For Juniors out there

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by Vista123, Oct 28, 2013.

  1. Vista123

    Vista123 5-Year Member

    Aug 5, 2011
    Likes Received:
    I posted this last year and was told that it was helpful, so I will post it again. This is aimed primarily for High school Juniors, though others may find it helpful

    The following are my suggestions primarily from my son’s experiences and from other’s input. I am sure that there will be some (many) who disagree with some (most) of the following suggestions. However, I am of the opinion that it is an extremely competitive process and even more so than in the past. You need to cover as many bases as possible to achieve a successful outcome. Follow Lieutenant General Moore's dictum that "there is always one more thing you can do to increase your odds of success"

    Tips to get started:

    It is posted on here that the CFA is pass/fail, Im not sure of that is true or not regardless, We were told that 17,000 applied (not getting into a debate on the definition of applied!) for the class of 2017. In this increasingly competitive environment, you really should maximize your scores. If you haven't maxed out your scores in a practice CFA then you have room for improvement before you take it (but dont wait too late!).One thing that you can do your junior year is begin your CFA practice. I would suggest that you approach your high school PE teacher with a print out of the CFA instructions. Explain to them that your goal is to become an officer in the military (be prepared to explain why). Ask them if they will help you. Starting now-try to meet with them once per week after school, or before school or they may even allow it during your actual PE class. You can then run through a mock CFA --this will only be about 10-12 minutes weekly. The days in between the mock CFA you can practice whatever you are not able to max. If your run time is too slow try to meet with the school’s track or xcountry coach for tips on your form. My son's baseline run was so slow his 8th grade sister beat him. He met with a form coach for the xcountry team every other wk for 15 minutes. The form coach would give a couple of tips each time like don't run in basketball shoes (seriously-not sure why DS didnt know that one up front?) , run softer (I have no idea what that means but DS did), chest up etc etc. IF you get into NASS/SLS you can check that off immediately and not need to worry about it sr yr. ( a little tip the NASS mile is shorter than the SLE mile)

    As you are aware the Service Academies super score. It is ONLY to your benefit to take the ACT/SAT as many times as possible. If you take the ACT for example, they offer it September, October, December, February, April, June. You should be signed up for all of them. Shoot for top quartile in each as your lowest acceptable personal goal. If you are not in the top quartile take it again (and again). USNA: Math and English only, ther other Service academies look at all four + writing

    You will need the very active support of your Math and English teachers (and science teacher for USMA) throughout this process. Believe it or not they will have to do a lot of work for you and they may not want to, have moved, retired etc. They will have to fill out on-line evaluations of you over their summer vacations. The will have to write a letter for you as part of your member of congress nomination packet. The will have to write a letter for you as part of your NROTC/ROTC/AROTC application packet. The will have to write a letter for you as you apply to the colleges or universities that will direct your NROTC/ROTC/AROTC scholarship. The will have to write a letter for you to square away your Plan B and Plan C colleges or universities. They will have to evaluate your: Cooperation, Dependability, Productivity, Attitude, Leadership Ability, Consideration for others, Initiative, Ability to Plan and Organize work, Attendance and Punctuality, Drive and Character. You will NEED to get their buy in. This does not mean simply being nice to them. Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because they want to do it. This means 1.) Working hard for them in their class 2.) Going above and beyond to demonstrate the above characteristics 3.)Explaining articulately what you are trying to accomplish and why 4.) Showing your appreciation for them throughout this process by writing hand written thank you notes. One important thing to know is that 99% of teachers became a teacher because they enjoy kids and sincerely want to help them. Many (most) high school students have not yet formulated their goals. You have. Share that with the teachers early on and ask for tips and suggestions. Their tips and suggestions may not be 100% helpful but you may get a nugget in there. More importantly, they will be glad that you are sharing with them and are asking for their help and guidance, and then will buy into your plans.

    Find out when your Boys/Girls State is. Learn about the process to being chosen to represent your high school. In some states it is extremely competitive. This may sound like merely a check mark but it is much more. It is a check mark in that it is looked on very favorably by the admissions board and increases your points/score for admission. However, it is far more fun than it sounds like it will be. You will learn a lot. It will be filled with others trying to get into Service Academies so you will get a chance to meet more people like you who have the same motivations. Boys/Girls State will let you experience leadership training in an exciting learn-by doing environment. It is fun.

    The Society of American Military Engineers offers a very unique series of engineering summer camps designed for High School students who excel in math, science and technical courses and are interested in pursuing engineering in college. These one–week camps are high energy, hands–on events for students from across the country and around the world. The camps are led by a professional staff of engineers from both private industry and the military services. The camp is only a couple hundred dollars and THEY pay your airfare!!!! (Cheaper than summer leadership programs!) There are four separate ones: Marines, Air force, Army and Navy. The Air Force program is only for someone who is applying to one of the five service academies. (For the Air Force program you must provide some proof of an expressed interest in applying to a Service Academy or ROTC Program (this does not include JROTC) and proof of being a qualified applicant.) You can, for example be interested in going to USCGA but apply to the USAFA S.A.M.E camp. These week–long camps take place during the summer months in a variety of settings—centered on a military base at the Air Force Academy, Camp Lejeune, N.C., Port Hueneme, Calif., Vicksburg, Mississippi. Applicants must have expressed intent to pursue a degree in architecture, engineering or a related field, have demonstrated leadership characteristics through participation in extra-curricular activities, sports, and/or community activities, have a minimum GPA of 3.5 on a 4.0 GPA scale and be physically fit and healthy. This is a very competitive application process. Go for it!
  2. Vista123

