Help with personal statement

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by statechamps2017, Jul 21, 2017.

  1. statechamps2017

    statechamps2017 Member

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    Hello,

    I was hoping that someone could give me some feedback on my personal statement. I think I answered the questions and my dad helped me with the wording but i want to hear what other people think. 500 words is not a lot to get into too much detail. Thank you for your help. Here is the draft:

    For many people the decision to pursue military service comes from being a “military family” or, perhaps a particular event caused them to want to serve. This is somewhat true for me as well, although the military history in my family comes more from extended relatives (cousins, uncles, great-uncles) and close family friends. There was no single event that influenced my decision. My decision to pursue a military career was built over time and my goal of attending the Naval Academy developed since entering high school.

    I wanted to be sure that a military career is the right fit for me so I spent a lot of time understanding the challenges and responsibilities of military life. One of the adult leaders in my Boy Scout Troop served in the Navy for 13 years as a Flight Surgeon. Also, our Troop’s Scoutmaster is a graduate of the Air Force Academy class of 1987. He served for more than 20 years and recently retired as a Lieutenant Colonel. These men have been influential to me and have given me guidance and confidence that I am making the right decision.

    My goal is to serve as a military officer and to pursue engineering/STEM as my field of study. I both excel in and enjoy those subjects in school and I have participated in several STEM/NOVA activities in Boy Scouts. I have always had a passion for the water and the ocean, which is a big reason for my focus on naval service. I feel that the Navy is where my skills and passions will be best served and where I will provide the most value. In learning more about the USNA, the course majors and the challenging military structure I feel very strongly that USNA would be the best fit for me to fulfill those goals.

    There are several things that have helped to build my character and integrity. A secure and loving family, a strong faith in God, competitive athletics, National Honor Society, and my part-time job to name a few. Besides my family and faith my strongest foundation for character, service, and leadership has been my commitment to Boy Scouts. I am an Eagle Scout. This is the result of hard work, dedication to service, and a long-term demonstration of leadership and good moral character that will lead me through the rest of my life. I live my life by the Scout Oath and Law, giving me a great appreciation for honor, duty, and service.

    I am very excited at the prospect of attending USNA and serving my country. There is no way to predict what my future holds as a Naval officer or how successful I might become. I am, however, a firm believer in the concept of “you get what you work for” and I am confident that I am prepared to take on this challenge head-on and that the USNA will give me the best opportunity to earn both my career and life goals.
     
  2. DesertCaliMom

    DesertCaliMom Member

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    In my opinion, your second paragraph reads more of the experience of others than what you learned to assure you of your right fit.

    Your character and integrity section reads like a resume more than the prompt's "describe a personal experience you have had...."

    Dig deep. Was there an event where you as a leader had To take a stand against fellow scouts' behavior? Did you have to stand up to an adult? Member of the OA? Was there an experience that you can relate to your Ordeal?
     
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  3. nolamomma

    nolamomma Member

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    I share your exact thoughts DesertCAliMom. My first impression ..this is a cookie cutter response. No heartfelt passion its more of a resume. Avoid the "for as long as I can recall.........., the things on your resume. I feel like you spend a lot to time talking about others qualifications (scout leaders) and not enough about you.

    "There are several things that have helped to build my character and integrity. A secure and loving family, a strong faith in God, competitive athletics, National Honor Society, and my part-time job to name a few. Besides my family and faith my strongest foundation for character, service, and leadership has been my commitment to Boy Scouts. I am an Eagle Scout. This is the result of hard work, dedication to service, and a long-term demonstration of leadership and good moral character that will lead me through the rest of my life. I live my life by the Scout Oath and Law, giving me a great appreciation for honor, duty, and service." What examples do you have for this paragraph? Feel like you took this from a website. Has all the right buzz words but not enough meat. How, what have you actually done?

    Tell them what you personally bring to the academy that all the other 16,000 applicants do not. You can be an officer and work in STEM (too broad by the way, what part?) by going to MIT, Georgia Tech, VT.........what is it about the academy and post academy (which is really important) that makes you better than everyone else. Hope this helps.
     
    DesertCaliMom likes this.
  4. statechamps2017

    statechamps2017 Member

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    thanks to both of you. that is good advice. i didn't take anything from the internet but after i read it a few times i can see why you would think i did. i was never in OA. i was on the ballot several times but i went to a troop outside of my local area and OA sometimes ends up being a popularity contest. our OA elections aren't done very well anyway. but i do have a lot of leadership experiences i could share and give detail...i guess i only need one good one. i also have a sister who is autistic, which makes things more challenging for all of us at home. i didn't mention it because i wasn't sure how relevant it is. now i'm thinking that i should mention it somehow.

    i will take another crack at it and be more direct and specific.
     
