Tips and suggestions please?

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by GlacierNote, Feb 19, 2016.

  1. GlacierNote

    GlacierNote Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2016
    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    4
    Hello! I am currently a junior in high school, and I'm hoping to enter the Class of 2021 at USNA. I applied to NASS already and now I'm just waiting. I am aware that the whole application process for USNA begins in April, so like many, I am beginning my roller coaster journey. Since the "whole person" is looked at, I was wondering if I'd have at least a shot at being offered an appointment (I know this is in no way a guarantee, but I just want some opinions:)). Below are my stats:

    9th Grade:
    Physics 1: B
    Advanced Algebra (Algebra 2): A-
    Humanities (English combined with history): B+

    10th Grade:
    English: C-
    World History 2: D-
    Spanish 1: A-
    AP Chinese: A-
    Geometry: A
    Chemistry 1 Honors: 98
    NJROTC: A-

    I have not taken the SAT yet, but my PSAT scores are math: 620, and reading + writin:g 670, totaling for 1290 out of 1520. Since I have not completed my junior year yet, I'll just list my classes: AP Chemistry, Computer Science, Precalculus Honors, English, Spanish 2, U.S. History 2.

    My school does not offer honors credit for English, history, or language classes. However, there are AP courses available for those classes.

    Extracurricular:
    I have never looked into the USNA until about a month ago, so I haven't prepared myself for it and therefore I am extremely lacking in extracurricular activities.

    NJROTC: I'm on drill team during sophomore year as well as this year (unavailable during freshmen year since I was at a different school), but I hold no leadership position.

    I'm planning to work in the summer, and most likely during my senior year. I haven't played any sports, but I am looking into the spring sports now, and will play a fall and/or winter and/or spring sport next year too.

    In terms of "tips and suggestions", I'd like to know what factors go into consideration when admissions is deciding whether or not to offer an appointment. For example, are females more preferred than males? Does race play a role? What if the applicant is the first to go to college? Does it matter if the applicant's family is wealthy or poor? Citizen by birth vs. naturalized citizen?

    In my case, should I stick to one sport and do my best in that sport (I won't be on varsity anyways since I'll be just starting) or should I play a sport every season? What kinds of leadership positions are the SA looking for that can be done outside of school-related activities (e.g. manager at work, lots of community service hours)? Should I join clubs? For jobs, is there a specific field that I should work in?

    I will aim for a leadership role in NJROTC next year (very likely since many senior cadets are leaving the program), but I'm not counting on being the class president due to the fact that that position is usually fulfilled by someone "popular" and well-known.

    I'm sorry for such a long post. :oops: I tend to overthink and over-worry, and I'd like to get as much information on my hands as possible. I know I have a lot of questions and to be honest, I am satisfied if just a few is answered. The overall question is just: How can I improve my chances? Thank you all for reading and helping!
     
  2. ClimberGirl

    ClimberGirl Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2015
    Messages:
    187
    Likes Received:
    80
    You already know by your post how you can improve... Spots, leadership, extra curriculars. Go to boys/girls state if you can!
     
    time2 and GlacierNote like this.
  3. brovol

    brovol Member

    Joined:
    May 26, 2015
    Messages:
    836
    Likes Received:
    556
    The biggest score items are sat/ACT scores, class standing, leadership positions, athletics (particularly varsity level), and the CFA. Other things matter, but this are big. That D- might keep you out if you don't bring it up a lot. So work on your grades, and work on Sat/ACT. Math and English particularly. Take the tests as many times as you can. Play varsity sports. If you can become a captain, that's big. Run for leadership positions on student counsel or NHS.

    Those really aren't tips, but kind of the basics.
     
  4. MABlue

    MABlue Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2016
    Messages:
    203
    Likes Received:
    118
    I second brovol on taking tests multiple times. Also, the PSAT gives you a decent judge on SAT ability, and where you can improve. 1300/1600 and above would be good scores to shoot for. Also, as long as the D- isn't a major trend, I don't think the SA will immediately disqualify you. Sometimes, it may depend on the class. I had the equivalent of a D in a class on Aristotle's Philosophy and Logic my sophomore year, and was very worried about this. My AC told me that since it was a very specific course that USNA doesn't see often, they would overlook it, seeing as I had no other D's on my transcript. History on the other hand, is a course USNA expects you to take, so that may be an issue. They also look for upward trajectory.
     
    GlacierNote and Stonewall like this.
  5. Dadx4

    Dadx4 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2015
    Messages:
    105
    Likes Received:
    48
    Score in the 30s on ACT or 700s on SAT in M/E. ACT/SAT is the single most important screening tool for admissions committees IMO. Start taking SAT/ACT now. Take every available test until satisfied with score.
     
    GlacierNote likes this.
  6. brovol

    brovol Member

    Joined:
    May 26, 2015
    Messages:
    836
    Likes Received:
    556
    That is what I have surmised as well.

