Anything I can do to improve?

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by USNAhereIcome, Aug 7, 2012.

  1. USNAhereIcome

    USNAhereIcome Member

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2011
    Messages:
    25
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hey guys I was just wondering if you could give me some ways on how to improve my application. I am going to be a junior this coming year and want the best application I can get.
    Here are my stats so far:

    GPA
    3.6 unweighted
    4.5 weighted
    Take all AP and honors classes

    SAT
    640 math
    560 CR
    (first time I took them and it was last year have been doing tutoring and I am going to take them again first chance I get)

    Sports
    Played varsity baseball freshman and sophomore year
    Play travel ball year round

    Ec's
    French club
    French honor society vp
    FCA captain
    Beta club
    Key club( will be running for an officer position thus year)
    150+ hours of community service( hoping to gain another 100 or so hours this year
    Have been taking Arabic for two years

    Extras
    My school sent me to HOBY

    I have not taken the ACT and will be doing so shortly. I have heard about boys state and am trying to get in.(I really want to go!) Any input is greatly Apperciated.

    Thanks for your time!!
     
  2. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2010
    Messages:
    7,539
    Likes Received:
    1,002
    More leadership positions... team captain, president of xyz. Secretary of cuz won't cut it. And as you already have planned, get the SAT scores up. Boys State is another great idea you are already pursuing. Prepare for the CFA.
     
  3. GoSox

    GoSox Member

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2011
    Messages:
    226
    Likes Received:
    48
    The SAT scores is the single biggest weighting factor in your application, and it also happens to be almost entirely within your control to bring up your standardized test scores. (As opposed for needing people to elect you to leadership positions, for example, or the fact that you've already got 4 semesters of high school under your belt and mathematically it is much harder to bring up a GPA with 2-3 semesters left -- and the hardest ones at that -- rather than jacking up your scores a few hundred points.)

    If you are really serious about your goal, buy some commercial test prep books (it doesn't have to be about tutoring for 100s and thousands of dollars) and spend a couple of hours prepping every day for the rest of the summer. A lot of people actually use formal SAT Test Prep or tutoring almost as a way to get out of working -- it makes them passive -- "I'll just wait for the test prep course." There are tons of books and practice tests to be had cheaply and if you read the tips it's the same thing somebody will be saying out loud to you reading from a script.

    Good luck.
     
  4. Vista123

    Vista123 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2011
    Messages:
    1,180
    Likes Received:
    105
    tips and suggestions Part 1


    The following are my suggestions primarily from my son’s experiences over the past year and from other’s input. I am not an expert and my son is still working on getting a nomination. I am sure that there will be some (many) who disagree with some (most) of the following suggestions. However, some of these tips are the NEW reality of applying to one of the five service academies. I am of the opinion that it is an extremely competitive process and even more so than in the past. You need to cover as many bases as possible to achieve a successful outcome. Follow Lieutenant General Moore's dictum that "there is always one more thing you can do to increase your odds of success"


    Tips to get started:

    CFA
    One thing that you can do your junior year is begin your CFA practice. I would suggest that you approach your high school PE teacher with a print out of the CFA instructions. http://www.usna.edu/admissions/cfainstructions.htm. Explain to them that your goal is to become an officer in the military (be prepared to explain why). Ask them if they will help you. Starting now-or at least no later than right after winter break try to meet with them once per week after school, or before school or they may even allow it during your actual PE class. You can then run through a mock CFA --this will only be about 10-12 minutes weekly. The days in between the mock CFA you can practice whatever you are not able to max. If your run time is too slow try to meet with the school’s track or xcountry coach for tips on your form. This way if you get into NASS/SLS you can check that off immediately and not need to worry about it next summer.

    ACT/SAT
    As you are aware the Service Academies super score. It is ONLY to your benefit to take the ACT/SAT as many times as possible. If you take the ACT for example, they offer it September, October, December, February, April, June. You should be signed up for all of them. Shoot for top quartile in each as your lowest acceptable personal goal. If you are not in the top quartile take it again (and again).

    TEACHER BUY IN JUNIOR YEAR
    You will need the very active support of your Math and English teachers (and science teacher for USMA) throughout this process. Believe it or not they will have to do a lot of work for you and they may not want to, have moved, retired etc. They will have to fill out on-line evaluations of you over their summer vacations. The will have to write a letter for you as part of your member of congress nomination packet. The will have to write a letter for you as part of your NROTC/ROTC/AROTC application packet. The will have to write a letter for you as you apply to the colleges or universities that will direct your NROTC/ROTC/AROTC scholarship. The will have to write a letter for you to square away your Plan B and Plan C colleges or universities. They will have to evaluate your: Cooperation, Dependability, Productivity, Attitude, Leadership Ability, Consideration for others, Initiative, Ability to Plan and Organize work, Attendance and Punctuality, Drive and Character. You will NEED to get their buy in. This does not mean simply being nice to them. Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because they want to do it. This means 1.) Working hard for them in their class 2.) Going above and beyond to demonstrate the above characteristics 3.)Explaining articulately what you are trying to accomplish and why 4.) Showing your appreciation for them throughout this process by writing hand written thank you notes. One important thing to know is that 99% of teachers became a teacher because they enjoy kids and sincerely want to help them. Many (most) high school students have not yet formulated their goals. You have. Share that with the teachers early on and ask for tips and suggestions. Their tips and suggestions may not be 100% helpful but you may get a nugget in there. More importantly, they will be glad that you are sharing with them and are asking for their help and guidance, and then will buy into your plans.


