Typical Candidate


  1. Hello, I am a freshman in highschool and have been considering the naval academy for a few years now. Only problem I have is that I’m homeschooled, which I’ve heard makes it a bit harder to get accepted than someone from public school. I also love in a very very rural area, so I don’t really have normal sports I can participate in.What should I be doing this year so that way I’m prepared for when I send I’m my application?


    • I don’t believe homeschooling is an issue at all with the selection committee. Show you are taking the most challenging classes and excelling at them, that you are a leader in outside activities (like your local 4H), and that you consistently do more than is considered a normal day’s worth of activities (to show you can juggle too much work and still excel). Good luck! Starting as a freshman gives you lots of time to make this work.


    • Hi Preston–I think I answered this question above. Let me know if you have any others.


  2. Hi, I am a freshman in highschool and have been considering the Naval Academy for a few years now. My problem is that I’m homeschooled, and live in a very rural area where there aren’t many activates such as football or soccer to participate in. I am in 4H though, and I’m 2nd Vice President of our club. What else should I be doing in order for the Naval Academy to even consider me?


  3. so sorry, my earlier comment didn’t show up that it went through… lol


  4. Hi, I am also a freshman. I have been seriously considering applying for the Naval Academy. In my school I am involved in FBLA, Swim team and Tennis team. My GPA is around a 3.7 and I am in all Honors Classes. I am concerned that my gpa might be to low when I aply? Will being on Swim team give me advantage? What would my chances of getting into this school be?
    Thanks this website has been so helpful!!


    • Hi Garrett–You sound like you have a great start in preparing for a USNA application. Competitive sports and honors classes are good. If you can get on Varsity teams and in AP or IB classes, that’s even better. A 3.7 GPA is fine on a 4.0 scale. The selection committee is as concerned with your leadership, physicality, and tenacity as the GPA. You want to excel in the toughest possible situations–that’s what they’ll want to see. Good luck! There’s no better future than as a USNA Mid!


  5. Thank You


  6. I’m a freshman in high school and very interested in attending the Naval academy. I am a JV runner on both cross country and track at my school. Im also currently working on my eagle scout project. I’m currently in all the freshman honor courses. My GPA is a weighted 4.3 but non-weighted 3.8. What else should I be doing in order to have a well rounded application? Does my GPA need to be higher? Do they account for weighted GPA’s when looking at applications? Thank’s for making this site it has helped a lot!


    • First–congratulations on taking on the daunting task of applying to the USNA, culminating in a commitment to serve your country for at least eight years. The application is challenging, but what comes next is even more so.

      I think you are doing a lot of what needs to be done. Hopefully, as you move through high school, you’ll end up on the Varsity sports teams, but if not, the fact that you participate in competitive sports is something the Selection Board looks for. The Eagle Scout is a wonderful addition, showing your critical thinking and problem-solving skills. If your school offers AP and/or IB classes, take those in place of honors, but if not, the Board wants to see you take the most challenging classes available which you would be doing. Your GPA in the face of those classes is excellent. If you have a problem with a class grade or fitting tough classes in the crowded school-year schedule, don’t be afraid to take some in the summer.

      One item you can keep your eyes open for: an opportunity to show you’re a leader. This might be as captain of your sports team, creating a club, or even concert master for the orchestra (as my daughter did). Whatever can show that you work well leading groups is valuable.

      Good luck! Let me know how it goes.


  7. Hi, warning: I wrote a lot, sorry!
    I’m currently a Sophomore in high school. I have known I wanted to join the military since I was very young, and I made it my goal to attend USNA in 8th grade. My high school is relatively difficult in comparison to others because I live in a somewhat wealthy area with competitive kids. I slacked during my Freshman year and the first Semester of Sophomore year and got a 3.5 GPA (3.7 weighted). Once I started the second semester, I had a new found drive to do better, and I got a 3.85 GPA (a but over 4.0 weighted). I take the max amount of Honors classes my school offers (two), and I took physics this year (it is considered a class for Juniors and Seniors at my school). I begin IB Diploma next year, and I have chosen the most difficult classes (HL Physics and Chem). From what I have heard and seen, IB Diploma is extremely hard.

    I used to play many sports, but mostly soccer. I was never any good at these sports and I ended up stopping them in 8th grade. Lately I’ve been in a period of limbo as far as sports goes, but I have considered starting Civil Air Patrol next year.

    I’m an Asian immigrant and I’m involved in some clubs and organizations which are focused around Asian education and volunteering in the community. I moved to the US when I was 1 years old, so I never picked up my “native” language, Mandarin. I thought that if I wanted to join the Navy, Mandarin would be a valuable language which is why I am involved in previously stated organizations, and am currently learning the language in school.

    From what I saw in your “How to Make Your Chance of Acceptance 70%” post, the biggest problem for people is a congressional nomination. I started looking into internships for congressmen in my area, or anything related. I hope that helps.

    I am stacked pretty heavily on academics, and even then I’m not that good. The biggest weakness I see in myself is my lack of varsity or JV sports. As far as leadership, I’m not a president or officer of any student body, but would USNA see my volunteer work as my ability to help the community as a leader?

    I don’t really have a single specific question in my above comment, but your input on my chances or on the things I should be doing would be extremely helpful to me.

    To echo the people before me, this site is awesome.


    • Your path sounds a lot like my daughter’s. She didn’t get serious until her sophomore year and then it was Katy-bar-the-door. You’re doing great, Will. I would add back sports, try for varsity, but be OK with JV. Even area Club teams are great. The Selection Board wants to see you’re competitive and nothing does that like sports. Mandarin would definitely be a plus. That’s a growing area of interest and tough to learn. Don’t worry about the volunteer opportunities. IB will require massive amounts of volunteering which the Board will be happy to see.

      Also, don’t worry about the Congressional nomination too much. If you become a well-rounded candidate, they will be pleased. Do attend Academy Nights where you can meet your local Congressperson and/or his committee, introduce yourself, and get to know them. When you apply for the Nomination, hand-carry the application to the person who has now become a friend or at least an acquaintance. This worked so well for my daughter, when she arrived for the interview, the Congressional aide greeted her in the lobby and walked her through the process–to the chagrin of the five other candidates who were also there!

      Good luck! You will never be sorry you took part in this tremendous opportunity.


