napsI get many questions from high schoolers and/or parents about the application process. They are all great and likely the questions other interested future Mids have. Usually, they come through on whatever page the individual was on when they decided to ask a question–so all over on this blog with no way for others to read their question or my answers.

I’ve decided to set up this page as a place you-all can ask questions and I’ll answer.

Who’s first?

BTW, before I set this page up, I got a lot of great questions on the Typical Candidate page. Feel free to check that out.


  1. Hi. I am a high school Junior, and will be starting my USNA App this spring. I am heavily involved in ECAs w/ leadership (Trumpet Section Leader, MCJROTC 2nd Lt., etc.), but I do not have a varsity athletic on my resume, the closest thing being Martial Arts. (Tang Soo Do) If possible, could you explain if this would be considered a hole in my profile? Thank you for any info you are able to provide.


    • Hi Clancy. Well, maybe a hole–about 80%+ of applicants are Varsity athletes–but the committee will look at the entirety of your application. They don’t have a shortlist of ‘must-haves’ so this will not preclude you. Make sure the other parts of your application are impressive, display your ability to work collaboratively and tenaciously, and include extras like your Tang Soo Do expertise.

      Good luck, Clancy! You will never regret being part of this community.


  2. I am 25% Asian. I feel I have very good credentials, including varsity sports and leadership. Is being Asian an advantage for the Service Academies? I am learning that being Asian is not always a positive in the college application process.


    • Hi there–I don’t think it’s a pro or con. I know they try to accept people from every state in the Union so being from Alaska could be a ‘pro’, but I am not aware of that in relation to race. Good luck on your application!


  3. I read in one of your articles that if you have your congressional appointment that ups your chances of acceptance to about 70%. what is your biggest piece of advice on obtaining that appointment? Also, I am a junior that holds a 3.6 GPA in all honors and AP classes. I am involved in swim team both on the club and high school levels and could potentially swim at USNA. I am involved in my school’s premier leadership group, take Mandarin Chinese, tutor, lifeguard, coach swimming at the younger level (5 to 8-year-olds), and volunteer at my local school for the disabled. Am I a strong candidate? What could I do to make myself even better? I was considering starting a current events club at my school to add another leadership role, and running for captain of my club team (though that one is kind of out of my control and not automatically going to me as there are other strong candidates). Also, What should I be doing now as a junior in high school as far as the application process? I plan on taking the ACT for the first time in a few months as well as the CFA later this school year. Is there anything else I should be doing?


    • Hi Sean–Sorry I didn’t respond earlier. I sometimes don’t get back to my blog often enough.

      Just to clarify: You can up your chances to 70% by fulfilling all of the listed requirements–scholastics, physical, mental, and Congressional approval ( That’s a lot of work, but nothing that a dedicated applicant can’t accomplish.

      The Congressional nomination can make a huge difference as your Congressperson must be impressed by your potential to survive the USNA and become an excellent officer for the Navy. It can put you forward as ‘in’ if you complete all requirements. That takes you out of the competition, but–admittedly–rarely happens.

      Reviewing your qualifications, I’d definitely call you a strong candidate. I’m sure your BGO does also. The one piece I can’t evaluate is how you present yourself. Be strong, confident, well-spoken, respectful, appropriately-dressed (if you’re the star swimmer, that could be excused). Running for captain of your club team is a good idea–the selection committee loves seeing leadership roles for obvious reasons.

      Additional items: Definitely take the ACT multiple times until you get the best score possible. If you have the opportunity, also take the SAT as statistically, some kids do better on one than the other. If that’s you, you want USNA to see your best side.

      Good luck! It’s a future worth fighting for, Sean.


      • Thank you so much for your reply! It is very much appreciated. Representing myself well is something my parents have always stressed, so it is a skill I have been able to build over the years and one I continue to strive to improve. Also, that was another question I had of which test I should take, so thank you for clearing that up. Again thank you so much for the reply! I really do appreciate it.


      • My pleasure–and best of luck!


