Connections

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by Pierre680, May 15, 2018.

  1. Pierre680

    Pierre680 New Member

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    How well can connections help you to achieve a nomination? For example I have a relative who is a three star general in the Air Force; would this help my chances for an appointment not only to the air force academy but also to the other academies? I consider myself to be a well qualified candidate without the recommendation from him but could this give me an extra edge?
     
  2. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator 5-Year Member

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    If your relative knows you well then it can't hurt to have them write an LOR for a nomination. It probably wouldn't make a big difference, if any. Far more weight will be placed on other things,, including your interview. If your relative doesn't know you well, then I wouldn't bother asking. Just one man's opinion.
     
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  3. Old Navy BGO

    Old Navy BGO 5-Year Member

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    "Connections" are probably more relevant to Nominations than the actual Service Academy admissions. MOC are by nature, political animals, and would likely favor someone that can help them get ahead. That being said, an Air Force 3 star isn't necessarily the person they are looking to please (it usually goes the other way around). With respect to Service Academies, I can't really say connections are that great a benefit, and in some cases can hurt you. USNA does not really look for, or desire , letters of recommendation from other than Math /English teacher, and I would caution against name dropping ...some might not care, some might even be offended. That being said, I'm not naive enough to think that a well placed call from one flag officer to another flag officer wouldn't have some effect.
     
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  4. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ 10-Year Member

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    Each elected representative has his or her own method for evaluating candidates for a nomination, and their own process for what method they use (principal nom, ranked, unranked, etc.). “Connections” shouldn’t come into consideration in a fair process, right, if the goal is to identify the best-qualified candidates?

    I bet if you asked your 3-star relative this, I would hope he or she would tell you the Service needs the best-qualified individuals, not the best-related ones. Accidents of birth are not something you have worked hard to achieve.

    Now, if your conversations with this relative helped inform your desire to serve, that’s ok to mention in essays. It’s not an appreciable edge.
     
  5. time2

    time2 10-Year Member

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    ^^ I agree. If you tend to 'name drop' during your MOC interview, that could actually be a disadvantage if you come across as aloof or self-entitled.

    Getting a NOM or an appointment is less about being politically connected or who you know and more about your qualifications. Where letters of recommendation are required, it should be someone who knows you well enough to write that letter.
     
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  6. Pierre680

    Pierre680 New Member

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    From what I've heard my congressman nominates everyone who applies who is qualified and doesn't pick and choose. Whether or not this is beneficial I'm not sure. However, when my brother applied a couple years ago he received the nomination from our Congressman but was not appointed to the academy. When my relative heard he didn't get in he told my mother that we should have asked him and said "I do have some influence you know." I'm not sure if this applies to all the academies or simply the air force one, which I'm assuming he would have some influence in.
     
  7. OtB

    OtB Dont Tread On Me (No step on snake)

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    It appears that you answered your own question and exposed your hole card.
     
  8. usna1985

    usna1985 10-Year Member

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    The OP asked about noms. Each MOC specifies the individuals from whom they want LORs. Some may leave you to chose one or more recommenders; others will tell you exactly whom they should be from. Some allow extra LORs beyond those required, some do not. Be sure to start by following directions.

    As for whether the 3-Star rec will help . . . LORs generally help if they fall into two categories. First, the recommender knows you well and can really speak to your attributes from personal knowledge. Second, the recommender knows you reasonably well and is a very well connected/highly respected person. Think: current Secretary of State or Bill Gates. Sometimes you're fortunate enough to have come across these folks and no one is naïve enough to think that if you have in a meaningful way, a good word won't help.

    You said the 3-Star is a relative. Generally, LORs from relatives don't carry much weight for obvious reasons. Now, if your father is SecState, see above. :)

    As for whether having such a relative would help with the SA admissions process . . . can't speak for USAFA b/c I don't know their process. For USNA . . . I've seen where it maybe helped and where it made no difference. In the case where may have helped, candidate had worked as an intern for a well-connected 1-star Admiral who on his own made some calls (NOT at the request of the candidate but on his own b/c he was so impressed). However, this candidate was extremely well qualified in his/her own right. In the case where it made no difference (candidate was turned down), father was a 2-star Admiral. I don't think the father did anything to try to influence the process but just having a relative who's a flag officer isn't enough.
     
