How early is too early?

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by Maybe.bluestar.mom, Sep 13, 2018.

  1. Maybe.bluestar.mom

    Maybe.bluestar.mom New Member

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    My 16yr old ds is s junior. We returned from a USNA visit/ tour and an admissions briefing over Labor Day and it confirmed for our son what he’s wanted for years - to pursue a naval career. Outside of applying for NASS in January and looking into our local congressional/ senate nomination process, is there any other application or documentation he should be focusing on now? Is it too early to start the application for class of 2024? TIA
     
  2. AROTC-dad

    AROTC-dad Moderator

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    The application for NASS is actually the first step of the application to USNA, so technically, your DS has now initiated the application process.

    Besides checking on their MOC nomination processes, here is what many rising juniors are doing right now:
    • Continue to get great grades and get as high a class rank as possible.
    • Prepare for the ACT and/or the SAT.
    • Begin conditioning and preparing for the CFA.
    • Continue to build on his leadership skills that he has started.
    • Reach out to his Blue and Gold Officer (BGO)
    • Start considering Plan B, C and D alternatives, i.e other service academies and or ROTC programs.
    • Begin gathering medical records and historical dates of treatment so he will be prepared to accurately answer the DoDMERB questionnaire when the time comes.
    Here is the USMA timeline (I could never find a Navy equivalent). It is helpful for other service academies even if he is focused totally on USNA.
    https://www.usma.edu/admissions/Shared Documents/Admissions Timeline.pdf
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2018
  3. MidCakePa

    MidCakePa Member

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    +1 to @AROTC-dad. Building on his points:

    — Get those high grades and high class rank by taking the hardest classes the school has to offer, especially in STEM. USNA wants to know DS excelled in tough classes, rather than feasting on cream puffs.

    — Don’t just hold a leadership role, make a leadership impact. It’s not that hard to be elected class president (popularity often does the trick), much harder to rally people to a cause and change things for the better.

    — Invite your BGO out for coffee. It’s not too soon. Join DS for that first conversation, but then let him manage the relationship from there.

    — Have DS open his own SAF account, do his own probing, ask his own questions. It’s an important step to owning the application process, which he must do.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2018
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  4. USNAismyplace

    USNAismyplace Member

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    I absolutely agree with @MidCakePa . I connected with my BGO around this time junior year and sat down and had many informational meetings, as well as established a close bond. You will end up with a great BGO recommendation if DS starts reaching out and connecting with the BGO now. Persistence and dedication shows.
     
  5. MidCakePa

    MidCakePa Member

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    Building on @USNAismyplace, my DD maintained a dialogue with her BGO after that first coffee. Whenever he was on campus for a presentation, she attended or at least swung by to say hello. She sent him a note after getting accepted to NASS and after attending, to share her impressions. She checked in during key milestones, such as submitting her CFA scores or finishing the nomination application. She stayed connected without brown-nosing or being pesky.

    It paid off not only in an offer of appointment, but also an active mentorship that continues now that she’s at Annapolis. We’re very grateful for the genuine relationship they’ve built.
     
  6. justdoit19

    justdoit19 Member

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    Is there a way of being assigned a BGO before an application (NASS) is started? We have several in our area. I don’t think they are geographically assigned, but maybe they are?
     
  7. MidCakePa

    MidCakePa Member

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    Just call USNA and ask. My DD did that late in the 10th grade, got the BGO’s name, and reached out before 11th grade — almost a year before NASS.
     
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  8. usna1985

    usna1985 10-Year Member

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    Don't want to burst anyone's bubble, but being in frequent contact with your BGO has absolutely nothing to do with getting a good recommendation and certainly not with getting an appointment.

    Every year, I have 15-20 candidates from whom come 1-5 appointees. Most of the time, the ONLY contact I have with them is the BGO interview. I have given my highest recommendation to many, many candidates over the years whom I meet under these limited circumstances (and have given lower recommendations to some who contact me all the time -- though not for this reason:)). Frequent contact from a candidate has absolutely no bearing on how I perceive them.

    The fact is that most BGOs are busy. We are here to assist candidates but most of us don't have time (or even desire) to be the BFF of our candidates. Sorry for being blunt, but it's true. With multiple appointees every year, we certainly can't follow every one for four years at USNA and beyond.

    I realize there are some BGOs and candidates who "click" and stay in touch -- or BGOs who have a lot of time on their hands to talk, mentor, etc. But for candidates out there, this is not the norm. And, it won't make any difference in whether you are appointed (at least if the BGO is doing his/her job properly).

    As an underclassman, you should contact the BGO for your school/area if you have questions about USNA (especially if you aren't from a military family or live in an area where USNA may not be well known). However, if you don't have questions and/or are very familiar with USNA, there is no need to contact the BGO before the spring of your junior year -- and certainly not to inform him of every step of your journey.
     
