What it takes to become principal nominee

Discussion in 'Nominations' started by gridironkid, Apr 4, 2013.

  1. gridironkid

    gridironkid Member

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    I am trying to become a principal nominee, what will my GPA need to be and SAT/ACT scores. I am attending college at the moment (11th District of VA)

    THANKS!!
     
  2. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    What it takes to become a principal nominee depends more on what process your congressman and senators follow. Some nominate principal nominees, most do not but let the Academy decide. Other than that be well rounded and the best you can be academically, athletically and in leadership.
     
  3. H2Opolodude

    H2Opolodude Member

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    GPA and test scores are important, but I don't think they have quite as much weight as really good extra-curriculars, leadership experience, and having a good interview. Plus, it really depends on your competition.
     
  4. nn139

    nn139 USAFA Appointee 2017

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    The best advice I have heard for receiving an appointment is to strive for perfection. Excel in everything to the best of your abilities.

    "Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss it you will land among the stars." - Les Brown
     
  5. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    VA is highly, highly, highly competitive...did I say highly competitive?

    VA is known to not hand out multiple noms because the MOCs talk to spread the wealth since they have so many applicants for a nom. I think I have read that about 750 apply for the Sen. noms. That says it all.

    Additionally, in District 11, you have 1 school that can be a huge factor. TJJHS. This school is a magnet, that USNWR has removed from the public school rankings to private, and it still ranks in the top 10 in the nation. Fairfax avg SAT scores are in the 1300's.

    I know in Cantor's district, many times he gives principal to 2nd time applicants. I know that is not your district, but just illustrating how MOCs can think. However, it stresses what kinnem stated. It is the MOC's choice. Connolly is not Cantor. Plus, if they give a prin last yr that doesn't mean next yr they will.


    As others have stated you need to excel in every aspect. That being said, don't get tied up/wrapped around on the principal nom., be happy to just get a nom, because to get a nom you have already accomplished a lot.

    Personally, I think for VA 11 they may not give prin. for a reason....many applicants are Presidential too. Instead of using the prin. and being charged, they can go un-ranked and some of them will get appointed with the Presidential.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2013
  6. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    As kinnem said, there's nothing you can do per se to become a "Principal" nominee. It's 100% up to your representative/senator.

    In it's simplest form:
    1. If your representative/senator DOESN'T do the "Principal" method, then there is absolutely NOTHING you can do. If they don't do that method, then forget it. It doesn't exist. You can't have it. Therefor, there's nothing YOU can do to get one.
    2. If your representative/senator DOES do the "Principal + Ranked" or "Principal + Competitive", then what you have to do to get that principal, is be the BEST candidate of the 10 that the representative/senator is going to nominate; THEN, hope they truly put you as the principal.

    Here's the problem. There are approximately 3,645 reasons a person, including your MOC, might make the decision they do. And you have no say so over their decision. For instance: Maybe they have a criteria in their application where they rank you in 5 areas. If you are the #1 in ALL 5 areas, they give you the "Principal" nomination. On the other hand, they might see an applicant and say: This kid is the PERFECT candidate and potential cadet/officer. GPA, EC, Sports, etc... are PERFECT....... BUT, they suck at standardized tests..... They have an average of 26 ACT. They took it 6 times..... While above the minimum standard, there's NO WAY the academy will probably give him an appointment...... I'M going to give him a "Principal" nomination, because I know he's the BEST candidate on my list, and I'm NOT GOING TO LET 1 TEST screw his/her future".

    Se where I'm going with this? When a MOC decides to give a PRINCIPAL nomination, they have to decide WHY 1 particular applicant/nominee should receive an appointment over the other 9..... And that reason could change EACH YEAR because the new pool of nominees is different.

    In the enlisted world, promotions through the NCO world is a combination of tests, performance reports, decorations/medals, etc.... They all add up to points. The HIGHEST POINTS get the promotions that cycle. But they have something called a STEP PROMOTION. This is where a commander, squadron, group, etc... can nominate someone for an automatic promotion. Basically; here you go. You are promoted. The reason an NCO might receive a Step Promotion might be because the commander/squadron, etc... believes s/he is indeed the best, but they really suck at the standardized tests, and the commander doesn't feel they should be held back. Maybe they just came back from the middle east and while they were there, they saved someone's life or some other heroic action. There's a lot of reasons.

