This advice will only apply to a small portion of potential USNA applicants, but is still worth tossing out there, I think. Every year the Office of Naval Research sponsors a Science and Engineering Apprenticeship Program (ONR-SEAP, for short) for high school students. Here’s the link: https://seap.asee.org/ Applications are usually due in November for spots the following summer, so the program needs to be on a student’s radar late sophomore/early junior year. There are about 25-30 sponsoring labs across the country but competition is intense; this year nearly 5000 applications for about 250-300 spots. ONR-SEAP is open to all STEM-interested high school students regardless of whether they are interested in a Service Academy. DD (appointee USNA 2020) was awarded a SEAP internship last summer and it seemed to be a “golden ticket” not only for USNA but the civilian colleges to which she applied. She ended up with a letter from the Department of the Navy recommending her to USNA, her MoC nominating sources, plus her civilian colleges. Being honest, getting an appointment to USNA seemed effortless after DD had the SEAP experience (and that letter) even though we live in an intensely competitive state. The internship can last over multiple summers, and DD would be heading back to the same lab this summer were she not reporting on I-day. For those of you who live near one of those ONR labs, ONR-SEAP is definitely worth exploring. It’s an enriching summer experience and a great way to learn about Naval technologies.