    Vista123 5-Year Member

    Aug 5, 2011
    Likes Received:
    part two

    Just one mom's personal opinion-free of charge and worth that much...Apply to each summer leaderships within a couple of days of the program application opening. Apply to all of the summer leaderships, see where you get in. If you don’t get into your preferred summer leadership program there is still value in going to another. Once your acceptances come chose your favorite. Don't worry if you dont get in. Getting into one of the summer leadership programs will not really give you much (if any) extra points on your WCS and will not be reflective of what a school year will look like. Having said that, attending one of the summer leadership programs will help you during your interview process and essay writing. When asked a question in an interview it is nice to be able to say something like, “when I went to USMA I was impressed with all of the equipment they had –do you know they have a piece of equipment that cuts through titanium with a stream of water.…” While writing your essay you may be able to reflect on your week there. While there you will also be able to check off your CFA. Additionally ~50% of the applicants that my son befriended at summer leadership rpograms decided S.A. was not for them. The other 50% were even more motivated. This is a good way to determine if the path you are on is really indeed what you want-though a candidate visit can do that as well. There isn’t a need to go to more than one. However, going to two is a good way to compare and contrast. My son went to his number one choice first, then later flew to his number two choice. The preferences flip-flopped afterwards (though he still loved both).One is great, two also makes sense--but three? In my ‘opinion’ no.Don’t be counter productive-don’t go to too many!!! If you are gone too much over summer you wont be able to dedicate time to your application. In a way much of this application is like a game of pac-man (yes I am dating myself LOL). If a Cherry is worth 100 points, dont spend too much of your time on the cherries, go straight to the Glowing Ghosts!Summer Leaderships are the cherries. Valuable to an extent but not as much with the actual whole candidate score that you are trying to rack up.Think of the the following as the Glowing Ghosts that you should spend the summer on: Improving ACT scores, Boys/Girls State, Essays/Personal statements, working, volunteering.

    I am assuming you play a sport. If not start one TODAY! If you are only in sports, now is the time to join an extracurricular activity. In fact try two. Should you do this to just get a check mark? Yes and no. Try out two of them even if they are something you may not think you would like. I know this may sound stupid but if it's stupid, but works, it isn't stupid. Are you a trivia buff, try out scholastic bowl. Are you into politics or international relations? What about model UN? Don’t forget the fact that the service academies are really engineering colleges so what about a science, technology, engineering or math club then? Even if you join the chemistry club or engineering club as a check mark, once you get there you may really like it. Give it a shot. If you know that this is indeed a check mark, then find a club or two that you can possibly like and bullet through.

    You know that another check box is a team captain or club president but you haven’t done either and are not on track for either. That is ok. There are some options here. Run an activity within the club. Put together a suggestion to improve your club that you are already in (IE membership drive, fundraiser, community service event), offer to run it. Be able to describe leadership actions within that activity. Talk to your coach, can you run a cross training activity? Start a new club. I know of someone who started a military history club at school and was able to be the president. This isn’t just to check the box marked club president or team captain. This is to really learn leadership skills that you will need going forward on whatever path you take.

    If you are reading this than you probably have scoured this forum for information. You will know that for most applicants LOAs are a thing-of-the-past or at least a rarity. If you were before striving to have your file reviewed for a possible LOA than you were trying to complete every step perfectly AND quickly. Even if there are no LOAs it is still to your advantage to endeavor to get your entire packet completed during the summer before senior year. First, the Dodmerb process can be quick or it can be as slow as molasses. You may need a lot of time to get through it. Dodmerb isn’t triggered (the process started) until you have a certain percentage of your application completed. Additionally, medical waivers will not typically be requested unless your file is complete. The further along in the process the longer DODmerb seems to take as more applicants are in the system (it takes longer the later you wait due to increasing file volume). Second, many BGO/FFR/ALO officers will not interview you until you have a certain percentage of your application completed. Third, you're more likely to get an authorization for a CFA retest if test was failed sooner rather than later. If you wait until the end it may be too late if you do poorly on your CFA. Finally, senior year is already hard and time consuming. Between trying to keep up your grades and trying to live the “life of a senior” that doesn’t leave a lot of time to get your packet in.

    There is a lot of talk on this forum about helicopter parents. On one hand I think the more us as parents understand the process, the better we can advise our kids what stay on top of. It has been stated that, were parents NOT supposed to be part of this process, they would not include them in the interviewing process and the service academies would not have a program of activities for them. It has also been pointed out that the military is more than just about the mere individual who serves, it is also about their families. You should feel well informed on what your son/daughter is getting into, both at a service academy and after. On the other hand there are boundaries. NEVER ever email or call anyone at admissions or connected to admission (there is story after story of disaster that awaits behind parents emailing and calling). Offer tips and suggestions not dictates. Always step back and make sure that this is their agenda not yours, sometimes it may get cloudy. Let them know repeatedly that this is their choice, not yours. Try to enjoy (or at least appreciate) the process ---Embrace the Suck. While other juniors and seniors are not talking to their embarrassing parents you two are a team (with them the captain and you the assistant captain). While other kids are out partying, driving too many kids in their car, playing too many video games or preparing for the senior grade slide, yours is carefully making all the right choices. However, this process can be overwhelming, and stressful. You will miss a deadline, not be able to figure out an acronym, loose an important document, forget a password, and feel like you are spending more money than four years of college tuition on this long arduous process. Find support. Try to link with other parents going through a similar circumstance. Offer support and you will get support when you need it. And you will need it.

    Good Luck!
    “The difficult we do immediately. The impossible takes a little longer.”
    —Motto of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers during World War II,

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