      • Hey, sorry it took me so long to come back! I’ve had a busy week.

        Firstly, thank you for your input on my situation. I felt that when I decide what sport to take, it’s unlikely I could make captain considering I haven’t been serious about sports in quite a few years. Because of this, I decided that I would create a club, and I already got a lot of friends to say that they would join. It’s not certain yet, but we’re thinking about a Chemistry club.

        Regarding a Congressional Nomination, I’m a little bit confused. Even if I was able to befriend the Congressperson, I don’t feel confident when taking into account that 70% of people do not pass the stage of acquiring the nomination.

        On a slightly different note, in the event that I fail to get in (not to be defeatist, just looking for a plan B), is it likely that I would also be denied into every other academy? I know that many people are unable to get nominations for their select Academy, and end up attending a different one. From what I’ve heard, most of them didn’t regret going to another Academy, so I’m wondering if it would be worth it to apply to all of them.

        If I fail to get into any of the Academies, I have wondered if I should try again the next year? I graduate a year early: I will be 17 upon graduating. This may be an opportunity to buff up my resume for a year, or even two.

        Before I end this comment, I want to say that this website has helped me stay on track. I was feeling pretty down when all I heard was stories about people who didn’t make it in, how hard it was to get in, and all the people with accomplishments dwarfing my own being rejected. I would have continued trying, but this website has given me a real ‘boost in morale’.


      • I love the idea of a club. And so will the Selection Committee. This is oft-recommended as an approach to showing leadership.

        Congressional Nomination–I haven’t heard the 70% statistic. Instead of that, focus on being prepared and showing you are an excellent choice–with all the things we’ve talked about. I agree–it’s unlikely you can befriend the Congressperson, but his staff will make themselves available. Seek them out at Academy Night meetings. Drop by their office. Or simply email them ‘with questions’. You want them to know your name when you show up and have positive feelings about you, that you are tenacious, energetic, and eager.

        Applying to multiple Academies–absolutely. Each has different strengths and will look at you differently. The Military Academy experience is invaluable even if it isn’t in your first choice.

        Not getting accepted–Yes, you can definitely re-apply. Ask your BGO what prevented your acceptance and then fix those as well as possible. There’s also the option of NAPS. If your issue is academic, they help you backfill that and then move you on to USNA. It’s a great option.

        There’s a process in applying to any of the Academies that values hard-work, focus, and doggedness. Naval leaders don’t give up, are sure of their decisions, and communicate that to others. Those are difficult qualities to make part of yourself, but once you do, you’ll see this whole process in a much brighter light. Good luck! Let me know if you have other questions.


  8. Hi, I have a few more questions since I last commented here. I’ve asked around and have contacted a USNA grad , my local representative’s office, and my local BGO coordinator. They all said that I seem to be on track. I also reached out to a USAFA grad who coaches kids on getting into the USNA or USAFA, and he serves on some congressional committees for nominations. He said that I’m at a severe disadvange because I’m homeschooled, don’t participate in varsity sports, and that my grades will have to be very very high to even be somewhat competitive. (I took the SAT as an 8th grader last year and got a 1490 composite, with a 480 in math and a 480 in English, I’m finishing AP biology, Algebra II, AP American Gov’t, have a GPA of about 3.6-3.7 unweighed, I also participate in archery, gutiar, horsemanship, I have a leadership position in my 4H club, and I’m doing the 4H equivalent of Boy’s State this summer). Who should I trust, and what else should I do to make myself more competitive come 2018?


    • It does sound like you’re on track, Preston. There are so many pieces to the USNA application puzzle, juggling them all is intentionally part of the challenge. You definitely sound like you’re taking the hardest classes and your unweighted GPA says you’re doing well in them. I remember in an earlier email you said there were no varsity sports in your area. You can see from this profile Class of 2019 that Varsity athletics is pretty darn important (92% of successful applicants have that characteristic), but if it’s not available, there’s nothing you can do. As for homeschooling putting you at a severe disadvantage, that is not my experience, and my daughter had friends in her USNA class who were homeschooled and did very well in their four years. On different opinions like this, always go with what your BGO Officer says. He’s going to do the final interview and will have a lot of input on whether you’re selected. Here’s a link to the USNA’s suggestions for homeschooled applicants.

      A few suggestions: Take the SATs as often as possible. You want each portion over 650. There’s a trick to taking SATs which you’ll master by repetition. Practice for it, take trial tests, and then do as well as possible. You’re only a sophomore (if I’m remembering right) so you have until early Senior year to get that right. My daughter took it four times.

      One more suggestion: Prepare well for your Congressional Interview. That, like your BGO Interview, is a make-or-break event. If your Congressperson supports you, s/he can make you a preferred nominee and then you are accepted if you meet minimum standards. A great goal to shoot for!

      Let me know how it goes!


  9. Ok, thanks! I’m a freshman right now, going to be a sophomore 2016-2017, and I will be taking the SAT again June 4th. I haven’t talked to my BGO yet, but I have talked to my BGO area coordinator who said he will get me in contact with a BGO once I start my application in a few years. And you remembered correctly, I have 0 varsity sports in my area. Would archery and BB count for anything though? There are competitions (Which I’ve gotten 3rd and 1st in the two I’ve participated in) and there’s a council for it which I will serve on next year. If not, the BGO area coordinator said a well documented gym workout regiment would work. Also have you heard any good reviews about Service Academy Coach? I heard they do mock interviews for congressional nominations. Thanks again for answering my questions!


    • I can’t say enough how great it is you’re starting early. That way, if there is a problem (identified by your BGO), you have lots of time to fix it. I’m unfamiliar with the ‘documented gym workoout regiment’, but your BGO would know what works.

      No, I’m not familiar with Service Academy Coach. Which doesn’t mean they’re good or bad!

      Good luck on the SATs!


  10. thank you


  11. Hi! I’m finishing my sophomore year with a 3.4 GPA ( honors ) and I plan on taking some AP courses next year along with varsity rugby ( 2 years ). By the time I get to the end of my junior year I plan to have around a 3.5 – 3.6 GPA using some GPA calculators ( unweighted ). I am in physical shape as I go to the gym 6 days a week and plan to have about ~400 community service hours by the end of junior year. I am also in student council and plan to run for vice president in my senior year, what are my chances of getting in considering I do above average on my SAT’s and ACT’s and what else could you recommend for me to do to improve my chances. Thanks!


