Appointment Letter

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by Powercat92, Feb 11, 2010.

  1. Powercat92

    Powercat92 New Member

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    I want to try and get my appointment letters done early, but is there a certain format I follow, or do I just write a one page paper about myself and why I want to go there, to everybody I need it from. I can't find info anywhere. I heard from some sources that it's just fill in the blank answers? Help would be much appreciated.
     
  2. NewNavyMom

    NewNavyMom Member

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    Appointment Letters

    Are you talking about letters of recommendation from teachers for the academy and/or letters for the congressman? The academy will email your math and English teachers and have them complete something. I think it's a check list type of thing and comments. As for the congressman and senators, you will need a written letter from three sources.

    Here's what my son did: He put together a resume with the following sections: Academics, Leadership, Honors and Awards, Athletics, and Community Service. Under each heading he listed all of his mentionable achievements. He didn't have any real employment to speak of but that should be a section if you have notable experience. To this, he attached a copy of his transcript and a cover letter thanking the teachers for responding to the academy and to the others, for writing the letters.

    The teachers and others that he asked to write letters knew him very well, so they were familiar with his desires and goals. If you think it would help, then absolutely, write a little bit about why you want to go to the academy.

    So, you'll have a nice little packet prepared to give to each person who is supporting your application. The resume is especially helpful to them and you as well when you go to complete college applications and scholarships.

    Hope this helps. Good luck!
     
  3. MomoftheMagik

    MomoftheMagik Member

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    My son did have several people write letters of recommendation in his junior year. During the application process, we realized that the recommendations actually had to be forms sent by the academy to the teacher/principal.

    Also, our Senators both had specific forms that had to be filled out and returned, though we did use a couple of the original letters for our Congressman.

    Though we couldn't use them for the application, I don't think procuring those recommendation letters was an exercise in futility. They are good to have on hand and have proven useful a couple of times already. They also helped my son to evaluate his strengths (as many of them said the exact same things about him) and gave his confidence a nice boost.
     
  4. 1964BGO

    1964BGO Member

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    As mentioned above, MOCs and the SAs have specific formats for their letters of recommendation and really do expect prospects/candidates to adhere to them. In the case of USNA, it will direct you to have specific teachers submit letters and they will receive the format for the letters. The MOCs likewise will provide you direction regarding the letters and tell you how many letters they expect to be submitted.

    One thing to keep in mind: in both instances generic letters of recommendation are not highly valued. Your letters should be from people who know you well, have worked with you or witnessed first hand your exploits. Other letters will be recognized for what they are and discounted accordingly.
     
  5. 1964BGO

    1964BGO Member

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    On the issue of teacher recommendations: some schools have firewalls installed that can block efforts by USNA to communicate to the teachers, coaches, counselors, etc. If you have one of the above who is unable to receive communications from USNA, please have that/those persons provide another email address that can be used.
     
  6. Powercat92

    Powercat92 New Member

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    Should I start the recomendation letters from the three teachers before or after I write up my resume to the congressmen? Do I need to copy my things I am going to send to the congressmen and give them to the teachers to give them an idea of what I
    have done? The sooner I start the better? Thanks
     
  7. wingnut

    wingnut Member

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    Having your resume done helps tremendously! Give a copy to each teacher you want recommendations from. Explain to them you are requesting letters for each of your Congressmen, and that the teachers should expect an Email from USNA in the future, with instructions to follow, to post their recommendations for USNA on-line. Most teachers have no clue what their students are involved in outside of their classes. If you give them your resume to work from, it makes their jobs easier and the end product is much more meaningful. My son gave each teacher a separate letter, with specific instructions, including the names and addresses of each MOC letters were needed for. It is a lot of work for the teachers, (3 separate MOC's and USNA) and he also requested a general (To Whom It May Concern) letter to send to the back-up schools. (Civilian Colleges DO NOT like getting recommendations addressed to USNA !) Generally, candidates are responsible for mailing the letters of recommendation to each MOC, in accordance with their individual requirements. Some MOC's are very specific about what teachers they want to hear from. Some schools have a privacy policy with requires the teachers to mail their recommendations directly to the Congressman. This may pose problems, since the Candidate is not sure if and when the MOC gets these separate letters. My son had to call the Congressmen a few times to check on it. Keep yourself organized, keep copies of everything you request, give the teachers plenty of lead time, and provide the teachers with gentle reminders of your deadlines! It is a lot of work, but it is all necessary! Good Luck.
     
  8. NewNavyMom

    NewNavyMom Member

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    The congressman application is mostly a fill-in-the-blank application and an essay. You can give the essay to the teachers if you want with your resume. I think a honest conversation with the teacher and the resume is probably enough but it can't hurt to have it all written down early.

    Our experience was that once the teachers leave the building for summer, they are gone..hard to reach. You might want to ask them if it's ok to contact them over the summer and how they would prefer that you do so. My son also applied for a NROTC scholarship that required teacher recommendations via email and one teacher wasn't reading email over the summer so it was difficult to get in touch with her. Delayed his process for a few weeks. He left a note in her mailbox at school and she happened in one day and saw it.

    My son didn't get the application packet/info from the academy until a few days before school was to break for summer so he was scrambling to try to get teachers on board with the process before the vacation. It's good that you are starting early. We didn't know about the process and had yet to discover this forum so we were behind the learning curve.

    Son played varsity football so I really pushed him to have all applications to all scholarships, academy and colleges done before the first day of school in the fall. He did it and it was sooo nice to have it done once school started. His friends were stressing getting essays written and apps completed and he didn't have to worry about it.

