Kanogo

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May 4, 2021
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Hey everybody! I'm applying for the class of 2026 and I have a huge concern about my leadership. At the moment, the only leadership posts I held at school are being the swim team captain and founder/president of a school club. I have not been involved with my school's student council, however, I still tried to apply, but I ended up losing the election. I also am not involved with Boys' States, Boys Scouts, etc. This summer I will be trying to crack down on community service and hopefully gain some kind of leadership experience, but opportunities will most likely be limited.
Any advice for me at this point? Also, how should I go about making up that 30% [of the application] for leadership?

Thank you for your help!
 

commando530

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Joined
Jan 19, 2021
Messages
106
Hey everybody! I'm applying for the class of 2026 and I have a huge concern about my leadership. At the moment, the only leadership posts I held at school are being the swim team captain and founder/president of a school club. I have not been involved with my school's student council, however, I still tried to apply, but I ended up losing the election. I also am not involved with Boys' States, Boys Scouts, etc. This summer I will be trying to crack down on community service and hopefully gain some kind of leadership experience, but opportunities will most likely be limited.
Any advice for me at this point? Also, how should I go about making up that 30% [of the application] for leadership?

Thank you for your help!
If you have had impactful events with these activities, examples of your leadership in these activities, how the activities have helped you grow, etc, I don’t see the issue with “only” having these leadership posts. If those activities have been a big part of your life that’ll be really good for your interviews. Quality over quantity.
 

Kanogo

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May 4, 2021
Messages
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If you have had impactful events with these activities, examples of your leadership in these activities, how the activities have helped you grow, etc, I don’t see the issue with “only” having these leadership posts. If those activities have been a big part of your life that’ll be really good for your interviews. Quality over quantity.
Thank you, that helps a lot. I was using the Service Academy calculator for both USMA and USAFA, and the difference in leadership roles impacted the scores by like 10% which scared me. Anyways, as you said, “quality over quantity”.
 

Capt MJ

Ancient Mariner, Salt-Encrusted
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Thank you, that helps a lot. I was using the Service Academy calculator for both USMA and USAFA, and the difference in leadership roles impacted the scores by like 10% which scared me. Anyways, as you said, “quality over quantity”.
When you say “the Service Academy calculator,” I am fairly sure that is not from an official source, though it may be roughly in the ball park. Advice from unofficial internet sites or anonymous chat forums like this one is worth exactly what you pay for it, including mine. Primary sources are best.
 
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Leadership is not a simple checklist where you can just check the boxes and expect to be competitive. Holding “leadership” positions is not what USNA is looking for in an applicant. The important thing is what you have accomplished in that role. You may not hold many positions, but that does not matter if you have had a positive impact on your swim team and school club. Take the initiative to have a positive impact on your school and community. Lead a canned food drive to donate to the local food bank or take a team of volunteers to lay wreaths for Wreaths Across America. There are many people out there serving as class presidents or sga presidents, but they are really only there to check boxes for a resume. A true leader takes the initiative and acts even when not assigned to an official position. That is what USNA is looking for and what will make the difference in your application.
 

kimchee432

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Jan 3, 2021
Messages
163
I think you could actually look at specific experiences that you had where you stepped up and took charge - like in a group project or situations where someone needed to think fast and make a decision (an emergency situation). I think that there are lots of leadership opportunities that exist that may not be in the traditional sense. The ability to make decisions is so important and not something that comes easily to everyone. I have seen too often people that wait for someone else to do it. Sometimes people are afraid to make the wrong decision. Sometimes no decision is worse than the wrong decision.

Sorry - I may have veered off track a little. You got some great advice here already. Best of luck to you as you navigate this process!
 

Wahoo Fan

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May 13, 2020
Messages
75
What about coaching?
Are there any opportunities for you to do youth coaching this summer with a swim team or another type of team? I know lots of clubs that love having high school athletes help coach the younger kids, whether it be in a volunteer program or even in a paid club position. Academies put a lot to weight on team captain, but coaching is a much greater leadership experience (at least in my opinion as a youth club coach myself).
 

