Improving a candidates file

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by qwerty52, Nov 11, 2008.

  1. qwerty52

    qwerty52 Member

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    My son has not had any communication with his BGO outside of an interview two months ago. Aside from the interview, we were unaware of the function of the BGO. Last month he sent his BGO an email with a simple question that went unanswered. So I called the academy and got the answer from them. I was also told that the admissions board had review my son's file and found him academically qualified--this 3Qed him. It was suggested that he work to improve his application--class standing, SATs-- so that if he receives a nomination he will improve his score and likelihood of an appointment. At this point, is that all that matters or does a recent nomination by his principal for a national community service award mean anything to USNA? I got the impression from the conversation with USNA that each applicant has been scored and assigned a number of points and that this is the basis for offering appointments. At this point, it would be great if someone, like his BGO, would sit down with him, review his situation, and determine what additional information from his life might make a difference in his application. I'm starting to feel jealous of the attention which other BGOs are giving other candidates and I'm wondering what support, outside of hand holding, my son is missing. By the way, how many candidates does a BGO handle? Thanks for all of your help.
     
  2. norwesco1

    norwesco1 New Member

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    We have had a similar experience with our BGO. My son started to attemp to contact him this summer. His file was complete except for his interview by mid August. He completed the interview at the beginning of September and it went well, but have not heard anything else. He seems to be completely out of the loop. He did not know CVW's were available (we had to request one from his regional admissions officer) and when my s sent him an e-mail recently to inquire about his admission status, while he did reply, he said that all he is told is that the file is complete. This appears to be a lot less info than other BGO's seem to have. Son will be attending the CVW at Annapolis this weekend but really does not know where he stands due to lack of contact with his BGO. His ACT's, grades, Sports and extra curriculars make him a strong candidate so he was hoping to hear something by now. His first choice was USNA, however, the ALO from airforce has been much more engaging and contacts him on a regular basis. Frankly, he has been leaning that way lately. We will see how it goes this weekend!
     
  3. jamzmom

    jamzmom Founding Member

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    I wanted to add a few thoughts for consideration while awaiting direct advice from our resident BGO’s. I beg patience during this difficult & stressful time of experiencing what goes on during the application process. Just like with any volunteer position, some BGO’s may have overwhelming jobs where they might travel and be out of pocket for a while or they may have had family emergencies forcing them to step away. Some might be currently serving on active duty as well.

    I know its frustrating but you might find it helpful to ask a few of your more pressing questions here to set minds at ease? Sorry to hear about your concerns but keep the faith! There are many here involved with the Service Academies Forums who wish to help with matters such as these. Its great you all are here to help discuss & problem solve so that others may benefit from reading about your experiences. The best part of being a member here is that you are not alone.

    Hang tough applicants & parents!! Good luck to you all.
     
  4. qwerty52

    qwerty52 Member

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    The BGO is active duty. We've never met, but I was surprised and impressed that the BGO was interested and willing to participate in the admissions process given the time commitment of their job. I assumed that the BGO just did an "alumni interview" and that was that. I am curious how many candidates the BGO is trying to manage along with my son's. I'm not trying to slam the BGO, at all, but some people just don't have the time for the position.

    I'd like for my son's application to be presented in the best manner possible and I'm wondering what, beyond raising his SATs above 2080, he can do at this point. That's pretty specific, and that's kinda what I'm looking for-- someone who knows what the admissions office values, so that he isn't sending them information about some community service award, while they are wondering why he doesn't have a varsity letter for a winter sport.
     
  5. jennyp

    jennyp Parent

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    We are having same experience with BGO. He is over 500 miles away; interview was by phone. Subsequent emails and phone messages (not too many, didn't want son to be bugging hin) have been ignored. He mentioned he might be in our town in October, so we suggested son call him, leave a message that he'd like to get together, etc. Nothing.

    I did see one BGO post that he had 75 or so candidates. Which definitely would be a workload to manage!

    We have found this forum and College Confidential to be very helpful. However, I have also learned to take what is posted with the proverbial "grain of salt."

    What sort of math and english scores did your son have? You can look at the profile of recent classes on the website to see if you are competitive.