  4. Hi, my parents and I are going to visit USNA in two weeks. I plan to attend one of the daily briefings while I am there. What do you recommend that I wear to the briefing?


    • A pulled-together look, definitely. No T-shirts, droopy shorts–that sort. Pick an outfit that shows respect for the people you’re talking to and confidence in yourself. Good luck, Gabby. This is a great first-step.


  5. Hey, so it has been my dream to be in the Marine Corps since I was eight. I am a freshman, but I’ve had three consecutive injuries that put me behind on track and football, but I have a 4.2 GPA (3.9 unweighted) and a 1220 on my SAT. Would those outweigh the athletics? And I am also well on my way to earning my eagle scout award in BSA. How much does that help?


    • Also, this is an incredible site thank you so much


      • Thanks–so glad to hear that.


    • The Nominating Committee will look at you in whole. That means your athletics are only part of the full picture. How you compete in track and football when you’re healthy will be more important than that you had injuries (unless you were hoping for a sports scholarship). If you have a 1220 on your SAT as a freshman–that’s impressive. Keep working that–aim for 1400ish by Junior year. Be the best you can be in your sports, maybe a team captain. Keep your GPA up with the hardest classes you can take. You’re going to be competitive. Good luck! Let me know how it goes.


  6. My medical status hasn’t been cleared for the academy yet and I have about 17 days before they’re supposed to tell me if I make it. Is it so bad if I would have to reapply? I feel defeated but going to the academy is really something I want to do…


    • I know one candidate who didn’t hear until the end of May. His was also a medical clearance which finally came through. Don’t give up. They accept up until Plebe Summer starts so keep your bags packed and get your passport in order.


  7. Thank you for for creating such a wonderful and information rich website. Surprisingly, my 10th grade son jumped in idea at the idea of going to the academy. I will follow the checklist to be sure he has a chance. I think he has what it takes and would love to hear your opinion. Up to date, Tyler managed to achieved 3.75 GPA. He is in honor Chemistry and Pre-Cal. He already earned 5 varsity letters for soccer, swimming, and pol-vault. He goal is to earned 10 letters. He can run a mile under 6 minutes. He is very social and has too many friends to count. My concern is his SAT and have signed him up for coaching this summer and early fall. My other concern is getting a nomination from our local congressman. My questions are … What is the minimum do you think he must score on the SAT? Are there any other source of obtaining a nomination? Regards … Vu


    • Hi Vu

      Your son sounds amazing. While you do want to ‘stress’ over all the pieces of the application, the selection committee does look at the whole person. They want well-rounded Midshipmen rather than the best GPA and SAT score. Your son’s doing a lot right in that respect–good GPA, most difficult classes offered at your school (I assume), sports, leadership positions (I assume–with the letters), mile speed they’ll like. The Congressional Interview is critical and Tyler’s friendliness and outgoing personality should help there. He’ll want to dress the part, be respectful, and brush up on Navy sort of issues in case they come up. That’s not until October, so Tyler has lots of time.

      Minimum SAT score: Here’s a link to a class portrait. The selection committee has a lot of flexibility in the SAT score, allowing them to pick a best-fit candidate. The lowest allowable is probably lower than Tyler scores.

      Other sources for nominations: Yes. The State Senator gets to nominate candidates, as does the President. That process normally doesn’t require a personal interview for obvious reasons, but lots of paperwork. If possible for either Congressperson, I’d encourage Tyler to reach out personally, drop in at local Academy Nights and introduce himself to the committee. When his package is ready to submit, hand-carry it so he again can say hi to the involved parties. Remember: they’re looking for leaders, people who aren’t afraid to talk to people and make a difference.

      I hope this helps. Good luck! This is almost as big a challenge for the parent as the child. It’s wonderful that you are supporting Tyler, as you are.


      • Thank you much Jacqui for the guidance.


      • My pleasure, Vu. Let me know how it goes.


