Family friend is retired US Navy Captain- beneficial?

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by Grizzly, Jun 14, 2013.

  1. Grizzly

    Grizzly Member

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    A very close friend of my family attended USNA and went on to become a Captain. Is there any way he could write any sort of recommendation for me or sway my application in any way? Thanks :smile:
     
  2. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    Yes, he can write one but save your time . . . and his.

    If he is going to say that you're a great person, a true leader, a tremendous asset to USNA . . . well, that's not going to help. Your teachers and BGO can say that just as well.

    The only reason to have him write a letter is if he can comment on some (relevant) aspect of your life that your teachers and BGO can't. So, if he happened to be your Scout Leader and could discuss your contributions to Scouting -- if Scouting is one of your major ECAs, that might help.

    Trust me, LOTS of candidates know current or retired military members. Many are children of such individuals. It's nice, but not persuasive.
     
  3. BlahuKahuna

    BlahuKahuna Member

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    "Everybody knows a general (admiral.)" Seriously, though, unless they know you from a leadership/athletic/non-family perspective, it won't be that helpful. Stick with people who see you and work with you in some capacity regularly.

    That said, academy grads/officers are AMAZING resources. Make sure to pick his brain any chance you get about the USNA and the Navy.
     
  4. Grizzly

    Grizzly Member

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    Thank you both. He has been very informative, telling me all about the Navy and the Academy, but he is nothing more than just a family friend (not a coach, scout leader, etc.). My parents have said many times before that he is a great asset to have to write a letter of recommendation for my app, but I told them that I didn't think that would have as much power as they think, since like you said, many people have some sort of affiliation to someone just as distinguished. Thanks again for reinforcing my beliefs, and helping to prove my parents wrong. :smile:
     
  5. esu8

    esu8 Member

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    Slow Down


    I'm sure the previous posters are more informed when it comes to the Navy. Me I am very informed when it comes to people. When it come to being reviewed by human beings when more than just the facts are taken into account, you should use all and every asset available. To say that everyone knows a General to minimize the value of a Captain is absurd. I personally know of a Westpoint Grad who's acceptance was decided by a call from a cook. I am sure there will be those who will dispute this. Its not the rank of who you know, its just who you know that sometimes makes a difference. When you become a mature adult you will realize how correct your parents have been about many things. Please use the Captain. Good luck
     
  6. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    I also know people, and the people I know happen to be in the USNA Admissions office and those are the people that matter for purposes of the OP's question. I can tell you that a letter from a personal friend -- Navy Captain or otherwise -- is unlikely to make any difference in the application. Now, if that long-time personal friend happened to be the President of the United States, a US Senator, etc., my view might change. Just being honest.

    USNA receives about 7,000 COMPLETED applications a year and each of those has 3 required recs, which means 21,000 recs to review. If every one added one or two or three more LORs, it would quickly get out of control. USNA has said over and over again that they don't need or want additional letters unless they speak to some aspect of your application that your teachers and BGO can't adequately cover -- examples are non-school ECAs that are a major part of your life or for those who work such that ECAs aren't really possible, a letter from your employer.

    I'm in no way minimizing the achievements of O-6. My father was an O-6 and darn proud of it (as was I). Many, many, many terrific officers and human beings do not attain flag rank. Moreover, having a flag officer write you a rec won't necessarily make a difference. I've even had kids of flag officers receive turndowns.

    Parents are correct about many things . . . which is something you realize more and more the older you get. But you also learn they are not right about everything. In this case, their instincts may be correct for other colleges (I can't speak to that) but they are not in alignment with what USNA has said regarding admission to that institution.

    Bottom line: If you or your parents want your family friend to write a letter . . . go ahead. It's not worth an argument with your parents. There's no harm in doing it; I'm only saying that it's very unlikely to make a difference in whether or not you receive an appointment.
     
  7. esu8

    esu8 Member

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    No Harm

     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2013
  8. Dixieland

    Dixieland Member

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    Could you elaborate on this?
     
  9. usnabgo08

    usnabgo08 USNA 2008/BGO

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    Actually, it is possible it could hurt. If it is obvious that the candidate's sole purpose of the LOR is to "use" a senior officer to tip the boat in their favor, then it might not look good and doubt the intentions of the candidate.

    I agree completely with USNA1985, if it doesn't add to something else USNA would not have known from other parts of the application, it isn't going to do anyone good. As the OP said, this CAPT is only a family friend and doesn't provide another view of the candidate. In this situation, it doesn't seem that an additional LOR will have any additional value.

    And in the situation you mentioned about the cook, that might be one of those circumstances that provided another view or data point that USMA wouldn't have had otherwise known.
     
  10. time2

    time2 Member

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    ^^^ I agree.

    Applying to USNA is partly about following directions. Remember you are also applying to join the military where FOLLOWING directions is considered VERY importand. When applying, DO send in the things they require (even if you don't understand why), do NOT send in things they specifically say to not send and be VERY selective in sending in things considered OPTIONAL.....there is a reason why they say these things are optional.

    They want letters of recommendations from specific people who you had involvement with during high school. That is why they specify who should provide them. They are looking for those individuals to provide candid and objective assessments of the applicants strengths and weaknesses based on their experience in evaulating a wide range of students over the years. If they all just say the person is 'wonderful' or 'amazing'.......that wouldn't provide much useful input in assessing candidates. (Probably the same reason that no college I know of ever asks for letters of recommendations from parents....but that is a topic for a different thread LOL.)

    When applying, there will be no lack of individuals who will provide you all sorts of dubious advice. While your relatives, neighbors or the mailman may think they are giving you great advice, I seriously doubt if any of them have any current/accurate/direct involvment in the admissions process.
     
  11. esu8

    esu8 Member

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    Story

    It is how it was reported to me by the parent. I don't know what you want me to explain that would give it some validation. I took it as the truth. You can make your decision.
     
  12. esu8

    esu8 Member

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    concede, Sorry

    Grizzly, there are individuals on this site that that are far more qualified at answering questions referring to the candidate process. I felt strongly about my opinion, until I read that a Retired NAVY CAPTAIN"S (ANNAPOLIS GRAD) letter of recommendation could be viewed negatively. Forgive me for providing advise in an area that I have no training or expertise. Good luck to you on your journey.
     
  13. LTSackett

    LTSackett Member

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    Originally Posted by esu8 View Post
    I personally know of a Westpoint Grad who's acceptance was decided by a call from a cook. I am sure there will be those who will dispute this. Its not the rank of who you know, its just who you know that sometimes makes a difference.

    The cook used to be a SEAL, saved an aircraft carrier from Tommy Lee Jones... :shake:
     
  14. SecondTime

    SecondTime Member

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    The letter, assuming it can ADD VALUE [which is dubious for many of these kinds of letters], is probably best directed towards the nominations board. The Academy does not want extra recommendation letters. As mentioned, unless it is truly EXCEPTIONAL and PERSONAL, I doubt it would be considered much by the admissions board.
     
  15. SecondTime

    SecondTime Member

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    First Time

    In fact, once I thought about it, this reminded me of the FirstTime.
    We had a family friend who ran the local office of our US Senator. So, we thought, why not ask him to "check on" the application.

    As it turned out, the other Sen. nominated our FirstTime and, accordingly, the Sen. where we thought we had an inside line did not nominate our FirstTime.
    So, the connection did not help us at all.

    FirstTime was nominated also by a Congressman.
    SecondTime was nominated by the same Congressman but not the Sen. who nominated them their first time. [I should change my name to ThirdTime]
     

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