  9. MidCakePa

    MidCakePa Member

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    @usna1985, to be clear, I do not think that my DD’s occasional contact with the BGO had any direct bearing on her offer of appointment. (The contact was not frequent, and it was always for a good reason.) My DD is at USNA because of a stellar WCS, balanced across academics, athletics and leadership — her record speaks for itself.

    So to be clear, I agree that keeping in touch guarantees absolutely nothing. But there is also no harm in putting a face to a name, showing continued interest, and informing of major milestones. BGOs are human, and humans respond to engagement, interest and connection. Some more than others, of course. Also, the interactions filled in knowledge gaps and strengthened DD’s conviction that USNA was for her. That’s the payoff of which I speak.

    I consider “informing (the BGO) of every step of your journey” as being pesky, which I explicitly warn against. But that’s not the point. In the end, we’re grateful for the professional relationship that has been established. I understand that may not be the norm, which makes us even more appreciative.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2018
  10. usna1985

    usna1985 10-Year Member

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    I absolutely agree about the reason your DD is at USNA. And I know that some candidates have great relationships with their BGOs.

    That said, some people read too much into posts. I don't want an entire class of candidates thinking that one of the things they must do to help guarantee an appointment is have frequent contact with their BGO. Or that, if they don't communicate prior to the setting up the BGO interview, this will reflect negatively. IOW, folks may misinterpret statements you and others have made.

    Yes, I'm human but I look for engagement from my friends and colleagues. I'm not looking for engagement from 17-year-old kids whom I don't know, have never met, and likely will never see again. There are many other ways for them to convince me that they are highly motivated.

    The above said, as I noted, some BGOs and candidates forge long-standing relationships, and that's terrific when it happens. But no one should be worried if it doesn't happen.
     
  11. CrewDad

    CrewDad Member

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    You can start as early as 6th grade. Once you are in Middle School you can begin your relationship with the Admissions office and with your BGO ALO and the WP version. Once you are signed up with Admissions office they will stay in touch with you through the years. They will even ask you if your interest has changed. They will begin sending you small gifts to keep you interested. Over the years my DS received many shirts, cups, pendant, posters, desk mirror from the Academies. And many invites to local and to Academies to participate in their activities. Academies are very good marketers. My DS formally started his relationship in 6th grade and met Admissions RCs who then introduced new RCs when they moved on. This tie shows your level of interest for sure! All these engagements certainly can keep your children stay very focused on their path to SAs and to selective schools.

    I believe all types of relationship with Admissions, BGO, Alumni, Active Duty Officers who are Academy grads are all very healthy way to stay engaged and to keep your children stay focused in their goals to succeed.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2018
  12. USNAismyplace

    USNAismyplace Member

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    This absolutely makes sense. Everyone's situation with the BGO is different, but in my case a strong connection was made and I was highly recommended. It can only help to build a professional and strong relationship with the candidate's only physical representation of USNA Admissions in their area!
     
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  13. boatsfordays

    boatsfordays Member

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    Our experience was the local BGO did not pay us much attention until my mid had secured a nomination. (We're in a very competitive district so maybe they're more overwhelmed).... But this early in the process start a binder with upcoming dates and correspondence, have a great resume prepared and updated regularly. Their resume will be a great resource when filling out nominations and applications. Visit colleges and learn about NROTC programs.

    We stayed realistic and even though our kid did everything he could to make it happen we knew USNA might not happen. We visited other colleges and applied for ROTC scholarships. We celebrated every time he secured a plan B (and reminded him that his plan B was better than other kids plan A) I don't know that it would have hurt less if he had not received an appointment, but we planned for his future just in case that future would not have been in Annapolis. And have fun... between checking portals enjoy every minute of these last months with your kid.
     
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  14. Old Navy BGO

    Old Navy BGO 5-Year Member

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    You are not formally assigned a BGO until an official candidate. That being said, BGOs are often assigned to cover specific schools, so you can check with guidance counselor. Keep in mind that with some states, like mine, there are not enough BGOs to assign to specific schools, so the Area Coordinator assigns candidates to BGOs on an ad hoc basis. If your school does not have an assigned BGO, you should contact the Area Coordinator (contact info is on the Admissions website) and he/she will put you in touch with a local BGO.

    That being said- I agree with USNA1985, there is no need to “establish a relationship” early. I like talking to candidates early in the high school career and helping them develop a plan for being as competitive as possible, and am always happy to answer specific question, but do your homework first. Calling the BGO with the open ended question of “how do I apply” doesn’t create a good first impression.
     
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  15. Maybe.bluestar.mom

    Maybe.bluestar.mom New Member

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    Thank you everyone for such thoughtful advice, DS is now on the board as well. So glad our family found this resource yesterday! I appreciate everyone’s time being supportive!
     
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  16. RockNRoll

    RockNRoll New Member

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