    BOYS/GIRLS STATE
    Find out when your Boys/Girls State is. Learn about the process to being chosen to represent your high school. In some states it is extremely competitive. This may sound like merely a check mark but it is much more. It is a check mark in that it is looked on very favorably by the admissions board and increases your points/score for admission. However, it is far more fun than it sounds like it will be. You will learn a lot. It will be filled with others trying to get into Service Academies so you will get a chance to meet more people like you who have the same motivations. Boys/Girls State will let you experience leadership training in an exciting learn-by doing environment. It is fun.


    CONSIDER APPLYING TO S.A.M.E
    The Society of American Military Engineers offers a very unique series of engineering summer camps designed for High School students who excel in math, science and technical courses and are interested in pursuing engineering in college. These one–week camps are high energy, hands–on events for students from across the country and around the world. The camps are led by a professional staff of engineers from both private industry and the military services. The camp is only a couple hundred dollars and THEY pay your airfare!!!! (Cheaper than summer leadership programs!) There are four separate ones: Marines, Air force, Army and Navy. The Air Force program is only for someone who is applying to one of the five service academies. (For the Air Force program you must provide some proof of an expressed interest in applying to a Service Academy or ROTC Program (this does not include JROTC) and proof of being a qualified applicant.) You can, for example be interested in going to USCGA but apply to the USAFA S.A.M.E camp. These week–long camps take place during the summer months in a variety of settings—centered on a military base at the Air Force Academy, Camp Lejeune, N.C., Port Hueneme, Calif., Vicksburg, Mississippi. Applicants must have expressed intent to pursue a degree in architecture, engineering or a related field, have demonstrated leadership characteristics through participation in extra-curricular activities, sports, and/or community activities, have a minimum GPA of 3.5 on a 4.0 GPA scale and be physically fit and healthy. This is a very competitive application process. Go for it!

    APPLY TO ALL OF THE SUMMER LEADERSHIPS
    Apply to all of the summer leaderships, see where you get in, chose your favorite. Getting into one of the summer leadership programs will not give you extra points and will not be reflective of what a school year will look like. Having said that, attending one of the summer leadership programs will help you during your interview process and essay writing. When asked a question in an interview it is nice to be able to say something like, “when I went to USMA I was impressed with all of the equipment they had –do you know they have a piece of equipment that cuts through titanium with a stream of water.…” While writing your essay you may be able to reflect on your week there. While there you will also be able to check off your CFA. Additionally 50% of the applicants that I know that went decided S.A. was not for them. The other 50% were even more motivated. This is a good way to determine if the path you are on is really indeed what you want. There isn’t a need to go to more than one, however, if you don’t get into your preferred summer leadership program there is still value in going to another. Apply to each within a couple of days of the program application opening. However, don’t be counter productive-don’t go to too many!!! If you are gone too much over summer you wont be able to dedicate time to your application.
     
  5. Vista123

    Vista123 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2011
    Messages:
    1,180
    Likes Received:
    105
    tips and suggestions Part 2

    EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES
    I am assuming you play a sport. If not start one TODAY! If you are only in sports, now is the time to join an extracurricular activity. In fact try two. Should you do this to just get a check mark? Yes and no. Try out two of them even if they are something you may not think you would like. I know this may sound stupid but if it's stupid, but works, it isn't stupid. Are you a trivia buff, try out scholastic bowl. Are you into politics or international relations? What about model UN? Don’t forget the fact that the service academies are really engineering colleges so what about a science, technology, engineering or math club then? Even if you join the chemistry club or engineering club as a check mark, once you get there you may really like it. Give it a shot. If you know that this is indeed a check mark, then find a club or two that you can possibly like and bullet through.

    TEAM CAPTAIN/CLUB PRESIDENT
    You know that another check box is a team captain or club president but you haven’t done either and are not on track for either. That is ok. There are some options here. Run an activity within the club. Put together a suggestion to improve your club that you are already in (IE membership drive, fundraiser, community service event), offer to run it. Be able to describe leadership actions within that activity. Talk to your coach, can you run a cross training activity? Start a new club. I know of someone who started a military history club at school and was able to be the president. This isn’t just to check the box marked club president or team captain. This is to really learn leadership skills that you will need going forward on whatever path you take.

