Josh Litofsky’14 always thought he would be an army cadet instead of a student of our own Beloit College. The first-year Beloiter will soon get to be both: after a knee injury kept him from enrolling in West Point last fall, he will at last matriculate this June.
Litofsky snapped the bottom of his femur off at wrestling practice during his senior year of high school; when the West Point-admitted student realized the extent of his injury in the spring, he had to give up his spot. Litofsky then turned to Beloit, which he learned about after attending a college soccer showcase tournament the summer before his senior year; a Beloit coach e-mailed Litofsky to encourage him to go out for the Buccaneers.
“I applied and got invited to Presidential Scholars Weekend,” he remembers. “I met the guys on the team and visited the campus, and it seemed like a nice college. I hadn’t found out that West Point had disqualified me at this point, so I thought I was pretty set on going [to West Point].”
Even with a positive academic career at Beloit, Litofsky never forgot his dream of attending West Point. “There are so many perks,” he says. “Since I want to be an engineer [for the army], there is almost nowhere better to go than West Point.” He decided to reapply, this time with a waiver for his knee injury.
“It’s significantly more intense than a typical college application,” he says. Applicants require nominations from a representative or one of their two senators, who need applications of their own, as well as an interview with the Academy Board. The West Point application has much in common with typical college applications – GPA and test scores, essays, and evaluations from teachers – plus a Candidate Fitness Assessment and a Physical Evlauation.
Litofsky found out about his readmission one night in the Center for the Sciences. “I had just walked out of my physics lab… when I saw that my mom had sent me a picture message of my new appointment that had just come in the mail,” he says. “I ran back upstairs to show Pat Polley, my advisor and lab professor, because he had helped me so much with the application process. Out of anybody at this school he would know what [the appointment] means.” Litofsky says he wasn’t positive he would be admitted to West Point twice, and felt relieved. “It just felt like a giant weight came off my shoulders.”
While Litofsky will not continue to seek a degree at Beloit, he hopes his education here will help him test out of some entry-level courses like Spanish, physics, and political science. He knows his Beloit career, however brief, will help him at his new school. “I will already have the feel for college life,” he says. “Although the life at West Point is significantly different from life here, I still have improved my time management skills and my study habits, which will help me so much for next year.”
Litofsky says he looks forward to his Army career. “I want to give back to my country that has given so much to me,” he says.