West Point Service-Connected Application (SCA) Process April 13, 2023 at F-quad, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. Every applicant completed a kneeling basketball throw, push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups, a shuttle sprint, and a mile run to compete for a slot to West Point's preparatory academy, the next step for a SCA applicant winner.
A U.S. Army Solider assigned to the 25th Infantry Division completes the push-up portion of the West Point Service-Connected Application (SCA) Process April 13, 2023 at F-quad, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. Every applicant completed a kneeling basketball throw, push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups, a shuttle sprint, and a mile run to compete for a slot to West Point's preparatory academy, the next step for a SCA applicant winner. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

The physical fitness portion includes multiple events designed to test the applicant’s overall fitness and ability to remain competitive during the more rigorous outdoor activities found at West Point. Events included a kneeling basketball throw, push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups, a shuttle sprint and a mile run. The 25th Infantry Division had a strong showing with the fastest runner, Spc. Landon Hobbs, a cavalry scout from 3rd Squadron 4th Cavalry Regiment, completing his mile in five minutes fifteen seconds.

“I’d say for an average active-duty Soldier, the test is doable,” said Hobbs. “But I wanted to make sure I had a competitive application, so I definitely tried my hardest.”

There is a history within the Bronco Brigade utilizing the service-connected admission. Col. Rob Shaw, an infantry officer serving as the 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team commander, enlisted in the Army before attending to West Point and graduating in the top 100 of his class. Maj. Christopher Mattos, the 3rd Brigade plans officer, participated in the preparatory school, the next stop for Soldiers admitted using the RACE program.

This, combined with buy-in at the squadron and battalion level led to the 25th Infantry Division having a strong turn-out for those prospective candidates.

U.S. Army Maj. Antonio Nash from the West Point admissions team speaks to prospective 25th Infantry Division Service-Connected Application (SCA) applicants on Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, April 13, 2023. The candidates went on to complete a one mile run before sitting down with the admissions team and finishing competitive applications with the admission team's assistance.
U.S. Army Maj. Antonio Nash from the West Point admissions team speaks to prospective 25th Infantry Division Service-Connected Application (SCA) applicants on Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, April 13, 2023. The candidates went on to complete a one mile run before sitting down with the admissions team and finishing competitive applications with the admission team's assistance. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
"It's really encouraging seeing these active-duty Soldiers investing in themselves," said Maj. Antonio Nash, a member of the West Point Admissions team. "The RACE program is an excellent way for Soldiers to take the leap to the officer world. The 25th Infantry Division having such a strong showing shows how much the leaders here care."

Active-duty Soldiers can attend West Point through the SCA program. This program allows qualified soldiers to apply to West Point and compete for admission without having to go through the traditional nomination process.

To be eligible for the SCA program, soldiers must meet the following criteria:

  • Be on active duty in the U.S. Army
  • Be at least 17 years old but not older than 22 on July 1 of the year of admission
  • Have a high school diploma or equivalent
  • Meet West Point's physical and academic standards
  • Have no dependents including spouse or children

Soldiers who are interested in applying to West Point through the SCA program should contact the West Point Admissions Office or Maj. Antonio Nash at (706) 853-3442 for more information on the application process and requirements. They will need to submit an application, academic transcripts, test scores, letters of recommendation, and complete a medical and physical fitness exam.

The selection process for the SCA program is highly competitive, so it is important for interested Soldiers to start the application process early and ensure that they meet all the eligibility criteria.