    We are coming for CVW tomorrow as well. I will be at the Admissions Forum and ask some questions about son's app. I don't expect to learn much. They probably really cannot say in all liklihood.....it is just a waiting game!
     
  6. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    Good Idea! :thumb:
     
  7. qwerty52

    qwerty52 Member

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    It was suggested that he work to improve his application--class standing, SATs-- so that if he receives a nomination he will improve his score and likelihood of an appointment. At this point, is that all that matters or does a recent nomination by his principal for a national community service award mean anything to USNA? I got the impression from the conversation with USNA that each applicant has been scored and assigned a number of points and that this is the basis for offering appointments. At this point, it would be great if someone, like his BGO, would sit down with him, review his situation, and determine what additional information from his life might make a difference in his application.

    Again, I'm looking for advice on improving a candidate's file after he's been qualified. His file has been before the board; I don't think that they are going to review it again, so what is the admissions office's process at this point? What are they going to do with any "new" information? Will a newly received local, state, or national honor mean anything or is it just fluff? We live in a very competitive area. One of the MOCs, maybe all three, will probably put him on a nimination list, but I'm trying to figure out how someone moves up the "list" of those 2,000 candidates who are 3Qed.
     
  8. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    I know for a fact that West Point tells all candidates to keep updating their files. If admissions tells you to keep updating it then do it.

    The nominations aren't even in yet - folks seem to forget that. Most appointments are made based on the ranking in your congressional district. This early the academies are really concentrating on exceptional applications - those they truly want for an academic or athletic reason.

    The nomination lists aren't due until January 31st. If a candidate doesn't have exceptional SAT's - over 700 in Math and CR - then it could help to keep taking the SAT's. Definitely send in 7th semester transcripts. Your high school probably re-ranks the class after the first semester, senior year. This transcript will be taken into account.

    When the nomination lists are in and the applications complete - all the names are ranked in order of merit. The academy is required by law to offer an appointment to the highest qualified applicant - unless the MOC names a principal nominee and ranks the other nominees.

    I can't comment on BGO's - what they know and don't know and how they can help. From what I have heard - it varies from BGO to BGO. I don't think having a warm and fuzzy BGO helps get an appointment more than one who does the interview and vanishes.
    If I were you I would just go through the admissions office for specific questions and follow their guidance.
    Good Luck! Try to relax - most of the "action" happens in Feb and March.
     
  9. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    As a BGO, let me try to address some of your comments and questions.

    It isn't all that unusual for a BGO not to follow up with a candidate after an interview. If the candidate has completed his/her packet and has no questions, there's not a lot for the BGO to do.

    That shouldn't happen but can. The email may have ended up in the "junk/spam" folder. The BGO may have meant to answer it and forgotten. If this happens to you, email again or even try calling if the matter is urgent.

    Complex question. Being Triple Q'ed is a big deal. However, each year, about 1/3 of those who are Triple Q'ed don't end up with appointments, for various reasons. Being qualified and getting an appointment are NOT the same thing, although one is needed for the other. The national service award nom is a great honor but is unlikely to make a difference to USNA at this point. What they are telling you is that his scores and class rank are not competitive enough to make an appointment a virtual certainty. Thus, I would heed their advice. I would send the service award info to your MOCs, as that may be a factor in their nomination decisions.

    You are basically correct re assignment of point vaues. Unfortunately, the BGO does not directly participate in the admissions process. Thus the BGO has no idea what point values your son was assigned for any particular thing or in total -- only whether the board found him qualified. Thus, your BGO can't sit down with your son and discuss what the Admissions Board thinks because the BGO isn't told. Having been a BGO for many years, I have a pretty good idea of what USNA is looking for in terms of scores, activities, etc. and will discuss that with the candidate during the interview but that is my opinion and not directly related to the view of the Admissions Board.

    The amount of support a BGO provides depends on a number of factors, the most significant of which (in my view) is how much help the candidate needs or requests. I tell my candidates that I'm here to answer any questions they may have, strategize with them on issues, etc. However, I'm not going to pester them by sending them emails every week asking "How's it going?" I expect them to take the initiative to contact me. That said, if I spot an issue (i.e., a candidate who has a medical rejection), I may send that person an email suggesting he/she contact Larry Mullen at DODMERB.

