First off, I'm very interested in the Coast Guard and in particular CGA. I made a trip to New London this past summer and all I can say is wow those hills are steep........ Anyway, with CGA not accepting congressional/senatorial/VP/Presidential nominations and therefore not having to choose students from each state, which criteria do they use to choose their new swabs?? I mean, I know academics, leadership, fitness, etc. are used to weed out the students who will struggle, but it seems at the end of the day there will be a whole bunch of qualified people left. What separates the applicants? Is it the letters of recommendation? Does having someone with stars and bars write a recommendation letter carry any weight? Does knowing someone help? I have been in contact with the baseball staff, as I would like to play there, but with an admission of about 300 cadets annually, I really can't see that they are extremely worried about athletics.