Are the application/candidate numbers accurate?

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by F15DOC, Aug 4, 2015.

  1. F15DOC

    F15DOC Member

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    I started a thread on the USAFA forum that brought in some good thoughts and insightful discussion. So I am looking for thoughts here from the USNA posters.
    Following is a slightly edited version of my opening post:

    You know what my perception of this crazy competitive world of service academy applications is?
    Well, if you read these forums you/yours are going to quickly feel inferior and unworthy.
    But let me tell you that perception doesn't appear to be reality, I will explain why.
    So don't let it dampen your dreams and aspirations.

    I have been browsing these forums for several years as my son has continued to express a strong desire to attend a service academy. More recently I have been posting some questions and inquiries.

    What I have concluded is that for these highly qualified kids it takes HEART AND DETERMINATION to get through the process and most are going to have a really good shot at it!

    It appears that the key to gaining admission to the USNA/USAFA/USMA/USCGA is to not get yourself disqualified and to persist on with the onerous application process!

    I was able to piece together various sources and the true acceptance rates to all the academies isn't as bad as it first appears...
    Of course, you need to be a good student, have leadership experience, team sports skills, pass the medical exam and pass the CFA, but if you do those things... your odds are pretty dang good!

    Here is what I mean, I will use USAFA 2017 numbers as my example, however USNA, USCGA and USMA percentages are similar:

    The first cut comes from those that start the application inquiry process, and then for whatever reason they just stop.
    Maybe it just seems too hard to complete the application (this group definitely wouldn't make it), perhaps it is because they look at the "average admitted cadet profile" and think they can't compete either academically or physically, perhaps they realize they have a medical condition that will DQ them...

    Whatever the cause, the number drops significantly:
    12,917 Inquiries
    9,706 Applicants
    6967 Candidate Pool


    So if you simply fill out the application and get yourself listed in the academy system, you are likely going to be labeled as a "Candidate" (there are some minimum caveats to this)

    And here is the kicker, the number drops even more:
    2277 Qualified Candidates.
    1475 Offers of Admission
    1168 Admitted


    That's right, so of all the huge numbers you see talked about regarding how many applicants there are and how tough it is to gain acceptance, the reality is, if you (the candidate) or your son/daughter (if you are the parent reading this) gets the stuff done that is reasonable to get done, the odds of acceptance is 1475/2277 = 65%!!

    Now to further increase your odds, how many of those qualified candidates apply to more than 1 service academy? Of course, I don't have that number, but I would be willing to guess that nearly all apply to at least 2, and many will apply to 3!

    So what does this all mean to you and yours?

    It means get your part done and you have a good shot at getting accepted!!

    Of course, gaining admission to a Service Academy is based upon getting everything done, but it doesn't mean you have to be a Rockstar like everyone seems to think and openly express on these forums. You have to be well rounded and DILIGENT!

    Look, there are only so many "key positions" in your life. How many people can be ASB President or Team Captain of their football team or Valedictorian of their class? Well the simple answer is not that many, and you don't have to be that golden child in order to be an outstanding cadet and military officer and leader.

    Be a good student with good academics, this doesn't mean you have to be 3.8gpa or score 32 or 34 composite on your ACT! Be an athlete, compete in team sports, this doesn't mean you have to be the "best player" on the team or the "Team Captain". You should be involved in leadership activities in your school or community, this doesn't mean you have to be "ASB President". What surprises me is how many kids with great numbers and great background post on here "what are my chances" and they continually get told "Do better" when you all know dang well they are going to get accepted. Many of these kids that post on here are simply amazing and yet they don't get the ATTA BOY encouragement they deserve. Now don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with pushing to "do better" but for crying out loud these kids are amazing and we all know it. How many times have I seen an ACT composite of 32 and people say "take it again, try to increase your Math".... Really?!! These are great candidates!

    I say keep encouraging them, but give them the real numbers, and encourage them to simply get all the parts of the application done so they fall in that "Qualified Candidate" pool. If they get there and they are applying to several academies, they are going to find a home!!

    Enough of my rant, don't read too much into it, I just think these kids are amazing and the numbers are deceiving if not more carefully broken down.

    Now the curve ball is that this does not seem to add up. A very knowledgeable ALO states he thinks the reported numbers are inaccurate and gives as an example that this year out of an initial 15 kids he had that started applications, some were DQ or dropped out but he still had 9 students that were fully qualified and yet only 1 got a full appointment and 1 went to Prep, so what do you think of my math? I am not playing with statistics, these are the actual reported numbers...
     
