Touchy Topic for USNA Personal Statement?

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by Elena, Jun 18, 2015.

  1. Elena

    Elena New Member

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    For the personal statement that USNA requires, the prompt is to write about a particular life experience that shaped my character/integrity. I want to write about how I had to go through knee surgery after I tore my ACL, but I checked on the DoDMERB medical qualifications and any injury to the ligaments of the knee is grounds for disqualification of academy admission. The injury is overlooked if 12 months have elapsed and I have been deemed physically recovered (which I have), but I might have to get a waiver for my medical exam to get past this. I was wondering if it would still be a good idea to write about my experience with surgery and recovery even though the injury may be the reason why my application isn't qualified and could thus prompt further questioning on behalf of the USNA admissions board. Thanks in advance for the advice!
     
  2. 2018midmom

    2018midmom Member

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    Did you or will you disclose it on DODMERB? You should.

    If the experience impacted your character/integrity (and the question you posed could call it into question) then you should write about it. I would suggest you not write about being conflicted about disclosing it.
     
  3. Spud

    Spud BGO

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    Pick something else to write about. Don't go poking a hornet's nest for no reason.....why make a difficult process harder? Surely you can come up with something else that influenced your thinking and character.
     
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  4. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    If you want to write about the surgery and recovery process as adversity, then write about it. USNA will either see you passed DODMERB or are in need a waiver (as long as its a waiverable condition... ACL is). If you application is found to be competitive they will submit you for a waiver. In all honesty, if you have have full clearance from your ortho, are playing sports now, do well on your CFA I really don't see an issue getting a waiver. Probably half the women I knew at USNA has ACL surgery in high school. As a basketball player, this is pretty common in women. The soccer team also has pretty high percentage with ACL repairs too.
     
  5. Elena

    Elena New Member

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    I plan on disclosing it on my DODMERB, mostly because it shouldn't affect my application, being that it happened over a year ago. But you never know, I may have to waive the injury after disclosing it. I've looked to many people for advice and most have said not to write about it, so I want to make sure I won't be jeopardizing my application in any way.
     
  6. Elena

    Elena New Member

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    That's my other line of thinking. I don't want to hinder the process in any way. Perhaps the reason why I'm so hesitant is that I've already drafted an excellent personal statement for the Academy using my ACL comeback story. If worse comes to worse, I'll trash the essay and start anew.
     
  7. USAFA83GradWife

    USAFA83GradWife Member

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    First off, you have to disclose it on the DoDMERB medical. Just because it happened over a year ago doesn't mean it didn't happen. DO NOT LIE BY OMISSION! That will be seen as much of an honor violation as an outright lie.

    Secondly, my DD tore her ACL in her rising junior year in high school. She received a waiver for both USNA & USAFA. Just make sure you have all your medical records in hand because DoDMERB will ask for them to verify fitness.

    Thirdly, go ahead and write about it. My DD did. BUT, don't write about the surgery and recovery. Write about how you overcame the personal hardship. What did you do while in recovery? How did this change you? What about this particular event made you a better person?
     
  8. USAFA83GradWife

    USAFA83GradWife Member

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    So you wouldn't disclose it if you thought it would affect your application?

    More than likely it won't even need a waiver. They may ask for a remedial which basically means that they will ask for medical records.
     
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  9. dakine

    dakine Member

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    I suggest carefully reading the Mission of the Naval Academy before you start writing the essay. You have unique life experiences that demonstrate your character and leadership qualities - make sure you include those in the essay regardless of the topic.
     
  10. Elena

    Elena New Member

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  11. USAFA83GradWife

    USAFA83GradWife Member

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    No worries! Just wanted to point out that how you say something is just as important as what you say.
     
  12. Elena

    Elena New Member

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    Thank you again for the advice! Best of luck to your family!
     
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  13. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    I'm pretty sure DODMERB will ask you to report all of your surgeries. So you will have to report it. Agree that, if you're fully recovered, it shouldn't be an issue.

    In terms of your essay, I always advise candidates to write about something meaningful to them (not what they think USNA wants to hear). This event obviously was very important in your life. Thus I suggest you write about it.
     
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  14. Midwest

    Midwest Member

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    Perhaps you might want to write two or three life experience essays before making a decision. You might be surprised to find out you have several really powerful stories to share. :)
     
  15. Brawny77

    Brawny77 Member

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    I say go ahead and write about it. It shows your ability to overcome hardship. and, if you answer the medical questions honestly, they are gonna find out about it anyway. If you don't answer them honestly (not saying you wouldn't) you don't need to be there anyway. I am betting you will need the waiver no matter what but you should have no trouble getting it.
     
  16. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    My vote is maybe.

    I can't/won't say yea or nay because it all comes down to me about how it impacted you.

    How did it impact you?
    ~Did you find out that you can fight through the pain that was unbearable because your goal was to be you at 100% again?
    ~Did you find that you relied on others? Thinking... military supporting those that could not support themselves. Or teamwork required in the military, be it enlisted and officers or USNA and their sister branches.

    If your answer is never in my life I felt pain or not playing a sport, well maybe this is not what you want to write about. If it is watching the chance to play your sport while recuperating, and losing a social circle because you couldn't be part of the team, than that is different impo.

    DoDMERB is a medical clearing house for commissioning sources. As others have stated, this is moot from will it harm me or a hornets nest. Either they will Q you or DQ you. The topic of your essay has no impact on their decision.
    ~ Even if DQd, it will go to the Navy's Docs, they will only look at your medical records. It will be a medical decision.

    The assumption that they will contact DoDMERB and say: Look at this kid hard is a fallacy as far as I am concerned for many reasons.
    ~ No. 1 is that if USNA is like USAFA, the applicant could become a candidate and have the exam before they submit their essay.
    ~ No. 2 they have to read their essay, and contact DoDMERB. They have @16,000 files that are opened annually. That is a lot of leg work, knowing at the same time, part of the 3 Qs is DoDMERB.

    Best of luck.

    OBTW, I think you should throw most of our opinions out the window, including mine, except for posters that are BGO/ALO/FFRs. They are trained in this world. The rest of us are looking at our own anecdotal experience.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2015
  17. dcmom3

    dcmom3 Member

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    I was speaking with an admissions counselor to summarize in her words "If I have to read one more ACL story I am going to scream" I do know someone at USNA that
    wrote their essay on this topic. Choice is yours best of Luck
     
  18. Elena

    Elena New Member

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    Thank you all- this is one of many sources I've used to make my decision (which is currently still pending). I appreciate all of your advice and the time that you've taken to respond. I'll keep this thread updated with my final decision in the coming weeks. Best of luck to others working on their Academy applications!
     

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