review of the roller coaster (from clueless to appointed)

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by Brawny77, Apr 14, 2016.

  1. Brawny77

    Brawny77 Member

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    Many new folks on here starting the 2021 process. Here is how the story unfolded for my DS who will be a plebe at USNA starting June 30. Best of luck!

    So it has been a little more than a year since my DS decided to jump on this roller coaster. We are not a military family. He goes to a small rural high school (30 in his senior class) and no one from his school has ever gone to a service academy. We were about as clueless to start with as they come so I thought I would jot down some of the process we went through. Others who have also gone on this ride may wish to chime in things as well.

    10th grade- DS and I are discussing colleges and he tells me he might be interested in applying to a S.A. (His older brother was briefly interested earlier but soon decided it was not for him). I told him to investigate it and tell me if he was still wanting to go for this. I also told him to kick his college search into gear in general, initially the academies were only one of the things he was looking at. I did a little preliminary research myself to see what the application process was all about. I also began helping him look at other colleges and scholarships. I helped him with pre-SAT prep because from his 10th grade Pre-SAT scores we knew he had a shot at National Merit. He was already in lots of sports and extra-curricular things...

    Summer after 10th grade- He says he wants to apply. I ask him some questions as to why? He gives me some well thought out answers. He says he is excited by the potential life as an officer in the military. He says he wants to be surrounded by the very high quality individuals that will be there. He says he is not interested in the “typical college party crap” that is too often such a big part of traditional college. He says he wants to study engineering at a top school and he wants to try and qualify to fly jets or helicopters. Frankly his answer impresses me. It was better than I expected from a 16 year old. We decide to get serious about it. I tell him I will help but I will not do it for him. I will provide assistance but that if he wants this, then he must own it. I kinda thought he wouldn't get it all done.

    Junior year- Lots happened. Took Pre SAT (got National Merit Commended but missed National Merit by 8 pts).T ook the real SAT 3 times (by taking it 3 times he was able to inch math and reading over 700. His super score was 2080. Completed preliminary applications to USNA, USAFA and USMA (this was a great deal of work and a lot of supplemental items were required). Targeted his workouts toward the candidate fitness test. He really had to work on pull ups because he is large framed (football linebacker). He went from 3 pullups the first time he tried to 9 on the day he took it for real (Oct. of senior year). Won state championship on math team. He also worked on the nomination applications. This was a lot. I was surprised at his determination. He had matured a great deal. He had a ton of leadership, academic and athletic accolades but he had a kid nipping at his heels for Valedictorian so he had to keep his grades high.

    I don’t remember exactly when but somewhere in here he achieved official candidate status with all 3 S.A.s, They sent him for a medical and an eye exam. We learned what DODMERB stood for. He passed the exams with no problem. In fact he had 20/15 vision.

    Senior Year- Completed all parts of the candidate files by early Oct. (recommendations, Writing samples, transcripts, CFA…). Completed nomination application packets to Member of Congress, State Senators and V.P. Got invited and attended blue chip candidate dinners by local West Point and Naval Academy Alumni groups (West Point’s was very nice but Navy’s was better, got to meet Roger Staubach and Ross Perot). It was at this time that he realized he had a good shot at this. It seemed they were interested in him. I wonder how many at those dinners got appointment offers? Then came the nomination interviews with the M.O.C. committee. They asked him to rank his choices. At that time he ranked USAFA as his first choice. They asked him if he would accept a second or third choice if that was all he got. He said absolutely. Around Christmas he learned that he had received nominations to all three SAs. This was a surprise but a good surprise. He also applied to 3 “regular” colleges. One of them only took 20 minutes for the entire application which DS found surreal. Then within a 10 day period at the end of January he got offers of appointment from all three academies. Air Force sent an email only, West Point and USNA sent big fat envelopes. The one from West Point was by far the nicest.

    He was hoping to get into one and he was floored to get into all three. He had a really nice problem.

    So after visits, investigations prayers and dinners with a few ex-pilots and aviators who graciously answered more of our dumb questions, he selected USNA. He ordered a” Don’t Give Up the Ship” flag and now ends every correspondence with “Go Navy Beat Army”.

