As an observer of the process now for 3 cycles (and 2 appointments) I am convinced that in the end each student interested in becoming a midshipman at USNA focus entirely, and without distraction, to developing oneself as a future leader, learner, and physically fit individual. It may be controversial to say, but in my opinion, much of the advice offered on these forums from supposed "experts" is bunk. You know a qualified candidate when you "see it" and my sense now over several years is that the admissions staff has figured it out. It isn't a specific GPA, or even an SAT score. When they advise to build a full person portfolio, or "package" it is just that. Develop as a rounded individual with a passion to lead, perform and commit. When you become a midshipman know that your peers will look for this, expect it, even demand it. Keep in mind that when you graduate from USNA you will take responsibilities, serious as life and death itself. Children of parents like me will depend upon you to safeguard the well-being of the nation, but also, the lives of their sons and daughters. Don't game the admissions process or try to 'figure it out' for something other than what it is--to select those that all of us will, entrust so much. Develop yourself as a thoughtful, committed individual. Ignore the gamesmanship and shallow application maneuvers. I suspect that the admissions staff has an appreciation for what is at stake, and selects accordingly. The best advice--take a few moments, and look at yourself in the mirror--look at the person there. Is he or she willing, ready and able to put it all on the line for others, a country, other people? If that's you, and you can demonstrate it, count on an admission.