West Point requires four SOEs -- what are they?
The U.S. Military Academy requires four different School Official Evaluations (SOEs) as part of the application process. You will find the 'list' in the Second Step Kit, or SSK. An SOE is required from a Math, an English, a Physical Science (Physics or Chemistry) and a Physical Education teacher, too.
Let's discuss the different required SOEs.
Math Teacher. Any good evaluation will be based upon a good relationship with your math teacher and a good record of achievement in your math class. Ideally, you will take the opportunity to accomplish both prior to approaching your math teacher.
The teacher's School Official Evaluation will be submitted privately and online. Once you have entered the contact information for your teacher, he/she will receive an email with a link to submit your evaluation.
I recommend that you coordinate with the teacher so that she/he expects the email. Ensure that you select “Save Contact & Send Email Now” otherwise your teacher will not receive the request. One to two days after you submitted the information, check with your math teacher to verify it was received. If it was not received, have your teacher check their spam folder before contacting your admissions team.
English Teacher. The advice provided for your math teacher is the same for your English teacher. Do the work and build a relationship! Then, coordinate with her/him to ensure that the email has been received.
Science Teacher. This SOE should be accomplished by your Physics or Chemistry teacher. All of the other previous guidance provided for your other teachers applies to your science teacher, too.
PE Teacher. West Point is the only U.S. service academy to require an evaluation from a PE teacher. For candidates who are not offered PE, below is a 'progression' of individuals authorized to complete the PE SOE:
Note that coaches CANNOT submit the PE SOE if they are not also your PE Teacher. Often, students will use the same teacher to complete this SOE and administer the CFA. The application requires completing a second set of entries designating the CFA administer's name and email address.
Allow me to outline a few other important points concerning your SOEs and related evaluations.
If you are a prior candidate and previously completed SOEs, they will be rolled forward into your new application. If you are a college student, you are still required to submit four SOEs from high school. You will also submit two additional SOEs from either your college English, mathematics, science, or physical education professors or instructors. All college applicants are required to have a total of six SOEs.
If you are an Army soldier you may submit your high school SOEs from your English, mathematics, science and physical education instructors or submit four evaluations from either your squad leader, platoon sergeant, platoon leader or first sergeant. Do not have your commander submit an evaluation since she/he is required to submit a separate commander’s assessment for your West Point application
Another School Official is required in your application. This official will be asked (through an email) to verify your school activities. Often, this official is your school guidance counselor or other similar individual.
Beyond the SOEs, most students will require letters of recommendation from a few other teachers for their nominations. Ideally, you will ask some of the same school officials. What's more, the USMA SSK does not require you to submit any LORs. However, I recommend that students provide one or two to be included in your admissions records. I wrote a separate blog that discusses how to submit LORs to USMA, and I recommend your review.
Now you are an expert on the SOEs for West Point! Plan now and make your requests to complete your USMA application.
[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 helping you coordinate with your USMA recommenders. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, 503.515.7406 or my contact form on this website]