Nomination Strategy

Discussion in 'Nominations' started by jebdad, Sep 22, 2014.

  1. jebdad

    jebdad Member

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    DD is applying to AF, WP, and Naval Academy. The two senators require you to only list your first choice. The congressional moc has the applicant rank them in order of preference.

    DD would be thrilled to gain acceptance to any of the three. She is undecided on a career path but knows she wants to serve. If pushed, she would probably admit that WP is a slight favorite.

    What is the best way to approach this? She was thinking about putting Navy on one senator app, AF on the other and ranking WP as her top on the congressional MOC. The senators apparently compare slates to avoid duplication.
     
  2. Maplerock

    Maplerock Proud to be an American

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    That is a great question. By putting different schools as the number one choice some will accuse you of "gaming" the system.

    You need to emphasize the academy that you want the most. Which one is that? It's the one that will get you an officer's slot in the branch you'd like to serve a LONG time in. Do you want to be a pilot? If so, USAFA or Navy would be a good path to that. If you see yourself as a surface warfare officer then Navy is a clear choice. Want to lead troops on the ground? Maybe West Point is for you. The point is, try to gear your application choices toward your career choice.

    MOC (members of Congress) sort of have you at their mercy. The Congressional rep in your area sounds like your best shot, but you never know. Good luck to you!
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2014
  3. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    My recommendation is never to game the system. Whenever I see it happen on this forum it does not work well. Figure out her preference order and put that on the Congressman's application. Put #1 choice on the Senatorial application. She can always mention she would be happy with any academy in an interview or some other way. In fact, she might very well be asked that question in an interview... or at least some question where she can work the answer her way.
     
  4. Sledge

    Sledge Member

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    Pick your first choice and list it on all three as such.

    ETA: with ROTC as a back-up, of course
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2014
  5. jebdad

    jebdad Member

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    I guess I am just naive or just don't get how it is gaming. If she only puts down the one choice then she has no choice at an appointment via her senators at the other SAs. What is the point of filling out an application for more than one SA if you are going to approach the nomination process in this fashion? Not being difficult. I value your feedback and want to understand this better.

    What would be an example of how this backfires? If an applicant is forced to limit their nomination choices to one SA, isn't that essentially writing off the other opportunities?
     
  6. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    1. You're not limiting them to one SA. You are stating your preference for an SA. For example, just because she prefers way USNA, doesn't mean the congressman will give her a nomination for USNA. Sometimes folks get nominations for academies they didn't even apply to.

    2. Just because you list just 1 with the Senator, it doesn't mean they'll only give you an appointment to that 1 SA, or even that SA at all. Again, some people get appointments to academies they did not apply to and are not interested in. Or they might have an empty slot on their slate and award it to your DD.

    3. If you have a preference for 1 (and clearly one can work that out in their own mind) then go with that. For example, if you "game" it then 1 Senator might give a nom for USNA as that's what was listed. But he might have given a nom to another academy that your DD preferred, if only she had listed it. This is what often happens when folks "game" the system and they end up upset about it.

    Hope this is helpful. Eventually your DD, perhaps with your guidance, must decide what to do. Just make sure you can live with the potential outcomes... that's all that really counts. Certainly the opinions of anonymous people on forums are valuable input, but no more than that.
     
  7. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    It is not gaming the system, rather responding to Senators gaming the system. My perspective is that Senators and MOCs should just nominated top 10 candidates and let the SA pick. Some Senators and MOCs think that if they spread out the nominations, somehow more kids will get in.

    A way the current plan to put down different SAs could backfire depends on your DD's and state competitiveness. Typically Senatorial slots are very competitive and in theory only top candidates in the state will get the appointment. But some states, certain SA might not be so competitive at the Senatorial level. So if your DD is one of the top candidates in the state or the state in not competitive, she will have a shot at getting an appointment to Navy/AF. If your state is competitive for Navy/AF, having West Point for all three nomination request will, in theory, increase her chances with West Point.
     
  8. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Member,

    I have to disagree with you regarding more getting in if they spread the wealth.

    Let's use Delaware as an example.

    They have a total of 3 MOCs. That means only 30 kids per SA if they talk, if they don't and submit duplicates, it could be as low as 10. The SAs (minus CGA) require a nomination for an appointment. Now the candidates go into the WCS process. Not every nominated cadet will be placed in the national pool. In the end by duplicating you increase the pool of qualified cadets.