    • You sound well on your way, Christian. Your community service hours are great, as are your club activities. It’s great to show leadership as you’re doing with student council.

      A couple of suggestions: Take all the AP courses you can. The selection committee wants to see that you took the hardest classes possible all the time. Also: take the SATs or ACTs early and often. There’s a knack to succeeding at them which has a lot to do with understanding their system. Keep retaking those until you stop improving. One more idea: Find something you excel at that will make you stand out in the crowd. It might be winning spelling bees or being the concertmaster in the orchestra–or whatever it is. Something that will catch their attention. It won’t get you in, but can be a tie-breaker.

      Good luck! Drop by now and then and let me know how you’re doing.


  12. Hello, I currently just finished sophomore year soon to be a junior. I currently have a 3.1 GPA and that is with one honors class and a college prep class. (Honors is the highest my school offers) I’ve recently found the Navy academy but have been wanting to join the navy for years just never knew about the academy. I havnt participated in any sports or club throughout high school but have around a B average in academics, I do volunteering every once and a while as well. Next year I am planning to take all Honors classes and raise my GPA I am also going to be class secretary next year and do sports and join clubs and do more volunteering over the summer and next year. I know I would only be starting doing all of this Junior year but do you think I’ll still have a shot? Any tips?

    Also, I attend a technical school where we learn a trade. I have been learning the Trade electrical and will be throughout to senior year. So I only really get half the amount of academic time as an average school does because of being in the trade classes for half the year. Do you think USNA will take into account that I am made to learn my academics in half the time of an average student, or will it look bad that I didn’t attend a traditional high school? Also will they take into account that my school doesn’t offer AP classes and I am taking the highest level available which is honors?


    • Hi Elisia–The USNA selection committee will be flexible with the lack of AP classes at your school. They ask you to take the hardest classes available and do well at them. So, I think you’re OK with that question. Definitely jumping into the activities you listed is a good idea. They expect all of those in successful applicants. The selection committee wants to see that you can excel while doing everything, that you are almost too busy–busy enough to force yourself to figure out how to balance the workload and succeed. You want to present yourself as high energy, positive, well-rounded, academic while being physical and spiritual.

      I suggest you reach out to your local Blue and Gold Officer. Let him/her know USNA is your college choice and see what they suggest. Junior year is pretty important in the application process. Good luck!


  13. Hello, I have just completed my sophmore year of high school and will soon be headed into my junior year. The naval academy is where I would like to attend school and was wondering what else I could possibly do to increase my chances of being accepted. I have a 3.6 GPA, I’ve taken all honors and AP classes since I started high school and will continue to do so, I’ve earned three varsity letters, I swim for two club teams as well as my schools swim team where I am currently co-captain, I also am on the schools weightlifting team, in the band program (marching and concert band), I’m the secretary of high-q club, vice president of National Honor Society, and am in a STEM Robotics program. I am going to take my SAT’s in October and have my scores back in time for the summer seminar at USNA. I also just completed the week long STEM program at the academy. This is something that I want to accomplish so badly and I will do whatever it takes to make this happen. What else can I do to make the chances of being accepted higher?


    • I have to say, Haley, you’re doing great. I don’t see any problems. The next big hurdle (after NASS) is the Congressional Interview. If you can hit that out of the park, they can name you as a top candidate and virtually assure you of acceptance (this assumes you meet the minimum academic and physical requirements. You probably have a B&G officer who can highlight any areas s/he sees as problematic. Good luck, Haley. It’s an amazing experience.


  14. Quick question I can not seem to find the answer to so I’m a rising junior and my congressmen all say I should turn in my application for a nomination by October. But I have not taken the sat/act yet so I guess I’m just confused if I turn in the application my rising senior year summer or right now.
    Thanks this site has really been a big help


    • Absolutely now. Senior year is too late. Your interview won’t be until December-ish. Hopefully by then you’ll get an ACT/SAT test taken, but it’s not required.


  15. Hi Jacqui,

    My son very much wants to attend the Naval Academy. Obviously, I am a proud parent of my kid, but he has what it takes. He is a rising senior, has a UW 4.0, W 4.3, two varsity sports and Captain of each, attends leadership conferences, NHS President, Class President, lead in school musical, several mission trips both domestic and abroad, holds a part time job and has two internships this summer in charity work that he is passionate about. SAT score 790 verbal, 660 math. His passions are history and politics.

    My main concern for him is the Congressional Nomination. We live in MD and it is the most competitive state for securing a nomination. I think he is fantastic of course, but I’m well aware that there are plenty of other fantastic kids vying for spots as well.

    I have no idea what else he can do besides do his very best on his applications. He was invited to a Candidate Visit Weekend and will be attending in early September.

    As a parent, it is so hard to see that he has worked so hard and achieved so much toward his goal, but without a nomination, he can’t attend.

    I am under the impression that the application for nomination is for all service academies and that one cannot specify, but the nominator can specify. Is that correct?

    Do you have any further advice for him?

    Thank you so much for such a wonderful website, chock full of information.


    • Your son sounds amazing, exactly like so many successful candidates I’ve met. I don’t see any flaws in his background nor any weak spots. You’re right–he can’t be selected without the Congressional nomination. Here are a few suggestions to make that more likely:

      * Attend several Service Academy Nights where your son can meet the nomination team. Introduce himself to them. Let them know he’s eager and headed their way. The goal is that the committee chair (who will be one of the Congressperson’s people) sees him as an eager, patriotic, pulled-together applicant.
      * Practice answers to typical questions. I think I have a list here on this blog; also ask the BGO for suggestions. Your son’s speaking skills come into play here. He should be confident, clear, well-spoken. He doesn’t have to know everything they might ask, but should be able to address even that with “Great question…”
      * When he has completed the application, hand carry it to the Congressperson’s office. Ask to hand it to the nomination committee chair. If s/he has met him, likely s/he will come out to accept the application and share a few words of encouragement.
      * Every interaction with the nominating committee should be professional–proper dress, no slang, best behavior. No jeans-and-tshirt look. They will be impressed with what they read on his application; the real person should reinforce that.
      * Nominations also come from Senators so submit a package to your state Senator. This usually doesn’t require an interview, but if there’s an opportunity to get in front of the Senator, take it.
      * Apply to as many of the Service Academies as possible, not just USNA. Each has its own involved application, but one Congressional interview suffices for all.

