I recently had the opportunity to speak with a knowledgeable person from USNA admissions who passed along the following information for candidates. CFAs -- Passing may not be good enough. You should strive to do the max on every event (well, other than the Bball throw!). If you've not scored the max for each event (and those numbers are listed with the test instructions), you should strongly consider retaking the test. You can ask your RD the areas in which you need to improve; your BGO won't have this info, although can probably make a good guess. Remember, your BGO does NOT see your scores; if you want his/her help, you'll need to discuss how you did. SATs/ACTs -- Again, if you don't have 800/800 or the ACT equivalent, there's room for improvement and you should consider retaking the test. SATs are NOT the end-all and be all. In fact, someone with really high SATs and average/low grades may be viewed as not maximizing his/her potential (unless there are other issues, such as the need to work, take care of siblings, etc. that affect performance). Use some common sense on this; there is a difference between 780/790 and 630/650. Teacher Recommendations -- These are very important. Your teachers should, of course, always be honest. But if they think you're a great student, great human being, rank highly among your peers, etc., they need to say so. Someone with a great "paper" record but poor recommendations won't be in as good a position for an appointment. ECAs/Sports -- This may be a critical issue for students who are home-schooled or in schools with limited sports/ECAs. If that is you, look to the community. There are sports leagues and all sorts of volunteer activities that you can do. Even for students in large schools, be sure you are involved in something other than academics. Having great grades and SATs is not enough. Working and Summer Activities -- Work experience is increasingly prized. Also, consider actually doing something in the summer b/t your junior and senior years. As a BGO, I always ask during the BGO interview and am amazed at the number of candidates who did nothing other than "work on my applications." If your schedule doesn't permit a full-time job, you can always volunteer doing SOMETHING. There are endless possibilities and sitting around doing nothing doesn't go over well. Update your application BUT READ THIS -- If something significant happens after you've filled out your on-line form, provide it to USNA. What is significant? Being chosen team captain, receiving an award, being named to an all-whatever team; being elected to NHS, etc. However, AND READ THIS, your achievement must be certified by your school counselor or it won't count. Just have your counselor provide an official certification on your letter, certificate, etc. and send it in. If you're a candidate for 2016 or beyond, please pay attention to the above. It is excellent and timely advice.