Importance of contacting Liaison Officers?

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by USMAROTCFamily, Apr 2, 2013.

  1. USMAROTCFamily

    USMAROTCFamily Member

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    This question really applies to USMA, USAFA, in addition to USNA. How important is it to have regular contact with the local Liaison Officers? The reason I ask is that it seems like we are able to have virtually all of our questions answered either through reading these forums or through the detailed information provided on the Academies' websites. By not reaching out to the Liaison Officers, we don't want there to be an impression that there is lack of interest, commitment or determination. Can any of you Liaison officers give opinions on this?
     
  2. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

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    I LOVE having regular contact with my candidates...I call them "my kids!" I've kept close contact with many; some are long serving military officers now. They become "mine" over the process and I treat them like family!

    I think it's really a good thing to know your ALO/B&GO/MALO...helps them help you!!

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
    with kids at:
    USAFA '14, USAFA '15, USAFA '16, USNA '16, USMMA '15, USMA '03 (Early selectee for Major!!!)
     
  3. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    You do NOT need to contact your BGO early simply to show motivation, etc. BGOs are certainly willing -- and often enthusiastic about -- counseling underclassmen.

    However, many successful candidates only contact their BGOs to set up the interview and only meet them for an hour or so in the entire process. And that's perfectly fine. It won't create a negative impression -- at least not with the BGOs I know.
     
  4. John9805

    John9805 Member

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    I agree with you on the most part, but my DS has a MALO that is not helpful and at times somewhat rude. So that makes my DS not want to contact him. Now his B&GO is very helpful.
     
  5. Vista123

    Vista123 Member

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    another opinion

    Though I found this forum to be extremely helpful the answers are very general. My son's FFR (USMA) and BGO (USNA) know what the facts for you geographical area are.

    Here is a classic example. My son took the ACT/SAT a total of 8 times. Midway through his test addiction (as we like to call it) he interviewed with his FFR. My son was at a 32 composite. After reading this forum and the service academy websites we knew that a 32 is above average-maybe he could be done?. The FFR said something like: 32 is great, but this is a very competitive area. The kids who have gotten in over the years have higher-why not take them again? So my son took them again.

    Also my son's BGO was very distant over the phone. I had heard that he would be distant with phone and email correspondence. (I had heard that from previous years applicants.) Once they met in person and had a three hour interview including hilarious sea stories, my son was even MORE sold on USNA.
     
  6. Memphis9489

    Memphis9489 Parent

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    Exactly!

    I always felt the same way. The only contact we had with the BGO was the required interview. And, even with that, the decision was made to dispense with the information video they show candidates.

    A candidate who does their homework should really not have any need to be bugging the BGO for information that is readily available unless some special/unique circumstance arises.
     
  7. usnabgo08

    usnabgo08 USNA 2008/BGO

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    I'd agree with what has been said, BUT...

    To me, a candidate who reaches out and introduces themselves (even if that includes them asking when they should schedule an interview) is better than me having to call/email them; it shows maturity to me. To those that don't make the initial contact, it isn't held against them.

    I would agree that asking basic questions that can be found on the USNA Admissions homepage or a quick internet search, means the candidate isn't doing their homework.
     
  8. Memphis9489

    Memphis9489 Parent

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    I guess I have a different view of a BGO's responsibilities.

    I hear about too many BGOs who are, in my opinion, far too proactive as if they think they should be advocates for their candidates. You'd think they were receiving a commission for how many they can get appointments for.

    I don't think that's their job because it creates an uneven playing field. How proactive one's BGO is should not be a factor. Should one candidate have an advantage over another candidate because he has a more aggressive BGO? No!

    Unless specifically contacted by the candidate, I think the BGO's only interaction with the candidate should be the required interview. And, even then, the purpose of the interview should be limited in scope:

    1. Do you really want to attend the Naval Academy? i.e. Is somebody pressuring you to attend?
    2. Do you know what the Naval Academy is about? i.e. Do you know what you're getting into? It's a 100% military school. You will serve as an officer in the Navy or Marine Corps upon graduation with a service commitment.
    3. Is there anything you want the academy to know about you that is not reflected in your application or essay? i.e. "I have limited opportunities for ECAs because I have to work a job after school to help support my single mother."
    4. Discuss the status of their application. Any incomplete items?
    5. Do you have any questions?

    That's it!

    I also do not think it's the BGO's job to give the candidate unsolicited "tips" on how to improve their candidacy. His application is what it is. That's part of the selection process. The application should not be a reflection of the BGO's influence or knowledge. i.e. "You should say that you're planning to major in Mechanical Engineering because you'll get extra points added to your WPM (Whole Person Multiple). However, you're not committed to that major." That's gamesmanship!
     
  9. esu8

    esu8 Member

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    BGO

    Luckily some of these candidates have BGO's that offer helpful tips
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2013
  10. Memphis9489

    Memphis9489 Parent

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    If the candidate asks a specific question that leads to a "tip" - that's fair game.