      I hope this helps. I’ll cross my fingers for your son. Let me know how it goes.


      • Jacqui,

        Thank you so much for your response. I passed it on to my son and he thought your ideas were all fantastic, and immediately started to consider how to implement them.

        Thanks so much for all the information you impart to the potential applicants and their parents!


      • My pleasure, Leeann. Active, committed, involved kids are exactly who we want to lead our nation. I wish him the best of luck.


  16. Hi Jacqui,

    I am currently in Junior Year and am highly motivated to attend the United States Naval Academy. However, due to my unusual situation, I would like to get an idea of where I stand in regard to securing an application and how I might compare to other candidates.

    I am a US citizen and currently reside in Ireland, where I am in the equivalent of Junior Year. We do not have a GPA like in the US; instead we have two major exams in Secondary school (which includes 7th to 12th Grade) which are the Junior Certificate (9th Grade) and Leaving Certificate (12th) exams. These are essentially the only ways I can provide an accurate idea of my academic level. For my Junior Certificate, I took all Higher Level classes (most difficult level available). My subjects were English, Math, Irish, French, Art, History, Geography, Business, and CSPE (Civic, Social, Policitcal Education). I received four A’s and six B’s. The science subject covered biology, chemistry, and physics.

    Since then, the subjects I have chosen for my Leaving Certficate include English, Math, Irish, French, Chemistry, Physics, and Engineering. I am taking all these subjects at Higher Level.
    I understand that I will have to take the SAT also, which I am studying for alongside my mandatory schoolwork. I will be taking the SAT early next year, and plan to register for at least one more test later.

    In terms of sports, there are very few ‘varsity’ sports available in Irish schools. My school has a small athlectics team however, which I am considering joining. There are, however, many club sports. I have been rowing for 3 1/2 years with an club and I take part in competitions. Will the Naval Academy regard this in a similar way to varsity sports, or will it not count?

    In 2009, I won an award in the Texaco Children’s Art Competition. This is was a big achievement, but I’m not sure how relevant it is since it was so many years ago. During 7th and 8th Grade I was in a team participating in the Vex Robotics competition.

    I also have taken part in several work placements and volunteering activities. In Ireland, 10th Grade is known as ‘Transition Year’. This year is very different from any other year in school. Students are encouraged to find work placements and parttake in extracarricular activites. During that year, I obtained three work placements: at a charity, at a pharmaceutical company, and at the National Maritime College of Ireland, for one week each.
    On one occasion during that year I was tasked with organising a class trip, which was very successful. Later, I made it through an interview selcetion process and was selected as one of six staff members who ran a School Bank program for students. The same year, I took part in a nationwide competition called Young Social Innovators where high school students develop a project that deals with any important issue in society. My team of four made it to the national finals. I had to present to groups of ~300 other students on two occassions for this competition, so I have some experience with public speaking.
    During the same year, I signed up for a program called Gaisce where adolescents take part in three activities (community service, personal skill, and physical activity) for a total of 26 weeks. For my community service, I volunteered at a local library for one hour per week, over a period of 13 weeks. By finishing this, I completed my Bronze Gaisce award. I have the choice of going forward with the next stage – the Silver Gaisce award – which would demonstrate more volunteer work in my application.

    Including my work experience at the charity, plus some bag-packing to fundraise for my rowing club, I have done a total of about 50 hours of volunteer work. This is one of my primary concerns, as I have seen other candidates claiming upwards of 400 hours of community work. I am not employed either, as my studies and extracarriculars take up a lot of my time. I’m wondering if I should proceed with the Silver Gaisce award, which would involve more community work but take up valuable study time.
    As of Junior Year, I have been elected as a member of the Student Council, which I understand many successful candidates have done. Within the Student Council, I have been appointed Secretary.

    I recently made it through an interview process with IBM representatives at my school and was one of few individuals chosen for a one-day work placement with IBM, and I may be given a reference from them on my resumé. I am also considering offering to write for my school newsletter.
    I understand that this is a lot of information to process, but I thought it was necessary given my unusual situation as a citizen abroad. Although you will be unfamiliar with things like the Gaisce Award and Young Social Innovators, I just wanted to give you an idea of the things I have done so that you might be able to tell me what areas I can improve on the most. My main questions are:

    Should I proceed to do my Silver Gaisce award, ie more community work hours but less study time?
    Should I join my school athletics team, or is the rowing acceptable on its own even though it is not technically a varsity sport? Will the Naval Academy take the rowing into account at all?
    Are there any other activities I should get involved in, like writing for the school newsletter?
    In general, what do you think my chances are? Do I give the impression of being well-rounded or am I lacking in anything?
    Might a legacy of family members being in the Navy have any affect my chances of being accepted?

    Any information you can give me is very greatly appreciated. The resources available to help me apply to a college abroad are somewhat limited here, so I am looking to find points of view of where I currently stand. I am very passionate about my aspirations to attend the Naval Academy, and I am willing to do my best to optimize my chances. I have been reading your book, Building A Midshipman, which has been an excellent tool for me in my journey to the Naval Academy. Thanks for taking the time to read this and for your help.

    With Kind Regards,



    • Hi Luke

      I apologize for taking so long to answer. I am happy to tell you that the overarching requirement of the USNA Admissions Board is that you excel at the most difficult courses offered, which it sounds like you do. They also look for individuals who bring something new to the school–experiences, outlook, that sort. Again, with your Irish education, you do that also.

      In general terms, they want students who overwork themselves and still succeed. Your successful participation in those several competitions shows that side of you. And, since they are an engineering school (you can only get a BS–no BAs awarded), your robotics and engineering endeavors are important. Do make sure to succeed at the SATs as that will provide evidence that the ‘hardest courses’ in your Irish high school are equivalent to other schools.

      Club sports are fine–rowing is great. Do take on a leadership position in them if possible (such as the School Bank position and organizing the field trip). The Admissions Board wants to see that you’re not only smart, but a leader so figure out ways to show them that side of you.