  2. JakeFromWisco

    JakeFromWisco Member

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    I honestly think the "Do better" that you refer to is really a help for most all candidates. I was an athlete and team captain. I scored in the 97th percentile for tests and had a high GPA. I volunteered a lot and was very active in my community. I applied, was nominated by two Congressmen, but in the end, got the QNS letter from West Point and the Naval Academy. When people on this board say "Do better" they aren't meaning to portray any sort of disdain on the accomplishments of candidates. They're just saying that if you can do better, do it! Heck I wish I would have so I didn't have to feel the crushing blow of that QNS letter.

    In the end, I really don't think reading into the numbers or statistics does anyone too much good. If you want to attend an academy, give it your all in high school and then apply. That's all that anyone can do, isn't it?
     
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  3. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I understand where you are coming from, but I think you are missing how appointments work. This is not like a traditional college or heck even the ROTC scholarship process.

    Let's use your numbers.
    2277 Qualified
    1475 Appointed
    1168 Admitted...actually the better term is matriculated for the purpose of my post.

    The thing is it is not like colleges where the top 1475 are offered admission. There is this little thing called charging that needs to be understood. @535 right off the top come from the MOC slate. Probably more since MoCs are allowed 5 at anytime. The 535 number is the amount of MoCs. Using a slate of 10 for each MoC, the candidate actually has a 10% shot before hitting the national pool. Not the 65% you are thinking.
    ~ Remember there are also 100 Presidential noms filled too, but that slate is national. Still uses the WCS top 100, but not everyone can get that and yet now I have left only 800 slots. Haven't touched the other charges like ROTC and Supe.

    However, once you get to the dirt, if I have now done my math correctly you have approximately 800 left out of the new pool of 1700. Less than your 65%.

    Now let's attack the NWL. You could be the superstar in your state with all 3 MoC noms, but this is now the national level and going up against a candidate from a hyper competitive state like CA, VA, or TX where 1 is a blessing, you may find yourself with the QNS.
    ~ IOWS, there could be MoC slates where 90% are appointed, and MoC slates with 10% because of how the national pool selection system works. The WCS.

    You can't run pure odds just using the numbers in my opinion. You have to understand the charging system too.
    ~ The same needs to be explained regarding Prep school slots. They don't typically say we appointed 1475. #1476-1575 on the list will be offered a prep slot.

    It is great to say to these kids that you need heart and determination. I agree, because without that you will never survive BCT or the next 4 years. However, I think it is more important to not blow smoke up their arses. It is more important in my eyes to always remind them the following:
    1. Getting even 1 nomination is something to be proud of no matter where the road leads you. ~ In some states, you could be competing against 500, 750 + candidates.
    2. Have plan B always in place.
    ~ Apply for ROTC scholarship.
    3. The road does not end this year. It ends when you hit the age limit or decide to get off at the exit.
    ~ Every year a new thread starts regarding how the QNS posters will be reapplying. Many go off to a traditional college with a ROTC scholarship. Inevitably 50%+ decide never to reapply.

    I wish every candidate the best of my hopes and wishes, but I do hope that you all educate yourself on how charging (appointments) work. Just because you see someone with amazing stats compared to yours may not matter in the end, unless they are on your MoC slate. You should not start the freak out reading Janie from Montgomery County, MD if you are from Elmore County, ID. Nor, impo, you should listen to anyone that says I got in with lower stats if you don't know where they are from.

    Do your best, and that is all. If you want to truly serve this great nation than you will serve. SA/College is 4 years and it is not 24/7/365. Military life is! And for SA grads it is 5 years where they decide your job and where you live.

    Off my soap box.
     
  4. USNA 19 DAD

    USNA 19 DAD Member

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    BINGO! My Plebe interviewed against no more than 15 or so others for our district. THAT was his competition, not the kid who scored 800/800 from somewhere else.
     
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  5. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    It takes time for candidates and their parents to understand that this is a very unique system. That it is geo-centric at first. It becomes even harder because their child may apply for an NROTC scholarship and get it by Nov.
    ~~They may see this as a positive for the appointment.

    Whereas, the reality is USNA and NROTC selection boards do not talk. NROTC cares about intended major and college selection list. 85% go to STEM.

