I've Got Very Few Extracurricular

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by Joseph, Jan 15, 2009.

  1. Joseph

    Joseph New Member

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    Here's the deal: I'm currently a junior. I haven't played any sports since 7th grade. (Does Madden count?). I have never been in Boy Scouts/Eagle Scouts. I was in several clubs in my sophomore year (non-leadership positions). Since beginning my new school, I have not been a member of any clubs.

    I have, however, taken 9 years of piano lessons and a couple years of guitar lessons. I am going to begin doing some volunteer work at my local Veterans Administration Hospital. I also hope to get a part-time job soon.

    I'm sure you read threads identical to this often, but could you please give me some advice as to what I should do to improve my chances? What sorts of volunteer opportunities are viewed favorably? ...Or that would be considered consisting of leadership? - (Big Brother, perhaps?)
     
  2. Luigi59

    Luigi59 Banned

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    The academies demand a high level of physical fitness and demonstrated leadership/teamwork, and most often this is shown on your resume by participation in athletics.

    Without any sports participation in high school (or outside of the school system) your chances are severely compromised.

    Impossible? No, not at all, but the percentage at USNA who were not varsity athletes is very small, around 9%.

    My advice would be to join and actively participate in a team sport.
     
  3. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I would start practicing the CFA now, because those scores will matter when you have no athletic background. Try getting your lifeguard license and a job as a lifeguard to show some athletic ability, the job also shows responsibility and committment.

    Try out for some spring sports at your hs to increase your athletic background.

    One thing they are looking for is the ability to manage your time. It is the whole person. The person who can handle a job, be on a time and get excellent grades are proving that they can juggle, compared to the person who has a perfect 4.0 and nothing else.
     
  4. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    I echo the above comments. I guess my question is why you haven't been involved in sports or clubs (you do NOT, BTW, need to answer this question publicly on this forum).

    If you have had some personal issues which have prevented you from being active, that's one thing. Or if you need to work to support your family, that's ok. However, if you really prefer to spend your free time "hanging around," sleeping, playing video games, watching TV, etc., you have some soul searching to do. Just being honest here.

    Most successful SA candidates are those who are very strong academically but also have an active life outside of academics. That typically includes organized sports and heavy involvement in one or more clubs, activities, etc. Music is a good thing for many reasons, but in all honesty, it's not going to be a huge help in admission to a SA.

    You have less than a year to pull things together. Here are some suggestions which I realize may or may not be possible/practical for you.

    1. Get involved in an organized team sport this spring, preferably one that involves running (lacrosse, soccer, field hockey, basketball, etc.). Consider participating in a local sports camp for that sport this summer. Most colleges run them; some cost a lot but I'm sure there are some that are cheap or free.

    2. Think about what interests you outside of academics. Are you interested in animals, senior citizens, kids, the environment, politics, etc.? Then, find an organization in or outside of school that caters to those interests. Then, figure out what you can do this spring, this summer, and this fall to make a difference by creating a program, expanding one, leading one, etc.

    If the two suggestions above don't at least interest you -- at best, excite you -- USNA may not be right for you. Again, just being honest.
     
  5. USNA

    USNA Member

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    NHS, Student Senate, a debate team for demonstrating leadership. Piano is great, but you can't march with a piano. Perhaps you could join the marching band and play the Marimba. My son is a pianist, and was recruited to play marimba and marching bells, rather than trumpet, for marching band. If you play piano for church, that counts for something as relates to volunteerism.

    You could sign up for track, and make it your mission to excel at it. Don't drive to school, if you can help it. Walk, or run, depending upon how heavy your backpack is. I want to be encouraging, yet honest, so you realize what you are up against.

    The truth is that if you are just beginning to engage in having a well-rounded life at the end of your junior year, it may appear that you are doing it just to look good on paper for a selection board. Have you been participating in classes at a health club, or the Y?

    It's great to see that you still have academy aspirations, despite not being involved in sports. That shows that somehow you managed to stay away from the "wrong crowd" without being plugged into meaningful machismo team sports. Guess what? My son doesn't have a varsity letter. Yet, I have no doubt that this will not hurt him because of his other involvements/accomplishments.

    If your lack of EC is justifiable (job to help the household income, coming from a single-parent family - and you have to manage household responsibilities - with younger sibs, or caring for ill parents/grandparents) the academies will take that into account. If your free-time has consisted of "hanging out" with your buds, goofin' off, strolling malls for chicks, or using what I call "electronic drugs" (video games), it's unlikely academy life would suit you well.

    The academies expect well-honed time management skills. If you don't have them when you get there, I'm sure they will be happy to "help" you in your development. ;-P You will be spinning many plates at any academy. Academics, athletics, and military leadership, will be most of your day. Maintaining a spotless - shipshape room, reviewing the newspaper so you can discuss two world events during breakfast, memorizing your menus (for all three meals) for the day, and all other required memory work (military facts referred to as "required knowledge") will take up snippets of your free-time, if you can call that "free-time". You'll have a block of time each night for study time. After rising in the morning, you have your physical fitness, before morning meal formation.

    Everything the academies do is for a reason. It doesn't have to make sense to us, for it to be a good reason. That includes the academy process. I know this response sounds harsh. Reality is that you will be competing with young men and women who have been building their resume for years. Hup to. You still have a chance if you get started tomorrow. If you do not live in a competitive district, even better. I hope you are up to the challenge.
     
  6. J Collins

    J Collins Founding Member

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    do lots of Community service........
     
  7. USNAChrisKim

    USNAChrisKim Member

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    It's the whole package

    well i suggest you better start now, and do as much as you possibly can.