    You'll have to do the fitness test as well. It can be administered by a coach or PE teacher so having a summer contact for that person is a good idea too. Another snag that we hit was the guidance counselor. His counselor doesn't work during the summer at all and there are a few forms that the academy and the ROTC need from the counselor. Another counselor stepped in and completed the forms but she wasn't able to add any personal info since she didn't know my son. It's a big school and the counselors mostly just know those students assigned to them. We had given the academy her email address and she wasn't reading email so then he had to call the academy to change email addresses. A bit of a pain you can try to avoid.

    One last piece of advice: Ask for 4 letters of rec from each person. Two senators, 1 congressman and VP Biden. Son had to go back and ask for the final letter for the VP nomination as we didn't know about that source until after school had let out for summer.

    Lots of things on the check list but it was all worth it when that appointment arrived last week!

    Good luck!
     
  9. singaporemom

    singaporemom Member

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    wingnut: great idea to ask for the general backup school letter also! Hadn't thought of that.

    My son gave each person who wrote a letter a packet with:

    1. Explanation of why he needed the letter, the process, and why he chose that person. (i.e. Eagle Scout project sponsor: please emphasize leadership on the project)
    2. Resume
    3. Specific instructions AND deadline:
    Congressman, name, address, addressed envelope, label with your name/ssn
    Senator#1, name, address, addressed envelope,label with your name/ssn

    Senator#2, name, address, addressed envelope,label with your name/ssn

    with MOC letter, include something like ....recommend for a nomination to academy XYZ...

    Academy Admissions, address, addressed envelope,label with your name/ssn

    with Academy admissions letter, include something like.... recommend for an appointment to academy XYz

    (you can include VP here if needed, addressed envelope, label with your name/ssn)
    (5 copies of general schools letter of recommendations, blank envelope. take out the nomination and appointment parts of the letter included in MOC and Academy letters above! labels with your name/ssn )

    4. ask teacher to put label with your full name and ssn in the upper right corner of your letter.

    5. On the back of each envelope put a line across the flap, so the teacher can sign once the envelope is sealed (include this on instructions)*one of the MOC asked for this, so decided to put it on all the envelopes.
    6. On the return address part of each letter put teacher's name c/o your name and address

    7. Large envelope for teacher to put all of these letters in, addressed to you....either pick it up or have them mail it to you. (include postage, fedex preferred)

    Now, you can wait for all of these letters and send them in in one batch with you applications....then you know what has been sent and follow up with those that you have not received.

    Put in alot of thought, make it extremely organized and easy for them and they will get it done quickly.

    Son's teachers all returned within 2 weeks and he was collecting these from our town in Texas, Singapore and Vietnam.
     
  10. jennyp

    jennyp Parent

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    Singaporemom: great instructions. We followed a very similar protocol.

    I administer a nat'l scholarship program with a significant award ($6500 this year)......many, many, actually MOST of the rec letters, especially from teachers, are simply a listing of what kiddo has done. "XXX was an eagle scout and president of XYZ club. He was also captain of the football team........". All of this information appears elsewhere in the application. Giving the letter writer some concrete idea of what to emphasize is absolutely essential. It is a waste of a letter to get one that simply lists what the kiddo has done and that they are dedicated, committed,hard working, etc. As you might imagine, the SA's are flooded with apps from kids who are dedicated, hard working, committed, etc.

    The ideal letter tells a story about the applicant, hopefully a unique story or quality that will make the applicant MEMORABLE to the committee. I think it is perfectly appropriate to prompt the letter writer with an idea of what to emphasize. I write a lot of letters and welcome any additional info the applicant can share so I can tailor letter to best fit situation.

    As to the mention above of letters of rec for the VP nomination....last year, nothing of the sort was required or requested for VP. Just a brief form letter from the candidate requesting to be considered for VP nom. Is this different for class of 2014?
     
  11. singaporemom

    singaporemom Member

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    jennyp--- definitely get the letter writer to write something 'less generic'; great to emphasize that point.

    My son's letter writers were nice enough to send him a copy of the letter. They were very personal and very uplifting for my son.

    His math teacher talked about math skills but that was minor to letter. He told stories about my son helping other students in and out of class with tutoring...not worrying about wrecking the curve or trying to out do another student. Just wanting to help the kid learn. He then talked about my son's efforts outside of the classroom to earn money to study in China. (My son spent 4 months selling lemonade, coffee and donuts..every weekend...to earn ALOT of money spend the summer immersed in Chinese. He also did yardwork and chores for people) I was stunned that the teacher even knew about his endeavour and that he felt it affected most of the student body. Kids from all goups throughout the school would seek out my son's stand and bring their families to buy a donut or a glass of lemonade. When he sprained his ankle, different kids came out to help him run the lemonade out to cars or hold his sign. Alot of this I never knew about and didn't even realize that his teacher would be hearing all of these stories also and that so many kids were invested in my son's success...it was a very nice letter.

    His coach concentrated on math (also a former math teacher) and his improvement on the football field, good attitude and determination.

    His Eagle sponsor focused on the project and how it affected the school (he designed an Orienteering curriculum for the district)

    A complete stranger called my son and asked if she could write a letter once she found out he was applying to the academy and for nominations. She was a lemonade customer and mom of a high school kid who told her about my son's plans. She thought that he had made an impact on her son.

    Definitely get a variety of people that you respect, you have a good relationship with, and know different parts of your personality.
     

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