As the opening date for applying to NASS approaches, if you are a candidate please consider the following: It is important to understand that, for USNA at least (I can't speak for the other SAs), your qualifications are NOT the only thing that is important in whether you are selected. NASS is a recruiting tool with one of the goals being to introduce USNA to potential applicants who might not otherwise know of it or know much about it. As part of this process, USNA may "target" certain schools, cities, communities, etc. where USNA has traditionally not been well represented among applicants. Thus, a highly qualified student from a school, district, community, etc. that typically sends a large number of candidates to USNA may not be offered an NASS slot while a potentially "lesser" qualified candidate elsewhere may get the slot. This is why we tell people that not being selected for NASS does NOT mean that you shouldn't apply to USNA, that you won't get in, that USNA doesn't think you're competetive, etc. Likewise, being accepted to NASS does NOT mean that you're a shoe-in for an appointment, that you'll get an appointment, that USNA thinks you're better than your peers who didn't get an NASS slot, etc. Finally, attending any SA's summer program (and doing ok while there) gives you a small "bump" in admissions -- but you get similar bumps for things such as team captain, Eagle Scout, club president, being a military "brat," etc. Not attending a summer program is NOT a negative from an admissions standpoint b/c USNA realizes there are many reasons people can't go (finances, sports camps, long school year, etc.). That said, if you get accepted and you can afford to attend, not attending only hurts you b/c you miss out on a lot of information about your possible future. Bottom line . . . if possible, apply to NASS. If you get accepted and you can afford to go, GO. But if you don't get accepted, there may be reasons that are not directly related to you. So, if you don't get accepted and still want to attend USNA, APPLY!!