Principal Nominations on their way out???

Discussion in 'Nominations' started by Maplerock, Apr 15, 2014.

  1. Maplerock

    Maplerock Proud to be an American

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    Are principal nominations fair? We have seen the angst recently over some principal nominees that received TWE's or wait listed. The academies prefer competitive slates from senators and congressmen and apparently can be put in a bind when politicians designate a sole nominee.

    Let's look at it through our most populous state. California has 38 million people and like all states, two senators. California has about 500,000 high school graduates every year (Cal. Dept. of Educ publication). Of course they all do not apply to an academy, but of the thousand or more that do, could any one person be readily identified as clearly the most qualified and deserving?

    Even in a smaller state it seems a bit presumptuous to name one candidate "principal", thereby reducing greatly the chance of all others on the slate to be appointed.

    On this board we have seen some of the statistics of principally nominated candidates that were equal to, or even inferior to some that did not receive appointments.

    A particularly charming or skilled confabulator can win over an interviewing panel, but that does not necessarily indicate success at an academy.

    The academy has been identifying the types of kids that will be successful in their institutions for many years. Perhaps it is best left to them and drop even the possibility of being a principal nominee.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

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    I would really like to see some information (factual, verifiable) about a principal nominee that was "waitlisted" or "given a TWE."

    The ONLY way a principal nominee can NOT be offered the appointment (which is required by 10 U.S.C. ie: federal law) is:

    a. Principal is found to be medically, physically, or academically ineligible

    That's it.

    I honestly can't conceive of ANY situation where a principal could be wait-listed given the law. Given a TWE? Yes, if one of the "3Q's" is not met.

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
  3. ND_Candidate

    ND_Candidate Member

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    There is a 7 page thread in the Naval Academy forum with 4 people who have principal noms who are wait listed.

    http://www.serviceacademyforums.com/showthread.php?t=37662
     
  4. GoBlue1984

    GoBlue1984 Member

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    Flieger,

    If you read the thread, some of those principal nominees who are wait-listed have had other candidates from their district receive appointments from the same MOC nominating source. And apparently some have also been told by someone "associated" with the academy (BGO, admissions) that the academy is "not required" under law to appoint the principal nominee.

    With you, I do not understand this.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2014
  5. Sprintmom

    Sprintmom MOA'18

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    According to the waitlist letter, those wait listed have been found to be "fully qualified for admission". The 4 nominees listed in the thread all have principal nominations. All 4 rechecked their status with their MOC and were verified as that. Therefore they are triple Q'd with a principal nomination.
     
  6. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

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    I would really love to know how that works then because taking this from the Congressional Research Service (supplied by my MOC)

    Nominees may be submitted in three categories: without ranking, with a principal candidate and nine ranked alternates, or with a principal candidate and nine unranked alternates. When the Member specifies a principal candidate, that individual will be appointed to a DOD academy as long as he or she meets all other admission criteria. If the principal candidate is disqualified, the service academies will appoint the first fully qualified, ranked alternate, if specified by the Member. In circumstances where Members do not specify a principal candidate or ranked alternates, one individual from among the Member’s nominees who is found to be fully qualified will be appointed by the academies to serve as a cadet.

    All this per: Appointment, number, and territorial distribution information are codified at 10 U.S.C. 9342, USAFA; 10 U.S.C. 6954, USNA; and 10 U.S.C. 4342, USMA

    I will make some calls to USAFA/RR tomorrow...

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
  7. 808DAD

    808DAD Member

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    I can't see how principle nominations are on the way out. From what I have seen on this website only one service academy seems not to follow the general rule regarding prnciple nominations.

    To say principle nominees are inferior is disrespectful to these principle nominees. We don't know the backgrounds of these nominees nor what the MOC board saw in the candidate to make them a principle. MOCs are given strict rules to follow from the service academies and Congress to follow when interviewing candidates also in my district my DS went through an intensive application before get picked for an interview.

    When an MOC puts a candidate as a principle that MOC's reputation is now connected to that candidate and adds pressure on that candidate to do well. There may be some recruited athletes that may be lower then the bar but most of them are not principle nominees unless they fit that MOC's criteria for a principle nomination and are sent to prep.

    So are prinicple nominations on the way out? No, Congress has more power to dictate how a candidate can be admitted then a service academy. Congress makes the rules not the service academy.
     
  8. Maplerock

    Maplerock Proud to be an American

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    No harm intened, just promoting intelligent discussion:

    Who said that? Shame on them.
    I just questioned whether there should even be "principal" nominees. I can't fathom that in the cursory interviews given to applicants that a MOC could asertain the superiority of ONE candidate over all others.

