BGO interview

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by Memphis9489, Sep 5, 2011.

  1. Memphis9489

    Memphis9489 Parent

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    I was just reading through the BGO sticky (which is very good, BTW) because I had not read it in a long time.

    This one note caught my attention:

    What does my BGO know about me? New

    A lot less than you might think. Due to privacy concerns, your BGO actually has very little information about you. In particular, we do NOT have access to your teacher recommendations, your activities record, your transcript, your class rank, your CFA scores (or even whether you passed or failed).

    I think that it is a good thing that the BGO knows so little about the candidate. It's probably by design. That way they will evaluate the candidate strictly based on their impressions gained from the interview and will not enter the interview with any predisposition (either pro or con) because of something they may have learned from the candidate's record.
     
  2. howacupcake

    howacupcake Member

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    Can you attach the link to your BGO thread? I'd like to read it:)
     
  3. crair70

    crair70 Member

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    Completely agree with Memphis- although my son interviewed a few weeks ago and at the end of his interview he offered a resume to his BGO. His BGO was impressed that he took the time to have a resume ready for him and also commented by email a few days later that although he had already planned to write a favorable evaluation of him, the resume really helped him learn even more about him that was not covered in the interview. He was very glad he had the resume from him as it added only further to his evaluation. Just something to consider.
     
  4. Memphis9489

    Memphis9489 Parent

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  5. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    It IS very helpful to your BGO if you bring a resume/activity sheet. As noted, we don't have access to this info and such a sheet can serve as a reminder of all the stuff you do.

    It is NOT required and not bringing one will NOT negatively impact your interview. However, it will only benefit you to bring one.
     
  6. usnabgo08

    usnabgo08 USNA 2008/BGO

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    I would agree and disagree that it is good/bad to know information beforehand. I agree with USNA1985 that not providing this information is no way harmful.

    For example, if I knew Joe Smith had B's and C's in HS math but scored superbly on the SAT/ACT math, I might ask why that is the case (it could be because the candidate doesn't do his/her HW or it could be because of a hardship), any case, I know this is a discussion point for the interview. There are infinite examples. I think tailoring the interview in some ways will allow the "missing gaps" to be discovered (good or bad) that the Admissions Board would not have known about. We don't make the ultimate decisions on appointment, but at the same time, if I could have a look at the facts/data (not other evaluations or opinions [teachers/coaches/etc]), I am sure some questions that I might have might be the same ones that the Admissions Board has.

    I also agree that it isn't ever acceptable for BGOs to have preconceived notions about a candidate. They deserve the respect and opportunity of having their fair story told to the Admissions Board/CGO.
     
  7. Memphis9489

    Memphis9489 Parent

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    In my opinion, the BGO should assume that the candidate is academically qualified or else the interview probably wouldn't even be scheduled because the candidate wouldn't even have a candidate number.

    Shouldn't the BGO look for the intangibles that don't come out very clearly when filling in the blanks on an online form - and not try to figure out why the candidate got a "C" in AP Chemistry?

    To me, the #1 job of the BGO is to determine if the candidate understands the mission of the Naval Academy and that he/she sees themselves fitting into that path.
     
  8. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    Based on experience, I have to disagree. First, we are asked to interview some candidates who are, at best, marginally qualified academically. That's ok. However, most of those candidates could do something to improve and we have to work our way through those issues. No problem but, for candidates, don't assume that if you have a BGO interview that you're set academically. Mostly true but definitely not always.

    Second, it may well help the candidate if we can determine why they got a "C." In the recent past, I was told by CGO that one of my outstanding candidates didn't receive an appointment (despite 3 noms in a highly competitive geographic area, great all-around quals, and being a recruited athlete) b/c the candidate had received a C in AP Physics. When I later talked with the school's guidance counselor, I discovered that the teacher gave almost everyone a C. I wish I'd known about that situation up front. The good news is that the candidate went on to college, did extremely well, and was later offered and accepted an appointment.

    The bottom line . . . help your BGO to help you. If you have a "weak" area, bring it up with your BGO. Do NOT assume he/she already knows about it or that it will always count against you. We can't change facts. What we can do is provide context to CGO that they might not o/w have.
     
