Ask a Plebe

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by Usnavy2019, Aug 25, 2016.

  1. Usnavy2019

    Usnavy2019 Member

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    Hi all,

    This forum gave me a lot of help during my two applications to Annapolis. I did SSMP (a USNR commissioning program at maritime colleges) for a semester before I came to USNA. I did not attend Summer Seminar, so I can't speak to much on that subject, but I will try my best for anything and everything thrown my way. I'll try my best to as responsive as possible. You get slammed with work from the get-go.

    Looking forward to some questions!
     
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  2. ForGod&Country

    ForGod&Country Member

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    Thanks for giving back!

    DS is attending MMI, a USNA Foundation School, as a self-prep since he didn't gain admission this past year. He's been advised to focus on the following, in order of priority, to maximize his chances for a conditional offer of appointment (he will need a medical waiver):
    *Perform side by side with other Foundation cadets and outperform them in all areas
    *Stellar GPA - i.e. 4.0 (was 3.51 in HS)
    *Improving ACT scores to 30+ (highest was 24)
    *Secure exceptional LORs
    *Create a well-written essay
    *Perform CFA exceptionally well
    *Continue service activities

    He is not currently part of any USN commissioning programs.

    From what you know of other self-preppers at Plebe summer, please comment on the advice my DS received and add to/modify it as you see fit.

    Thanks.
     
  3. Usnavy2019

    Usnavy2019 Member

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    Thanks for writing. The Academy loves seeing people reapply. It shows their motivation to attend and later serve and motivation can get a person through anything (even USNA). The advice you received was on par with what I received. He will be taking a course load that is very similar to what Plebes take over here. He should shoot for mostly A's and some B's, but a 4.0 is the goal. This is the biggest indicator of success as it shows you can hack it at the post-secondary level. ACT scores are still very important, but matter a bit more for high school applicants. Since your DS's score was a 24 (mine a 30 personally after I raised it from a 28), I would make that a high point as well. The Math and English sections are the only scores Admissions considered. ACT Math and English scores are put into an algorithm and an equivalent SAT CR and Math score is outputted and that is what goes to the Board. Letters of recommendation provide your application with some personality. Besides the teacher recommendations (and the BGO evaluation if you want to count that), you are allowed to submit supplemental recommendations. Your DS should pick a few people who he has worked closely with. I chose a couple of Scoutmasters, my old BGO (I got reassigned for my second application), and my OIC. None of those people were in huge positions like a Senator or an Admiral. They were just people I got to work with over the years and they saw me develop into the person and Midshipman I am today. I will be honest and say that the CFA is a pass/fail evolution. You don't get a better score by doing one more push up than the other guy. However, always shoot to do your best as great scores not only shows your fitness, but also your dedication to keeping a strong body.

    The essay should be approached from a different way now that your DS is out of high school. Still answer the prompt questions, but I made it a point to spin my essay in a way where I still wanted to be a Naval Officer and attend USNA by pretty much stating what I did. I participated in sports and SSMP at school, I did well in a schedule very similar to a Plebe's, I stayed physically fit and improved my CFA, I improved my CFA, and while this goes back to SSMP, I was working towards a commission in the Navy even though I didn't get in the first time. After I laid that out, I went into detail why I reapplied and it was something to the effect of getting rejected doesn't means that it is over. I made myself better to prove I belonged at USNA and I found a home in the Navy already as a Midshipman in SSMP.

    I would generalize service activities to extracurricular activities, especially intramurals/club sports. It shows that you are still keeping fit, you are part of a team, and that you are doing something besides going to class.

    One thing that you did not mention was nominations. Your DS will have to apply for another nomination. Nomination applications are a pain because of schoolwork and USNA's application. I was fortunate to have my parents doing most of the work and sending it to me to review it (they did a great job of keeping me in the process). I was across the country and I flew in for my interview. I left Friday afternoon and flew back that Sunday. It really was worth it as one of the board members said it really showed how much I wanted to go by being there in person.

    I hope this helps! Happy to answer any follow-up questions if you them.
     
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  4. blueplate99

    blueplate99 Member

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    How was the week after PPW? I know there is already a thread going about it but wanted to hear from someone who just experienced it directly. Hell-o night? What were your favorite and least favorite parts of plebe summer? Do you work out with the entire brigade or just your company? Are classes difficult, and do you have an idea what you want your major to be?
     
  5. Wannabe32

    Wannabe32 Member

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    Congrats on your admission. I am currently applying for the third time. Did you see any third time applicants in USNA 2020?
     
  6. blueplate99

    blueplate99 Member

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    How long should I be able to hold a front leaning rest for???? Sorry for all my questions haha
     
  7. Usnavy2019

    Usnavy2019 Member

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    The week after Parents' Weekend wasn't the best week. It was hard getting back to the Plebe Summer routine after three days of relaxation. Our performance dipped a bit, and we paid the price for it. It wasn't horrible though. My favorite part of Plebe Summer were the times we got to laugh and joke around with each others and the detailers (it doesn't happen often). I also really enjoyed the baseball game (got to get off the yard and be normal for a few hours) and obviously Plebe Parents' Weekend. The Damage Control Wet Trainer was fun as well. My least favorite part was probably getting PT'd for small things people did or did not do. Parades aren't my favorite thing in the world either, but I still do them. I take pride in looking good.

    You don't need to practice the front leaning rest. I couldn't tell you how much time because it just goes slowly when you are in pain/tired. Just show up in good physical shape because weakness can draw unneeded attention to you.

    We do have a few 3rd timers in the Class of 2020. There is actually one in my company. Good luck this time around!

    Happy to field any follow up questions.
     
  8. lshumaker53

    lshumaker53 New Member

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    Does earning awards in girl scouts help your chances of getting in?
     
