Help! Am I too late to apply?

The_new_kid_in_town

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Aug 22, 2022
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Hello everyone, I’m a rising senior at a public high school. I’ve only heard about service academies recently, and I KNOW this is the path I want for college, specifically West Point or the Naval Academy. Every single resource I’ve looked into says I should have started mid junior year. What can I do to catch up? Is it even possible? I want to apply no matter what, but I know the earlier I get my application in the better my chances. Any help right now would be EXTREMELY appreciated.
 

Banshee Mom

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Mar 12, 2021
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125
Have you started the application process ? Training for CFA ? Have you reached out to your congressional representatives regarding the nomination process? I know some states start their nomination processes early. In NY , I believe DD had to have her nomination package submitted by November 1 . Some states might be earlier. I’m not sure that your chances are better if you submit earlier . DD didn’t receive her congressional nomination until January 24th and the application was due January 31.
 

The_new_kid_in_town

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Aug 22, 2022
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Have you started the application process ? Training for CFA ? Have you reached out to your congressional representatives regarding the nomination process? I know some states start their nomination processes early. In NY , I believe DD had to have her nomination package submitted by November 1 . Some states might be earlier. I’m not sure that your chances are better if you submit earlier . DD didn’t receive her congressional nomination until January 24th and the application was due January 31.
Today I completed the preliminary applications for both Army & Navy. I’ve drafted a letter to my congressional representatives that will be sent out tomorrow. Their websites say the deadline is November 1, and one is listed as October 31. As for CFA training, I’m a varsity athlete in field hockey, & I’m looking through the forums for workouts to prepare. What else should I do? I think I’m going to send an email to the force field rep?
 

Dustoff17

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Aug 13, 2022
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It’s not too late until it is!
Lean forward on this if it’s something you want. Get in touch with your FFR soon. Also, write then re-write your letter to congress rep. They see hundreds, make sure your’s catches their eye.
 

Banshee Mom

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Mar 12, 2021
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Meet with your counselor at school regarding transcript requests and think about what teachers you would like to ask to write your recommendation letters and evaluations . Try to do that as early as possible before your teachers are inundated with your classmates‘ requests for college application recommendation letters . DD applied to USMA and USNA and if I remember correctly , I believe the requests for teacher evaluations from USNA kept going into her teachers’ spam folders. Just follow up on the service academy portals to make sure everything is submitted . Not sure if you can see the essay prompts on the service academy portals yet since you said you submitted a preliminary application, but start working on your essays and be prepared to revise and ask a teacher to review it for you before you submit . Good luck !
 

Don't Give Up the Ship

BGO, MOC Nom. Board, Old Navy/Merchant Officer
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Jun 21, 2018
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think about what teachers you would like to ask to write your recommendation letters and evaluations . Try to do that as early as possible before your teachers are inundated with your classmates‘ requests for college application recommendation letters .
Teacher evaluations (these are more like evaluations than recommendations) is often the critical path (takes the longest)-so start that first. TIPS: Make 3 ring binder with Tabs for each SA and Each Member of Congress, the V.P. Dates for Noms vary per Nomination source. Develop a checklist for each. Read and study all information on the SA Admissions web pages. Find and contact your BGO. Follow up on everything. Develop and apply for Plan B & C. You can do this-it's been done many times.
 
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The first SA grad in the family did not receive a letter of introduction and interest from the SA until November of their senior year in HS. I almost threw the package out. The child had never once mentioned a SA as far as college.

By Christmas break we had their application in. Never had a congressional interview. Started prep school that summer.

but in their case they were a recruited sports type. So while not absolutely needed it helps a lot if you are Or can be.

So how good are you in field hockey?
 

dddad

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Sep 14, 2019
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400
Hello everyone, I’m a rising senior at a public high school. I’ve only heard about service academies recently, and I KNOW this is the path I want for college, specifically West Point or the Naval Academy. Every single resource I’ve looked into says I should have started mid junior year. What can I do to catch up? Is it even possible? I want to apply no matter what, but I know the earlier I get my application in the better my chances. Any help right now would be EXTREMELY appreciated.
First, it is possible. You are not that far behind and given the deadlines of your members of congress (senators and congressional representative), you have time. Given the late timing of when your applications need to be into them, you can likely feel comfortable that their respective slates won't be acted upon/determined until later in the year - sometime after they submit their slates. That might happen in November, December, or even late January. So, take your time to put in your best applications. Don't feel compelled to rush things and wind up putting in an inferior package. Winning a slate is preferable.