    As between the ACT vs. SAT though, I think the ACT is better to take for any school which super-scores, but particularly for USNA, because the ACT is so compartmentalized with the four sections; and in the case of USNA, since it takes only the math and English, you can focus only on those subparts, which is only half the exam.

    With the ACT in general, you can get a great score in only one or two sections on one test, then maybe improve on only one or two sections on other tests, but since only the best sub-scores are taken, your composite may never be that great, but your super score might be. With the SAT, there are only two sub-scores, and the English, science, and reading are all on one part, with one score. Thus, if you are great at English, or even just lucky on the English questions, but perform lousy on the rest of the stuff in that section, you will not get a great sub-score on the SAT, but you would on the ACT.

    My sons best composite was 31, but got his math up to a 34 on one test, and English to 31 on another. He hated the science section, and generally did lousy on it, but due to some grace of God he got real lucky and got a 34 the third time he took it. He hated reading too, but eeked out a 30 on one test. The science and reading scored don't matter for USNA, but they did for the other academies.

    My point is that on the ACT there is a better chance of boosting an individual sub-score than there is with the SAT.
     
    GlacierNote likes this.
  7. GlacierNote

    GlacierNote Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2016
    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    4
    The problem is that this is the final grade for my World History 2 class last year. I can no longer do anything about it. I'm taking U.S. History this year and I have approximately an A-.

    In terms of sports, I'm not really expecting to be the captain or even on varsity. I haven't play a sport in the first two years of my high school career, and I didn't play a sport during the past fall and winter season either. That said, I'll be starting brand new at a sport. The only way I can see myself getting onto varsity at least is being really good at it this year despite my status as a new player.
     
  8. goforspaatz

    goforspaatz USAFA c/o 2020

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2015
    Messages:
    335
    Likes Received:
    209
    Always look at track as an option - most teams are happy to take on more. Also look at independent events (races, competitions, tournaments) and club teams that are NOT pay-to-play but competitive in team sports (soccer, rugby, lacrosse, hockey).
     
    GlacierNote likes this.
  9. GlacierNote

    GlacierNote Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2016
    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    4
    In terms of extracurricular, I did taekwondo for two years, but I stopped going because I did not like the direction the school was heading (seems to me they care less about teaching now that they have people coming in to sign up regularly. I signed up during the grand opening of the school when they had less students and less well-known) and the school was just too far. However, I'm not a black belt yet.

    P.S. Do they look at hobbies? I take photos and I'm in a band (nothing official, just a few friends gathered together).
     
  10. goforspaatz

    goforspaatz USAFA c/o 2020

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2015
    Messages:
    335
    Likes Received:
    209
    I'm a homeschooler so I can attest to using hobbies - basically, get some sort of recognition for your hobby. Enter your photos in competitions, work for your school yearbook? run it like a business? play at gigs? worship music for a religious group? get an official name for your band and locally release a few recordings? check out adjudicated solo/ensemble music events (OMEA in Ohio, other states have different names) and get a good rating...

    Be creative! As the Joker said "If you're good at something, never do it for free". If you don't do the business options, at least get recognition or endorsements for it.
     
    ClimberGirl and AROTC-dad like this.
  11. time2

    time2 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2007
    Messages:
    1,055
    Likes Received:
    267
    - Focus on the things you can control. None of the above are anything you can change so worrying about them won't improve your 'chances'.

    - Many of your replies sound like excuses for why you haven't done something. Your competition for an appointment HAVE been successful at multiple things all through high school. You need to be motivated to excel.

    - Those who excel at leadership do so because they believe they can contribute to the success of the school and/or are good at what they do. Seeking leadership positions just to make your college application look better is the wrong way to approach this.
     
    GlacierNote likes this.
  12. dkdino

    dkdino Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2015
    Messages:
    94
    Likes Received:
    32
    I believe so. When you complete the application, there will be a section where you will put down activities (most scholastic/in school). There may be a section where you can mention that. Mentioning "taekwondo" reminds me of when I almost quit. Was a first degree black belt but eventually got my second degree. What matters is your continuity and most importantly, your leadership potential and roles you take in your "hobbies." Also, I had the misconception in my high school time that I had to be the the best in everything (many clubs) but I ended up being a jack of all trades. I wasn't very mature in the sense that I was not being reasonable with what I was participating in. Tip for interviews/future application processes: expound on your experiences and connect them to your future passions! Helped me a lot.
     
    GlacierNote likes this.
  13. Letsdothis

    Letsdothis Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2015
    Messages:
    209
    Likes Received:
    113
    ="Dadx4, post: 467741, member: 26551"]Score in the 30s on ACT or 700s on SAT in M/E. ACT/SAT is the single most important screening tool for admissions committees IMO. Start taking SAT/ACT now. Take every available test until satisfied with score.


    Sorry, Dadx4, I have a tough time with this post. I think those numbers are a REALLY high bar for lots of kids and can be off-putting and intimidating. If you look at class profile, kids get into USNA with scores much lower than those. It's great if a kid can make those scores, but to put it out there as a requirement of sorts is wrong, in my opinion.
     