  9. usnabgo08

    usnabgo08 USNA 2008/BGO

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    Yes, but that could be an intangible...might explain a hardship or some other reason, not apparently known. I believe there is some use of having the data that can help shape an interview to look for those unrevealed facts. Like I said, not having the data is not a show-stopper, but it definitely would help me understand the background of the candidate and take less time figuring out the entire candidate's background. It isn't our job to decide for Admissions and I'm definitely not doing that -- but trying to pry at the intangibles from what information (again, NOT opinions) is known.

    I think that it is a mutual job -- first being your description above and second vice versa, in helping Admissions make a determination (through another data point) that a candidate can successfully make it through USNA and onto the Fleet/FMF.
     
  10. NorthernCalMother

    NorthernCalMother Member

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    I love to tell this story about my former Mid's sainted BGO. It speaks to how wonderful BGOs can be.

    Son's SATs were below USNA averages, though his grades, ec's, sports, leadership were great. He applied to NASS and was turned down INSTANTLY. Then he got a letter from USNA admissions saying, "Normally we open a USNA applicant file for all NASS applicants. We're not doing that for you."

    He was crushed.

    Enter his sainted BGO: He happened to call to introduce himself at about that time, and did not know son had been denied a candidate number. The poor man got me instead of my son (who was @ sports practice), and boy, I gave him an earful. I'm embarrassed to remember saying something like, "This is USNA's loss -- this kid is outstanding -- look @ his grades! -- but doesn't do well on standardized tests." Long pause, which gave me plenty of time to think, "When my son hears about this, he is going to be furious."

    But the sainted BGO said, "OK, I know your school, and know your grades aren't inflated -- let me see if I can get him a candidate number." He did. For the interview, son handed BGO a resume, then came into the kitchen to help his insane mother pour iced tea for the BGO (giving BGO time to scan the resume before mother fled the house out of mortification for being a shrew). I'm told it was a great session.

    Son got SAT tutoring, upped SATs but still not to 1800. He applied anyway, blah blah blah, heard nothing. A classmate received an appointment. Son figured he didn't make the cut.

    So he got on a plane, flew 3,000 miles and just appeared at the Academy. Somehow got to see his admissions officer. Frankly, didn't get any encouragement. At all.

    Came home, 48 hours later phone rang (on a Sunday), and his BGO said, "How'd you like to go to NAPS?"

    Son graduated from USNA in May 2011 @ top 15% of his class. He's now in graduate school @ Johns Hopkins Univ. via VGEP (a competitive program offered to around 20 grad's/yr) and will begin USMC Basic School in March. In the interim, he waived a couple plebe classes and held multiple leadership positions @ USNA.

    My now-2nd Lt worked like a dog to achieve what he did @ USNA, but none of it would have been possible w/out an extraordinary BGO who went to bat for him. We think of this gentlemen often, have thanked him repeatedly, and marvel @ the impact one caring adviser can have on a kid's future.

    Provide a resume. Give your BGO a reason to pull for you. (But probably best not to keep your mother out of the equation.)
     
  11. Memphis9489

    Memphis9489 Parent

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  12. usnabgo08

    usnabgo08 USNA 2008/BGO

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    Memphis, I think we could all agree the burden is on the candidate -- the whole application is -- no loss to the BGO! However, to me (and this is personally), I want to ensure that each candidate has a fair and accurate representation when their file is presented. Some candidates won't necessarily realize that an "excuse" (think: "no excuse sir") could sway things. I think '85 was trying to make a point that the most accurate picture wasn't brought forth and that could have tipped the pendulum.

    I believe if every BGO sat back, kicked their feet up and just waited for things to happen, then some people who had appointments would not be at USNA (e.g. a previous post) and some people (in rare circumstances) who would have got appointments, do not (in the best interest of all parties). I think the BGOs willing to go the extra mile (and don't micro-manage) ends up benefiting USNA/Navy/USMC.

    Of course, but who would know that the reason for decent college test scores, but a somewhat weaker curriculum was due to the 4 hours of work/labor done to support a family? or thus the lack of sports? Yet, sometimes this factors into the decision making.

    Bottom line, if I haven't helped paint an accurate picture, then I at least failed in part.
     
  13. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    My goal as a BGO is to help all candidates put together the best package possible for USNA and for the MOCs. I realize that, by the time I interview most candidates, there may not be a lot that can be done to improve things. But, sometimes, there is.

