Applying to USNA for the first-time after one-year in college


New Member
Feb 3, 2019
For most of high school, I thought I wanted to be an engineer in the private sector, so most of my resume and extracurriculars were geared toward that (i.e. advanced math, physics, math clubs, some sports). It wasn't until hearing about a friend of mine get into USNA that I began looking into making the military a career and discovered that that was what I really wanted to do and that, after visiting, USNA was where I wanted to do it. However, I've already been accepted ED to Rice University and the acceptance is binding (i.e. I have to attend). Although Rice is a great school, I still have my mind set on USNA and am thinking about applying during my freshman year. My grades in high school are stellar (valedictorian), but I didn't do sports all of high school; when I get to Rice, I plan on joining NROTC, the rowing team, the sailing team, the political and data science clubs, getting involved with the public policy think tank on campus, doing community service, and taking courses similar to plebes. How likely would it be for me to get an appointment with NROTC and congressional nominations after one semester at Rice? Would USNA hold it against me that I didn't find my interest in the Navy until late in high school? If so, should I instead wait to apply during my sophomore year at Rice to build up my resume and involvement?
There are many college applicants, and re-applicants. It’s perfectly fine you didn’t find your path until later.

Go to and read the info for college applicants. Be sure you are taking a plebe-like schedule and killing the grades all around. NROTC is good, and pick and choose other activities for quality, not quantity.

Go for it. If you don’t get an offer, you will have tried, and you can still attack again until you age out - or continue with NROTC, also a fine way to go.
I think that you have the correct mindset of attending an academy and it sounds like something you really want. I say go for it because it is an amazing opportunity and adding that extra year of experience will make you different from other candidates. Just a heads up that you don’t want to overload your schedule because NROTC is not just a club, it is a commitment that will lead to your eventual commission in the Navy. The Academy won’t hold it against you that you weren’t interested in high school because many candidates don’t start getting interested until later in their high school careers. The Navy is looking for well-rounded candidates who have been involved in sports and volunteer activities and have put in a lot of time to these respective activities. It’s not a problem that you haven’t done any sports, but sports help build team bonding and leadership which are two skills essential for a midshipman at the Naval Academy. Hopefully you have done volunteer activities that you engage in regularly because your interviewers will be curious about the gap in your resume if these actions are absent. It will be a competitive process because you won’t get into the academy solely on good grades/SAT scores, you have to be a solid, well-rounded candidate, who has exemplified solid leadership.

Just a heads up that most rowing teams practice everyday either before class or after class and most sailing programs practice three to four times a week. Also, rowing has a very steep learning curve and is much more physically demanding than you might think.

Do your best at Rice and best of luck on your application process next year!

Go Navy! Beat Army!
Wow! That seems like a lot to take on during freshman year in college when you will adjusting to a new academic situation, and your participation in NROTC. However, if you think you can tackle the sports as well, then go for it. I would think an outstanding PFT score would suffice to prove physical fitness but the sports would be a helpful addition if you can swing it without bringing down your grades. Getting good grades is your #1 job while participating in NROTC and it will give you some chance to experience a military life-style. You may find you want to stay with NROTC at Rice so be open to that. Many fine naval officers come from NROTC programs.

EDIT: Reach out to the NROTC unit now so you can get lined up for summer orientation at Great Lakes. I think it's two weeks. Many college graduates don't get interested in the military until late during their college years; or even after; so don't think you are starting behind schedule.