LTC Brechin, USAF, Ret.
The LOE -- West Point "Really" Likes You!
A unique offering from the U.S Military Academy during the admissions process is the "LOE" or Letter of Encouragement. None of the other four service academies use this communications. And, in short, it means that USMA 'really' likes you — that you’re very competitive — and that you should finish your application as soon as you can. 👍
USMA truly means that ". . . this letter is sent only to outstanding candidates deserving admission, your accomplishments to date should be a source of special pride to you and to your family." However, do not confuse the LOE with an "LOA," a Letter of Assurance. LOAs are quite rare, as you may want to read my blog about this type of communications that most of the service academies employ.
The most significant benefit of the LOE is the invitation to visit the Military Academy for an overnight experience. It represents a great opportunity to witness cadet life, especially during the Plebe year. You are matched with a freshman, visit classes, stay in the dormitories, and gain close-up views of the Academy and the life of a cadet. Another benefit is that you will have an opportunity to meet your Regional Commander and discuss details around your application. The LOE pictured above includes the name of the Southeast Regional Commander, Major Mark Owens.
If possible, I highly recommend that you take advantage of the invitation provided through your LOE. The tour runs from 8:30 am until 12:30 pm on the following day. Candidates schedule their visits from their USMA candidate portal. Note that all candidates must be fully vaccinated.
One other piece of advice: provide a copy of the LOE to all of your Members of Congress during the nomination process. It affirms your competitiveness to your MOCs as a nomination is imperative to continue your candidacy for an appointment to West Point.
Several of my students over the years have receive LOEs. All received nominations, and most received an appointment to the U.S. Military Academy. If you have received an LOE, then congratulations! Use it as a source of motivation to complete your entire application as soon as possible. Also, for others that have not received an LOE, please note that the majority of cadets attending the Military Academy never received a Letter of Encouragement. Instead, they believed, they persevered and they reached their goal of earning an appointment.
[I would welcome a chance to discuss details with you. I offer coaching services to pace and prepare you (and your parents!) for the entire Academy application process . . . including creating an admissions plan to help you to earn your own LOE! Contact me at email@example.com and/or 503.515.7406]