      As for weighing activities based on time constraints: The Admissions Board wants to see you do as much as possible (or more) and still excel. As a Naval Officer, you’ll be expected to perform well under highly-stressful circumstances and they want to see that’s part of your skillset. Definitely accept opportunities that show you’re a leader, take time to help others (such as your volunteering), and let them know you always expect the best of yourself.

      As for other activities: Writing is an important skill. If you think participating on the school newspaper will show that, by all means do it. If you think you get that across in other ways, then that’s fine too.

      I would reach out immediately to the Admissions Department–maybe even their Facebook page–and ask how you get a Blue and Gold Officer. He will be critical to acceptance as he will help you solve issues you face and he must submit a positive recommendation to the Admissions Board when you apply. You also need a Congressional Nomination (from a Senator or Representative–or the President) so you’ll need to tie that up. You’ll find your public speaking skills are highly important during the Congressional Interview and interacting with your BGO. Take every opportunity to hone those.

      Another suggestion: Apply for the Naval Academy Summer Seminar. It’ll give you an opportunity to get in front of them, prove your qualifications, and pass the physical tests they require.

      If your parents attended the Naval Academy, that definitely helps your chances. In general: All you have to do is meet all of the requirements, not compete for a spot. Other than parents, it’s not as clear, but they can definitely write a letter of recommendation.

      As a final note: Your passion to be part of USNA is important. You are self-motivated, not being pushed into it. Let everyone you talk to know this is your goal in life. Then back it up with evidence that you are highly-qualified and will be a plus to the Academy.

      Good luck! Let me know how it goes and if you have other questions.


      • Hi Jacqui,

        Thank you very much for taking the time to repsond to my queries. I am so thankful you took the time to make them personalised and very specific to my situation. This is very generous of you. I appreciate all this advice, as I’m sure it will help greatly me in forming my application. I will be sure to seek a Blue and Gold officer as soon as possible. If I think of any more questions, I’ll let you know.
        Thanks again!

        Kind Regards,



      • And do let me know how it goes. I want to cheer with you when you get that acceptance letter.


  17. Hi, I am looking to apply to the USNA and I am at an elite level public school that is said to have a much harder, and higher level of students. Do they take into account the difficulty of the high school that you are attending? I currently have a 3.82 weighted GPA and am on 3 varsity sports and do a few clubs and community service. I was just wondering what else i should do to help this.




    • They do, but I don’t believe it’s a metric. Overall, you are expected to take the hardest classes available and excel at them. Your BGO could give you more advice on where your school stands. As for other things you could do: Try to take on leadership roles wherever possible. Naval Officers are always expected to be leaders. And try to show you do more than the average student, to the point of doing more than is possible, and you handle that sort of stress calmly. USNA is unlike other Ivy Leagues in that sense. It’s not about primarily the GPA; it’s about the whole eprson.

      Good luck! Let me know how it goes.


  18. Hi Jacqui,

    First let me just say that I just found your website and I find it really helpful, and I really appreciate you using your experiences and trying to help us.

    I would like an honest answer, nothing sugarcoated.

    I’m currently a junior in a Catholic high school, considered one of the best in my city. I come from a military family, but I was really never intersted in joining it until recently. My brother went into the army enlisted and seeing how he is living made me interested in the military, and I know I could be even better because I want to be an officer. I think that the Navy is the best branch for me so I favor the USNA, but I would glady accept a nomination into any of the service academies. Since I really had no goals and wasn’t sure if i wanted to go to college after high school, I hadn’t really done anything my first two years of high school. I tried out for the basketball team both years but I never made the team. Since I became intersested this year, I have been trying to do a lot more. So far I have done cross country and I am also doing indoor and outdoor track. I have done some community service and plan to do a lot more. I am joining the Navy Sea Cadets and trying to do Boys State/Nation. I will submit an application for the Summer Seminar at USNA. As far as academics go, I only took one honors class my freshamn year, two my sophomore year, and three this year. What do you think my chances are of getting into one of the service academies and what else do you think I shoukd be doing to improve my chances.




    • Hi Jalen

      You are doing everything possible, just wish you’d started last year! The Admissions Board wants to see you taking the hardest classes available, being a leader, doing more than is humanly possible in your high school schedule–and succeeding. Lots of students don’t decide until their Junior year; it just means you have to work extra hard to make yourself standout during NASS, with your BGO, and at the Congressional Interview. You haven’t missed any of those and they are critical. Take summer school this summer–take the hardest classes you can. You want to show your BGO, Congressperson, and the Admissions Board that–although you came to the decision late–you are ready, willing, able, qualified, and the right choice.

      Good luck! Let me know how it goes.


  19. Ms. Murray,

    I am a freshman and I have always been interested in the Naval Academy, but reading your blog a year ago changed everything. I was a decent student in grade school, but now I’m incredibly motivated to do better in school. I have a 4.1 GPA, and I’m a member of 3 clubs. As a sophomore I hope to be on the baseball, cross country and mountain biking teams. I think that this is a good start, do you have anymore advice?

    Thank you so much,



    • Hi Danny–that’s a great start. Let me add a few suggestions:
      * be a leader in those 3 clubs. The selection committee wants to know you can take charge
      * take the hardest classes offered at your school and maintain that wonderful GPA
      * pick 1-2 of those sports (all is fine, too) and be on Varsity, as a team leader if possible
      * add volunteer opportunities

      The Naval Academy wants Mids who are leaders, excel at whatever they do, are able to juggle lots of work and succeed. You want those characteristics to come through in your profile.

      Good luck! Let me know if you have any other questions.


  20. Hi Mrs. Murray,
    I am currently a freshman in high school and I have always seriously considered attending an academy. I would love to attend either the Naval Academy or Air Force Academy, especially because of the fact that my dream is to be a fighter pilot. I am taking IB and AP classes and my GPA is 3.7 unweighted and 4.4 weighted. I don’t know if I want to continue in the IB program and think that taking all AP classes would be better for me because I would have more liberty to take classes and earn more credits, as the IB program has a very defined structure and you don’t have much say when it comes to picking your classes. Do you think that will affect my chances? I am also in the NJROTC program at my school and on the track team. Outside of school I’m on a soccer team and we recently went to an international tournament in Argentina and placed 3rd. I am looking into starting my flying lessons to get my private pilot’s license. Do you have any advice for me to better my chances of getting an appointment?