    I look at my home state where they do talk and some Congressional members use principal, but because No VA has a top notch school system. (Fairfax county spends more on education budget than the lowest 7 states in the nation, and the avg best sitting SAT is over 1300),and since they do talk it is not uncommon for 8-9 kids on the slate get picked up, many coming in from the pool.

    It is there that the SAs have more freedom, and if we did your method of not spreading the wealth we could lose top notch candidates very early on in the process.

    My DS received all 3 of his MOCs noms so I have no sour grapes, just an opinion of looking at how in some states depending on their geo-centric educational programs in certain parts of the state can be helped or hurt .

    I do believe MOC do game the system,but in a different manner. It is the principal, with other candidates that have an LOA. Assume that a Senator has 3 candidates with an LOA (large states like CA, FL, NY ,VA, TX it is a possible scenario). If they give a principal to a non-LOA candidate they now have 4 that will get an appointment. Let's be honest here, LOAs are rare, so how is it that they believe the non-LOA candidate is stronger in their resume than the LOA candidate? That is gaming to me. They know the loophole and use it to their constituents advantage.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2014
  9. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    Perhaps, I think even with duplicated nominations, candidates strong enough to make it from the National Waiting List will still get the nomination. I can't see a case where a candidate that is competitive enough to get an appointment from the National Waiting List won't get a nomination. For Class of 2018 West Point, 4050 nominated and 2,219 qualified. Time to time, we do hear stories of fully qualified but no nominations, but those are rare exceptions not the norm. As for the super competitive No VA, the number that really matter is how many kids got their appointment through the National Waiting List matters for spreading the nomination. I see certain Congressional districts in MD sending several cadets to West Point every year, but when I look at the nominations source (I have to decipher a bit as it doesn't show NWL), it appears that very limited number of appointments from NWL.
     
  10. ca2midwestmom

    ca2midwestmom Member

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    Are cadets/midshipmen ever told who their nominating source is (ie where their appointment was charged)? On the flip side, are MOC told what cadets/midshipmen that accept their appointment are charged to them? Just curious....
     
  11. Sledge

    Sledge Member

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    I think I remember reading here that it shows up on their transcript.
     
  12. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Member,

    I think we just have to agree to disagree.

    It is the system and like most things in life, it has its flaws. Let's be honest every year there is the great debate of the entire nomination process. I.E. for AFROTC scholarship it is not geo-centric. It is a national board. It is very common that a ROTC candidate does not get a scholarship, but gets an appointment. A lot has to do with their intended majors, but impo a lot more has to do with where they reside.

    Also when you review this nomination numbers, you have to place into the equation that not every MOC nominates a slate. I believe if I am correct Rep. Rangel from NY has not submitted a slate in years. A few years ago a slate was released from an Indiana representative and it contained one name. Sent.Dole one year had two openings, instead of submitting twenty kids, she duplicated the same ten names. Thus,when you look at the process you do see the control that MoCs have, and that is where I agree with you regarding them gaming the system.

    I have a cousin that is a BGO that sits on an MoC board. We were talking about the process and how so many of his candidates walk into the interview with him as a BGO thinking they have it all sewn up and the congrats letter is imminent. He than has the difficult task of telling them...your resume is strong, yes, you have the sports, the academics, the ECs,but so does every other candidate . He said it is disheartening to look at these kids that in their little pond they are the big fish, to tell them that I am not sure you are a big enough fish to swim in the lake!

    Ca2,

    Yes, cadets/mids can find out their source. From my recollection, there is a building that they can go to at each SA that houses their records, including the person charged. I never understood why anyone desires to know. I remember my BFF bragging about her DH being appointed via the VP nominee. He politely said:
    Babe, please stop that....what it truly means is I didn't win my Sent or Cong.nomination...it is not something to brag about!

    She never said a word about it again!

    As for the MoCs knowing who is charged to them the answer is yes. At the Pentagon, every branch has a Liaison office. The staff will brief twice a year the MoC staff. July and Jan. They are told the regulations for the process and how many charges they have available.
    In the office at the Pentagon, at least for the AFA there is a room that has two walls floor to ceiling with color coded cards. You would think it would be all computers, but for the staff it is easier to look at the wall...I.e. It goes by state, so if Sent. Hagan from NC calls they look up see NC, and can quickly see that she has 3 cards currently and one is to graduate this year,, thus she has three openings, instead of waiting for the computer to close what they are working on, open a new file and then read through the names to calculate.
    ~ 1 wall are the names of the candidates charged, color coded to the year group under the name of every MOC
    ~ 2nd wall is the names of candidates on their current slate.