  5. TechFlier7

    TechFlier7 Member

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    Sounds great, but just make sure you use the Personal Statement to add more to your application. What I mean is, I'm sure in a different part of the application you already put down that you were an Eagle Scout, in the National Honor Society, in athletics, and that you have a part time job. Just know that Admissions does read your Candidate Activity Record and stuff, so they already know this. Instead, make sure you use the 500 words to explain/compensate for what you think you don't have. USNA is about Moral, mental, and physical. If you're not as strong in one of those, while answering the prompts try to answer for your lack of something as well. For me, I was lacking in sports/physical so while describing experiences that led to why I wanted to go to the Naval Academy, along the way I included details of how I participated in physical activities with my ROTC unit and stuff like that. Point is this though, the Personal Statement can not make it or break it for you. But like the BGO interview, it's a way for USNA to see why you either lack certain things, who you really are, and what you are like personally. Whether you give a down to earth personal, "cookie cutter", most heartfelt - all the different kinds of Personal Statements, all the statement is, is an addendum to the rest of your application. Tell them what they don't know. If you're going to bring up Eagle Scouts or athletics again, then at least explain how it contributed to your character with a specific example. No need to list it, they already know and are glad you are a part of it. But that is really it on personal statements. The personal statement, BGO interview, and teacher letter of recommendations are really the only ways you can explain your true self/desire to the Academy.
     
    Islandmom4 likes this.
  6. DesertCaliMom

    DesertCaliMom Member

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    Learning to improvise, adapt and overcome having a family member with a health or mental health issue can show lots of skills, determination, persistencenn patience... I think you're on a good path now ;)
     
  7. statechamps2017

    statechamps2017 Member

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    Thanks for all of your thoughts. i think i'm getting a little closer. below is my revised statement. i'm finding it hard to stay under 500 words but if anyone has more advice i would really appreciate it.

    Here it is:


    For many people the decision to pursue military service comes from being a “military family” or, perhaps a particular event caused them to want to serve. This is somewhat true for me as well, although the military history in my family comes more from extended relatives (cousins, uncles, great-uncles) and close family friends. There was no single event that influenced my decision. My decision was built over time from my love of service and country and my goal of attending the Naval Academy developed since entering high school.


    I am very proud of the military heritage in my family. I have three great-uncles that served in WWII, an uncle in the Air Force and my second-cousin recently retired after more than twenty years in the Navy. Their service is inspiring to me which is a major reason for my motivation to serve. My call to service has only grown stronger as I have gotten older. As a Boy Scout I have planned, led, and been involved with many different service projects and have a great appreciation for what that service means. I get a great deal of satisfaction knowing that I have helped other people and my community which has helped to guide my decision to pursue military service.

    My goal is to serve as a military officer and I feel that the Navy is where my skills and passions will be best served and where I will be able to succeed. I am focused on three main areas...Systems, Naval Architecture, and I have recently become very interested in Cyber Operations. This is the major of my host Midshipman and during my CVW I began to learn more about it and find it quite interesting. With it’s course majors, high level of education, and challenging military structure I feel very strongly that USNA would be the best fit for me to fulfill those goals.

    A loving family, a strong faith, competitive athletics, and being an Eagle Scout have all helped to build my character and integrity. But I want to mention something else. I have an autistic sister, which was challenging for me. The first time that one of my “friends” began teasing her I had a choice to make. As good of a friend as he was I told him how what he was doing was wrong and I ended my friendship with him. To this day we don’t speak. To some that may not seem like a big deal but for me it was satisfying that I did the right thing.

    I am very excited at the prospect of attending USNA and serving my country. There is no way to predict what my future holds as a Naval officer or how successful I might become. I do believe that “you get what you work for” and I am confident that I am prepared to take on this challenge head-on and that the USNA will give me the best opportunity to earn both my career and life goals.
     
  8. MichaelW22

    MichaelW22 Member

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    When writing pieces which are personal, people tend to repeat things in a slightly different way because they want the reader to fully understand the emotions involved. However, 9 times out of 10 the repeated part just eats away at your word count. Try going through and making sure that each sentence says a different thing. For example, when you say "extended relatives", people know what that means thus, with "cousins, uncles, great-uncles", you waste 4 words. It also happens at the end of the first paragraph. "There was no single event that influenced my decision. My decision was built over time from my love of service and country and my goal of attending the Naval Academy developed since entering high school." these sentences say the same thing, one is simple and one is drawn out. I cut out a good 50 words of my personal statement just making sure that I did not repeat myself, giving extra room for powerful new points and those details that many believe are impossible to fit into 500 words. Keep working hard and it'll turn out great. PM me if you have any specific questions. Good luck.
     
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