    All of this is in my humble opinion, but to tell hundreds of possible qualified applicants that one is being selected as a "shoe in" and all others are out of luck unless an alternate source is utilized, seems illogical, especially in larger states with large pools of applicants.

    As for a connection to the MOC and added pressure, I don't see it. After arriving at an academy I doubt that the kids start comparing nominations to see who was principal, and who had "only" a regular nomination.

    It would be interesting to see the stats of the principal nominees compared to the others on the list. It would also be interesting to see how many principal nominees were acquaintances of the nominating MOC.

    Before anyone blows a gasket, I want to assure that in no way am I minimizing the stats or character of any principal nominees. I believe they are impressive kids with impressive credentials.
     
  9. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    You're kidding, right? We do it all the time in the business world when interviewing for a position. You have a set of resumes and short interviews with folks you think are reasonable candidates and then pick one. DOn't see why it wouldn't be applicable here.

    I agree, even if the kids do compare. WHy on the world would anyone care how their actions reflect on their MOC? On their family and themselves, yes. The MOC? No way.

    I'm confident it's few to none.
     
  10. MedB

    MedB Parent

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    Anecdotal for sure, but... DS recieved principal nom from Senator and DD recieved prinicpal nom from Congressman. We have ZERO political connections (and like it that way, thank you! :wink: )
     
  11. time2

    time2 Member

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    Interviewing will always have some element of subjectivity associated with it. It tends to be more art then science regardless of what the HR pros may tell you. 4 people can all interview the same person and come away with 4 different views of that individual. That being said, we should separate opinion from fact. Whether or not someone THINKS giving principle NOM's should be done away with is simply expressing their opinion which anyone is entitled to do on here.

    That whole discussion to me is entirely separate from recent threads I have seen when individuals who say they have a principal NOM did not get an appointment. If in fact, USNA is no longer telling candidates if they are 3Q, then I think some people are jumping to invalid conclusions. It could simply be that someone with a principal NOM was NOT 3Q and that alone would explain why they didn't get an appointment. I agree with the prior posters who have indicated IF you are 3Q AND have a principal NOM, you MUST be offered an appointment. That is a statement of fact, based on how the current admissions process works.
     
  12. Roseville

    Roseville Member

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    time2,

    In all 4 cases that appeared on the forum recently, those principal noms were all waitlisted. I believe several people here, including a moderator, observed that a candidate can't be waitlisted if he/she is not 3Q'd. Also - more importantly - the specific feedback that came to those individuals from their admissions counselors and MOCs did not say, "You are not 3Q, therefore you did not receive an appointment." Other explanations concerning redistricting, high number of principal noms this year, etc., were given.
     
  13. time2

    time2 Member

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    I don't know the specifics of what they were/were not told or if someonce mis-stated something. The fact is that someone with a principle nom AND 3Q HAS to be given an appointment. That is clearly stated in the official documentation cited above. I can't comment on whether or not someone misunderstood the information provided to them.
     
  14. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    I am a skeptical person and I agree with other posters that if a candidate has principal nom and 3Q, this candidate must get an appointment.

    - Redistricting should only impact candidates from those district
    - the number of principal nom is irrelevant as if a Congressman vacancy and he or she meet requirements to nominated someone to that position, the candidate must be appointed, either principal or #1 candidate. Is the Navy saying they didn't want accept the principal nominee? Than who fill the slot. I don't know if there is a priority, but I believe Congressional appointment takes priority over other appointments. I believe if there are large number of Congressional appointment, the National Waiting List appointment gets reduced.
     
  15. Roseville

    Roseville Member

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    MemberLG,

    Yes, everything you are saying has been the understanding of most people acquainted with the process. Which is why it became such a topic, at which even moderators and BGO's here expressed confusion. In those threads all the scenarios were hashed out in detail, including the law in US Code.

    Those posters affected here were gavigane14 WithYou2018 HappyinKC and 808DAD If you are interested in looking through the posts in detail.

    The fact remains that it is not a matter of someone misunderstanding the information given them, as time2 suggests - if you read the threads, this comes out - everyone involved, including the MOCs and Admissions, acknowledged the principal nom & qualified candidate, and listed x,y,z as the disrupting factors. Others have also indicated they know of cases in past years in which this happened as well. One solution was the candidate was offered an appointment for the following year.

    Not trying to be difficult here, just clarifying what actually happened. Please reference the threads and/or PM the affected posters if more info or details are desired.
     
  16. Roseville

    Roseville Member

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  17. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    I am not trying to be difficult here neither. We are having this discussion to just have a discussion as right or wrong those four posters didn't get into Naval Academy. But there are plenty of principal nominees that got appointments. So the ultimately lesson is nothing is for sure until you get the fat envelope, so be competitive as possible.
     