Kanogo

Member
Joined
May 4, 2021
Messages
19
Leadership is not a simple checklist where you can just check the boxes and expect to be competitive. Holding “leadership” positions is not what USNA is looking for in an applicant. The important thing is what you have accomplished in that role. You may not hold many positions, but that does not matter if you have had a positive impact on your swim team and school club. Take the initiative to have a positive impact on your school and community. Lead a canned food drive to donate to the local food bank or take a team of volunteers to lay wreaths for Wreaths Across America. There are many people out there serving as class presidents or sga presidents, but they are really only there to check boxes for a resume. A true leader takes the initiative and acts even when not assigned to an official position. That is what USNA is looking for and what will make the difference in your application.
Thank you, this makes more sense now.
 

Kanogo

Member
Joined
May 4, 2021
Messages
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I think you could actually look at specific experiences that you had where you stepped up and took charge - like in a group project or situations where someone needed to think fast and make a decision (an emergency situation). I think that there are lots of leadership opportunities that exist that may not be in the traditional sense. The ability to make decisions is so important and not something that comes easily to everyone. I have seen too often people that wait for someone else to do it. Sometimes people are afraid to make the wrong decision. Sometimes no decision is worse than the wrong decision.

Sorry - I may have veered off track a little. You got some great advice here already. Best of luck to you as you navigate this process!
Thank you!
 

Kanogo

Member
Joined
May 4, 2021
Messages
19
What about coaching?
Are there any opportunities for you to do youth coaching this summer with a swim team or another type of team? I know lots of clubs that love having high school athletes help coach the younger kids, whether it be in a volunteer program or even in a paid club position. Academies put a lot to weight on team captain, but coaching is a much greater leadership experience (at least in my opinion as a youth club coach myself).
This may sound really dumb, but I actually did not consider coaching to be a leadership role. In fact, I do coach swimmers on my club and sometimes teach younger kids how to swim privately. I’ll defiantly consider this, thank you!
 

Kanogo

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May 4, 2021
Messages
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When you say “the Service Academy calculator,” I am fairly sure that is not from an official source, though it may be roughly in the ball park. Advice from unofficial internet sites or anonymous chat forums like this one is worth exactly what you pay for it, including mine. Primary sources are best.
Thank you, sir. The “calculator” was far from an official source, but it claimed that its “margin of error was +/-2%. I will continue to stick with official sources though.
 

time2

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Jul 17, 2007
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USNA has never publically released their weighting formula for those applying and it may also have changed over time. Many often refer to an older study done for USMA which also tends to take the % out of context. Each year on here there are examples of applicants who got an appointment to USNA but only got a TWE from USMA, so clearly there are some differences in how they evaluate applicants. Saying something has +/- X% margin of error means nothing if based on hunches/guesses/opinions.

There are many older threads on here about leadership and things to work on to improve your application. Being president of student government by itself means nothing if the job has no real responsibilities and getting elected was your chief accomplishment. In some schools, student govt actually involves leadership skills, while in others it is just a job title. Just one example of how leadership can vary widely depending on the school and what you actually did as a part of that job is what matters to your SA application.
 

A1Janitor

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Dec 22, 2018
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Each year on here there are examples of applicants who got an appointment to USNA but only got a TWE from USMA, so clearly there are some differences in how they evaluate applicants.

I agree with all you wrote - I would only point out the competition in a district can be different for each SA.
 

OldRetSWO

USNA 78/parent 11/BGO for >25yrs
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Thank you, sir. The “calculator” was far from an official source, but it claimed that its “margin of error was +/-2%. I will continue to stick with official sources though.
I looked at the site and while I do think they have the basics right, I don't think they are very accurate on the relative weightings, certainly not +- 2%. I did see a pretty big problem on their info about nominations for instance.
 

time2

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The competition within a district for a NOM is regional. However, the USNA criteria for being 3Q applies nationwide.
 

A1Janitor

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The competition within a district for a NOM is regional. However, the USNA criteria for being 3Q applies nationwide.
My point was someone can win their slate for one academy while getting a twe for another academy because the competition on the slates were different.
 
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