Second, assuming you have a strong academic and extra curricular background with a demonstration of leadership and you are physically and medically qualified, you will not be behind the 8 ball. Just press forward. Reach out to faculty at your school and explain the process to them so that they are ready to help you when called upon. If you have any deficiencies on the Candidate Fitness Assessment, prepare a training plan. If you can pass it now, do it. Don't wait until later - injury, weather, unavailable proctors, etc. could end up getting in your way - so get it done as soon as you are ready.

Third, if you have a guidance counselor familiar with the service academy process discuss it with him/her. If not see if you can find someone local who can help guide you a bit. FFRs and BGOs are great for this. Local parent clubs often include in their charter the idea that they should help support candidates for the academies - so that is another local source for help. Current cadets and midshipmen will often want to help someone coming out of their own schools whether they knew you or not.

Good luck!
 

justme

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Nov 7, 2019
Messages
653
Hello everyone, I’m a rising senior at a public high school. I’ve only heard about service academies recently, and I KNOW this is the path I want for college, specifically West Point or the Naval Academy. Every single resource I’ve looked into says I should have started mid junior year. What can I do to catch up? Is it even possible? I want to apply no matter what, but I know the earlier I get my application in the better my chances. Any help right now would be EXTREMELY appreciated.

My MIDN didnt know about USNA until mid August his senior year as well. His biggest challenge was understanding the various deadlines. Not when they were, but how much effort went into completing prior to them while tough fall semester was in full swing. But, it was certainly doable and without crazy hoop jumping. Because his medical was later, his waiver took till May. Had he started 4 months earlier, that part may have been easier on me... He also didnt have any outside guidance, other than reading the website. I dont think we even knew about this forum until he was already 90% complete.

His application for NROTC was even more rushed, as he didn't start that one until late November. His BGO had strongly suggested that he apply, as it showed interest in being a Navy officer rather than just a USNA student.

Good luck.
 

dddad

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Sep 14, 2019
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400
I’ve drafted a letter to my congressional representatives that will be sent out tomorrow. Their websites say the deadline is November 1, and one is listed as October 31.
Many members of congress indicate precisely what they want in an application. A letter is fine, but be sure to follow whatever direction is given. Often (but not always) each member of congress to whom you are applying for a nomination will want a slightly different thing. A different length essay, different questions answered, or some other variation, a list of activities instead of a resume, an official transcript or unofficial one, various letters of recommendation. Simply put, follow whatever guidance the MOC provides. It is fairly common - not a universal practice though - for MOCs to interview some group of the candidates applying to them. Given the late date of the application deadline, you might want to inquire - via email or phone - with each MOC for a roadmap of the expected process this year. It can change from year to year.
 

Don't Give Up the Ship

BGO, MOC Nom. Board, Old Navy/Merchant Officer
Joined
Jun 21, 2018
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1,155
Many members of congress indicate precisely what they want in an application. A letter is fine, but be sure to follow whatever direction is given.
Good advice above. Don't waste energy writing letters to MOC. Simply look at their website and follow the instructions. If you have a question, call the MOC staff on the phone and get answers.
 

ProudMom7

USCGA Mom
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Sep 19, 2019
Messages
388
You don't mention USCGA, but if you are interested in the Coast Guard Academy, they do not require a nomination. Just thought I would mention them since many people do not even know the Coast Guard Academy exists!
 

justdoit19

Proud parent of an ANG, USNA X2, and a MidSib
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Great advice already!! Get a handle on the MOC deadlines as those will be your first ones.

It may seem an insurmountable mountain when you start looking into it, but MANY of the items will be dual-usage. Ie: once your activities record is complete, you can use that info gathered for each application.