  14. dkdino

    dkdino Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2015
    Messages:
    94
    Likes Received:
    32
    I will say and I won't directly disagree with you but last year when I applied I only had about 600 for each section. I was personally told that my SAT scores may have adversely affected my application. Had lots of extracurriculars and leadership positions. Since 60% is based on academics (class rank/sat, etc.), I would think that a high SAT score is very important. Rank may not be as variable as SATs so an applicant can really stand out with updated SAT scores. When you mention kids that get into USNA with scores lower than top scores, they may from NAPS, recruits, URM. The SAT range is last time I saw 700/610. Only 25% got above 700. You also have to consider the average and how the SAT balanced out between the applicant (high school, NAPS, recruits, etc). If you want to increase your chances, you would want to ideally be within the 25% range or above the average which is 676. Hence Dadx4 may have been suggesting a way to improve the applicant's chance for admission by attaining a 700 sat score for each section.
     
  15. Letsdothis

    Letsdothis Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2015
    Messages:
    209
    Likes Received:
    113
    I dont disagree with you, either. I will say there's a BIG difference between 600 and a 700. If you had 680's for example, that may have been just fine.... I'm not looking for a battle here. We have no way of really knowing the magic numbers for admission.
     
  16. Dadx4

    Dadx4 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2015
    Messages:
    105
    Likes Received:
    48
    Hi. I didn't mean to discourage anyone. I was always taught that if you shoot for the moon, and miss, you'll still be among the stars. I believe that serious applicants should do everything possible to attain the highest SAT/ACT scores possible, and take them as many times as they are offered.

    GlacierNote, I'm speaking from experience. My DD has everything: GPA, varsity sports, team captain, all-state, all-conference, all-area, student government, girls state, other leadership and extracurriculars, went to NASS, etc. Excellent writeup from her BGO. She plays a national club sport requiring travel to different states during the school year, so she didn't have alot of time to study seriously. Her SATs were 600s, and she is still waiting like everybody else. Application was complete in August. If you want to stand out, make it academic! Just one Dad's opinion though.
     
    ktnatalk and GlacierNote like this.
  17. time2

    time2 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2007
    Messages:
    1,055
    Likes Received:
    267
    USNA has never published their WCS formula, the 60% quoted above relates to WP. Don't assume their formulas are exactly the same. Regardless, SAT/ACT scores are just one component of what they look for in candidates.
     
    Letsdothis likes this.
  18. Dadx4

    Dadx4 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2015
    Messages:
    105
    Likes Received:
    48
    I reread your post GlacierNote. To answer some of your questions more directly: here's what I would do in your circumstance besides ACT/SAT:

    You could show the Admissions Board that you are serious about improvement by taking another course in World History and excelling in it. It could be a formal course or a free online course like those offered through EDX. Get a certificate and make it part of your package.

    I would play any sport that you like, but don't sacrifice grades for full-time sports. Sports demonstrate your physical aptitude, leadership, and ability to function as a member of a team. Try one and see how you like it. You don't have to be a superstar. You just have to give 100% on the field or court and maintain a positive attitude.

    Apply to NASS this summer. You have until March 31st to apply. NASS is not required for admission, but I believe its a good way to show your interest, experience the USNA first hand to see if it's right for you, and to take the CFA. Start working on your CFA now!!

    Although the service academies seem to like STEM, there is no specific job field that is better than another. If you want to work this summer, find a job that satisfies your intellectual curiosity. There are many short internships available, but you have to apply soon. I think deadlines are approaching.

    NJROTC is a plus. I wish DD's school offered it.

    Hope this helps. You definitely have a chance at appointment!
     
    GlacierNote likes this.
  19. 5Day

    5Day Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2015
    Messages:
    960
    Likes Received:
    461
    Not published by USNA but back in 2003 there was a Thesis from the Navy Post Grad School "Predictors of Plebe Summer Attrition at USNA" by Michael Hollenbach in June 2003

    http://calhoun.nps.edu/bitstream/handle/10945/973/03Jun_Hollenbach.pdf?sequence=1 Page 12
    "The components of the WPM and their weighting factors are listed below (Black, 2001).
    • Highest SAT verbal score (15 percent)
    • Highest SAT math score (31 percent)
    • High school class rank (21 percent)
    • High school English and Math teacher recommendations (8 percent)
    • Extra Curricular Activity and athletic participation (10 percent)
    • Strong Interest Inventory Technical Interest Score (12 percent)
    • Strong Interest Inventory Career Interest Score (3 percent)"

    I am sure the evaluation criteria has been tweaked over time, but as you can see the scoring is highly skewed towards academics.
     
    GlacierNote likes this.
  20. 5Day

    5Day Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2015
    Messages:
    960
    Likes Received:
    461
    @GlacierNote I don't know if it is too late but you should consider attending Boys/Girls State. It is highly regarded by all the SA, and it could provide opportunities for leadership positions.
     
    GlacierNote likes this.

Share This Page