Bonus points ?


10-Year Member
5-Year Member
Jun 28, 2008
I have a question about bonus points. My son is in the process of applying to the USNA and I recently talked to an admissions officer to see how strong my sons packet is and the officer said his packet was "competitive" whatever that means. He did say that he has 3000 bonus points and wouldn't go into much detail other than they were in allotments of 500 a shot.

Question: Are bonus points on a scale from 0-10,000 0-100,000? How many are a lot of bonus points ?

My son attended NASS Session 2 and admissions said he did "outstanding".
I would assume this was in physical part as other areas really wouldn't be able to be evaluated.

I would like to get a feel if he has a good chance at being accepted from knowledgable participants on this forum.
Yours is the first mention I've heard of bonus points. I never heard of them when my son was going through this last fall.
So much of this process depends on so many things. For example, where do you live? Are you in a highly competetive area (i.e. Maryland)? How hard will it be to get a nomination for him? In my district, the congressman tries to give one nom to everyone who qualifies...some years he can, based on numbers, give to more than one academy...this year he could not. Many of these candidates also had noms from senators, too. Some areas have too many applicants and that does not happen. Another thing to consider: is your son an exceptional athlete? Could he possibly be a "blue chip" recruit? Has he contacted coaches?
There is so much to this on so many levels...if you are confident he will qualify scholastically, medically, and physically, he has a chance. The rest will depend on the nomination process and how strong a candidate he is compared to the others in your area.

Good luck!
As I understand it, candidates are given number scores and offers of appointment are generally determined based on these scores. Points are awarded for everything. You get points for being an Eagle Scout, for doing a lot of pullups, for being ranked high in your class, for being the child of a military person, for doing well at NASS (students are evaluated), for getting outstanding teacher recs, for being a team captain, and on and on and on. Not all activities qualify for the same number of points.

While USNA CGO knows how points are allocated, most of the world -- including BGOs -- does not. I believe the point system was first discussed in a book written by a former USNA professor who served on the Admissions Committee for many years. I honestly don't recall the name of the book, but I'm sure someone here does.

The bottom line is that you can and cannot control your point total. You can control it in that, the stronger your packet is across the board, the more points you'll get. However, you can't control it in that you can't really set out to maximize points per se and some opportunities to earn points are beyond your control.

Thus, as with all advice on this forum, just do your best all around. It sounds both easy and trite, but it truly is the best way to succeed. There really and truly is no magic, no hidden secret.
Thank-you for both of your replies. I've read many of your posts USNA1985 and they are always helpful. I was just trying to get some inside scoop if possible.

I was going to post his stats but that could be seen as bragging and also the fact that admissions already has his stats and they are the ones that count. I will admit that I have compared his stats to others posted on this board or the CC board.

We just stumbled onto this site within the last week and enjoy everyones thoughts.

Reading the the pros and cons of reading Reef Points before coming to Plebe Summer was a dandy!

Thanks to all who serve our country.
I'm also a parent of someone applying to 2013. My son also did very well on the athletic test at NASS 2. He maxed on all but 2 of the tests and just missed those.

I'm not a grad and do not know everything. But one thing I have heard again and again (from alumini and BGOs) is if you are parent let your son be the main contact with Admissions. They look down on applicants whose parents are the ones calling admissions they are trying to screen out kids whose parents are pushing them into applying. If there is a serious problem you should certainly call but make your son be the first line of communications with the academy.
Parents involvement

Yes, I have given consideration to the fact that my son is the main contact with the USNA. I also feel that as a parent there are questions that need to be asked and now is the time, not after the fact or when he is admitted. My son was pumped up after SS and I wanted an unbiased, honest assessment of his abilities from someone other than my son (call it my interest).

My call to admissions was just that....they were courteous, professional and gave me answers to my questions. I didn't detect anything negative from them and I'm sure if I was a pain they would have enlightened me to the fact.

It was one call, possibly my only call but I feel at times a 17 year old kid just doesn't always know WHAT questions to ask let alone be the one to ask. If I want to know what is an ACE loan and how much? that is my question and I should ask. If my son wants to know when is "Steak and Lobster Night" or do they serve "Lucky Charms and Egg McMuffins" for breakfast then that is his question and he should ask.

