Honest Opinion.....

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by Suzie, Feb 8, 2010.

  1. Suzie

    Suzie Member

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    My son is very focused on attending USNA or USCGA....We are sort of wondering though, does he even have a chance.... We are very new to the option of Military, but he seems destined he wants to pursue...

    Gradepoint: 3.2 unweighted
    ACT he definitely bombed......we are all in shock, no excuses, but like I told him....nothing you can do about it just do better next time (March)
    Math - 19 Science -21
    He should score much, much higher!!

    Chemistry-A
    Band
    Honors Classes Freshman-Junior
    -Geometry-B+
    -Trig-A
    -English-B+
    -Social Studies
    AP European History: Sophmore yr C, this is one of the reasons low GPA
    AP US History: Junior yr B
    AP English: Junior Yr B
    AP Calculus: Will take Senior
    AP Chemistry Will take Senior

    Sports
    Played Varsity Soccer for 2 years-Freshman& Sophmore year also played another 3 years in middle school.
    Club Swim - Junior Year (High School swimming is not offered at High School, there is no indoor water close by, so we communte 150 miles roundtrip to a USA Swimming Club 5-6 days a week) He loves swimming and is pretty good!! We live in a pretty rural area, not much is offered, except Summer swimming for 1.5 months a year. I'm just so thankful that they have AP classes at our high school!

    Band
    Field Commander/drum major for Marching Band of 80 students Junior Year, were rated as a Distinguished Band and won many Championships!! That was a leadership role that was outstanding!! He will be trying out again for Senior year.

    Other activities:
    Drumline
    Church
    Community Volunteer-teaches swimming to kids (no pay)

    Excels in Math & Science
    Honor Roll Junior yr to date

    Any comments appreciated.

    Thank you!!
    Suzie
     
  2. MIDNDAD

    MIDNDAD Member

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    This same question pops up all the time and the answer is nobody can give you a diffinitive answer. Your son's academics put him within a range of acceptability but there are so many other factors beyond academics.

    Best advice I can give is apply for NASS if he has not already done so. Go after application process for all it's worth. Have backup plan B & C. See how it plays out over the next year.
     
  3. Suzie

    Suzie Member

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    I know.....we should just apply and see what happens. I was talking to an ROTC leader in a different city and he was implying that my son doesn't have a chance...needs that 4.0.

    I have gone to my sons HS Guidance office and they really don't have a clue about any of the service academies....I asked specifically about the Naval Academy and they said....What is it called???....So then I said "Annapolis"?, you know the Naval Academy....they kept saying it was called something else.....I don't know maybe it is.... So thank goodness for these boards because I really have learned a lot....and it seems that this is going to be my source of info.
     
  4. Fuji

    Fuji Member

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    Suzie,

    I am sorry that you got that reaction from your school's guidance office. I work closely with school counselors - and, unfortunately, some have never had an introduction to opportunities available at uniformed, regimented colleges.

    In answer to your initial question;

    Please encourage your child go go through the nomination/application process. A student will never know what their chances are - until - they complete those processes.

    Additionally, if your child has a serious and sincere interest - I very much encourage your child to go through the admission processes for the Senior Military Colleges and the State Maritime Academies in our nation. We all offer similar opportunties as our nation's service academies - and are not as selective in terms of admissions.

    Feel free to email me if I can be of assistance to you.

    I wish you well - throughout the college search process!

    Fuji
     
  5. MomoftheMagik

    MomoftheMagik Member

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    Hey Suzie (great name btw, mine is Susie also ;-)

    Since your son is a junior, you have some time to focus on improving his scores. My son took both the SATs and the ACTs three times (first time for practice because it can be quite intimidating), and he improved each time. We did do SAT and ACT practice online, but I think the thing that helped him most was just taking increasingly challenging classes. (We home school, so I understand having different opportunities than typically offered.)

    Definitely apply for Summer Seminar. My son LOVED it!

    Keep in mind that my son hasn't been accepted yet, but he is qualified and has received nominations. His desire to attend the Naval Academy and his work toward that goal really pushed him to be the best he can be, so even if he doesn't receive an appointment, it has been a very good thing!

    Oh, the school might need to look up the academy under "United States Naval Academy". That's how it is listed with the college boards, etc.
     
  6. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    With respect to grades, USNA is more interested in class rank than GPA. You don't need a 4.0. It does help to be in the top 20% of your class. Less than that may be ok depending on courses taken, the strength of your h.s., and other factors.

    One thing to know . . . USNA considers band an ECA (extra-curricular activity) and NOT a sport. So be sure to keep up with "real" sports as well as band. Obviously, it can count as leadership if someone is involved in a leadership role.
     
  7. MJOmom

    MJOmom Member

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    so much goes into candidates acceptance into the USNA ... or any service academy ... a huge part of the battle is applying ... and completing the entire application process ... this is something the student has to really want ... and if he does, as a parent, we just have to encourage them and hope for the best! My plebe son tells me that while there are some very, very smart midshipmen in his company, others have other attributes ... good luck!
     
  8. Luigi59

    Luigi59 Banned

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    Like it or not, he MUST improve his score on a standardized test - either ACT or SAT.