    Thank you,


    • The Naval Academy doesn’t give credit for either AP or IB classes, but the depth of knowledge you gain from those high-level classes makes it easier to do well on the Plebe Summer placement tests you take. If the two programs conflict with each other, take whichever is harder. The selection committee wants to see you took the hardest classes offered at your school. One note about the IB program: the one offered in my area developed speaking skills not dealt with in AP classes. IB participants were expected to be able to speak in front of groups professionally and with ease which will serve you well in your Congressional Interview and BGO interview.

      I think you’re doing everything right, David. Seek leadership opportunities in your activities (since that’s what Naval officers do) and don’t be afraid to stress yourself by stuffing your schedule full. The selection committee likes to see that you had (almost) too much to do and did it all well. You’ll find at the Academy they give you limited time for homework so that you learn to prioritze and work smart, not hard. You can develop those skills in high school.

      Good luck! Let me know how you do.


  21. Hello Mrs.Murray
    Right now I am currently in seventh grade and have been wanting to attend the U.S Naval Academy for around 3 years now. My father attended and was in the class of 91, I have your book “building a midshipman” as well and a few other books and a copy of my dads reef points. I am 100% sure this is what I would like to do with my life, I currently have a 4.7 weighted GPA with all AP classes. In band I am assistant section leader for my section in the highest band my school has to offer. I am part of a hockey team, though it is not through my school, I am wondering if this would effect anything. I am thinking of doing cross country running, which would be through my school. As well I am going to join a few after school clubs along with that. I know most people on here are in high school, but I have been wanting to go to the U.S. Naval Academy for well over 3 years. The only thing I am worried about is that my local high school has not had a good rating over the past few years. The reason I am worried is because the U.S Naval Academy’s website states that they take the strength of your high school in consideration.
    Thank you,


    • I have to say, your focus and commitment is commendable. Often, students don’t feel this until high school and sometimes, that’s too late. You seem to be doing everything right. I like the GPA, the AP classes (which likely are the hardest classes your school offers–what the selection committee is looking for), the personal commitment (not being pushed by your father’s background), the sports, the clubs.

      As for the strength of your high school: Take the hardest classes and excel at them. The selection committee will see that you succeeded with what you were given. You didn’t make excuses. When you finally link up with a BGO (probably freshman/sophomore year), I think he’ll say the same thing. Do ask him about legacy, too. My understanding from my daughter’s experience is that children of USNA grads get preference if they qualify (mentally, cerebrally, physically, speaking skills). Meaning, in a group of equally-qualified candidates, you’d be selected first.

      Good luck, Harrison. I’m happy to know there are middle school students like you out there.


  22. Thank you for replying. This has really gave me a sense of assurance.
    Thank You,


  23. Thank you


  24. Hello I am currently in 8th grade and am trying to apply to an all boys boarding school were they have basketball, rugby, lacrosse and cross country track and I was wondering which sports I should go for


    • Hi Matthew

      Congratulations on setting your USNA goals early. If you want to play sports for USNA, check their website and see which of those teams appeals to you the most. They get excellent athletes and are quite competitive in most of their sports. If you want to show the selection committee that you can play Varsity sports and be a leader, pick the one best-suited to your talents.

      Good luck! I hope this works out for you.


  25. Hello again, Mrs. Murray I had a question as to where naval academy graduates go to finish their law degree.


    • Hi Matthew

      I’m not really sure where. I know it’s rare, not as common as getting an MD, but it happens. Check with your BGO on that.


  26. Hello again Mrs. Murray, I had a question as to where the Naval Academy Graduates go to finish their law degree.


    • That I don’t know. I’ll see if I can find an answer for you, Matthew.


  27. Hi Mrs. Murray,
    I wrote in to your blog last year and am still continuing to follow the your great advice in my Sophomore year of highschool.
    Thank You.
    As I am getting closer to appying to the naval academy I am concerned that a few things will make me uncompetitive for admition. First, I am only in the top third of my class with a GPA of 3.6. I read things about only the top 10% of students in there highschool class will be accepted and this makes me worry if I will even stand a chance. Secondly, in both my school sports(tennis and swimming) only the seniors get selected to be Captains of the team. By the time my Senior year sports start, my application will already have been submitted. I am really woried that it will show a lack of leadership. Is there anyway around this?
    Also as a sophmore how can I show my congressional representitve that I am serious about attending this service academy.
    Thank You!


    • Hi Garrett–glad to hear you’re still interested. The GPA isn’t a line in the sand. It’s part of the package you present that you’re well-rounded, confident, a leader. Make sure the rest of your profile is in line with what they’re looking for.

      Second, if you are selected as a team captain and you’ve already submitted your application, you can add to it with the good news. When you submit the original, make note of the fact that only seniors are chosen as captains and you’re hoping that will be you.

      Third, make contact with your Congressional rep and let them know you’re serious. If there are Academy Nights you can attend and they’re there, reintroduce yourself, chat, develop a rapport with them. Let them see by your words and actions you are committed to applying to USNA. At these events, always present yourself well so they’ll have this track record of ‘knowing you’ when they finally interview you. Very few applicants do this so you will stand out.

      Let me know how it works!


  28. Hello Ma’am, I was wondering what the highest percentage of high school graduates who were accepted to the Academy did, as far as, sports, community service, or even those who attend the STEM camps.


  29. Hi I am proud Muslim American, I have 4kids 3 sons 1 daughter. They are in elementary and middle school, near Annapolis, MD. I wish my kids should join US Naval Academy, I talked to them they are excited too, what is your advise? And suggestions? Thank you.


    • Hi Syed–Becoming part of the USNA community is a life commitment. I commend you for your interest as a parent in this challenging and rewarding step. The most successful candidates–and Mids–are those who choose this path themselves. The best thing you can do as a parent is make your wonderful children aware of the option to apply to USNA and support their efforts. Your middle schooler definitely wants to start considering the pros and cons of any college he’s interested in–including USNA–because how he succeeds in 9th grade and on will decide how his application succeeds.

      BTW, when your child begins the process of trying to qualify for USNA, you’ll be surprised (or not) how much a part you will play in his/her efforts. Parents work pretty hard to support this particular dream.