As a concerned parent I don't think applicants are looked down upon for a few reasonable questions concerning information that is not readily available to parents. Yes I have read the same posts regarding parents involvement but I would rather ask now at the risk of offending someone than don't ask and be sorry later. Just my opinion.

Thanks to all who serve our country!
My daughter is a 2011 USAFA cadet. She was accepted at USMA first, USAFA second, and withdrew her USNA package just prior to the offer they were about to extend. (She didn't want to make anyone else wait longer). She attended NASS two years ago and did very good there too.

I am retired AF and served for 21 years. I had several contacts with USNA during her admissions process, primarily because we live in Nevada and she was in school during their business hours.

The BGO was a wonderfull man and extremely helpfull. I am not sure that is always the case though. Point is do what you think is right as a parent.
As a concerned parent I don't think applicants are looked down upon for a few reasonable questions concerning information that is not readily available to parents. Yes I have read the same posts regarding parents involvement but I would rather ask now at the risk of offending someone than don't ask and be sorry later. Just my opinion.

I absolutely understand your position I just wanted to pass some advice people have given to me about USNA in particular. My son is a recruited athlete and we are having to deal with this issue with respect to USNA and other colleges. We are letting him take the lead but we are watching very carefully (making sure he does not sign or commit to something unless we know about it). I guess the admissions board at USNA is a bit of a mystery to all of us even those that went there. Good luck and maybe our kids will be there next year at this time.
The issue of parental involvement in the admissions process is always a tricky one -- and one on which opinions will vary. The following are my thoughts as someone who went through the process (albeit many years ago :frown:) and someone who's been a BGO for quite a few years now.

The PRIMARY contact with CGO and, especially, your BGO should be the candidate. Let me start with the BGO. I have had parents send the occasional email (usually in response to an introduction from me) indicating their child is overseas, at a long-term camp, etc. -- i.e., why he/she can't reply personally at that time. That, IMO, is fine. But I would be very shocked to see a parent being the primary communicator with me and would tend to view that unfavorably. I realize kids are busy, but email works at all hours and calls can be made in the evening, on WEs, etc. Thus, my strong recommendation is that, unless the candidate is away from email for an extended period, parents should stay away from the BGO.

As for CGO, I'm not sure it makes much difference who calls, provided that the parent doesn't become a "regular" caller. I honestly don't know what type of notation CGO makes (if any) regarding calls about a candidate, but you don't want to have the reputation in the office of, "Mrs. Smith is calling again for her son."

The reason for the above, of course, is that too much parental involvement causes the CGO and BGO to wonder whether the primary interest in USNA lies with the candidate or his/her parents. And little scares the Admissions staff more than to think a candidate is being "pushed" to attend a SA by a parent or other family/friend.

So, yes, the occasional call about finances, etc. by a parent is ok. But calls/emails regarding the application packet, deadlines, interviews, etc. should typically be initiated by the candidate. For his/her sake.
As a parent, I'll weigh in too, inzane99. Don't do much of anything except in response to what USNA asks. That's a dictum any parent needs to remember.

At our girl's BGO interview - he asked to meet with her, AND us, at his home over a family dinner. OK, we had a great time together and at the end, when the real 'interview' questions began, we sat there and said NOTHING, unless directly asked. I suspect this, too was part of his point: to see how much was the young person's committment, and how much the parent was involved in the decision. And with the BGO and my husband both USNA grads, it would have been very easy to wade off into shared stories between them about their common experiences on the Yard. But we made sure that didn't happen.

Second interesting note for you. "Outstanding" you reported your call inferred from your son's NASS report is actually an actual word used by the evaluation of the NASS cadre for their candidates. Last summer our girl was a NASS cadre and in her briefing they were instructed how to do their evals....and they were limited in how to use the term "outstanding" in ranking their candidates. So that is a very good word to hear.

