My son will graduate a year early from high school in spring 2012, and this decision made somewhat late in the year has put him beyond the application deadlines for the congressional nomination process to USNA. My son instead intends to apply to the USNA after spending a year in college in place of his final year at high school. (There were many deciding factors to this, but he will be eighteen in September 2012 and his high school is unfortunately not a positive environment in many ways.) His credentials are excellent: 4.0+ GPA, several leadership positions including class president and regional governorship in Key Club, captain of two sports teams, club participation, excellent SATs, etc etc. He has letters of recommendation from his principal and teachers, he's ready to go except for the nominations. The only nomination application that is not past due would be from the Vice Presidential office. He has applied to both VMI and VA Tech (Corps of Cadets) and I would expect that he will be accepted to both. Questions: Would one or the other of the above schools be better preparation for a subsequent application to USNA? Would one be looked upon more favorably than another? Should he go ahead and submit the preliminary application to USNA, understanding that it will not be successful at this late date? Thanks in advance for any insight.