    And the thing about USNA is, you go if you want to serve. I think, that if you're forced to do things for the community just to 'get' into the USNA, it's not gonna work out. Serving is something you must truly yearn for; and it's still not insurance that you'll get in. It should have come naturally, but it's never too late to start.

    If you think that Madden is a sport, you should start exercising about NOW haha. The USNA is looknig for an all around character.

    I got a 1940 on SAT, Captain of Indoor and Outdoor Track team, captain for other sports leagues outside of school, over 400 community service hours, leader of GMCYO (orchestra), concert master, state solo festival perfect score, blablablbalbla musical stuff. I've played violin for 9 years, and have been through many leadership positions. I've competed and won various awards from Science fairs, and am still competing in JSHS (juinor science and humanities symposium from Georgetown and Md. I'm gonna make states for track this year, blabla. and so the list goes on.

    Pretty impressive right?

    I didn't get in.

    becase my grades from 9-11 was cumalitive 2.57, with around 7 AP courses.
    And then to make it worse, Ijumped from 2.57 to 3.4 with the same hard classes my senior first quarter.

    I thought they would like the improvement, but it just showed that I was being lazy. And laziness effected my entire package, rendering me from entering the USNA this year.

    You see? Each and every USNA candidate must have a willing desire to truly serve, regardless of how, must have leadership, which means all of it's qualities, integrity, courage, intelligence, blablbala.

    It's the whole package :)
     
  8. J Collins

    J Collins Founding Member

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    No one forces anyone to do something for their community... its about giving back, its about service to help others.. scouting, church, school clubs... they all do community service in one way or another... (by the way several times at my daughter's MOC interview they mentioned how impressed they were with her community service (and mantaining her grades, year round sports and clubs, and scouts)... even the MOCs want to see a well rounded giving individual).

    Chris I've read your posts, and I'm sorry you did get accepted, but for some applicants this is something they have wanted for years, and have been working towards for years.. not something they just decided 3 months ago.......

    why is it you want to go into the military? that is service. And in a way very similar to community service, but to our country.. I have been a military depn child or a military wife all my life.. Our military men/women are some of the most caring giving people I have ever met.. in the US overseas and deployed they are always giving back.... yeah I guess it is natural as you say, but you will never hear them complain about it... and yes it looks good written on paper, but the reasons they do it is so much deeper then that.
     
  9. USNAChrisKim

    USNAChrisKim Member

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    ah.. I don't think you grasped what exactly I was saying in my reply.

    I mean, right now, from what I'm reading, you are.. contradicting a synonymous agreement... which isn't possible haha. I never said service is required or forced, if you read it properly, it was (I was) stating that people do service in whatever way, because they want to, not just because it's a required part of a package to get into the USNA. (I really feel that, because my parents were true immigrants from Korea). From what I was reading in the kid's thread, was that he never did extracurricular, and he was going to do it just beacuse he needed to for the USNA.


    I will also stress on your one statement, ""Chris I've read your posts, and I'm sorry you did get accepted, but for some applicants this is something they have wanted for years, and have been working towards for years.. not something they just decided 3 months ago......."""

    In the case which we are both adressing, I didn't know about service academies until 3 months ago, yet I had over 400 hrs from overseas relief efforts. The "kid" who wanted this years ago, has barely any extracurricular. Did he truly work towards it? Again, I kind of don't understand your origin of disposition. And when you say, everyone wants to serve in their own way.. yes, maybe he only wants to serve by becoming an officer... but if truly desired to serve, wouldn't he have made an effort beforehand by doing some ssl, to increase his chances?

    I feel slightly inclined to feel insulted, because the nature of your statement appears to be quite scathing. And for no apparent reason at all..

    I'm really confused.. I've read your post about 5 times now,,... and I don't see why you're going against what i"m saying.. when it's in total agreement..........

    I really do not know what to say.... because it's irrelevant from the original topic in the first place.. and. i don't undersatnd what you're argument against my statement is.. I am honestly, completely baffled. haha please explain..
     
  10. USNA

    USNA Member

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    JC,

    The prospective candidate was inquiring about how to beef up his volunteerism so that he stands a chance of getting into an academy. Our culture has become so self-centered, that few know the great joy that results in volunteer service. Most civilians, don't understand or appreciate the selfless sacrifices of our military personnel. However, I will encourage anybody to start now what was left undone in the past, because it will make them and the world better. How few EVER learn such life lessons.

    Concerning volunteerism: Don't do it to snag an appointment. Don't do it to get into a good college. Don't do it for the accolades. Do it for others. Do it because when you do, you'll be really glad you did. Do it, because it's right, and it's just what we do...what's right. :thumb:
     
  11. USNA

    USNA Member

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    Chris,

    Don't give up. What about NAPS? Call them. Ask if they will consider you as an alternate. They might consider your perseverence noteworthy, and give you a late appointment. Heck, this isn't even late! Appointments for nominated candidates start rolling out in March. Settle yourself. Hope springs eternal. :)
     
  12. USNAChrisKim

    USNAChrisKim Member

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    well said!
     
  13. USNAChrisKim

    USNAChrisKim Member

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    Oh, and I thought that NAPs was directly associated with the USNA board. And they said NAPS wasn't for me. I think my SAT score was too high, and my GPA improvement only showed that I was lazy the past few years.
     
  14. hyb128

    hyb128 Member

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    NAPS isn't only for people with slightly lacking academics. You can get great scores and still get recommended for NAPS. I read somewhere in this forum someone was going because they were healing their broken leg. I'm going there to get my naturalization process finished. If they want you but there seems to be a problem, they will usually recommend you for NAPS.
     

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