Advice

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.

Responses

  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 (https://usnaorbust.wordpress.com/2009/07/17/how-to-make-your-chance-of-acceptance-70/). 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?
    Thanks,
    Gabby

    • 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.


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