Third....once our girl completed her NASS, we parents got phone calls from USNA admissions. At first I was hesitant to respond - yes, yes, I was thrilled, but also confused. Why are they asking for ME? and not my girl? But the Admissions folk wanted to ask about the DoDMERB process and whether we had an appointment for that yet. Mind you, this is July between Junior/Senior year. But we are always an 'early bird' kind of family, and it had happened that the paperwork, and appt. date was set for mid-July - a fact that I was able to report to the Admissions folk on the phone. "Great", was their cryptic answer, and thanked me, saying goodbye. A tantalyzing sign that already they were reviewing our girl's application - but still one we knew better than to call back and ask more questions about. So there are times USNA wants to hear from parents - but it is always on their terms.

So as a parent, I was always 'in the background', helping with scheduling issues for my girl - and looking for ways to take pressure off her incredibly daunting and grueling days. .....In fact - she was the last of our 5 to make her college plans. As parents we were big on increasing the responsibilities of our kids through their high school years for things like making contributions to the family expenses through their jobs, doing chores that were appropriate, managing finances more on their own, etc. But with this kiddo - she had 18 units of high school, including 5 AP classes, varsity swim with its many hours of pool time before and after school, Civil Air Patrol Command Leadership and all the hours to devote to that responsibility AND did I mention homework? If she got 5 hours sleep a night throughout senior year on the weekdays, that was a bonus. Crazy, crazy and not something I would recommend for every young person. But this was her quest: to land a USNA Appointment and we figured if she couldn't handle the load in her senior year of high school with our support she certainly wouldn't be able to as a Plebe 3000 miles away.

My advice for parents is take all that desire/energy/effort you have to naturally want to aid your child in the USNA admissions process and see how you can channel that energy into the behind the scenes support roles. Here are examples, all of which we did and I must add we did NOT do these with our other children, all of whom went to great schools including UCLA and UCSD....but did not have the need to supply the things USNA's application was looking for in their candidates: Lighten up on their chores, OK, let their room turn into a bomb-went-off-in-it zone without making comments. Don't hassle them about late night homework hours and their need to sleep. Encourage them not to fret about a job right now - and provide them with an allowance. Give them specials like Energy drinks, show up for their sports events, music events, etc. and cheer wildly for them ( in spite of their faces and groans!), and even offer to do their laundry once in a while if you see they really really have worked hard and could use one thing off their shoulders. Wash their car while they sleep in on that rare saturday morning moment of rest. Allow them a time to hang out with friends when you wish they were home with you - but they need to feel still connected to their peers. At one point when my girl had hand written her 12 page essay and got so sick she couldn't raise her head off the pillow I stayed up late and typed it for her so it could be turned in by a friend the next day at school. She did all the heavy lifting - all I did was recopy it for her...Those are the kinds of things and many more like it that we parents can do for our kids in this last year of high school - that gives them the space and time to stay focused on their academics, their sports and their needs for leadership, volunteering, and even church committments. This is not recommended for all kids, or all families, or all circumstances - but in our family's case - it was the best way we found we could support our girl and she could put maximum effort into the things she could - to have a great senior year and strive for a USNA Appointment. Thank God in our case - it worked out great.

May it also happen to your son and your family!!
OK here is the deal

After rereading this thread I wondered why I called the Admissions office in the first place. Here is the deal. A few days after NASS, admissions called our home and my wife answered the phone. They wanted to talk to my son but he was at strength and conditioning workouts for football at the time. My wife called me at work and said USNA called and maybe I should find out what they wanted. I came home and called Admissions and they told me the nature of the call and we struck up a conversation and I asked a few questions. Soon my son walked in from workouts and I turned the phone over to him. If Admissions had reached my son first I probably would not have called nor had my questions answered. So it worked out for the good!

If USNA calls again I might ask a few more questions but as far as taking the lead....junior is the lead dog. When other colleges call I ask them questions too. As far as determining whos' idea and who wants to attend the USNA I think Admissions can figure that one out when they meet my son.

BTW I haven't spoken to my son's BGO and don't plan to but if the BGO calls and I answer the phone....well....just kidding.

I have enough people calling here asking questions about my son without initiating too many calls. I thank everyone for their input and do want to learn as much as possible about the USNA admitting process along with others. Have I defended my conversation with Admissions adequately? If not reread "Lucky Charms" post.

Thanks to all who serve our country!