High School Tips for an aspiring Naval Academy cadet.

What should I do NROTC or attend the Naval Academy


  • Naval Academy

Results are only viewable after voting.


New Member
Apr 21, 2017

My middle school years are almost over and my grade recently had a presentation about careers a few months back. The military wasn't mentioned but I think it might fit me. I am a very smart kid as I get mainly A's and I am also very athletic as I play soccer and I enjoy running so I'll be joining the track team in HS. I was wondering if any former cadets from the Naval academy could give me tips on how hard I need to work and what extra curricular activities I should join and do. I am also interested in the NROTC but I think I would enjoy the Naval Academy more. I would also like to here I should maintain for my GPA and what I should score on the ACT and SAT.

Thank You
Tip 1, meant with kindness. USNA has midshipmen not cadets.

While awaiting good input:

- read every page, dropdown and link at USNA.edu, especially the Admissions pages
- use the Search box here on SAF in the USNA forum to search on "stats" and "chance me" threads, which will give you a wide overview of those who apply
- Google "Navy Officer careers" to get to the navy.com site which describes various officer warfare communities
- Ditto Marine Officer careers, because USNA produces both
- Find and read The Acronym List sticky at the top of the Community Information Forum here on SAF
- Find and read the Stickies in the Nominations Forum here on SAF

If you get serious about applying, there are plenty of threads about the year-plus process.
Welcome..and congratulations on thinking ahead about your future. Your entire High School Record is important when applying to service academies, so its important to start strong. You question is very open ended, and there are a lot of threads on this forum that will give you some good advice. There is no answer to how good is good enough -- your objective is to do your best in everything you do. The service academies are looking for well rounded, future leaders., and that means challenging yourself to excel academically , athletically , and seeking leadership opportunities. One caution, don't overextend yourself, and don't participate in activities purely because you think they will make your application look good. You are better off excelling and leading in a few activities, than participating in many.

I am sure many others will give you some good advice here...so good luck.
May I also suggest that you and your parents check with your Congressman's office to see if s/he hosts a Service Academy Day. When my son was in high school we attended this event where representatives from all 5 service academies were present. It was well attended, and beneficial for parents and students to listen to presentations from all 5 service academies and then having an opportunity to meet cadets and midshipmen afterwards. Good luck!
My son got the bug to become a Marine while he was in middle school as well... I thought it was like wanting to be a cop and it would pass but when I could see by junior year in high school that he was serious, we supported him all the way (although Mom did so reluctantly at first). Do not be surprised if your parents have a similar reaction.

Unfortunately, @Capt MJ already used what was going to be my first tip. :D

So I'll make the following my tip... if you get to the end of your junior year in high school and are still interested in becoming a Naval or Marine Officer, apply to both USNA and NROTC. There is no right answer on which to pursue, only which one is right for you. One is a military environment 24/7, the other allows a more normal college experience. Both turn out excellent officers... and I'm sure you've noticed that Navy and Marine uniforms do not have a patch that says which school you went to. When you commission no one will care, they will only care about your results. Anyway, USNA can be tough to get into so you always need a backup plan. Have NROTC be one of your backup plans.
DS is attending MOCs academy day next weekend in our local area. Do you know if ROTC information or contacts might be available? Is ROTC usually represented at these type of events?

Lot's of good advice is previously stated, and there is no absolute right or wrong answer to your question. The goal 4 the next four years is to prepare yourself to be a highly competitive applicant. My 2 cents:

1. Academically plan out your 4 year course load for high-school. By planning I suggest that you focus on taking STEM focused courses your entire 4 years. By getting on the STEM track early you will be ready to take on Physics, Calculus, Chemistry and etc. by your junior and senior years. If offered plan on taking AP versions of the courses as well. You need to show you can handle these demanding courses.

2. Leadership - First and foremost the Naval Academy is a Leadership school. In the short run it's goal is to produce leaders of character for the Navy and Marine Corps. In the long run it produces leaders in all aspect of society. One of the key questions you need to ask yourself is do you like to lead? If so you need to look at and participate in activities that showcase your leadership talents. If it's sports focus on become a team captain. If it's school clubs focus on becoming VP or President of the club. If it's church or other activities again become a leader. Also, becoming a leader is more than just a title, when I interview my candidates I ask them to explain what did they to lead their group. What difference did they make and how.

You are setting a high bar for yourself and no matter how things turnout you will be prepared to succeed.

Best Of Luck!
Try to be as involved as possible in school and outside activities while maintaining a great GPA and test scores. Try and fulfill leadership positions within the activities you participate in.
If I am going to be captain of my swim team soon, and join a club that is specifically based on being a leader and learning how to handle leadership, will those positions be good enough? There aren't too many leadership positions I can take up, and this is the best I am able to do. I am just wondering if those positions will count as me expressing my leadership, and show my motivation to become a leader for the USNA.
Instead of asking a lot of random questions, I would start with this thread that answers the most commonly asked questions relating to one's chances for an appointment. The official USNA website also has a lot of basic information for those who are interested. You can also search back on older threads as the same questions get asked every year.

Frankly, no one here can do anything but guess at your 'chances' regarding an appointment. If you apply, you will be in competition with many of the top h.s. students from the entire country, who excel in sports, ECA's, leadership and academics, so I would strive to be the best in everything you do versus asking what the minimum requirements might be.

Last edited:
I'll tell you what has been told to me many times on this board, read every drop down on the USNA website. There is a section that tells you exactly what you need to be on track each year of high school. Try looking for leadership opportunities outside of school. My dd is about your age and she has found a number of opportunities, she is LPO for one of our NLCC divisions, youth leader at church, and is staffing an advanced training for Sea Cadets this summer.
Apply for STEM camp in January, it was the best thing dd ever did. Not only did she completely fall in love with Annapolis but she made friends she will have for life.