    That's the same thing with a principal nomination. First; you have to know that the MOC DOES the Principal method. If they don't, then it's a moot point. Second; assuming they DO the principal, there's a lot of reasons the MOC may choose one individual over another for a principal nomination. If I'm the MOC, and the BEST NOMINEE I have, happens to have an LOA (Letter of Assurance) from the academy, then I will definitely rank my list, but that person is going to be #10. S/He is last. With an LOA and a nomination, they are 100% guaranteed an appointment. But some MOC's might base it totally on the #1 applicant's SCORES. Some may say #1 applicant is overall. Some might think #1 is who THEY believe has the most POTENTIAL. The only advice anyone can give you is to do the BEST you can in ALL AREAS. Academics, tests, EC, sports, leadership, volunteering, etc.... Do your BEST and hope for the best.
     
  7. Maplerock

    Maplerock Proud to be an American

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    Curious...

    If a MOC makes a nominee "principle" for USMMA... and they are totally qualified, are they guaranteed an appointment?


    I know that is the case for USMA, USNA and USAFA, but with only 250 or so slots at USMMA and 500+ MOC, the math doesn't work. (just theoretical, knowing full well that all MOCs would not have a principle nominee.)
     
  8. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    According to the merchant marine academy website, it says that the ACADEMY appoints candidates "Competitively". That each state has an assigned number of appointees proportionate to their state population. The academy chooses the appointee. Then, the remaining are in a pool as qualified alternates should an opening arise. This is per their website.
     
  9. time2

    time2 Member

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    If you are currently in college, one question I would expect you to be asked during the MOC interviews is why you didn't apply when in h.s.? Did you just learn about the academy (you didn't say which one(s)) you are applying to, or did you get turned down the first time you applied? Makes a difference in your approach going forward.

    As others have mentioned, some MOC don't award principal NOM's and I think it would be HUGE mistake during your interview to say your 'goal' is get the principal NOM. That could make you appear aloof and self-centered when that is exactly how you don't want to come off during those interviews.

    I would first focus on your application and making your resume the best it can be. Then go from there as you follow the process.
     
  10. MedB

    MedB Parent

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    The advice above about doing your best in every area seems spot-on.

    The only thing I can add from my DS's experiences, is that the nominating committee's and MOCs themselves he dealt with at least, really seemed to want two things beyond just great candidate qualifications...

    1) Someone with a genuine desire to serve in the armed forces as an officer. In fact, most of the "hard" questions he fielded were around this topic. He had the sense that his years in JRROTC, and the fact that he was also applying to an alternate SA and ROTC programs helped him here.


    2) Someone who demonstrates that intangibale quality that the private sector sometimes calls gravitas and the military calls command presence. You want to be seen as "that guy" or "that girl"; the one that comes across as having it all together, regardless of your scores or accomplishments. Most of the feedback he got from the committees (and a Senator) was around how he came across to them in this arena. So consider how you conduct yourself during the interview, how thoughtful your answers are, the little things you do like making eye contact, shaking hands, thanking the comittee for their time, etc all add up.

    So you should most certainly follow the advice of the experts on this forum. But after doing all the right things and trying to be your best everywhere you can, perhaps the two thoughts above might only add to your chances.

    Good luck and thank you for your desire to serve.
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2013
  11. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    For the OP -- you can't get a principal nomination. The MOC for VA11 does not use the principal nominee system and, to my knowledge, neither do the VA Senators. Any could change their approach for next year but it is unlikely they will do so.

    That said, it is not uncommon for quite a few of the 10 nominees to be offered appointments; however, the decision as to which one(s) to select is up to the SA.
     
  12. steelwhale

    steelwhale New Member

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    Can you please explain what a principal nomination actually means? We are just starting into the process? Our congressman offers a "star" nomination, which I am assuming is the same thing, but we don't know anything more than that.
     
  13. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    I hope to post a sticky on this in the next month. A principal nomination means that, if the candidate is scholastically, medically and CFA qualified, the SA MUST offer him/her an appointment -- even if it considers others on the slate to be "more qualified."
     

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