Valley Forge Military College is the only college in the northeastern United States that offers qualified freshmen the opportunity to participate in an Early Commissioning Program leading to a commission as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Reserves or Army National Guard at the end of their sophomore year.
In order to be eligible for the program, prospective cadets must have a cumulative high school grade point average (GPA) of at least 2.0 on a 4.0 scale, must have a combined math and verbal score of at least 850 on the SAT or 17 on the ACT, must pass a Department of Defense medical exam, must be at least 17 years of age, and must be a U.S. citizen of good moral character. Prospective cadets interested in an Army scholarship must have a cumulative GPA of 2.5 and an SAT score of 920 or an ACT score of 19.
Prospective cadets must complete specific military training prior to entering the ECP at Valley Forge. Most cadets attend the four-week Leaders Training Course (LTC) at Fort Knox, Kentucky during the summer before they arrive at Valley Forge. Soldiers who have completed Basic Combat Training are pre-qualified and need not attend LTC.
ECP cadets undergo a rigorous course of instruction during their two years at Valley Forge. In addition to their regular academic course schedule, cadets take a Military Science and Leadership (MSL) course each semester. The MSL curriculum consists of classroom instruction, a weekly leadership lab, physical training, and weekend training conducted three times per semester. Weekend training is focused on developing critical thinking adaptive leaders through situational experiences grounded in Army doctrine.
During the summer between their freshman and sophomore years at Valley Forge, cadets attend the five-week Cadet Leadership Course at Fort Knox, Kentucky. In addition, cadets may compete for and attend the Airborne Course at Fort Benning, Georgia, the Air Assault Course at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, may spend several weeks with an active duty Army unit in the Cadet Troop Leader Training (CTLT) program, or travel to a foreign country to train foreign soldiers in the Cultural Understanding and Language Profieciency Program (CULP). Following summer training, cadets return to Valley Forge where they prepare for leadship experiences as a platoon leader.
In addition to required training, cadets may participate in optional training. The Ranger Challenge team competes annually – and very successfully — against Military Junior and Senior Colleges and universities in the 1st Brigade.
In order to be eligible for commissioning, cadets must maintain a 2.0 cumulative GPA and graduate with an associate’s degree, must pass all MSL courses with a cumulative MSL GPA of 2.0, must complete CLC, must pass the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) and the Combat Water Survival Test (CWST), and must pass a military history course.
Upon graduation from Valley Forge, the newly-commissioned second lieutenants will serve in National Guard or Army Reserve units as platoon leaders while they complete their bachelor’s degrees at colleges and universities around the Nation. When cadets receive their bachelor’s degree, they will continue to serve in the National Guard or Reserves in units across the country, around the world, and, in some cases, in combat zones in Iraq and Afghanistan.
ECP cadets at Valley Forge are, without a doubt, the best in the Corps of Cadets. Many hold leadership positions, including Regimental Executive Officer, Infantry Battalion Commander, and Regimental Sergeant Major. Academically, ECP cadets are out front, as well. ECP graduates can be found throughout the U.S. Army, leading American soldiers and representing Valley Forge. Notable graduates include Julian Peterson ’98C Linebacker for the Detroit Lions, Bryan Lentz ’84C Former Pennsylvania State Representative, Bob Mensch ’65C Pennsylvania State Senator, and Wes Moore ’96 ’98C Rhodes Scholar & White House Fellowship.