    Now we are clueless again…uncharted waters ahead! But man, this is exciting!
     
    Willow99, BSCSDS, CAmom2015 and 14 others like this.
  2. 2017 DS 2019 DD

    2017 DS 2019 DD Member

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    Great post and very accurate to what it takes for these kids to get into the Academies. It will be very helpful to now join all the Facebook parent groups. As a non-military family ourselves, it helped us tremendously.
     
    Brawny77 likes this.
  3. BerryJam

    BerryJam Member

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    Well said Brawny77, and congrats to your DS! We just jumped on the coaster, and yes, sometimes it is hard to step back and allow kids to manage this overwhelming process. Awhile back someone mentioned that if parents felt the need to help in any way, maybe chip in with a chore here or there that would normally be their responsibility. So on a day when my DS has been at school since 7AM, not home from the track meet until 9PM, and still has 3 hours of homework....I don't mind throwing in a load of his laundry for him. But the phone calls and applications are all his!
     
  4. 2017 DS 2019 DD

    2017 DS 2019 DD Member

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    Perfect way to help! That was how we helped as well.
     
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  5. Brawny77

    Brawny77 Member

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    I was proof reader and administerer (I know not a word) of mock CFAs
     
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  6. Blondie1

    Blondie1 Member

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    DS is a youngster---- I can only say --hang on it is a wild ride! We live on the west coast and so far make it to Annapolis at least 3-4 times a year. Gets a little pricey, but our attitude is its only 4 years AND I'm not paying for him to go to school. Enjoy, it may seem like forever for you mid, but it has flown by for us. Get to know some other academy parents--parents of kids going to regular college will NEVER understand the ride you are on, and they will tire rapidly of your stories! We have a great group of academy friends that we get together with for games and good times. It is great to have friends that really understand what your mid is going through. Good luck and enjoy!
     
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  7. tex2021

    tex2021 Member

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    @Brawny77 Congrats to your DS. As you can see this is my first post. My DS has decided to take this "roller coaster" with the SAs. He is a 2021 SAs hopeful. He has visited USNA and USAFA over the past 6 months. If you don't mind me asking, what district are you ?
     
  8. Candidad

    Candidad Member

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    Appreciate the post Brawny77. The waters are indeed uncharted for your son and his parents, but please enjoy the ride no matter how much or how little you hear, see, taste (you know, like slamming crabs at Cantler's) or feel of his experience on the Severn. (Speaking of which, my own DS dropped his phone in the Severn right before he came home after his Youngster year...there will be lots of this in your future. They still need you when they need you.) While it seems like we just watched the doors close at the end of I-Day and he's been there forever all at the same time, IT GOES BY FAST. The real roller coaster (TBS, MOS, Pendleton we hope, deployed to God knows where) is just starting for us. I don't know what possessed me to rise from the dead and read some posts here - maybe it was the nice email I just received from the owner of our Commissioning Week rental; but as my son told me last week with the end five weeks away; it is a little bittersweet. Lots of good under the bridge, lots of not-so-good, an infinite amount of we'll never know, and one final flyover.

    One piece of advice to everyone from someone living in the Pacific Time Zone without unlimited funds and a daughter's wedding to pay for: I've never heard anyone say they wished they had made fewer trips to see their kid in Annapolis.
     
  9. Brawny77

    Brawny77 Member

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    TX 04 A fairly competitive district. We are from the rural part and frankly we thought it would be tough with the Rockwall kids to compete with. Still it is better here than the Collin county/Dallas districts. DS had to interview with about 30 kids
     
  10. tex2021

    tex2021 Member

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    As soon as I can get the PM functionality for my account, I will PM you.
     
  11. Navyboy17

    Navyboy17 Member

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    Very cool
     
  12. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Good thread. The roller coaster continues. Some semesters will be good, some bad. Some assignments good, some bad. Some life decisions good, some bad. When you get off of one roller coaster it's to get on another.
     