    If we really want to talk true stats. Than this is what I feel.
    6967 were the candidate pool.
    ~ I have always understood candidate pool to also equate to meeting USNA 1st hurdle (academics/SAT/ACT) and/or a nomination in hand. I could be incorrect.

    The pool goes down to 2277 qualified from the 3Q aspect (academic, medical and nomination).

    1475 are appointed. Using the @7K pool, those that moved past the PCQ, than statistically your chances are less than you are at AND what has been commonly accepted as the actual rate...@16%
     
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  6. time2

    time2 Member

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    I think most regulars on here try to be helpful and provide a good perspective to those now applying. Getting 3Q is about much more then simply submitting the required forms in a timely manner. Everyone will NOT be 3Q and you need that plus a NOM to be in the RUNNING for an appointment. You can twirl the stats any number of ways to try and determine your odds, but these are meant to be challenging places to get accepted to and remember the endgame is military service with at least a 5 yr commitment. Your competition for an appointment are among the best/brightest of any give year's h.s. graduating class.

    (Don't confuse being 3Q with getting a NOM as those are 2 separate processes.)

    Someone looking for a 'free education' or who wants to attend a SA since it will make their resume look more appealing in the public sector are frankly applying for the wrong reasons. I think it is far better we help them see that now rather then start at the SA and realize they have made a BIG mistake.

    Even some of those who are 120% convinced this is the place for them, realize just how challenging it is once they get started.

    In the time I have participated, the vast majority of regulars always seem very supportive of those who are applying, so I don't follow your original premise. People are more than willing to provide their input to those who have taken the initiative to do some of their own research before asking the most basic of questions.
     
  7. F15DOC

    F15DOC Member

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    Great explanations guys, I am beginning to get a better feel for it.
    Anyway you slice it, after all the hurdles, these kids are amazing just for the attempt, and fortunate to be the lucky ones selected!
     
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  8. F15DOC

    F15DOC Member

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    There appears to be little doubt that the BIGGEST hurdle is to get the nom, although I am an ANG FS for 17 years, I don't have enough points for a presidential...
     
  9. USNA 19 DAD

    USNA 19 DAD Member

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    I can't speak from personal experience because it was my DS that went through this meat grinder, but I think getting his name on the TOP of the slate was the biggest hurdle. He got nominated by a Senator (who sent 50+ noms to all SAs) too, but there he was up against the whole state and I am pretty sure his name was not at the top of that list. I am almost positive his appointment came from our MOC.

    Best of luck to your DS in his quest.
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2015
  10. murfthesurf

    murfthesurf DS - USNA 2020

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    IOWS = ?
    WCS = ?
    NWL = ?
    3Q = ?
    PCQ = ?

    QNS = Qualified, Not Selected "Check"
    MOC = Member of Congress "Check"
    NOM = Nomination "Check"

    I could not find an Abbreviation Key, Thanks in advance.

    This thread is probably one of the best I have read on the site, bar none as far as actual odds calculations.

    My contribution to the Mathematics, above: With relative confidence, I believe that 16% is normally a lot better than 10%, in most cases :angel:
     
  11. ca2midwestmom

    ca2midwestmom Member

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    Look in the Community Information and Feedback forum (at the bottom of the Home page under General Discussion) for The Acronym List -- http://www.serviceacademyforums.com/index.php?threads/the-acronym-list.11568/
     
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  12. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    PCQ = Pre Candidate Questionnaire. The form they open up regarding the SA before they move on.

    But yes, look at the community information thread for acronyms. If your child is a candidate the terms WCS and 3 Q will be seared into your brain once they get a nomination. NWL comes later.
     
  13. usnabgo08

    usnabgo08 USNA 2008/BGO

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    I agree with Pima...submitting all your documents doesn't land you here. It isn't as easy as if you submit all the documents, well then you are qualified. The scholastic qualification is normally the most difficult.

    Around 5,500-7,000 completed records are reviewed by the Admissions Board. Of that, and in more recent times, there have been over 3,000 candidates deemed fully qualified (triple qualified + nomination). From there, about 1,400-1,500 receive offers. So, if one becomes fully qualified, it ends up being between 40-50% of receiving an appointment. However, if you go by the number of completed records reviewed (unknown of qualification/nomination status), it is around 20-25%.
     