    "I plan on majoring in Mechanical Engineering. Should I let the academy know that? Does that matter?

    "Yes, I would certainly tell them that that is your intent."​

    Giving unsolicited "tips", in my opinion, is beyond the scope of the BGO's responsibilities.

    I think part of the application process is finding out certain things for yourself - especially when this information is readily available in this age of easily accessible information. It's not the BGO's job to walk them through the process or to grease the skids. Yet, I know many do. I guess they're hoping to win a toaster oven for the most candidates appointed.

    During the BGO interview, the BGO should discuss the incomplete items remaining in the candidate's application. That's not walking them through it. That's just an administrative matter. Sometimes a candidate may mistakenly believe something is completed that is not.

    Some BGO's know more than others. Some are just Moms of former mids who never even served in the military. [I'm pretty sure I've offended somebody with that statement :) ] Some are alums who *also* have a son/daughter who is/was a midshipmen. Maybe the BGO worked at the Navy Academy in Admissions at one time. Maybe the BGO has "friends in high places". A candidate should not have an advantage because of who their BGO is or what their BGO is willing to do beyond their basic responsibilities.

    Again, this is just my opinion.
     
  11. Memphis9489

    Memphis9489 Parent

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    Yes, lucky for them - and unlucky for the candidates who do not have those type of BGOs, huh?

    I'm not so sure how much "luck" should be a factor.
     
  12. Spud

    Spud BGO

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    Actually, Memphis has a good point although it MAY reflect being from a state with a lot of student interest in USNA (I don't know---just a guess here). My state is very low in population and I find that I must be a constant proponent for all the academies in schools, with parents, and on an individual basis. I don't like the term "recruiter" but you will find me very positive about the military and USNA particularly. I am a fountain of sea stories and info about a career in the Navy and behind it all I am looking for the kid who sparks to it all as there often is no other military input at all in his life.

    So if he is interested and actually applies as a candidate, he gets a form letter from me welcoming him to the adventure and he is told to read the Academy Catalog and the book "The Naval Academy Candidate Book: How to Prepare, How to Get In, How to Survive" by S. Ross. I also give a fun reading list of books on various specialties such as Air, Subs, Ships, SEALS as a bit of motivation and info. From this point on, though, I turn into Memphis9489 as I want to see how well they can follow directions and act on them. The book answers 99% of anything that he needs to know, including how to prep for an interview. There is very little communication until the interview and then I find out just how good or bad they really are. The only thing I add to Memphis's list is that I hit the fact they are training to be combat (the key word here is "combat") leaders of sailors and marines and are they prepared for that? If there is a war on when they graduate, I make sure they realize that they will be right in the middle of it.

    And it seems to work. (Actually, I am going to add a couple of Memphis's questions.)
     
  13. Memphis9489

    Memphis9489 Parent

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    Your approach seems perfectly reasonable (and fair) to me. Especially in light of the region in which you work.

    Your reminding them about combat comes under the category of "Do they know what they're getting into?" and is something in which you should educate them - especially if you're in a region, as you say, where many of the candidates have no military exposure.
     
  14. esu8

    esu8 Member

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    Unlucky

    No unlucky for the candidates that are not mentored, born, or raised in an environment that is informed of the Service Academy process, and although they have an interest and the initiative to enter a BGO would not and did not offer tips to assist them in strengthening their profile. Again my question is why become a BGO.
     
  15. Memphis9489

    Memphis9489 Parent

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    Medical Corps selectees are commissioned as restricted line officers even if they are qualified for an unrestricted line assignment. They are the only medically qualified graduates commissioned into a restricted line community. I doubt they will see much combat and they will certainly not be leading anybody into combat.

    That is an exception, however. Since they represent less than 1% of the graduates - it's probably a fair omission. And yet, if the candidate goes through the "Fulfill Your Destiny" videos on the Academy's admission website, they will be left the misleading impression that becoming a Navy doctor is an easily attainable service option - which it is not.

    [Some graduates are commissioned into the Supply Corps (also restricted line) but it is usually due to some medically disqualifying issue. Yet, they are permitted to graduate - usually because they have a good record at the academy and the issue was discovered relatively late in their academy career.]​
     
  16. Memphis9489

    Memphis9489 Parent

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    I'm aware that there are regions of the country where the Naval Academy is not well known.

    However, once a candidate decides to compete for admission, I don't see how a kid in a rural area of Idaho has any less access to information than a kid in San Diego regarding what is necessary for admission.

    In fact, considering a group of equally qualified candidates, the candidates from the unrepresented areas already have certain advantages without lifting a finger.

    I can understand a BGO promoting the academy and generating interest - but that is different than direct, individual, unsolicited assistance in the admission process. BGOs should not be mentors.

    Don't get me wrong - I think a BGO should answer questions when asked. The onus should be on the candidate to be proactive, not the BGO.
     
  17. Spud

    Spud BGO

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    I'm on board with Memphis on this too.
     

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