    A 19 Math ACT equates to a 500 Math SAT and a score that low will not be competitive for the USNA, and it's possible that your Senators and/or Representative may not even consider him for a nomination.
     
  9. coffeecup3

    coffeecup3 Member

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    No way to "needing" a 4.0! I have a 3.2 and received an appointment to USMA already. My class rank was about 13% though. He looks fine overall, but his ACT scores need to come up to be competitive- but he is still a junior and has time. Apply to NASS too. He definitely has a chance; don't let anyone discourage you. Best of Luck!! :thumb:
     
  10. Livinlarger

    Livinlarger Member

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    ACT and SAT are the easiest thing to improve upon (its a standardized test - study, practice, study) and he has plenty of time. Things like sports, ECA's and Leadership can take years to develop. Also, unlike other colleges, it doesn't it doesn't cost anything, other than hard work, to apply. If he has any inclination that its something he may want to do, apply. You can't say "no thank you" if its never offered.
     
  11. 1964BGO

    1964BGO Member

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    Ditto USNA1985 and others... your son is in the range, but he needs to make a full commitment to his candidacy and plan on working hard through his senior year. His projected AP course list looks good - it would help if he got Physics in there someplace. He does need to keep active in sports.
    He needs to focus on bringing up his SAT/ACT scores in the coming months - these are primary screening tools as indicators of his ability in given areas and predictors of college performance, and there is no doubt that higher scores attract attention.

    Has he applied to NASS or a sports camp so he can get inside USNA? It is very important that he get to Annapolis to see what he is getting into - the same is true for any college, but especially at the SAs because of their special nature.

    Commitment can make up for a lot of things and can accomplish things that a lesser person will not even attempt. Persistence also is a virtue in this venue as in others - remember that every year more than 300 young men and women report to USNA after spending at least a year doing something other high school. I think you'd be surprised at the number of midshipmen who had to crank it up two or three times before getting the nod and the dark blue folder.

    DO YOUR ABSOLUTE BEST! Hard work makes its own good fortune. Best wishes...
     
  12. 2012mom?

    2012mom? Member

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    Suzi, USNA definitely does NOT require a 4.0 to be considered. It IS true that USNA pulls in candidates who have a range of strengths in different areas. As an example, of the 7 women in my daughter's year in her company, only 2 were the "4.0 type" in HS. 5 of the 7 played at least one varsity sport in HS. One came in from NAPS. I don't know all of the guys of her year in her company, but the ones I've met also have a wide range of strengths. One young man was offered one year at a Foundation school (academic prep year not at NAPS) before getting his appointment the next year. That young man has to work hard to maintain his grades, but his peers recognize him as one of the best leaders of the bunch. Other guys are better at academics, and still others don't excel in any one area, but they do reasonably well in all areas.

    So, if your son is really interested in USNA, follow the advice in previous posts about practicing to improve test scores, having sports participation, and so forth. Most importantly, make sure he knows that perseverance is one of those traits that will serve him well, at USNA or anywhere. If he doesn't get an offer of appointment on his first try, he might get an offer to attend NAPS or a Foundation school, or it might just take more than one time through the application process. Maybe he can keep in mind the motto for the Class of 2012: Fortune Favors the Bold!
     
  13. harmi

    harmi Member

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    WOW!! Very well said 2012 mom!! :)
     
  14. Suzie

    Suzie Member

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    Thank you everyone for your thoughts and comments. Very good advice and encouragement!! My son signed up for the NASS and is looking at the sports camp, he will definitely get there for a visit one way or another.

    Now he has another challenge......the HS he goes to just had a committee vote and decided to go to a 5 period day, this would result in less classes than the 7 period day they were on (more time per class). My question is...What classes would be the most beneficial to him or required (foreign language required?) for USNA. I'm not even sure if he can take 2 ap classes and still take 5 classes in all.

    Has to take:
    English
    Band (Field Commander)

    Was going to take:
    AP Calculus
    AP Chemistry
    Physics
    Spanish 2nd year

    Any thoughts would be much appreciated!
    Thanks,
    Suzie
     
  15. 1964BGO

    1964BGO Member

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    I would go for the AP courses as both are critical courses during Plebe Year, and good AP scores might result in validating one or both courses. Physics would be good as well if he can pick it up with the reduced number of periods per day.
     
  16. Luigi59

    Luigi59 Banned

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    1. AP Calculus
    2. Honors Calculus
    3. Calculus
    4. Pre-Calculus

    Having no exposure to calculus in high school can be a big red flag.
     
  17. NavIss58

    NavIss58 Member

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    Suzie, COMMITMENT to his application and improving his test scores will be paramount. The application process is huge and time consuming, but can be done. Just don't quit if it's what he really wants. Oh, and he'll just have to work past those GC's at school (but don't dis them, he'll need their recommendations eventually). It may be an opportunity for him to tell THEM about USNA!

    He may check out the local Community College for courses outside the shortened HS schedule, maybe even some night classes to be sure he's getting the classes he needs (and it will demonstrate commitment).

    Best of luck to him!
     
  18. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    That was our class motto -- I wonder if they recycle them.:confused:

    Pardon my ignorance, but is band really a course? I thought it was an ECA.