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  14. murfthesurf

    murfthesurf DS - USNA 2020

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    "With relative confidence, I believe that 16% is normally a lot better than 10%, in most cases.."

    :) OK, ....with relative confidence, I *now* believe that 20-25% is normally a lot better than 16%, in most cases.

    All my babble aside, this thread/discussion is so good, thanks again everyone !
     
  15. F15DOC

    F15DOC Member

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    I am going to rejuvenate this thread, mostly because I think this is an interesting topic.
    I just read an old Washington Post article (2011) about data obtained from USNA through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. And it pretty much confirms what I initially believed to be true. If you get yourself triple qualified (which isn't really that hard) then you may have as much as a 50% chance of getting an Appointment Offer. You still need that nom, if you are blessed to be in a state where the noms are not impossibly hard, then you have a really really great shot at it.
    Here is the anti-military biased article, but there are shreds of truth to it, at least in the numbers reported:
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/blog...f-selectivity/2011/12/29/gIQA9droQP_blog.html
     
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  16. 1mom

    1mom Member

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    A very interesting article. Thank you for sharing. D/S received Presidential nom and NJROTC nom . He is waiting for some news. We are in a super competitive northern VA area.
     
  17. Skye

    Skye New Member

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    I agree with F15DOC, these kids are simply amazing. I have no idea how the academies choose the kids that go there, but they have had years of experience and know what they want and need. My DS does not have the stats of most of these kids and he needs a medical waiver, but he has heart and determination, He got everything done by October and now we are just waiting. He is positive that he will be accepted if not this year then the next or even the year after that. He has stated that he will keep trying until he ages out, he really wants to go to USNA. He does have plan B and C in place just in case though.
     
  18. F15DOC

    F15DOC Member

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    And THAT is just what the military is looking for, dogged determination to complete the mission, a definite ATTA BOY to your DS. They will look really closely at his college performance and if he does well it may be just the edge he needs to get an offer!

    EDIT, and of course, he might just get it this year!!! <fingers crossed for him>
     
  19. brovol

    brovol Member

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    Here is what I think is the problem to this analysis; it doesn't factor the fact that those who eliminate themselves from the process include people who realize they do not have the realistic chance to meet the high standards of the academy.

    With respect to regular colleges, the application process is a matter of filling out the application, having grades and SAT/ACT scores sent to the school, maybe writing an essay, and perhaps paying a fee. It can all be done in a day if one wants to kick it out quick, and then it is a matter of waiting to see if you get admitted. Indeed, with the common app, now kids can apply to ten colleges all at the same time. The application process for a service academy, on the other hand, is grueling like a marathon. It cant be done quickly, and it requires the cooperation of several other parties who the candidate has no control over. It also requires a difficult fitness test. Thus, there are many candidates who would likely "complete" the application if it were a one or two step process, but they don't because they realize at some point that they simply wont be able to meet the very stringent and unique requirements that the academies require. Frankly, most people who open a candidate file with the academies but don't follow through with all of the requirements have likely submitted as much information through their online portal before "giving up" on the application than what it takes to complete a full application at a conventional college. Those people are, almost entirely, actually applicants who did not make the cut, and who would not have received an appointment, but because they could not get passed the various academic or other hurdles eliminated themselves from the competition.

    Lets say a traditional college took all of its applicants and required an interview of each candidate before an admission decision was made. Would those candidates who failed to show up for the interview, and thus didn't get admitted be counted towards the application statistics? Of course they would. But with the academies, its part of the application, so if someone applied to an academy, but didn't show up for an interview, or didn't complete the CFA, some would argue that this shouldn't be counted as an application being completed. This is wrong, and creates opportunity for false conclusions.

    It isn't easy to get past all the barriers of an academy application. #Q is a big deal, and it shows great determination; BUT, you still have to meet the high standards, academically and otherwise, in order to be admitted. If you get 3Q, but have a 25 ACT, you likely wont make it; even if 50% of those candidates who get that far ultimately get in.
     
  20. F15DOC

    F15DOC Member

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    I don't disagree with the "Reasons" that people don't complete their application. Maybe it was started on a whim, maybe they realize there is no way they could compete for a spot, or more importantly complete an academy 4 years of hard work..... I agree!
    But that isn't the point, the point is that the inflated number of "Applicants" is not related to the true "believers" that complete their applications, get a nomination and find themselves 3Q'd.
    Just interesting fodder to discuss :)
     

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