    Again, varies greatly. BGOs are generally assigned by high school. At my BGO training, some BGOs had 1-2 students per year; others like myself had over 20. Some BGOs cover very small geographic areas; some cover hundreds or thousands of square miles.

    It has been said many times, but it bears repeating. BGOs are volunteers. That means we aren't paid. At all. Many of us have full-time jobs. That means we do this in our spare time, trying to juggle work and family obligations. We get a week of training every five years and the option to attend a day of training each year (depending on location/availability).

    With 12,000-14,000 applications per year and a staff of less than a dozen, CGO can't do it all themselves and there aren't sufficient active duty officers to do this full-time nor funds to pay civilians to do it. So, they rely on volunteer BGOs to be their eyes, ears, and mouths. Some BGOs are more active, more involved, more interested than others, which is true about most things in life.

    At the end of the day, a great BGO can be a great asset. But many (if not most) candidates earn appointments with minimal contact with the BGO. I was one of those. So, don't despair; the assertiveness of a BGO may make candidates and their parents feel better but really has no impact on the success of a candidate's application.
     
  10. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    As a BGO, let me try to address some of your comments and questions.

    It isn't all that unusual for a BGO not to follow up with a candidate after an interview. If the candidate has completed his/her packet and has no questions, there's not a lot for the BGO to do.

    That shouldn't happen but can. The email may have ended up in the "junk/spam" folder. The BGO may have meant to answer it and forgotten. If this happens to you, email again or even try calling if the matter is urgent.

    Complex question. Being Triple Q'ed is a big deal. However, each year, about 1/3 of those who are Triple Q'ed don't end up with appointments, for various reasons. Being qualified and getting an appointment are NOT the same thing, although one is needed for the other. The national service award nom is a great honor but is unlikely to make a difference to USNA at this point. What they are telling you is that his scores and class rank are not competitive enough to make an appointment a virtual certainty. Thus, I would heed their advice. I would send the service award info to your MOCs, as that may be a factor in their nomination decisions.

    You are basically correct re assignment of point vaues. Unfortunately, the BGO does not directly participate in the admissions process. Thus the BGO has no idea what point values your son was assigned for any particular thing or in total -- only whether the board found him qualified. Thus, your BGO can't sit down with your son and discuss what the Admissions Board thinks because the BGO isn't told. Having been a BGO for many years, I have a pretty good idea of what USNA is looking for in terms of scores, activities, etc. and will discuss that with the candidate during the interview but that is my opinion and not directly related to the view of the Admissions Board.

    The amount of support a BGO provides depends on a number of factors, the most significant of which (in my view) is how much help the candidate needs or requests. I tell my candidates that I'm here to answer any questions they may have, strategize with them on issues, etc. However, I'm not going to pester them by sending them emails every week asking "How's it going?" I expect them to take the initiative to contact me. That said, if I spot an issue (i.e., a candidate who has a medical rejection), I may send that person an email suggesting he/she contact Larry Mullen at DODMERB.

    Again, varies greatly. BGOs are generally assigned by high school. At my BGO training, some BGOs had 1-2 students per year; others like myself had over 20. Some BGOs cover very small geographic areas; some cover hundreds or thousands of square miles.

    It has been said many times, but it bears repeating. BGOs are volunteers. That means we aren't paid. At all. Many of us have full-time jobs. That means we do this in our spare time, trying to juggle work and family obligations. We get a week of training every five years and the option to attend a day of training each year (depending on location/availability).

    With 12,000-14,000 applications per year and a staff of less than a dozen, CGO can't do it all themselves and there aren't sufficient active duty officers to do this full-time nor funds to pay civilians to do it. So, they rely on volunteer BGOs to be their eyes, ears, and mouths. Some BGOs are more active, more involved, more interested than others, which is true about most things in life.

    At the end of the day, a great BGO can be a great asset. But many (if not most) candidates earn appointments with minimal contact with the BGO. I was one of those. So, don't despair; the assertiveness of a BGO may make candidates and their parents feel better but really has no impact on the success of a candidate's application.
     

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