Questions about Plebe Summer, the Academic Year, or how to prepare?

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by GC44, Feb 27, 2013.

  1. GC44

    GC44 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2012
    Messages:
    22
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'm currently a 1/C (Senior) at USNA. I'll be more than happy to answer any questions you may have about preparing for/succeeding at USNA.
     
  2. navydad17

    navydad17 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2012
    Messages:
    90
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hello,

    We keep hearing how "busy" the Navy keeps you compared to civilian colleges. Did you feel you had adequate time to study/do homework or was it a struggle?

    If I may ask a personal question, what was your GPA in high school and now at USNA?
     
  3. Melitzank

    Melitzank Member

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2012
    Messages:
    474
    Likes Received:
    1
    What's the best advice you could give those of us who've still got another year or so until we can apply?
     
  4. GC44

    GC44 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2012
    Messages:
    22
    Likes Received:
    0
    Navydad17, you ARE kept busy, especially during your first year. As a plebe (freshman), you have morning workouts, formation, breakfast, four class periods, formation, lunch, two afternoon classes, sports period, formation, dinner, then mandatory study hour (for completing homework) at 8 PM. Plebes have to be in bed at 11 and upperclass don't have a bedtime. However, the professors constantly stress that they are available for extra help outside of class time and there are plenty of resources if you're struggling in a particular subject.

    As for my high school information, I maintained between a 3.5-3.8 GPA in high school. Here at USNA, I had a rocky start, finishing Plebe year with a 1.7 (due to my refusal to ask for help). However, I quickly realized what I had to do, sought the help that I needed, and I now have a 3.3 GPA and have made the Commandant's List twice
     
  5. bjrussell14

    bjrussell14 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2013
    Messages:
    24
    Likes Received:
    0
    What would you say were the biggest challenges you had to face during your plebe year?
     
  6. GC44

    GC44 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2012
    Messages:
    22
    Likes Received:
    0
    97133M, the best advice I can give you is to do your absolute best in school. Study your tail off and try to get the best grades you can. Also, do whatever you can to make yourself stand out from the rest of the applicants, i.e. being well-rounded. The number of applicants increases each year, thus making the chances of being accepted that much more difficult. If you're an eagle scout, that definitely helps. Being the captain of a club, sports team, student body president, etc. helps as well. Extracurricular programs say a lot too. I did the National Youth Leadership Forum on National Security back in 2007 and Boys State during the summer going into my Junior year of high school. Basically, do whatever you can to make yourself look superb in all areas, so that the people in the admissions office have a hard time finding a reason to say "no" to you. Oh, I almost forgot: STAY IN SHAPE! Eat well, sleep well, become a beast at doing proper form pushups and situps, and (in the words of Pink Floyd) Run Like Hell. Excellent cardio health is essential for succeeding in the physical aspects of the academy
     
  7. GC44

    GC44 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2012
    Messages:
    22
    Likes Received:
    0
    Bjrussell14, my biggest challenges were swallowing my pride and addressing any problems I faced right away. I struggled big time with Calculus and Chemistry. I was under the impression that if I spent some time on my own after class looking at the material, I'd be able to figure it out. I was dead wrong. Moral of the story, as soon as you don't understand something, GET HELP. Ask the teacher, ask a companymate who excels in the subject that you're struggling in, or use the Center for Academic Excellence available here at the academy. There is NO shame in asking for assistance. It's actually highly encouraged
     
  8. Hurricane12

    Hurricane12 USNA 2012

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2011
    Messages:
    740
    Likes Received:
    120
    I'll add another data point:

    The workload goes in fits and starts. A lot of mids get trapped in "closest alligator to the canoe" syndrome and focus only on the most immediate threat. There's times during the semester where you're more busy (6 and 12 week marking periods, for example) and there's often a scramble at the end to finish up projects and papers. A lot also depends on what you're doing for billets or extracurriculars. There's also days where your time will be completely budgeted from 0530-2200. If you have good study skills and know how to plan ahead, you will be fine, which gets me to...


    I had a 3.4 (unweighted) in HS. Graduated USNA ("with merit" which I didn't know was a thing until my Mom asked what it was on my diploma) with a ~3.3.
    Like GC44, I had a very rocky start and thought I could get away with lazy study habits. This is pretty common with a lot of mids, I think: people get cocky from their HS experiences. I know my attitude was that I'd done well in HS without working hard, so I could probably do alright at USNA with minimal effort.
    I also fell into the trap of thinking I wouldn't need a good GPA to get Marine Corps. I had a 2.7 through first semester youngster year before I "woke up" and said "Hey, I'm actually a lot smarter than this." Made Supe's list with a 3.7+ for the rest of my time at USNA and 4.0 in my major.

    Edited to add: I'm not trying to brag. I'm just trying to put out there that you can have a rough start, recover, and end up doing well academically. You won't die from getting a C in "calculus with computers" first semester plebe year.
     
  9. bjrussell14

    bjrussell14 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2013
    Messages:
    24
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thank you very much for your responses. I had one more question. How are weekends at USNA? Like what goes on Friday afternoon and all day Saturday and Sunday?
     
  10. usnabgo08

    usnabgo08 USNA 2008/BGO

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2007
    Messages:
    1,827
    Likes Received:
    591
    For those who have accepted an appointment or will receive one this year: take what GC44 and Hurricane12 have said VERY CAREFULLY! DO NOT be COMPLACENT and think just because you "breezed" through H.S. that you can do the same at USNA. At the first sign of struggle (whether that is not understanding homework to lecture material in class), SEEK HELP from the resources that both have listed. Do not be afraid to admit you need help or don't understand -- the only "stupid" question is the one that IS NOT asked.