Another thing to keep in mind, is many don’t make it on their first attempt. And there are ways to set yourself up for a ‘best path’ next time around, should you decide to apply again. One being an ROTC program (BTW…this is an amazing g path, and often becomes plan A! Be open!!).

You aren’t too late. Contact your FFR/BGO’s, look on all your MOC websites, and get busy. Don’t forget ROTC….even without a scholarship to ROTC, you can still join up. Which will open up another nominating source next year, if you don’t receive an appointment and still want to pursue.

Good luck!!
 

Pops44

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Oct 6, 2021
Messages
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You don't mention USCGA, but if you are interested in the Coast Guard Academy, they do not require a nomination. Just thought I would mention them since many people do not even know the Coast Guard Academy exists!
My son is a Plebe at West Point but his second choice would have been USCGA. Look into them as well as they provide some great opportunities too.
 

armypanda_

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Jun 27, 2022
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239
I also just learned about the Service Academies a couple months ago and scrambled to get ahead. If you have any questions you can private message me in a week (the time it takes for you to be able to private message).
 

armypanda_

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If it is ok with @Capt MJ , I am pasting the advice she gave me when I came on this forum with the same problems as you. I found it covers almost everything you need to know about applying - very helpful.


This is my standard advice, which I copy and paste several times a year.

You are at the right time to begin serious research.



The service academy application process itself tests for qualities and attributes desirable in future junior officers: attention to detail, executive planning and organizing, time management, task prioritization, humility, perseverance, patience. Take ownership of the process.



If you haven’t read every page, link and menu item on your sa.edu of choice sites, taking notes and starting to build out an extended timeline of action items and long-term due dates, now is a great time. That is your primary source, and most answers are there.



Do the same kind of research into alternative paths to commissioning, such as ROTC and related scholarships. That is a prudent thing to do, and shows no lack of commitment to an SA. Additionally, a college ROTC unit is another nomination source, if you find yourself re-applying after a SA turndown. There will be thousands of candidates building HS resumes with similar stats, plus college re-applicants; leave no opportunity unexplored. Presumably, your prime goal is to commission as an X officer, with USXA your preferred path. It’s not the only path. Re-applicants to SAs make up a chunk of each class.



Take this time to research all five of the Federal service academies, and subsequent career paths, so you can make an informed decision about ruling them in or out. It’s very important to look past the interim waystation of 4 SA or college ROTC years to see if there are at least a good handful of career paths you could see yourself doing for a minimum of 5-6 years or whatever the applicable minimum active duty service obligation is.



For those interested in a Navy career, don’t overlook the Navy Nuclear Power Officer Candidate (NUPOC) program and the Civil Engineering Corps (CEC) officer program (think SEABEEs). These are college programs with financial assistance, but no ROTC time commitment.



Go to your elected officials’ websites (2 Sen, 1 Rep), read and take notes on their service academy nomination process. They can choose submission deadlines, interviews or not, panel interviews, any method they want. If they are having a F2F or virtual info session, sign up and soak it in, so you are well-prepared for your cycle, even a few years out. Stay current with that site, in case the elected official changes.



Apply for all nominations for which you are eligible, including the VP at the DOD service academies. This gives the SA max flexibility, if they want to offer you an appointment, as to what nom authority they eventually charge the appointment to.



Go to the DoDMERB site, the entity which does the physical qualification of candidates. Explore each menu item on the left. This often turns into one of the most frustrating and time-using aspects of the process. Get smart on it now so you won’t be surprised. There are some medications that must be discontinued for a certain period of time. IEPs and accommodations also are off the table at a certain point.



Research the CFA or applicable fitness test for the SA or program of interest. Assess yourself and develop a training plan. Women, learn to do pull-ups. It’s worth more points, and you will value that strength and confidence. Do not procrastinate when it’s your cycle. Leaving it too late invites illness, injury, bad weather, family emergency or sudden non-availability of your test administrator or video person, if that is required. There are YouTube videos on various techniques Google Stew Smith’s website and YouTube videos; he’s a USNA grad, former Navy SEAL, now a fitness pro.