  9. FloridaToUSMA2021

    FloridaToUSMA2021 USNA 2021 Appointee

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    What tips do you have for nomination essays? Ex. Should they tell a story? Getting them done? Etc.
     
  10. MABlue

    MABlue Member

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    To add on, the week after PPW was a LOT of boredom because we had completed the plebe summer curriculum(classes, swim, martial arts, sailing, etc) so we basically had huge chunks of 3-4 hours of gray space with the detailers. And then came move in day, which was undoubtedly the worst day of plebe summer. Hello night wasn't what I expected it to be. Apparently there were some new rules put in place this year. It was actually a lot of fun in my company, and it only lasted about 45 minutes, after which we were on free time until taps.
     
  11. truenorth

    truenorth Member

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    Why was Move In Day the worst day of PS?
     
  12. Usnavy2019

    Usnavy2019 Member

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    For nomination essays, I talked about coming through Boy Scouts, I was exposed to the military and I saw it as something I really wanted to be a part of. I also talked about how my interest in the sea and aviation (I want to be a Naval Flight Officer) lined up perfectly with the Navy. I also made sure to note some leadership experiences as well. My office knew it was my second (and thankfully last) time through the system so I made sure to talk about how much I have grown/improved since my first application. Write something more than 'I want to have a great education and serve my country." That line (or something similar) is seen very commonly. In other words, stand out. Essays, in my opinion, are just a check in the box/a screener to see if an applicant is applying for the right reasons. The interview is the moneymaker. You can recover from a bad essay with a great interview, but I am not too sure about the opposite.

    Move-In Day wasn't too fun because we had to pack everything up (except the mattress) and move it to a different wing in Bancroft. Most companies do not live in their AC Year company spaces during the summer. Certain wings are blocked off for summer training at the Academy and one wing gets remodeled every year. Some companies got lucky and only had to go a wing over and/or up/down a deck, while others had to go the other side of Mother B. Imagine 1200 people dragging around huge bags and boxes, up and down stairs, and all across Bancroft. It wasn't fun. I personally had to make 7 or 8 trips to get all my stuff to my 1st semester room. Then we had to unpack and set up everything.
     
  13. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    Current and formers will have the best insight, but envision:

    - 5 decks of rooms in 8 wings
    - mids may not use elevators unless appropriately broken
    - gear and more gear to shuttle to new room
    - iffy AC in corridors
    - hooking up computer and seeing dozens of Do This emails that are not comprehensible as yet
    - plebe pro stuff To Do list
    - the watchbill is out
    - class syllabi incoming
    - "four more years"
    And a few others cats and dogs...
     
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  14. MABlue

    MABlue Member

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    @truenorth Move in day was the worst because I had to go down 4 decks and up 4 four decks in a wing was was very very far from where we lived during the summer. Plus, so much gear gets issued over the summer, that you essentially end up with about 3x what is issued on I-day.
     
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  15. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    Sounds like things haven't changed a bit!!!!
     
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  16. AF6872

    AF6872 Member

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    Just a remember for Parents. Things haven't changed. Move in may be tough but move out can be a nightmare after Plebe Year. All that gear and uniforms. They can then decide for season what to bring back but we had a SUV with a carry on loaded to the gills at end of Plebe Year and it was a nightmare trying to fit everything in.
     
  17. Wcyeung123

    Wcyeung123 Member

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    Hello,
    USNA2019, I am currently applying again for the class of 2021. The first time I didn't get in was mostly because I didn't get a nomination from any of the sources I applied to. What should I do to appeal better to them? Mainly to my congressman.
     
  18. Usnavy2019

    Usnavy2019 Member

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    I would call your Congressman's office and see if you can figure out why you didn't get a nomination the first time around. Work on the area(s) that need improvement. Doing well in college is also critical. Nothing shows "I can succeed in college" better than succeeding in college. In your essay and your interview, allude to the things that you have done to better prepare yourself for the Academy. Point out things like succeeding in college, extra-curricular activities in college, any ROTC involvement (not necessary, but helpful... that being said, don't go join ROTC to boost your chances), improved test and CFA scores (if they have improved), etc. Also, I would reach out to your old BGO and see if they would be willing to provide any assistance with your candidacy for a nomination and an appointment. Best of luck!
     
  19. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    For MOCs, a lot depends on whether they do interviews. Most do, some don't.

    If your MOC does NOT conduct interviews, your "paper" must be outstanding. Unfortunately, for most candidates, there is very little you can do to change what the MOC sees, meaning your grades, class rank, leadership, SAT/ACT scores, etc. are what they are. You want great LORs and great essays to help stand out. Make sure every "i is dotted" and even "t crossed." Strive for perfection in all you submit.

    If your MOC(s) conduct interviews, the first thing is getting to the interview. Some MOCs interview every candidate. In super-competitive districts, MOCs may only interview "competitive" candidates. You can generally help yourself with a great interview. To be fair, if your "paper" is sub-par, a great interview won't overcome it. But a great interview can make the difference in a "close call" situation.

    MOC committees can ask whatever they want. Thus, it's hard to prepare for specific questions. While you can't anticipate every question, take time to consider the question. Also, try to project "energy" during the interview. Be able to explain why you want to be at USNA/serve in the USN/USMC, etc. If you think interviews may be a weak point for you, definitely practice with family friends, teachers, etc.

    For re-applicants, be prepared to explain how you have matured in the past year, what has changed in terms of your application, why you are reapplying, etc.
     
  20. Socnorb

    Socnorb Member

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    I am also a plebe, and I would be willing to answer questions. I'm a direct, I went to both STEM and NASS, and I feel like I represent a very average plebe here; which is good for the purposes of this thread.
     

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