    One of the things BGOs are asked to do is counsel candidates. For example, one thing USNA and the MOCs look at is SAT/ACT score. Obviously, it is but one item out of many, but it's there. Based on experience, I have a pretty good idea what it will take for most applicants from my area to be competitive. If the candidate's scores seem low, I will suggest he/she may want to retake and explain why I feel that way. It is only that -- a suggestion. However, I believe it has helped some candidates who've retaken -- and improved -- their scores in the early fall.

    Likewise, if I see other perceived "weaknesses," -- e.g., lack of organized sports -- I'll probe to see if there is something there that can be used in explanation. I seem to recall a few years ago that a candidate who didn't play sports in h.s. was an avid triathlete. I made sure to mention it in my write-up.

    And, BTW, the stated reason for not having this info is privacy laws. It can be annoying b/c candidates think we have it and so, when we ask questions that should be obvious had we read the documents they submitted, the candidates sometimes look at me strangely and I then explain why I'm asking. That's why it's helpful if people bring a "resume" in that I can quickly peruse it and follow up on items of interest.

    The interview is a two-way street. That said, candidates should not walk in and bare their souls (e.g., here are all of the "bad" things about me). However, if you have a "weakness" that troubles you, consider asking the BGO about it. For example, "Will it hurt that I don't play h.s. sports?" A good BGO (and not all are good), should then ask how you are involved in athletics and then you can discuss being a triathlete or whatever you do.

    Most BGOs are trying to "help" you as a candidate by painting a full picture that may not be clear from the documents you submit to USNA and your teacher recs.
     
  14. navybuckeye

    navybuckeye New Member

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    how do i access the blue and gold sticky that is referred to several times?

    Thank you to anyone who can help!
     
  15. sappel32

    sappel32 Member

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    interview not updated

    DS had interview in September. USNA candidate site still says interview pending. When DS emailed BGO to see if there was an oversite, he rec'd a curt reply that he was "aware that that the interview was not submitted yet."

    Should he be concerned?
     
  16. Memphis9489

    Memphis9489 Parent

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    I wouldn't be too concerned but I think you did the right thing by inquiring.

    Quite frankly, it sounds like your BGO is a jerk.

    Conducting an interview in September and still not entering it by November is plain incompetence, in my opinion.

    It could possibly have a negative impact on a candidate's chances as it eliminates him from consideration in the rolling admissions process. When the candidate is finally being considered the pool of competition will have grown.

    It also makes getting an LOA very unlikely until the BGO interview is completed - if an LOA was ever a possibility in the first place.
     
  17. Mongo

    Mongo Banned

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    Not really. CGO will not hold up a record going before the Board due to an incompleted BGO interview or writeup.
     
  18. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    It's at the top of the USNA page (above the regular threads). Just click on it.
     
  19. USNA'02

    USNA'02 Member

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    I know this might be a little late in the game, but I have to agree that having access to the full packet would be very helpful. obviously not the personal information, but transcripts etc.

    As an Officer whose interviewed not just USNA candidates, but Sailors seeking a commissioning thru STA-21 or other accession source I know the value of having a full packet available to you. It helps you tailor your questions for the interview. Yes, we have a general guide to follow but in my experience having an understanding about who the candidate actually is can give me a better grasp as to where I want to drive the interview. in addition it might help pull out some gold nuggets that the candidate wouldn't bring up b/c in my experience most of them aren't really ones to brag about themselves. seeing their personal statements and letters of recommendation are also helpful as a teacher might point out something about that candidate that would provide some good questions to help give the write-up we do that special thing that stands out from all the rest.

    the more information a candidate can give me ahead of time or even at the interview is very helpful (i.e. in the form of a resume). not to mention most of my candidates think we (BGOs) HAVE this data. I was recently surprised at an interview w/ a candidate when i started the interview and was asking his parents if they had any questions about the process and USNA and the mother stated "oh no, we are very familiar as his father is an USNA grad and his brother is currently there". yeah, how dumb did I feel. they all stated that was in his application, you didn't know that? I embarrassingly said, "no, we don't get that information" and proceeded to show them the one piece of information we do get. Not only was his father a grad, but a retired O-6. yeah, i felt a little humiliated.
     

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