The whole person

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by 93Sir, Oct 23, 2014.

  1. 93Sir

    93Sir Member

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    I see a lot of talk about test scores, athletics, leadership, etc. as the ticket to admission. I spent a little time looking over the 'mailbox stalkers' from April, 2012. I could not believe the test scores, athletics and club participation/leadership of the candidates receiving TWE's. Many candidates had 32/700 on Math and English scores, max CFA scores, boy state, club president, varsity captains, etc. All of these candidates were off the chart ideal, yet TWE'd. Does anyone have any insight into how admissions pick their 'whole person' with accomplishments like these? Candidates with far lower test/academic scores get appointments while more scholastically qualified athletes and leaders head to plan B. I know it's a mystery really but where in the process does the whole person get identified? Is it just that 'something' that the BG officer sees (or doesn't see) and either gets written or not said? Combined with maybe NASS reports, teacher/guidance recs? Something somewhere sets these kids apart from the written profile. I'm fascinated with the process and where that separation occurs. BG's...is there "code" talk for that true SA type in your write ups? :rockon:
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2014
  2. Naval padre

    Naval padre Member

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    I agree with your assessment; plenty of qualified kids. My son received a LOA dated Sept. 11 and is now scheduled to interview both Senators on Nov 1. He is also waiting to hear back from his congressman. As much as I would like to think my son is "special", his overall measureables is on par with others I have read on this thread. One thing that I believe helped him was his face to face time with other cadets during his Summer Session, very good BGO interview and he was fortunate to have the opportunity to meet with the Dean of Admissions one on one. He also happens to be a very mature kid.

    Otherwise I couldn't tell you why he received an LOA. Btw he has plan B and C in action already; not taking anything for granted.

    Good Luck to all!!
     
  3. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis New Member

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    I do see where you are coming from; however, your question has a broad amount of answers. Usually individuals who provide the "whole package" will receive that BFE. As a former attendee of USMMA, I can say my package did consist of Boys State, National Honor society, captain of numerous sports, good grades and SAT's...ect. You also have to look at the state you are competing in, there may not be a complete answer to your question but individuals who show good moral character through their package usually receive a LOA. You can't stray away from the fact that most applicants to service academy's are top notch, usually in the classroom, club scene and athletic fields. It is a matter of what you have and what you can show the board to separate yourself from the masses and the norm. I will say this though, one thing that will show under the lime light is COMMUNITY SERVICE. Service above self is something that is highly recognized by many.
     
  4. time2

    time2 Member

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    Part of the reason those of us who have been around this forum for awhile avoid the 'what are my chances' threads is that there are a number of factors admissions considers and it is about far more then just SAT/ACT scores. Imagine a candidate who privately tells his/her BGO they really don't want to join the military but are being pushed into it by their parents.

    Teacher recommendations might also contain negative information and since the applicant doesn't get to see these, would never know that. I would imagine that a negative teacher evaluation could influence the admissions board and not even the applicant would know why. Someone may also look steller on paper and totally bomb their MOC interviews. Soooooo you can see where I am going with this. You can even have an LOA and if you don't get a NOM, you will eventually get the TWE.

    None of us on here will ever interview these candidates and can't know if any of the above factors entered into the decision resulting in a TWE.

    We also have to ASSUME that the people posting stats/accomplishments, etc. on here are being truthful and not stretching the truth or embellishing their h.s. accomplishments.

    So, rather then twirl ourselves around about %/statistics and chances, it is best to work on making your resume the best it can be since your competition is among the best/brightest of that graduating class and have tended to excell in multiple areas. There is no one magical formula or combination of factors that anyone on here can ever provide as THE way to getting an appointment.
     
  5. Spud

    Spud BGO

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    Speaking from a BGO's standpoint, I can assure you that there is no "template" of a candidate (other than what is well advertised), no code words, no certain characteristics, not even a lot of guidance in what we look for or write up. We meet a candidate, cover his/her experiences in certain areas that the Academy is interested in (Interest/motivation, leadership, responsibility, physical fitness, organization, special challenges, blah, blah), throw in our gut feeling and turn in the interview to the Admission Board. We put ourselves in the shoes of an Admissions Board member and write what we think would help them---both good and bad. Then they make their call. A BGO can never "get" a candidate in but he can most surely keep them out. The Admissions Board actually winnows down the list to about 6000 and that list goes to the Admissions Office where the boiling pots of water, bats, the hair of Newts, the eyeballs of rats, and sheer magic are conjured to come up with the appointees.