  8. Ms. Murray,

    Hi! I am a senior and in the top 10% of my high school, which is the 11th best school in the nation. I have completed my USNA application fully and am medically qualified, along with having completed my nomination applications and am patiently waiting to hear back from them. I have an unweighted GPA of 3.8, and will have completed 6 APs by the time I graduate. I have an ACT math score of 31 (725 SAT equivalent) and an english score of a 32. I have taken part in three sports throughout high school (all varsity), and am participating in two this year, being captain of both. I am not playing basketball this year, as I have in the past, because I am focusing on lacrosse to hopefully walk on at the USNA (I went to the USNA prospect camp this past summer and am now on their radar). I completed my CFA at NASS this past summer, and I was adequate in all areas- even maxing push ups. In addition, I am president of three clubs, including Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and have completed over 120 hours of community service. For my required senior thesis, I organized a Swim-a-Thon, raising over $5,500 for a local organization that will build a water filtration system in Indonesia with the money to combat the Indonesian Water Crisis.

    Although I am confident in my many accomplishments, I am still questioning my ability to get into the Institution. My BGO has not been the greatest and actually told a friend of mine at his BGO interview that he does not believe women should be in the Navy (I am a female). He has encouraged me to a degree, but is much harsher and seems a bit passive aggressive at times. Also, I jumped from precalculus to BC calculus this year and am struggling greatly. I am all about a challenge and my teachers all recognize this trait, but I am very discomforted as I barely earned an 82 (a B) this past quarter. I am actively searching for a tutor, but I don’t know if it will be enough to bring up my grade.

    Overall, will these things hinder my chances of getting in? Do you think all my other credentials will carry me through to hopefully receive an appointment?

    Thank you for your time, I look forward to hearing back from you!


    • Carol–there is a lot to recommend you. I’m greatly impressed by what you’re doing and your success in so many areas. I would double down on finding a Calculus tutor. I know from watching my kids get through Calculus that the right teacher clarifies the entire subject. USNA is an engineering school. Every major is a BScience so they will want to see that you have the chops in science and math. As important, they’ll want to see that when faced with the challenge of succeeding in a course that’s difficult, you figured your way through it.

      That’s disappointing about your BGO. The Navy disagrees with him (about admitting women) and is aggressively recruiting qualified females to USNA. He can’t diminish your achievements or your Congressional Recommendation (when it comes through). He does submit his recommendation regarding your application so do as much as possible to keep him on your side. Don’t worry if he seems harsh. When you don’t let it defeat you, hopefully he’ll be impressed. A top priority for USNA is to create leaders for the Navy which will be demonstrated by your confidence and tenacity.

      On balance, I think you have an excellent chance of being selected (assuming the Congressional Nomination comes through). Best of luck. Let me know how it works out!


  9. Hello, I was wondering if I could get some feedback on how my chances are looking as of now as a sophomore in high school. I have a 4.39 weighted GPA and a 4.0 unweighted with straight A’s. I am taking all honors courses including pre calculus and geometry the same year. I am finishing up my Eagle Scout and lifeguard over the summer. I volunteer with two EMS squads. I was a patrol leader in my Boy Scout troop and am now pursuing to be a troop guide. I swim for my high school and club as well as play lacrosse for my high school. I participate actively in model un and chess club as well as Latin honors society and am going for national honors society. I didn’t do as well as I would have liked to on my PSAT but I’m working hard to get the score up.


    • Matt, there’s a lot to like about your chances. Your academics are solid. SATs should be over 1400–maybe that’s not a problem with your other grades. You’re doing everything right for a sophomore year. As a Junior, take on leadership roles to show you know how to motivate people, handle stress, get along directing a group. Keep taking the most challenging classes available at your school and excel at them. As soon as possible, get together with your area BGO and let him know how serious you are about applying. He’ll give you more hints.

      Best of luck. Attending USNA is worth fighting for. Don’t ever quit.


