Posted by: Jacqui Murray | September 29, 2014

October To Do List for USNA Applicants

usnaDepending upon where you are in the process, you may have done some of the items on this list. Skip them. Be happy you’re done. Move on to the next:

First Steps:

If you’re serious about attending the USNA or any other military academy, buy a few books (or check them out of the library) on the process. It’s worth the investment because if you pursue this dream, you will be investing much more of your time and money before you achieve your goal. Better to make sure this is the direction you want to go.

Here are two books to get you started:

From the perspective of a woman who was accepted and how she accomplished it. Down-to earth, personal, definitely not dry, and should give confidence to any teen, male or female, considering a military academy as their college of choice.

A general and useful overview of the USNA application and the academy in general

Seniors–Check for Letter of Assurance

These start coming out in the Fall. Few get them. Most candidates get a letter of Acceptance without a LOA. Don’t think too much about it, but if you get one, cheer.

Seniors–Prepare for Congressional Nomination

Depending upon the Congressperson, it may be too late to apply for this interview. These are due in Fall with interviews in November/December. Get one from your Congresspeople–including both Senators. Fill them out. Double check to see that everything is accurate. Hand carry it to your Congressperson’s office. When you drop it off, try to meet the aide responsible for this activity. Say hi, chat for a moment. S/he may remember you from the Academy Night, and will definitely remember you when you come in for the interview in November/December.

To prepare for the Congressional Interview, read:

Seniors–Prepare for Blue-and-Gold Interview

The B&G (Blue and Gold) Interview is by your B&G Officer. It allows the Naval Academy one more opportunity to insure that they appoint candidates who will make it through the next nine years. It has to occur before you are accepted and shows up as complete or pending on the CIS. Prepare for it. Don’t take it for granted because you think your B&G Officer ‘likes’ you. It’s his job to be an applicant screen for USNA, not your buddy.

Seniors–Attend a Candidate Visit Weekend

Candidate Visit Weekend (CVW) is a program conducted aboard USNA during the Fall and Spring academic semesters to expose candidates to all facets of life as a Midshipmen. CVW is an opportunity to sample university-level academics at USNA, to discover whether the Naval Academy will help you achieve your goals, and to offer valuable insight into the admissions process.

CVW is offered by invitation only throughout the academic year. Invitations are largely based on the level of completion of your application. Even if you’ve already received your offer, attend this exciting weekend if the invite arrives. You’ll get to see the Yard, visit with current Mids, ask more questions, see how the academics work. It’ll help you decide if you’re not sure, or clinch your decision to attend.


Get DodMETS done. Immediately. If you’re not healthy, wait until you are and then do it. If you required a waiver, follow up. Make sure it comes through. A good rule is to do everything you can until the ball is in someone else’s court so to speak. Don’t expect a waiver to happen without lots of personal attention.

Click here for background on DodMETS

Seniors–get the CFA done

If you didn’t pass the Candidate Fitness Assessment (CFA) during Summer Seminar, or didn’t attend that event, arrange for your high school coach or someone else you trust to administer the full exam and get that out of the way. If you pass it, you’re done. If you don’t, you have until you submit your application to pass. Check out what’s required (crunches, shuttle run, mile run, etc.) and make sure you’re prepared. It’ll feel good to have that out of the way.

For information on the CFA, click here and then here.

Seniors–Follow up on all steps of the application

Check the binder you set up over the summer to be sure everything is submitted. Check CIS–Candidate Information System–the online application site for candidates only. Be sure USNA has everything you’ve sent. If they don’t, resend and/or talk to your B&G Officer. In fact, stay in close touch with your B&G Officer at this stage in your application process. He’ll be interviewing you and passing his recommendation on to the Admittance board.

Make copies of every piece of paper you submit. Then, if (when) they disappear across the country in Annapolis, it won’t be a show stopper.

Seniors–follow up on the Letters of Recommendation from teachers

Teachers are very busy writing these for many seniors. You may have to stay on top of them to be sure they get out. Don’t worry. Your teachers won’t mind. They’re used to it.

Seniors–take calculus if it’s offered. Take all AP and Honors classes you can.

You’ll have to take Calculus at USNA, so show the Academy you’re capable. The qualities that will enable you to succeed in AP and Honors classes are the same qualities the Naval Academy wants to see, so take the classes. Show them you thrive on challenges.

Juniors–If you haven’t already, start the Application

…on the USNA website. A preliminary application must be submitted to become an official candidate for next year’s entering class.  January is the deadline to complete preliminary application if you want to be included in next year’s application process.

Juniors–Take NMSQT test

Registration is done through your high school counselor. The test is in October and is the gateway to many college scholarships and opportunities.

Soph/Juniors–Take SAT and ACT

If you’ve taken it and are over 1400, you’re doing great. If you’re not, take it as often as possible (even if you’re a senior). There’s a trick to the test that you’ll figure out as you take it over and over. A lot of colleges offer a PSAT-type test for free. Take advantage of those opportunities. That’ll keep costs down and provide feedback on what you should work on.

Hone these critical skills

All USNA applicants and grads are leaders. If you’re a freshman, even a sophomore, not sure if you have enough of the leadership gene, check out these posts to see how to develop these traits:

Read Books

Check out the Marine Corps summer reading list

Attend an Academy Night

These occur throughout the year, so keep your eyes open. They’re offered through the School District or your representative’s office. Check those websites to find out when you should go.

Click here for more information on Academy Nights.

Tour the Yard

Check USNA Admissions Facebook page for regional forums.

That can be done if you’re in Annapolis, according to the following schedule:

Leahy Hall Briefing Times

Monday – Saturday 10 a.m. & 2 p.m.

*- These days exclude Federal holidays

**Note: Admissions briefs are held in Leahy Hall, which is about a 10-15 minute walk from Gate 1.**

Tour a warship

These tours are offered through your Blue and Gold officer or any number of other avenues. Find a tour. Take it. You want to be sure the Naval Academy is right for you. Seeing officers working on a Navy ship is a good idea.

Visit Colleges You Might Like to Attend

Applications aren’t due until November/December. Be prepared. This time, before you make a decision, is the time to determine which colleges serve you best. A word of advice: Have back-up schools to USNA. Even if you’re accepted, you want to know it’s the best choice for you, so investigate the competition. Make an informed decision.

Be a leader

Wherever there’s an opportunity to be a leader, take it. The Military Academies want to see you as a proactive, can-do person, not a follower. Officers are the ones who make things happen and inspire the enlisted to do their best. Be that person.

Create your resume

List all of your activities, awards, community service. The best time to start this is as a freshman, but if you’re older than that, do it now. And keep it up to date throughout high school. It’ll remind you of all your accomplishments when you’re filling out applications and essays.

Here’s a sample (truncated to protect the applicant info), set up in Excel with a simple organization with columns and rows:

college app resume

Continue Community Service

Most colleges want to know you give back to your community; Military Academies are no exception. Do as much as you can. Give as much of your time and labor as you can afford. No, it doesn’t mean you do less in academics or sports. Figure out how to do it all. That’s the kind of person USNA, USAFA and all military academies like.

Are you a Future USNA Midshipman?

–taken from Building a Midshipman: How to Crack the United States Naval Academy Application

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is webmaster for six blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, author/editor of dozens of books on integrating tech into the classroom, a tech columnist for TeachHUB and Examiner.comEditorial Review Board member for ISTE’s Journal for Computing Teachers, and freelance journalist on tech ed topics

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