    At any given time theMoC staff can call and will be able to know every name that is either a cadet or a candidate.

    At least that is true for the AFA, I only assume that WP and USNA also do it identical from what I have seen.
    ~~ I know this because at one time I was recruited to work in that office as a GS.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2014
  13. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    Should yes by default and yes. For West Point, the admissions office notifies MOC office of the appointment and give certain time to contact the candidates before the Admissions office notifies candidates. I remember getting a letter from my Congressman about my appointment to West Point.
     
  14. ca2midwestmom

    ca2midwestmom Member

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    Ahhh, well if I ever get to see his transcript I hope I remember to look for it.
     
  15. ca2midwestmom

    ca2midwestmom Member

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    My DS received 1 nom from a Senator, but never received anything re. his appointment from that Senator. He had a "competitive alternate" nom and received his appointment in mid-January. Not sure if he was charged to that Senator since we assumed he'd be on the NWL. His only other nom might have been VP (long shot). So again, just curious....
     
  16. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Ca2,

    IMPO, the VP charge usually does not find out until much later because every class year is a jigsaw puzzle and that nomination is a piece to work out the class to be the best class. Years ago there was a poster here, her DS got an appointment to USAFA in the end of May via the VP, he already had an appt.to USNA. I asked her if there was a beautiful letter, etc. from the VP? She said no, they got the BFE from USAFA and knew he had no MoC, thus they called the RD. The RD said it was the VP nomination. He declined the appointment and she even remarked that some other kid at USAFA found out in June they got in via the VP. See previous post of my friend...same story only difference was it was 30 years later.

    I would also say that they may have looked at his records and said no matter what from historical data regarding appointments AND in that years' current candidate pool he would no matter what be appointed from at least the pool.
    ~ No MOC can be charged that uses competitive method until the entire slate has a WCS.
    ~~ He could have been charged later on to the MOC. Or by mid-Jan all 10 had their WCS and was charged the minute he accepted.

    Not every MoC sends letters or calls an appointee. Just like many candidates do not find out that they were nominated from the MoC, but did learn via their SA portal.
    ~ Our DS learned of his representative nomination by Oct. 10th via his Portal. The letter congratulating him was dated January. Only one Sen. released on their website the names of their slate. The other did not release, but held a reception for their slate.
    ~~ Point being three different MoCs and three different approaches in notifications.
     
  17. jebdad

    jebdad Member

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    OK. So now I am starting to understand this better - and, I guess I am a bit naive. I thought that the MOCs look at the candidates who have sent in applications expecting the MOC to basically take the best 10 that are asking for their consideration to "that" SA. There is no foul in applying to more than one academy so if you ask senator A to consider you for x academy and senator b to consider you for y academy, no harm. But what you are saying is that the senators will look at the pool and attempt to not duplicate a name regardless if it is on different SA slates.

    Our senators and congressman submit a slate of ten names with no rankings. I just assumed that if the ten best for AF could be the same for USNA or USMA. But, in reality, the MOCs game the system by not submitting the best ten in the spirit of spreading the wealth to more constituents.

    As I read the comments, I guess I am starting to understand that getting on the senator slate is great, but it's not the end of the line if you don't. If you are a deemed someone they want, you get in via the NWL.

    That being said, if my 18 year old DD does not know exactly that she prefers USMA to USNA Marines or flying helicopters for USNA vs. Army or AF - in other words she knows she wants to serve and she knows she will figure out a career path why not put down different SAs for the senators who will only accept one academy preference. Especially if they are going to talk and not allow her on more than one slate anyway? I mean, if she says USMA for both senators, then she is guaranteeing she is only going to be on one slate anyway. Or, is it possible that it would upset the senator if she asks one for x academy and one for y academy? I don't understand why that would upset them or turn them off a competitive candidate.

    On her congressman's app she will appropriately list them in order the best she can because he allows it.

    Also, only one senator in our state does interviews. The congressman and other senator do not, so there is no way of explaining in an interview that you want to be considered for x academy as well. I guess she could include that it a cover letter. Is that appropriate?
     
  18. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I want to clarify something for you jebdad

    Rarely, if ever does the MoC ever read an applicant's package. Even if they do not hold interviews they have a committee that submit a slate. The committee is made up of military and community/business leaders in their constituency.

    The MoC typically just signs off on their slate the committee submitted to his staff.

    Now for your DD.
    As an AF Mom of a pilot and AF wife of a retired WSO(fighter navigator aka RIO for Navy). If Helos are her dream, look at the AF and realize that this is the minority. Do they drop out of UPT? Yes! However, not as frequently as fixed wing, and when our DS winged 5 months ago from pilot training there was no HELOs!