If you are a non-swimmer or not a confident swimmer, take some adult swim classes at the Y or other program to get more comfortable in a pool. Though the SAs will teach you to swim to meet various required tests, you don’t want to spend precious time in remedial swim. It’s a good life skill anyway.



Here on SAF, read the Stickies at the top of the Nominations and DoDMERB forums. There is also The Acronym List on the Home page if you haven’t found it yet.



There is a Search function tool inside SAF, and google works well when you include “site:serviceacademyforums.com” in the string. The same questions come up every year. The “Chance Me” and “stats” threads can be illuminating as to ideas for summer leadership programs such as Boys State and Girls State, and other competitive elements. The SA summer programs in your rising senior summer are worth looking into to get a feel for that SA.



There is no one cookie-cutter magic formula; a class is made up of individuals who bring different combinations of strengths.



If you are not involved in a sport, be sure you prepare well for the CFA to prove basic physical ability, and also ensure your other activities supply the leadership, collaboration skills, work ethic, time investment and discipline learned in a sport.



Don’t overlook the Senior Military Colleges (SMCs), which offer a military-type environment and structure, as well as paths to a commission. Some are only Army ROTC; some have Army plus other service ROTC.

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List of Colleges & Universities | GoArmy.com

The Army ROTC training program is held at select schools across the country. Visit goarmy.com for a list of these military colleges & universities.



Research the state maritime academies, which also offer commissioning programs.

Maritime Academies | MARAD

Studying merchant marine operations at the university level is a core component of MARAD's education strategy; particularly its essential responsibility to meet national security needs and maintain maritime defense readiness. The six maritime academies and USMMA meet that need by educating young...

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www.maritime.dot.gov



Create your organization system - binders, folders, spreadsheets, calendars, wall boards, whatever works for you to plan, track and execute. Many apply to multiple SAs, nom sources, ROTC scholarships, ROTC schools, etc.



Finally, stay flexible and open to the paths that open before you. The key is to show sustained performance, personal growth and achievement in a well-rounded person.
 

USMAZoo98

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Jul 30, 2020
Messages
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If you have submitted your candidate questionnaire/initial application, your candidate portal with Second Step Kit should open up soon, assuming you are deemed qualified. Everything will be laid out in front of you on the candidate portal. You are not really behind in the process, unless your grades are not excellent already or you are not physically prepared. Additionally, you are near the end of the window of opportunity for SAT/ACT testing if you want to improve your super score. Otherwise, begin training for the CFA now. The deadline for the applications to the academies is usually January 31.

Do not send needless communications to the members of Congress. Go on their respective websites and look for information on how to submit your application for nomination. They are very specific. Follow those instructions. Also investigate other opportunities for nomination (President, VP, service connected, etc.). Begin the application for those processes as soon as your Second Step Kit is opened.
 

DrMom

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Aug 25, 2011
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Hello everyone, I’m a rising senior at a public high school. I’ve only heard about service academies recently, and I KNOW this is the path I want for college, specifically West Point or the Naval Academy. Every single resource I’ve looked into says I should have started mid junior year. What can I do to catch up? Is it even possible? I want to apply no matter what, but I know the earlier I get my application in the better my chances. Any help right now would be EXTREMELY appreciated.
You are not too late to apply. Not at all. However, right now, drop everything at look at the deadlines for your congressman and senators--and then get busy. You have until late January to submit your USMA application. You are not late.

However, most of the senators and congressmen have deadlines for the nomination application in September or early Fall. Get busy...
 
Last edited:

Wahoo Fan

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May 13, 2020
Messages
175
You are not too late to apply. Not at all. However, right now, drop everything at look at the deadlines for your congressman and senators--and then get busy. You have until late January to submit your USMA application. You are not late.

However, most of the senators and congressmen have deadlines for the nomination application in September or early Fall. Get busy...
THIS exactly.
Congressional applications can be the some of most difficult to complete and have many pieces, particular regarding required recommendation letters that must be submitted in a certain format.
You will probably need to get going on this ASAP if you want to have any shot of getting a nomination.
 
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