The whole person score – what is it??

Trying to shine a little more light on the confusing process that is the Army ROTC scholarship process.  In my opinion some of the process is better not fully revealed, and obsessed over.  Worrying too much about the scoring system may cause more heartache than necessary.  For the high school scholarship program students apply and provide information that generates a Whole Person Score (WPS).  Applicants often ask what makes up the WPS, and here is what we were told last year at our Brigade Leaders Conference.  Keep in mind the process changes often, so these ratios may have changed for the coming year, but they are roughly what a current applicant is looking at.

Whole Person Score

Area of Consideration Possible Points

CBEF 250 points
PMS Interview 200 points
ROTC Physical Fitness Test 150 points
SAT/ACT 250 points
Scholar/Athlete/Leader 200 points
Board Members 350 points
Total 1400 points

So, what does this mean to you the applicant (or parent of an applicant).  Some of these things you have  a large amount of control over, and some you don’t.  Some you should worry about and some you shouldn’t, and then there are other factors to consider.

What you should worry about:

The PMS interview – is something I have written about frequently and something you can strive to maximize your points from.  If you aren’t in the 180 to 200 range you may be at a disadvantage.  You may or may not find out your score from the interview.  If I was a PMS I would be hesitant to reveal to the applicant I interview what I scored them on the subjective part of the interview.  All you can do with the interview is take your best shot.

The PFT – I’ve written about this too.  Last year was the first year they assigned an actual score to the test.  In the past your performance was just used by the board as a general indicator of your fitness level.  Now there is an actual score rolled into the PFT.  I have not found that scoring table, but you should take the PFT, do your best, and send in your scores.

SAT/ACT scores – Prepare for them, take them, do the best you can, retake them if you think you can do better.  That’s all you can do.

Scholar/Athlete/Leader score – when you fill out the application you list your extra curriculars along with your high school GPA, test scores, and any other information the application asks for.  This information is scored and becomes part of your Whole Person Score.  Make sure you list all your extra curricular activities.   You can go back into your application and add to or change your information.  Usually it is easy to do this up until your file is seen by a board.  Once you are boarded it doesn’t make much sense trying to make changes, since you already have a score and by changing one thing on you application it probably won’t affect your chances.

What you shouldn’t worry about:

You can’t control who sits on the board, or what they think about your file. As long as you’ve done your best, and have painted the best picture you can of your SAL attributes and potential as an Army leader you’ve done all that you can do.  You also shouldn’t worry about the CBEF.  I doubt anyone will ever know what/how/why the score is from this survey.  All applicants are taking the same survey and I don’t think there is a way to influence your score.

Other factors:

Despite all your best efforts and your great stats, if the schools on your list are very competitive you may not get an offer, or the offer you were looking for.  If the number of scholarships continues to decline you may have to come to campus and prove you deserve a campus based scholarship.  If you were looking for a four-year offer, and all you get is a three-year offer you’ll have to decide if it’s an offer you can accept.

Final thought:

The next logical question for an applicant who tries to over think the process will be “what score will get me a scholarship” or “What is the average score at X university for a scholarship winner”.  First off, we don’t see the final scores, so I would take any answer you get with a grain of salt.  The second thing is that because of other factors like school allocations the applicant with a very high score who has the “wrong” schools on his list may not get the offer a less qualified applicant gets.  Apply, list the schools that are a good fit, and make sure you put your best foot forward and the rest will take care of itself.



  1. I’m just curious, for “activities,” if my son assisted in leading with a leadership camp for incoming freshmen JROTC cadets, would calling that “camp counselor” be stretching it a bit or would that fit the description in a sufficient manner?

    1. What I always recommend is to check any blocks you think pertain to you. Any thing that isn’t self explanatory you should explain in one of the essays blocks, so in your son’s case if you check that block he would add a bullet comment in the additional information section explaining he assisted at JROTC summer camp. I think it’s a little of a stretch to check that block, but that is definitely a good bullet for the additional information box. I’ve been doing a lot of zoom application reviews with applicants this year and those activities boxes are an area that most applicants don’t give enough attention to.

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