    The same would be true if she wants fixed wing out of the Army. Chances are slim. Want a fighter than why even place USMA?

    Let's address some other reasons why she should really think very hard before she submits her slate.

    1. For the AF there is what they call a sitting height when it comes to flying.
    ~ I have two boys. 1 is 5'10 and the other is 6'4. Yet, sitting height they are only an inch apart. One is all body and the other is all legs.
    ~~ If your DD is 5'4 and all legs she may be deemed too short for ejection seats. Can still go to UPT, but will enter knowing she will go heavies. DSs classmate was told exactly that when she received her rated slot

    Food for thought!

    2. I do not know the washout rate for pilots in the Navy or Army regarding their schools. It is about 30+% for AF between Initial Flight Screening and winging from UPT. (It is @ 14 months of training).
    ~ Bust either IFS or UPT in the AF and they can send me out to any non-rated job. Can you say Intel at Minot AFB? I can! Freazin is the Reason! How about Maintenance at Alamogordo? OMG no Alamogordo!

    Food for thought!
    ~ if she can't fly is she willing to be living on a ship in a different capacity over living in Minot ND as an Intel officer?

    They will own her for at least five years.

    3. Have you researched deeper regarding medical issues that may impede her?
    ~ Vision comes to mind. She may have what you believe is perfect eye sight. I have 2 of 3 kids that don't. They get yearly eye exams, including color deficiency. The 3rd has never gone to an eye doctor because according to his annual exam he has 20/20. Honestly, I don't know if he has color deficiency issues because I have never had to take him to an eye doc.

    Trust me, this site is littered with OMG my kid failed the color vision test.
    ~ Navy is not as liberal as the AF or Army on this issue

    Placing all of this into your equation wouldn't you rethink your DD ranking the SAs if she answered NO to any question?
     
  19. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    Jebad,

    You are making the nomination application more complicated than it should be. I am pretty sure Senators and Congressman don't really care about your DD's preference for nomination as long as her story is consistent. Her desire is to serve at any service, she should ask for all the nominations she can. Where your Senators and Congressman might question your DD nomination preference is if there is inconsistency. For example, I am assuming she will write essays for the nomination or during interview talk about why SA. If your DD's answer is her desire is to serve at any service and the current preference is West Point, but on her application she asks for nomination to Navy only, there is a disconnect.

    I served on my Congressman's nomination panel and time to time I catch applicants being "young." I am also FFR so I know who has open application with West Point. Once a while I find candidates asking for West Point nomination but don't have an open application. I don't push hard and don't hold against them but wonder why is this kid asking for West Point nomination but has not opened an application.
     
  20. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    This is a tricky question and one that faces many candidates. Here's my view based on many years of seeing candidates go thru this issue . . .

    If your DD would be TRULY HAPPY at more than one SA, then it makes sense to "split" her preferences on MOC applications. IOW, if she gets a nom to (for example) AF, she will jump up and down and not say, "OK, but I'm really hoping for WP."

    If she has a preference, she should put that first (or only) on all applications. The reason is that, several times over the years -- including last year -- I've had a candidate come to me with the following scenario:

    "I put WP first on my Senator applications and Navy first on my Rep application and I got 2 noms to WP and none to Navy. What do I do?"

    And I say, "Go to WP." Seriously. Remember, MOCs are about making constituents happy. If you put X SA first on your application, the MOC's committee will (obviously) assume that it was your first choice. So do I. When they give the nom to your "first choice" SA to you, they assume you're thrilled. When you then "pout" that you didn't get a nom to some other SA, everyone raises their eyebrows.

    My personal opinion is that some candidates try to game the system and end up with noms to more than one SA -- either b/c they want to have more time to make their choice or b/c they want to be able to tell everyone "they"could choose among more than one SA. Not saying everyone has these reasons but they are common.

    In the end, you have to choose eventually. Choose now. Give yourself the best chance to get into the SA of your dreams. If you TRULY have more than one SA in your dreams, then you're in a great position.

    Three other notes. The above applies only to candidates who are in competitive states/districts -- some candidates can easily get noms to multiple SAs b/c there aren't a lot of people where they live who want to attend a SA. Second, you can always get this question in person from an MOC committee verbally during an interview -- i.e., "I see you put WP first (or only) but would you accept a nom to Navy?" Be prepared for that. Third, don't forget about USCGA, which doesn't require noms at all!
     

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