Attending a military academy: Advice from West Point cadets

What is attending a military academy like? Listen to this week’s interview with Cadets Holland Pratt and Hannah Blakey. Both cadets are seniors at West Point. They also both hold leadership positions for their senior class of cadets. Cadet Holland Pratt has been named West Point’s First Captain. She is only the seventh female to attain this rank. And it is the first time there have been two females appointed First Captain consecutively. Cadet Hannah Blakey is the new Brigade Executive Officer. She recently served as the Cadet Basic Training Regimental Commander for the summer training. She was responsible for 1,200 new cadets who reported in late June. Both women share their experience of applying to, attending West Point, and what they hope for in the future.

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Attending a military academy: Advice from West Point cadets

Applying to West Point

Both women talk about the importance of planning early if you want to attend West Point. Cadet Blakey attended the summer program between her junior and senior years. She explains the many benefits that helped prepare her for attending a military academy but also began the application process. Both women also talk about the importance of being a well-rounded leader and being involved in many different activities during high school.

Growing as a person

Attending West Point has helped both women grow into leaders. They both discuss the different challenges they faced and how they overcame them. Another focus point is the importance of teamwork. Teamwork is pivotal in success at West Point. They have so many great memories from their experience and their military journey has barely begun. Cadet Pratt talks about taking a video for one second each day starting her senior year. Those one seconds are the memories that mean the most to her. We also discuss what being a woman at West Point is like. They have felt supported and have been able to thrive in the environment.

Cadet Blakey talks about her role at Cadet Basic Training helped impact plebes as they began their journey. She could help them with advice specifically for women and highlighted how to pack your ruck. Women have different strengths and while packing weight on your shoulders may work for males, having the weight distributed around your waist can help females.

Advice for women considering attending West Point

Besides planning early, both women encouraged future applicants to look inside themselves and to see if attending West Point is the right place for them. Everyone can do it. You don’t have to change who you are to be able to be successful. Instead, you need to focus on being yourself. You can always take aspects of others you admire and incorporate them into your leadership style. You do not need to change who you are to be a good leader. Quiet or loud. Extrovert or introvert. There is no one way to be a leader. Focus on your strengths and work to improve them.

Learn more about attending a military academy:

Military academy nomination tips

Girl’s Guide to the Military

Military academies homepage:

West Point (Army)
Air Force Academy (Air Force/Space Force)
United States Naval Academy (Navy/Marines)
Coast Guard Academy
Merchant Marine Academy

Related episodes:

Advice from military women – Episode 100

What branch of the military should I join?

7 Things I Wish I Would have known about military life

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