  30. Hello, I’m a junior and I want to apply to USNA. I was wondering if you could give me an idea of how qualified I’d be to get accepted and an LOA. I don’t have any outstanding quality (you can look at my resume on my blog) and my SAT score isn’t great. It’s a 1390. And my ACT score is a 32. I’m very worried about those scores.


    • You may have qualities you don’t recognize as outstanding. For example, your swimming sounds strong (lifeguard, swim instructor, varsity swim) and the Navy loves swimmers. You can retake SATs and ACTs–and do that often until you run out of time. USNA will take the highest. 1390 isn’t bad, though. Better is over 1400, which you’re close to. You have some good commendations in science–another favorite of any engineering school (when you graduate from USNA, everyone earns a BS–no BAs available). Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do–a nice skill.

      You actually have lots of very good points. You want to frame it all in a very positive attitude, a passion for the Navy and enthusiasm for attending the Academy. Don’t let anyone see your doubts, including your BGO. That’ll be your and my secret.

      Good luck! I think this will work better than you imagine.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you so much for your insight. Sorry for the late response. Go Navy ’22!


      • No worries. Life for a pre-USNA student is busy!


      • Hi Ms. Murray, sorry for bothering you again. I brought my SAT score up to above 1410 but i’m very worried about whether a ~okay~ rec letter will hurt me? My strongest suit definitely isn’t math so my teacher was honest and said “she’s not the most gifted or fastest but she works hard and perseveres.” and now it’s all that’s repeating in my head. As you can see i’m very nervous. Will that generally bad rec letter completely ruin my chances, do you think? Thank you so much!


      • Hi Ji

        That is a very respectable SAT score–kudos to you. You must have scored well on the math section of the SAT so the committee will see that and take it into account.

        As for the math recommendation letter, it’s not too bad as far as recommendations go because it does speak to your tenacity and drive–both critical for USNA. A couple of ideas for you: 1) solicit another recommendation letter from a science teacher that will make you sound wonderful. Being an engineering school, science is as important as math. 2) be prepared to address this at the Congressional Interview and with your BGO during his/her interview. They’ll want to hear from you why a weakness in math won’t be a problem at a school that awards only Bachelor of Science degrees. I’d suggest a positive spin on it, that it is challenging and you love challenges… Something along those lines.

        Good luck! Let me know how it goes.


  31. Hello, first off, thank you for all of your help here on this website. I am applying for my class of 2022, and so I was going to list all of what I have done. I know there is no resolute answer. But so far this is what I have:

    Basic Requirements:
    -Have all been met

    GPA: (this is all on a 4.0 scale)
    – Cumulative up until now weighted: 4.35
    – Cumulative for my Junior year weighted: 4.71
    – Cumulative up until now unweighted: (school doesn’t give it but) 3.98-4.0
    – Cumulative for my Junior year unweighted: 4.0

    Class Rigor:
    Freshman Year: All classes were “Accelerated” we could not take AP’s that year
    Sophomore Year: Took 2 AP classes (including AP Physics) and 1 Honors
    Junior Year: Took 5 AP classes and ROTC was my 6th class
    Senior Year: Planning on taking 3 AP classes (5 was quite the number xD) and might take one honors class

    Class Rank:
    – 7th out of 631 for my graduating class currently

    Extra Curricular:
    So I have already talked to my Blue and Gold officer about my lack (or more so my perceived lack) of extra curricular activities but here is what I have so far:

    -MCJROTC – Will be all 4 years of high school. Currently an officer, in the program. Might be the XO next semester and the CO for my second semester. Large chance of those two but unsure. Large chance if I don’t get the XO, I will be a Company Commander, but surely an officer. I have received many awards and such in ROTC.
    I started doing Color Guard junior year, and will do it again senior year, as well as Armed Drill Team senior year as well.

    – Orchestra and Jazz Band:
    Did Orchestra up until the end of my sophomore year (when it got cut as a class) and I did Jazz Band my junior year. I can also play a large variety of instruments by the way.

    – I’ll be 100% honest and say I have done none. Now again my Blue and Gold officer knows the reasons, and I will explain them again in my interview, but I am able to do more extra curricular so I will actually be joining Swim in the Spring Sports season.

    Academic League:
    – An academic team at my school, which I’ve done my sophomore year and my junior year and will be doing again my senior year. At my school academic league is considered a sport, and it is during the Fall Season (and a bit during the winter seasons for playoffs/tournaments and such).
    – My first year I got moved up to the Varsity team after only two matches, and got Varsity Rookie of the year.

    AP Club:
    – Basically I was a representative chosen by my AP US History teacher to talk about AP test readiness and such like that

    Other “Important” Things/Skills
    – I went to Boy’s State this summer
    – I went to the Naval Academy Summer Seminar
    – I speak another language (not Spanish, but i’ll be working on that)
    – I have been programming for about 3 years and I am proficient in many languages
    – I have been playing the violin for about 10 years and am also proficient in many other instruments: cello, piano, trumpet, drum set, and others. I actually read notes.

    CFA, and Fitness in General:
    Alright so I am including my scores for the CFA I took at NASS but I WILL be retaking it. Just showing them.

    – Basketball Throw: 69 Feet
    – 120 Feet Sprint: 10.76 seconds (I really have to re-do this one. In practice I usually got 9 seconds, I always started late when told to “Go”)
    – Pull-ups: 7
    – Pushups: 35 (Horrible number, did much better in practice. Now I know I have to go ALL the way down. I was told to repeat so many or that many didn’t count, so that just wore me out and I did quite badly)
    – Crunches: Got all 95
    – Mile Run: 7:38

    I will be honest again and say that I can not swim. Well. Now I know, I know, this is the NAVAL academy, meaning if you can’t swim things will be bad for you, but I have been working hard at it. My parents have just barely got to understanding that I need to live outside of my house a bit to do well in life, so I will be going to the pool much more often. I have already started working on my swimming, and I’ve improved much and have been lucky to find people who give me tips. I can guarantee that I’ll have it down before January.

    Distance Running:
    I can run about 2 miles now without stopping, and it takes me about 14 minutes. I know the sweet spot is 3 miles in 18 minutes, so that’s my goal actually. And I do intend on getting more running in.