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  13. Brawny77

    Brawny77 Member

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    What are some of the good Facebook groups? I have heard some have pictures of BCT after I day where you can play "where's waldo" and look for glimpses of your plebe
     
  14. CaliNavyMom

    CaliNavyMom Member

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    What an awesome story! Congrats to your son! I am a mom of a USNA C/O 2021 hopeful, and a Navy Mom already of a HT on the USS Jason Dunham. We are located in Salinas, CA...28th District for Congress.
    My DS(17) had a compelling calling while we were on our trip to Hawaii(Oahu). We visited Pearl Harbor, and although we couldn't take the tours of the Missouri and Arizona memorials, we took a few hours on shore looking at the amazing memorials created. Our son walked around alone for a little bit, and told us later that he came upon a quote by Admiral Nimitz about "brothers in arms fighting side by side and now they sleep side by side, to them we have a solemn obligation".
    He took it to heart, and the next day told his dad during their breakfast that he wanted to join the Navy. And that was the path he was on for a couple months. Until we learned of the US Naval Academy.
    Our son is a math genius, well to his dad and I :) As it should be for parents right? He has aced ALL of his math classes, took Algebra as an 8th grader and has moved up that ladder. Just took his AP Calc A/B test, and is planning on possibly two math classes his senior year, as it's something he really loves. He also loves Science, although math more. He's never been very sporty, but this year he has found a love for Lacrosse, found his place on the team as a Goalie and LOVES it. Took PSAT has a 1240, 620 + 620 (new scoring). Just got his SAT scores of 1310 660 +650.
    We were so excited to receive that email of being an official candidate, and the adventure begins right? He has been taking care of talking to his English/Math teachers after having their emails sent, and asking for his reference letters for his nomination applications. I have to admit, because he is so busy with classes, its the end of the year and we want him to finish strong, I do monitor his account to ensure that he is staying on top of things. And he has! I told him I would handle his official Transcript requests after school year ends as he will be at NASS and Boys State when they become available. Plus mom has to pay for them.
    He only has left his CFA which he'll do during NASS Session 2, and his B&G Interview, which they will schedule later. But he has already sent an email making contact. I am happy his B&G officer is local at the Naval Postgraduate School, as his Masters is in an area that my DS has shown interest in, plus its an amazing school, something for DS to strive to. Then he'll just need to complete the remainder of his nomination applications. I filled out the general info, name, address, parents...now its up to him to fill in all the other stuff and his statement, etc.
    I will be helping him when it's time to mail them to ensure he has everything he needs, it can be quite overwhelming and I've always been the OCD one in the family.
    He has decided that even if he does not get in to USNA, he will still be joining the Navy to serve his country. I reminded him that he is an exceptional young man and student, we will hope that he gets in and do our best however we can where he needs assistance. But that there is that option if he does enter the Navy to apply again. He knows its up to him to continue to do well. But it is a good thing I love roller coasters ; ).
     
  15. Brawny77

    Brawny77 Member

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    Be sure to also look into NROTC options as another plan B. ROTC is a good path to becoming a Naval officer. There is also OCS. Good luck to your DS!
     
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  16. Topher673

    Topher673 Member

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    Very good post. Thanks for sharing!
     
  17. Blondie1

    Blondie1 Member

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    For pictures join the academy alumni (I think that's what it is) they post tons of plebe summer pictures--have their own page you can find them on. Also there should be closed group for class of 2020 and USNA MID MOMS AND DADS. They are closed groups --you will have to show pictures of the appointment paper. Congratulations.
     
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  18. CaliNavyMom

    CaliNavyMom Member

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    Thanks Brawny!!
     
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  19. Brawny77

    Brawny77 Member

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    The cycle is about complete. We leave for Annapolis tomorrow. Now we find out what he is made of.
    Oh the places he will go...
     
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  20. THS

    THS Member

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    Brawny, congrats to you and your Plebe-to-be! Stepping off one roller coaster and on to another! Last year we arrived 3 days before I Day and had a great time playing spot the Plebes-to-be in DTA! And you're right, "Oh, the places he will go!" DS called earlier today to let us know he's underway on his summer cruise.
     
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