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  9. Old Navy BGO

    Old Navy BGO 5-Year Member

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    Wouldn't be the first Flag Officer to have an inflated sense of self-importance.

    Getting a nomination is often the easy part ..that simply means you are in the top 10 of your candidate pool. Sounds like your Congressman doesn't even have enough candidates to fill his/her pool. The big cut comes when Nom and Appointments has to pick the best qualified among those top 10 nominees. (Yes, I realize that there are "competitive" districts where there are literally 100's of people competing for a Nomination, and some very good candidates don't even get Nominations in those districts, but my comment is based upon the rest of the country, where the competition pool is not as deep).
     
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  10. time2

    time2 10-Year Member

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    One of the things you will learn about applying to SA's is that a LOT of well-meaning individuals (friends, neighbors, your postman...etc.) will offer all sorts of dubious advice even when they have no idea what they are talking about.

    Hopefully, you understand the difference between getting a NOM vs an appointment......two different things. Since you indicated your brother applied a few years ago, I would assume you are generally familiar with the overall application process. Getting a NOM is no guarantee of an appointment. If very few apply in a certain area, it is possible that all of them get a NOM. In other parts of the country, getting a NOM is very challenging and many get turned down since there aren't enough NOM's to satisfy all who apply. You also have no idea how many will apply THIS year for your MOC's NOM's, so you can't assume it is a sure thing. I think SA's are less likely to be influenced by someone putting in a 'good word' for you than a MOC. I would instead focus on putting together the best possible resume, recognize all aspects of applying are a competition and worry less about how to go about getting someone to 'pull strings' for you.
     
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  11. ThePatternisFull

    ThePatternisFull Member

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    I would have your relative make the call. Why not? Could it help? Maybe.
    I would think you would want to be chosen based upon your qualifications not your connections.
     
  12. SCMids

    SCMids Member

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    I was once a pretty high level State official, so I have been asked for a lot of recommendation letters, including one recently for a hearing before a judge. I’ve also read a lot of rec letters. You can always tell the pro forma, obligatory letters. You also can tell those that are based on real personal knowledge and speak to the character and goals of the applicant. If you can’t get the latter, don’t waste your time.

    Caveat: if your connection is lifelong friends with someone who can actually make it happen, go for it. That’s not easy, though.
     
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  13. Memphis9489

    Memphis9489 5-Year Member

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    I would definitely agree with that. I think, more influential to a MOC is a prominent business person within the district. I remember when my sons (twins) were applying to the Naval Academy, we were fortunate enough to have as a friend the Senior Vice President of Federal Express. In the Memphis area, that is big deal. Another family friend was a gentleman who got in on the bottom floor of the Subway sandwich craze. He's wildly wealthy. Whether fair or not, these type of people have influence in the decision making with an MOC. I hope most people realize, that it's very rare that the MOC him/herself has much input into who gets nominated. It's usually the staff members making the decision. Sometimes just the MOC's Service Academy Coordinator. And those people tend to look out for the political interests of the MOC. To be blunt, they sometimes harbor the hope that a wealthy person could be a potential campaign contributor.

    Now, having said all this - there is nothing more powerful than being an outstanding candidate. That trumps everything! Influence could be a tie-breaker for candidates who are not head-and-shoulders above the field, however.
     
  14. USMA 1994

    USMA 1994 Member

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    As others have said, it may help in the nomination process but as @Old Navy BGO most districts do not have 30 truly qualified candidates for the three academies. As long as you have a strong application, most individuals will get a nomination. The only thing that a highly respected constitute could request as a political favor would be a principal nominee. In today's 24 hour news cycle, I just do not see that happening.

    The nomination process is fairly objective. You are racked and stacked against others on your nomination slate and the highest ranked candidate gets the appointment. Now being an under-representative minority who is home schooled and first generation college may improve your file but a LOR from a Flag Officer will not sway this process
     
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