  18. time2

    time2 Member

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    Same here, am just pointing that because someone SAID they believe they should have gotten an appointment doens't mean they all of their facts are correct. That prior thread doesn't contain any definitive information and is simply a discussion around that issue.

    When an applicant says.........."I was medically and physically qualified and my BGO said I am overqualified for NAPS"..........that really doesn't prove anything. Your BGO's OPINION isn't how admissions works.
     
  19. GoBlue1984

    GoBlue1984 Member

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    As I catch back up on this thread from a couple of weeks ago, I see the following discussion questions:

    1) Are Principal Nominees fair, since nationwide (or even on the same slate) apparently more competitive candidates can be found?

    Response:
    "Fairness" is very subjective. Principals are allowed in the law, and as long as they are allowed - congressmen and senators will use them, if for no other reason than it gives them a power rush. Maybe the "principal" had to overcome significant circumstances to even be considered qualified. So what is more fair, a candidate with a 4.7GPA who lived in an upper middle class home with all the advantages which accompanied him, or a 3.9GPA who lived in a trailer park with divorced parents and who worked 25 hours a week (while going to school) so they could participate in EC's?

    You always have to look at appointments from both a local and nationwide perspective. Congress has attempted to address the later by requiring offers of appointment to the highest ranking 150 qualified candidates who were not selected from their specific nominating slate.


    2) Do MOC's play "favorites" by appointing principles for friends/relatives of political allies?

    Response:
    Sure they can, but I don't think it happens very much. IMO, this is not due to the "high integrity" of our members of congress, but because the risk of loss of political capital is too high. Most MOC's use some kind of nominating board to interview candidates, and the board makes the recommendations and decisions which the MOC accepts and approves. This gives them shelter from the appearance of favoritism and accusation. MOCs want the the good press that comes with the appearance of helping their constituants, not to mention they would pay at the polls and in the press if it ever came out they were helping their friends and allies while punishing the children of others. I'm not saying it doesn't happen, but I am suggesting that I think it is rare, not commonplace. Not that it couldn't decay into such a state.

    All that said, but I will add that U. S. Grant was a "principle" nominee to USMA and was appointed as "pay back" to a political rival (his biography makes interesting reading). While he was a Plebe, there were discussions in Congress about closing West Point (sound familiar?) and there is some evidence that he hoped it would happen. I don't know how competitive USMA appointments were in 1830, but I still think playing favorites with nominees is an exception not a rule.


    3) Why is that NAVY seemed to not honor principle nominees this year?

    Response:
    This appears to an anomoly this year and they seemed to have attempted to right that wrong by offering appointments to NAPS instead. Anything can still happen to those four candidates. I will also direct you to my post on that thread where I searched through the Code of Federal Regulations (http://www.serviceacademyforums.com/showthread.php?p=369852#post369852). What I found was that there does not appear to be parallel language for the USNA as exists for West Point and AFA in the Federal Register (there is almost identical parallel language in the USC 10). Even though this may be the case, USNA has traditionally honored principal nominees; if they consistently had snubbed their noses at the will of the nominating Congressmen, I am confident that someone in power would have already corrected that wrong by now as appropriations for spending are not determined by the Navy.


    4) Are Principal Nominees less qualified than unranked, competitive nominees? (kind of out of order as it goes with #1)

    Response:
    You have to be kidding, right? When you consider the three distinct pillars that USNA, USMA, and USAFA use in 'scoring' candidates - everyone of these candidates is equally qualified, if only on different merits. If it was all academics (and academics are a big part) then just rank everyone by SAT or ACT score and take the top 1000. My National Merit son would have received appointment offers to all three. If was all leadership, give everyone a numerical rank of their activities and accomplishments and take the top 1000. Give lots of points for being so athletic they became 'captain' of a football team but less points for winning the state championship in Tennis (since it is not a 'team' sport). Or give more points for having started charity XYZ which is tutoring in the inner city, but less points for being actively engaged in JROTC. Or if it was all athletics, rank everyone by CFA score: highest scores get in...

    My point is, when everything is taken in balance, there are no "less" qualified candidates, just candidates who didn't end up with as high of weighted candidate scores as others. Comparing candidates to others on the same slate is as close as one can get to being objective, but even then some subjectivity comes into play. That is why the top 150 not winning their specific slates are supposed to receive offers.


    Long post, but my point is that I see no reason Principal Nominees will be or are in process of being eliminated unless the law itself changes, which I see as being highly unlikely. Further I don't think it should change. The process has worked for 100+ years. Let sleeping dogs lie.
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2014
  20. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    West Point calls those kids QNS - qualified not select. For WP, 2000 plus candidates are determined to be fully qualified, but only about 1400 get offers.
     

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