    ACT LIKE THERE ARE STILL LOAs
    If you are reading this than you probably have scoured this forum for information. You will know that for most applicants LOAs are a thing-of-the-past or at least a rarity. If you were before striving to have your file reviewed for a possible LOA than you were trying to complete every step perfectly AND quickly. Even if there are no LOAs it is still to your advantage to endeavor to get your entire packet completed during the summer before senior year. First, the Dodmerb process can be quick or it can be as slow as molasses. You may need a lot of time to get through it. Dodmerb isn’t triggered (the process started) until you have a certain percentage of your application completed. Additionally, medical waivers will not typically be requested unless your file is complete. The further along in the process the longer DODmerb seems to take as more applicants are in the system (it takes longer the later you wait due to increasing file volume). Second, many BGO/FFR/ALO officers will not interview you until you have a certain percentage of your application completed. Third, you're more likely to get an authorization for a CFA retest if test was failed sooner rather than later. If you wait until the end it may be too late if you do poorly on your CFA. Finally, senior year is already hard and time consuming. Between trying to keep up your grades and trying to live the “life of a senior” that doesn’t leave a lot of time to get your packet in.

    TO PARENTS:
    There is a lot of talk on this forum about helicopter parents. On one hand I think the more us as parents understand the process, the better we can advise our kids what stay on top of. It has been stated that, were parents NOT supposed to be part of this process, they would not include them in the interviewing process and the service academies would not have a program of activities for them. It has also been pointed out that the military is more than just about the mere individual who serves, it is also about their families. You should feel well informed on what your son/daughter is getting into, both at a service academy and after. On the other hand there are boundaries. NEVER ever email or call anyone at admissions or connected to admission (there is story after story of disaster that awaits behind parents emailing and calling). Offer tips and suggestions not dictates. Always step back and make sure that this is their agenda not yours, sometimes it may get cloudy. Let them know repeatedly that this is their choice, not yours. Try to enjoy (or at least appreciate) the process ---Embrace the Suck. While other juniors and seniors are not talking to their embarrassing parents you two are a team (with them the captain and you the assistant captain). While other kids are out partying, driving too many kids in their car, playing too many video games or preparing for the senior grade slide, yours is carefully making all the right choices. However, this process can be overwhelming, and stressful. You will miss a deadline, not be able to figure out an acronym, loose an important document, forget a password, and feel like you are spending more money than four years of college tuition on this long arduous process. Find support. Try to link with other parents going through a similar circumstance. Offer support and you will get support when you need it. And you will need it.

    Good Luck!
    “The difficult we do immediately. The impossible takes a little longer.”
    —Motto of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers during World War II,
     
  6. dlee96

    dlee96 Member

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2012
    Messages:
    261
    Likes Received:
    1
    How useful is USAFA SAME for the apps? i know it's somewhat similar to USAFA summer seminar but does it hold any weight?
     
  7. Vista123

    Vista123 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2011
    Messages:
    1,180
    Likes Received:
    105
    Hi Dlee
    I replied under the USAFA thread where you also asked.
    :smile:
    Vista123
     
  8. Whistle Pig

    Whistle Pig Banned

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Messages:
    1,634
    Likes Received:
    1
    My understanding is that USNA equates USAFA SAME program on par with a weekend at tennis camp at the local country club. :confused: :wink: Make sure to take your golf clubs. :cool::rolleyes:
     
  9. Vista123

    Vista123 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2011
    Messages:
    1,180
    Likes Received:
    105
    WP, I can tell you that was not at all the feedback that my son was given by his admission officer. This is not a pay-to-play all are accepted camp. In fact, the very opposite is true. I put more details about this on the USAFA thread. I think you are giving very poor advice without having all of the facts at your disposal regarding this program. Have you personally looked into this recently-or are merely just stating an opinion without any backing and couching it as advice?
     
  10. Whistle Pig

    Whistle Pig Banned

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Messages:
    1,634
    Likes Received:
    1
    A poor attempt at both humor and illustrating the monumental differences (these are real and true) between the zoomies and our Mids and beyond. Too many fail to discern that these are not merely variations of the same.

    And speaking of that, I'm sure the SAME is a not the same as tennis camp at the club. Still, I'll bet they encourage students to bring their clubs for a round or two. The USAFA version of CFA, maybe? :eek:
     
  11. 1964BGO

    1964BGO Member

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2009
    Messages:
    923
    Likes Received:
    16
    One of the first questions from VADM Rickover of his nuclear power prospects was: Why aren't you at 4.0? Usually shortly after you stammered through that explanation you were kicked out of his office, but were snared by his secretary to sit in her office to ponder the errors of your ways until you were sent back into Rickover's office for round two. Seriously, work on your SAT/ACT scores, they are a bit on the anemic side of what is desired. Also, do your best to bring up your gpa - that never will hurt you. Then work on your leadership opportunities to ensure that they are meaningful experiences, and compile some anecdotal information to support your response to those who will be interviewing you in a few months (don't be a deer in the headlights when your BGO asks you what you did as captain, president, chairman, etc... have some specific answers.) Best wishes.
     

Share This Page