    Actually, I am all for the whole person thing versus the paper tigers. I don't think I would have got in otherwise. At a recent reunion, the Sup stood up in front of our graying class and proudly went over the high achievements of the incoming Plebe class. As he went on and on about these young water-walkers, my roomate (who still carries little bits of shrapnel in him) leaned over and said "Jeez Louise, how the hell did we ever get in this place?" The laughter of the group around us all came from the Vietnam vets and all were pretty ordinary guys in high school (that's not true. One guy was really, really smart.) I don't know either how they pick the appointees but it seems to work as the country gets its moneys worth.
     
  6. Joedoe

    Joedoe Member

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    I don't know of any secret handshakes or code either. I'm not sure how exactly I got in. Yes, I was competitive, but like yourself I read on this forum about stellar athletes, students, Nobel laureates...kidding about that last part...who received the TWE. It was stunning actually.

    Agree with a previous poster that some states are far more competitive than others. Some sports programs have more pull with admissions than others. Maybe it has something to do with creating some sort of balance within a class? I just don't know. Personally, I brought everything I had to the table, nothing less. USNA is a place that values commitment, service and a competitive spirit.
     
  7. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    There is no "golden ticket" or secret handshake or magic set of achievements that will get you in.

    USNA has the same "problem" all highly competitive schools have -- far more terrific candidates than slots. Added to that is the legal mandate that SAs admit students from every state and, to the extent possible, every district.

    USNA wants to have a "diverse" group of midshipmen -- and I mean diverse in its broadest sense. While the "core" set of achievements tends to be somewhat uniform (e.g., high math score, varsity sports, leadership), USNA also looks for people who bring something "different" to the table. That could be a great musician, someone who worked a part-time while attending school, a first generation American, and on and on. Note that these folks also have great grades, etc.

    As Time2 noted, even BGOs see very, very little of a candidate's application, so it's really not possible to explain why X got in and Y didn't.

    One last thing about candidates from less populous states/districts -- don't assume they are less competitive. Rather, there are fewer of them. So, for example (and this is only HYPOTHETICAL), there may be 200 A+ candidates in three competitive districts in Maryland and only 3 A+ candidates in the entire state of Montana. The folks in Montana have a better shot at an appointment b/c of the requirement to take folks from Montana and they are it -- no competition. The folks in MD may not be more qualified, but if (HYPOTHETICALLY!!!), USNA could only take 100 of them, 50 will lose out.
     
  8. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    A partial answer is the nomination requirement. Not like the Coast Guard Academy, the entrance to other SAs require a nomination. So simply, it's not the best 1400 or so that gets appointment offers, rather the best candidates within respective nomination categoryies. SAs do have some flexibility to adjust nomination category, but they can't ignore the nomination requirement.
     
  9. 93Sir

    93Sir Member

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    Wishing we had moved to Montana last year! :shake:
     
  10. 93Sir

    93Sir Member

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    Some TWE's from that April, 2012 group had all listed accolades as well as 3 Noms. Just a crazy process and though thinking and questioning gets us nowhere, it's fascinating to follow.
     
  11. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    I can easily explain. There are 10 nominations for one appointment for MOCs. So a kid could be get nominations from senators and congressman, but not good enough to win the appointment. If the admissions office disclose the qualifications of the appointees, we don't have to speculate. But they won't.
     
  12. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    93sir,

    It is also why long time posters will pound into ever candidates cranium to have plan B, C and D in place.

    We have seen stellar candidates get a TWE.

    Additionally, it is why many posters shy away from chance me threads. There are candidates that look incredible and posters will say you are a shoe in, while others don't look like a shoe in.
    ~ I don't have enough fingers and toes in my family to count how many times the shoe in got a TWE and the other gets the BFE.

    Good luck, and just remember the adage on this forum. This is a rollercoaster ride for @1 year.
     
  13. SwimMomNyc

    SwimMomNyc Member

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    "Admissions won't disclose qualifications..."

    With all due respect, Admissions doesn't have to disclose the qualifications of those it has admitted. They don't owe anyone an explanation. Many readers follow this forum, and all should know that USNA doesn't need to explain/justify their decisions. At the end of the day, this the United States Navy that we are talking about.

    There was a recent thread here entitled "Still in the Game" which sounds very similar to the thread being referenced here. That thread, just as a cautionary tale, grew quite toxic. "Why wasn't my kid picked?" turned into a slam on URMs and recruited athletes. It cast aspersions on those young men and women who HAD been selected, as somehow not being fully qualified. Parents who felt that their child (no doubt outstanding in many ways) had been harmed by an unjust system. If you doubt me, read the thread yourself. Good luck...it had almost 400,000 posts when last I checked.

    Obviously, there are many outstanding candidates. Some of their parents are on this forum being justifiably proud of them. There are also Mids in the Academy that acted as a Parent to younger siblings because there were no other responsible adults at home to fill that role. They exercised leadership in dramatic, but uncelebrated ways. There is no "high school awards night" for that life experience. Those parents are either too busy/unavailable to come on here and praise their kids.