    Leadership/ Gained Positions:
    Freshman Year:
    – Class Elected President of Orchestra Class
    – Student Council

    Sophomore Year:
    – Class Elected Again as President of Orchestra Class (I’ve been playing the violin for almost 10 years, so)
    – Varsity Academic League

    Junior Year:
    – Vice President of Academic League
    – Varsity Academic League

    SAT/ACT Scores:
    SAT: 1390 with a 710 in the Math Portion and a 680 in the Reading/Writing Portion
    ACT: Will get my scores in about a week or two

    I’m being nominated by my JROTC unit, but not only that I am applying for other nominations as well from everyone that I can. President/Vice President/Senators/District Representative so I can give an update on that. Everything will be sent out in about a month (I need my official transcripts so I have to wait for school to open xD )

    Community Service:
    As of now, 235 Hours

    I know that this was really long, but that is what I have so far. Thank you for reading and all the help.


    • Hi Rolando–sorry for the delay in answering. I just got back from out of town. Lots of information and you do sound like an outstanding candidate. Your BGO will be a great barometer for your chances, but here are my thoughts:

    • Good academics. It’d be nice to get the SATs over 1400 but you have time and you’re definitely close enough you’ll be fine. The Naval Academy wants you to take the hardest classes offered. From what I can tell, you do.
    • Your extracurricular can be as simple as tutoring, helping run community events–that sort. You definitely want those and it sounds like you and your BGO are on top of it.
    • You definitely want sports. It could be an individual sport like karate (or swimming). Your CFA scores will show your physical fitness, but the sports shows your ability to compete. USNA likes that trait.
    • A note about swimming: You will be required to jump off of a (very) high dive–the top level–to pass out of Plebe Summer (unless this has changed). If you swim, it’s easy. If you don’t, it’s beyond daunting. During my daughter’s class, at least one person failed for that reason–couldn’t make the jump–so do pursue swimming and leaping off high platforms!
    • You mentioned a couple of topics that your BGO knew about and knew the reasons. They sound explainable. You’ll get a chance to do that at your Congressional Interview and it will be critical. You want to present yourself as a leader, strong and confident, with exactly why any perceived shortcomings are not a big deal to your chances of success at USNA. I’ll assume you will learn to swim and do so well. That will be a great story about your tenacity and commitment that the Congressional committee will find significant.

      Good luck! Let me know how it goes.


By: Jacqui Murray on June 30, 2017
at 2:26 pm


  • Thank you again, for everything.


  • Ms. Murray,
    I went to the doctor about 2 weeks ago for back pain when I play tennis and piano(among other things) and he said I had scoliosis!! I just recently had an appointment with a specialist and had x-rays and he said that the degree of my curvature is 32 and 28. I am did some research and found that I could be
    disqualified for this. Is this true?? I also started PT recently and have been working really hard at it. Is there any advice that you could give me? Out of everything I was worried about my health was last on the list. Thank you for always taking the time to help me and answer my questions. I greatly value your input.


  • Hi i was wondering what my chances were of being accepted to the academy if i was a sea cadet ?


  • I am a high school Junior with a 3.71 GPA. I have nearly completed earning the rank of Eagle Scout. i play guitar in my school’s Jazz Combo, am a leader in Campus Ministry (planning and leading several student retreats), and a member of Patriots’ Club, Climbing Club, Sports Broadcasting Club, Engineering Club and Service Committee. I also am a two year member of my school’s JV track team where I compete at pole vaulting. I have successfully completed AS US history and am currently taking AP US Government. My English and Spanish classes have all been honors-level. Until my Junior year my math and science classes have also been honors level as well. This year I am enrolled in Calculus I, which is year ahead of most of my peers, however the class is not designated as an “honors” section. I am also enrolled in Physics which is not considered Honors at my school. I plan to take AP Math and Science next year as a Senior. Will this year’s lack of honors designation by my school be detrimental?

    Also, I have been diagnosed with ADD and take a very low dose of medication on school days to aid my focus and organization. I have read mixed reports, will this diagnosis disqualify me from being admitted into USNA?

    Thank you so much for any help you can provide. I have wanted to attend the Naval academy for as long as I can remember, and I am hopeful I have done well enough to be considered.


  • Hi, My name is Jacob. Since I knew what college was, USNA has always been my top school. I’m a freshman and currently being recruited by USNA for track. How does an athletic scholarship factor in?


  • Hello. I’m an incoming Freshmen and I’m preparing to push myself in high school. I’ve learned from my brother’s (and my own) mistakes that being smart just doesn’t cut it. I ended my 8th grade year with a 3.83 gpa unweighted, which (I think) should be around a high 4.5/low 4.6 weighted. I made the mistake of not doing sport as an incoming freshmen but I’m definitely going to try out for Basketball. I live in the 36th congressional district in California and I realized that there are a lot of older people here past the age of 17-23. My state test scores showed that I met the standards for English which is not my strongest subject, and I exceeded standards in Math. I’m also doing algebra 1 in the summer so I can be in Geometry as a freshmen and take algebra 2 as a sophomore, with plans of taking as many AP classes I can take if I think I could do it. I also did band all 3 years of middle school, with a plan to take it all through out high school playing in Concert and Jazz 1 (The lower Jazz Band) and moving up to Symphonic and Jazz 2. Will going to the Summer STEM program as an incoming sophomore boost my chances of getting in as well as the other things I mentioned?


  • Hello Jacqui, I believe my son is making really good progress on his application. Even before his first day of school as a senior, all he has left are a nomination, a qualified status from DoDMERB, and an interview with his BGO. His BGO emailed him and asked to see him. I think this is a good sign. I like to get him as much help as possible with interviewing skills and build more confident. Do you know where I can get start?

    Regards … V. Huynh


  • Hi, I was wondering if I had a good chance of getting into the naval academy if any chance at all. I am going into my junior year and have 3 varsity letters so far, one in lacrosse and 2 in softball. I have a 3.7 unweighted gpa and a 4.1 weighted. I am also in a few AP and dual enrollment classes and the rest of my classes are honors. I participate in a few clubs, but I don’t have many community service hours. I probably have about 30 hours, but I plan to volunteer more this upcoming year.

    Liked by 1 person

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