    Also, as Hurricane12 specifically said, it is easy to only think ahead for the next few hours. Sometimes the weekend is an excellent opportunity to plan ahead. Being able to accomplish work with a "steady strain" is a lot less uncomfortable and stressful than realizing you are now forced in a corner to get everything done in a ridiculous amount of time. If you are working your tail off and have been utilizing your time well, it is sometimes permissible to ask professors to extend SOME deadlines (but don't dare ask to extend a project at the end of the semester when you knew about it during the first few weeks of class).
     
  11. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2010
    Messages:
    7,539
    Likes Received:
    1,002
    And it's also how you'll be expected to perform as officers, although there will certainly be fire drills too.
     
  12. Melitzank

    Melitzank Member

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2012
    Messages:
    474
    Likes Received:
    1
    Thanks GC44!

    Thanks also to Hurricane12 and usnabgo08. My study habits aren't the best, I'm used to breezing by pretty much with little studying, so I'll get into good shape now with studying (which will be a help no matter whether I get to a service academy or not).
     
  13. ESLGuy

    ESLGuy Member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2012
    Messages:
    92
    Likes Received:
    0
    I will seek out help before I struggle. I am a sophomore in HS right now, and I did terrible in a class last semester. I'm retaking tests I get an A on (92%) and even ones I get a 98/99% on. I would seek help, but I don't need it, just retakes. I'm hoping this makes up for that grade, and thanks for the advice.

    Did any of you ever seriously think you wouldn't get in? My weighted GPA freshman year was 4.571, but that doesn't seem too good compared to what others had. 5 years ago a girl got into USNA from our school, so that gives me hope.
     
  14. Hurricane12

    Hurricane12 USNA 2012

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2011
    Messages:
    740
    Likes Received:
    120
    Weekends:

    It all depends on your class year. Plebe year you take the weekly proquiz on Friday night and then are pretty much left to your own devices (but can't leave the Yard). Most of the upperclass will be gone Friday night so it's more relaxed.
    Saturday you'll have morning training until noon and liberty until midnight. Where you can go and what you can do is somewhat limited by not having a car or a whole lot of money. Some people spend a lot of time with their sponsors, others go to the mall...up to you. Getting off the yard, even to do something mundane, can be vital for your sanity.
    Sunday, again, you probably won't get messed with until evening meal but you can't leave.

    As you move up in class year, your time where you're allowed to go off the Yard increases dramatically. 1/C year the only days I didn't have any kind of liberty were Monday and Wednesday.
    But as usnabgo08 mentioned, weekends are a good time to get ahead. There was a good period between oh, I don't know, all of my second class and firstie year where I spent a huge chunk of my weekends at Barnes and Noble or Starbucks studying and doing work.

    Matas:

    I thought I had absolutely chance of getting into USNA. I was blown away when I got my appointment (in a good way).

    Admissions into USNA or another commissioning source come down to three things:
    -Luck
    -Timing
    -Performance

    You only control one of them. Get a little faith in yourself, go forth, and kick ***.
     
  15. Prep

    Prep Member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2012
    Messages:
    116
    Likes Received:
    0
    with no car how do you get to your sponsor's house?
     
  16. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2011
    Messages:
    3,085
    Likes Received:
    2,439
    Your sponsers will pick you up. Not sure on rules now, but older sponsor siblings (others Mids sponsored by your family) could drive us back and forth also. If this is still the rule you can catch rides with them if they are visiting.
     
  17. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2011
    Messages:
    3,085
    Likes Received:
    2,439
    GC44 and Hurricane are spot on. Time management, learning to focus and compartmentalize, and study skills are huge items for Plebe year and throughout your entire time. Plebe year you will be stressed with pro quizzes, being yelled at, training, etc. Being able to put that aside while sitting in Chemistry is key to doing well.

    Asking for help is always hard, but if you are in trouble, make sure to ask for it. It can be the difference between passing and failing. Even if you fail, your chance at an Ac Board are so much better when they can say Midn XYZ stayed awake every class period, sat in the front row, participated in class and received 10 hours of extra instruction a week. That can make a difference between being retained and not retained.

    I had to learn to use my weekends and free periods to my advantage. You will develop a routine that works for you over time. If you are a varsity athlete your time will be even more limited. Scheduling extra help around games and road trips, exams on the road, papers due while on a trip all need to be coordinated around your schedule. Your O Rep and Academic Advisor for your team can all help with these.
     
  18. GC44

    GC44 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2012
    Messages:
    22
    Likes Received:
    0
    Matas, I seriously had no idea if I was going to get in or not. My Blue and Gold Officer told me that he's write a very favorable evaluation but other than that, it was all up in the air for me. I didn't receive my appointment until April
     
  19. mhc123wc

    mhc123wc USNA 2015

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2011
    Messages:
    50
    Likes Received:
    0
    What was your major hurricane?
     
  20. Hurricane12

    Hurricane12 USNA 2012

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2011
    Messages:
    740
    Likes Received:
    120
    Honors history.

    If you want to read the most boring thing in the world, my thesis is in Nimitz (as are all the completed theses). I'm a subject matter expert in something absolutely no one cares about.
     

Share This Page