    I am sometimes stunned at the quality of Midshipman that the Academy had selected. Admissions knows what they are doing. To all potential applicants reading this, listen to the BGOs on this thread who advise to just present your best case for why you want to serve. Apply to all possible Nomination sources. After that, take a deep breath and trust the process.
     
  14. Memphis9489

    Memphis9489 Parent

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    There is certainly no doubt that many good candidates get left behind.

    If you think that is discouraging - get this:

    Let's say that the incoming class is going to be 1,200 (the class of 2018 had 1,192). How many of those 1,200 slots are realistically open to your basic high school candidate trying to get an appointment to the Naval Academy? First, you have to subtract out all those who are at NAPS. They are going to get an appointment with a near 100% certainty. Then there's the Foundation candidates. They're going to get in. Then you have a handful of sons & daughters who are given special dispensation because of one reason or another - a parent who was a Medal of Honor recipient, killed, missing or disabled. They're in!

    Then you have a group of recruited athletes who are not attending NAPS. They're in!

    This is just a guess (and I'll bet it's not too far off), there are probably only about 800 (plus or minus) slots that are up for grabs. And, when you throw in the requirement for geographic distribution, depending on what state you are from - it can get more bleak. Plus, you may be competing against applicants from colleges.

    Yes, some very good high school candidates are left behind.

    I often hear this from parents who have had a son/daughter earn an appointment: "Now the hard part begins - the next four years." Maybe. But the statistical "hard part" is actually earning an appointment. Nearly 85% of those who earn an appointment end up graduating but only about 6% of those who apply earn an appointment.

    I'm not much of a motivational speaker, am I? :smile:
     
  15. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    If the USNA wants us to trust them, they need to disclose. Trust is earned.

    It's time for some of the candidates to learn that they are not going to get what they want regardless what they do as someone else makes the decision.
     
  16. Spud

    Spud BGO

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    I never shed any tears over the candidates who don't get an appointment. They are at the top of their high school classes, in sports, extra curricular activities and so on. They probably have any number of scholarships they are eligible for. Any college will be happy to get them---their future is bright no matter. If they are really interested in the Academy, they can apply again. In fact they can apply 4-5 times more. They should be more mature, more focused, better writers and present themselves with a lot more class than their high school self. But they very, very seldom do. Every candidate I talk to tells me how much they want to go and how they will try again and again, yet I never see them after that one shot. When the one of the excruciatingly few does reapply, they get my immediate attention but for the rest, I wish them the best and think nothing more of it.
     
  17. mdn18

    mdn18 Member

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    I'm reapplying as a college freshman, and let me just say, it's a lot harder than applying while in high school. It's hard enough to find time to work on homework (while swimming on the varsity team), yet alone working on applications to SA's. This year I'm applying not only to USNA, but to USMMA and USCGA. I don't even know how I'll get to my Senator interview that's 60 miles away. And my other Senator interview that is 4.5 hours away. Home is too far away for parents to just drop everything and give me a ride. Last year my Senator interviews were a 45 min drive from my house; I realize now how fortunate I was to be able to drive my own car there and then just arrive late at school. Not trying to generate pity, but high school seniors, be grateful for how much easier the application process is while in high school.
     
  18. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    With a reasonable amount of respect, if there is nothing proprietory, classified or protected about that information, there's no reason for USNA to NOT talk about it. USNA is a federal institution, accountable, in a round-about way, to the tax payer (you and me). It is in your, and my, interest to know what your investment is getting us.

    As long as the Privacy Act isn't being violated (and it isn't, as far as I can tell), Admissions has no real reason to withhold that information.

    Maybe that's the public affairs officer in me, favoring disclosure over secrecy?
     
  19. USNAco2019hopeful

    USNAco2019hopeful Member

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    Truly you won't know to you apply, as I've learned people 'more competitive' than me have been declined, BUT people 'less competitive' then me have gotten in. You just wont know until you receive the final TWE or BFE
     
  20. Memphis9489

    Memphis9489 Parent

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    I think everybody would agree (even the Naval Academy) that there is a subjective element to the admissions process. It's difficult to give specific reasons why a candidate was not accepted other than: "We thought there were other, better qualified candidates." I mean, how can you argue with that?

    And, since the service academies have geographic restrictions imposed upon them, undoubtedly, there are going to be instances where a candidate earns an appointment from one district/state who may not have as impressive credentials as a candidate from another district/state who was rejected.

    Should all universities be compelled to tell every applicant who asks the reason they were not accepted?

    Should employers have to explain to interviewees why they didn't get the job? I know some do; but they should be compelled to do so?

    I don't think so.

    If compelled to do so, all they would have to do is say something wishy-washy like, "We just didn't think John Doe was the best fit for this school."

    Again, how can you argue with that? What is gained?
     

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