  10. Hello, can you tell us what extracurricular activities your daughter was in?


    • Hi Jacob

      I’m sorry I missed this question back in May. My daughter was in varsity soccer (club and high school), JV cross country, JV golf, taekwan-do, orchestra (concertmaster; community and high school), AYSO referee, karate (black belt), and a variety of clubs to show commitment and leadership. She also worked parttime. USNA wants to know you can do it all!


  11. Wow, just found this site – awesome. My son has his nomination interview for his Congressman and one of our Senators next week. The other Senator’s application closes in December and it is unclear if he has interviews. So far, he is physically and medically qualified having done his CFA at both NASS and SLE. He maxed pull-ups, push-ups and the mile and did well on everything else. He is Top 5% class rank with >4.0 GPA but only a 30 ACT. His English is 34 but Math is 28. Lots of extracurriculars (officer in NHS and Student Gov’t plus others) and varsity athletics including All-Metro and All-State honors although not an athletic recruit. How much of a handicap is the ACT score? Thanks.


    • Hi Jim–apologies. I just saw this comment. I hope the interviews went well for your son. Those can make a big difference. Being physically and medically qualified is also a big step. If your son didn’t pass those, it’s very hard to continue. As for the ACT: Has he taken the SAT? Most kids do better on one or the other. SAT might be a better choice for your son. Everything else you’ve mentioned makes him sound well-qualified.

      Good luck!


  12. Hello, I was wondering if I am on the right track to being accepted to USNA. I am currently a sophomore in high school, so I have some time but I know that I need to make the most of it. Freshman year I managed a 3.8 unweighted GPA with two Honors courses (being a freshman I had limited options as far as Honors/APs go). At the end of sophomore year I will have completed 3 more Honors courses. First semester this year I had a pretty low GPA (3.7) but I know I need to do better. I also took the PSAT in October, however my scores have not come back yet. If everything goes to plan, I will have taken around 10 AP courses and 5-6 Honors courses by the end of my senior year. As far as extracurriculars go, I volunteer at my local Alzheimer’s Center helping the residents with anything they need, my local library in the 3D printing lab assisting people and showing them how to use the printers, and local flu clinics, translating Spanish and Vietnamese for people who do not speak English. I have earned a California State Assembly certificate of recognition from my Assemblyman for invaluable community service. I am also on my town’s teen council. I am in National Honor Society, and actively participate in clubs at my school. I play varsity football for my school and varsity row for my local rowing club. Right now my goal is to keep my grades up and seek out leadership roles in my community. Thanks!


    • Hi Andrew

      Congratulations on considering USNA! This is a wonderful goal not without its challenges. A sophomore is the right time to start preparing yourself for application and acceptance. A few comments on your progress:

      Your GPA is excellent. You indicated you took Honors classes. Always take the hardest classes that are offered and then excel at them (or do your best). Most schools don’t offer that many Honors/AP to freshmen so you’re on track. Your plans for the rest of high school are fine.

      Your SAT–if you don’t like your scores, retake it, often if necessary. While the USNA doesn’t have a daunting minimum for SAT/ACT, higher is better. If you’re close to 1400ish, you can probably rest on your laurels.

      Extracurriculars–keep these up. Yours are varied which will catch their attention. Clubs are good, too. Try to be the President or a leader in them to show your leadership skills.

      Sports–on target there, too.

      Really, Andrew, I don’t see any problems. Your challenge is to continue your habit of aiming and achieving a lot. Good luck with this endeavor!


  13. Hi,

    I’m a freshman and was thinking of taking JNROTC for sophomore, junior, and senior years (I didn’t know my school system offered it until after this year had already started, so I couldn’t do it this year). I was wondering if you would recommend this decision, or if I should use the class space (2 periods per year) to take more AP classes instead? Does USNA favor JNROTC?

    Thank you so much!


    • Hi Sara–the best answer is to do both but I can’t tell you how to make that happen. I can’t tell you definitively if AP classes are weighed more than JNROTC. The selection committee wants to know you can stand up to academic rigor and that you will like the military lifestyle.

      Do you have a BGO yet? This would be a good question to run by him. Good luck on your endeavor!


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