    Let me be brutally honest here . . . you may not like what I'm telling you, but I'm going to say it anyway. If your son is really, really interested in USNA, skip band and take the math/science courses on your list. I'm sure he loves band. I'm sure it provides leadership. But, USNA doesn't care all that much about band and band leadership is . . . [shrug] not a huge deal.

    I don't mean to insult all of you band-types out there. As someone who is not the least bit musically inclined, I have great respect for those who can read music, play an instrument, and march at the same time. However, it's not really going to help you in the USNA admissions process. In the military, music is largely performed by the enlisted ranks, who are really good at it. Thus, having officers who are musically gifted isn't that important.

    I know the above goes against my typical advice, which is to do the ECAs that interest you rather than what will help get you into an SA. But that doesn't mean you should substitute what USNA considers a "fluff" course/ECA in place of a "real" math/science course. Also, the OP already has some issues with standardized tests. One way to help offset those is doing well in hardcore math and science classes. While a "band" course won't hurt if it's your 6th or 7th course, I wouldn't want it to be one of my 5 unless I already was super-strong academically.

    The above said, if the young man is iffy about USNA and thinks he might want to attend a civilian college and be active in the band [and there is nothing wrong with this as a Plan B], then he might want to stick with the course and take his chances on doing well on the 3 math/science courses he's taking and working hard to improve his SAT/ACT scores.
     
  19. NewNavyMom

    NewNavyMom Member

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    For Suzie

    About the Guidance counselor not knowing about the SA: We had a similar experience 4 years ago when my son was a freshman and just exploring the possibility of going to USNA. Our school was very new and there were some very new counselors. Somehow I found out about the BGO and I made an appointment with her to come to the school and meet with the GC, my son and me. He was a freshman and we talked about his classes and together, the four of us, planned his classes for the remaining three years and talked about the whole process. It made a huge difference, got everybody on board. Gave the GC a great deal of info. That GC was part of the celebration that the Guidance Office planned for my son when he received his appointment.

    After the initial meeting, the GC welcomed the BGO and provided a conference room for son and BGO to meet. His BGO lives closer to the school than to us so it was an easy meeting place for them.

    Good luck and congrats to you for paving the way.
     
  20. sprog

    sprog Member

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    I hope your son obtains his goal of going to one of the SAs. As others have said, he needs to get the test scores up, and if you can, I suggest taking a review course either privately or with the school (if offered).

    Let me take a moment here to speak from experience that hopefully will be comforting. SAs accept something like 10-20 percent of their applicants, so really, the vast majority of students who apply do not get accepted and go somewhere else. That's a reality, and it doesn't mean that the 80% percent of unadmitted applicants are bad people or can't qualify for a commission in the Armed Forces. Indeed, the majority of the officer corps for each branch (maybe not the Coast Guard), at least in the junior officer category, come from sources outside of the respective service academy. As far a senior leaders, there have been four and even five star generals (Marshall) who did not graduate from a service academy.

    One of the earlier posters mentioned a SMC/Maritime College as a possible alternative. If your son is interested in the military lifestyle offered at an Academy, the Senior Military Colleges offer similar experiences with admissions standards that are not as severe. Now, it is not a shoo-in that someone will get into say VMI (which has an acceptance rate around 50%), but the chances are better. Of course, the SMCs all charge tuition, and going to one of the private schools such as Norwich, or attending VMI or The Citadel as a student from out of state can be expensive. There is, as with most colleges, financial aid available.

    The maritime colleges are a good bet if your son is interested in studying maritime subjects, and they do have regimental systems as well. Several of these schools offer tuition at an in-state (or regional) rate for those students who live in certain states in their region. For instance, a kid from Maryland could get in-state tuition at SUNY Maritime, but maybe not at Maine Maritime.

    Ultimately, my advice is for your son to do his best on the retake of the ACT, to give the SA a shot, and to not feel disheartened if he does not gain an appointment. He most definitely should give it a shot, as you never know what can happen. Even if the scores don't improve, still apply and do your best to highlight the strong areas of the application...you never know what can happen. He should take the AP classes, absolutely, and should pursue the activities which interest him. Always look for leadership opportunities, as that is valuable to all colleges (not just SAs).

    This forum has a lot of kids on here who have been successful in gaining an appointment to one of the SAs, as well as parents who are rightfully proud of their children's accomplishments. Comparisons are bound to happen, and don't let someone else's statistics dissuade your son form giving his dream a shot, as long as he realizes that there are other ways to get a great education as well as a commission. I didn't get into West Point, despite having what I thought was a strong package. I went to VMI because I wanted the military experience at a school with deep traditions. While there, I got persuaded to go the AFROTC route (away from my initial goal of going into the Army ) and I got a commission and served four years of active duty as an officer. I have volunteered at college fairs as an alumni representative for VMI before, and when I tell that story to kids who are facing the same issues as your son, it seems to provide a comfort. I always encourge people to try for the SA, if that is their goal, but to realize that there are great "plan Bs" out there that can get you to the same end result.

    Best of luck to your son, and you can feel free to pm with questions.
     

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