Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by Academy_Questions, Aug 31, 2009.
Does USNA really send out some LOAs beginning Sep 1?
Some LOAs go out early -- I've not heard any specific dates. However, PLEASE focus on putting together a good packet so you get an appointment. LOAs are nice, but few in number. The overwhelming majority of people who end up as members of the Class of 2014 will not get an LOA.
Yes, USNA does send out some LOAs early - I am aware of a few already given out this year. However, it is still VERY early & LOAs are far & few between. The overall goal is not an LOA, the overall goal is an appointment.
The application process to a SA is akin to running a marathon - you have been in training for years as prep to begin the application process (the race). The process (race) has only just begun - it won't be finished until March/April/May. The vast majority of candidates do not get an LOA. If you focus on a potential LOA you set yourself up for a lot of unnecessary stress and disappointment. Not getting an LOA is not a reflection on you or the strength of your file. LOAs are a strange beast - there is no rhyme or reason to them. I have seen kids that never dreamed they would qualify for one get one, I've seen them go to kids with 3.7s and mid SATs and I have seen athletes (both high and lower academics) and I have seen super achievers get them - very importantly, I have also seen students with very high scores/grades and every EC/leadership known to mankind NOT get one.
Once an application is complete the candidate should sit back & let the system work. Update your file if/when you reach new achievements, take the SAT/ACT again, and above all be patient. If you forget about an LOA the next six months will be easier and if you get one it will be great but if you don't get one, it's not a big deal.
By the way, I am stressing this to everyone, not the initial poster. This time of year LOAs are the talk of the town. It seems that everyone has their heart set on one & they somehow feel inadequate when they don't get one. We will begin to see posts of students that did get one - but just because one persons stats appear higher/lower etc. does not mean that individual will/won't get an LOA. There really is no rhyme or reason to them & you cannot know nor can you control it. Turn in the best file you possibly can and let the chips fall.
LOAs serve a important purpose - to convince a highly qualified candidate that they are wanted, that the academy is making a commitment to them by offering a conditional appointment.
True, the goal is not to get a LOA but an appointment. But I wouldn't brush aside the importance or significance of an LOA so quickly - there IS a purpose and there is a reason for their use. Everyone wants to feel wanted, and the academies will use the LOA to try to sway the decision of a top-notch candidate who may be looking at others schools or academies. Lock 'em up early, never let the buyer off the lot, etc - it's a sales tactic that they use to entice. "Why should I look at other schools when I already have a (almost) guaranteed slot at USXA?"
Of course, as all LOAs are conditional appointments, they are not guarantees. Every LOA has conditions attached that must be met before an appointment is given, most of the time that condition is for the candiate to obtain a nomination, but sometimes the conditions are passing DODMERB, passing the CFA, or maintaining good grades for the rest of high school.
However, I don't think I've ever heard of a USNA candidate (who wants an appointment) with a nomination-conditional LOA who has not received a nomination and subsequently, an appointment.
MOCs seem to always know and always seem to nominate the LOA holders in their districts/states. And if the MOC doesn't come through, the SecNav or Supe will.
So in most cases, the LOA actually IS as good as an appointment.
I've seen it happen. USNA says it happens. Rare but it does happen.
Yes and no. Medical issues kill some LOA candidates.
LOAs came about b/c civilian colleges were offering early action or decision or whatever those programs were called. USNA, which has to wait on MOC noms for most candidates, which aren't due until Jan. 31, felt it was losing certain candidates who would rather take a sure acceptance in Dec. from a civilian school than take their chances on a SA.
You are correct that most folks who get an LOA will get a nom and most will be offered an appointment. However, USNA confirmed that they are decreasing the number of LOAs they are giving out, largely b/c the early decision programs are falling out of favor (at least the ones that are mutually binding) and b/c LOAs constrict their ability to fill the class. And, failing to get an LOA is not in any way a reflection on your likelihood of obtaining an appointment.
Yes, LOAs are wonderful things. But obsessing over them, especially when you as a candidate can't control anything about them, is wasted energy.
Not to sounds rude, just making a point, but why shouldn't a candidate, at this point anyway, "focus on an LOA"? Yes, the point is to get an appointment, but at this point, what puts someone in a better position for an appointment than an LOA? It just seems to me that whenever someone on here posts about LOAs, there are 5 or so posters who will go "don't focus on an LOA" as if doing so at this point somehow detracts from their candidacy. Can't focusing on an LOA be a good thing? It makes you get your app in early, your CFA and DODMERB done....IDK, it just honestly seems as though the desire for an LOA is always made out to be bad, or something that will distract you from the process of applying, when, in fact, the process of getting an LOA is the same thing as getting an appointment at all:Apply as early as possible with the best package possible. Just my two cents.
All of the above. LOA IS CONDITIONAL. You may receive a LOA long before the nomination process and DODMERB evaluation/waiver proces is started or completed. A LOA is a great morale booster. Based upon your preliminary appliation they want you. If, MAJOR IF, you qualify under the medical and nomination requirements you will receive an offer of admission. As stated, medical DQ and or no nomination can kill any LOA. Continue with the process as if the LOA was not in your hip pocket. We know of someone who received a LOA and two nominations and one week later a DQ. It took months to refute the DQ prior to I-Day. Keep focused and working on all aspects of the admission process.
Why focus on an appointment?
If the academy really really really wants you the LOA will come. But - it's not enough.
This may surprise you but a few candidates who don't completely understand the system get their LOA and do not realize they need to apply for a nomination. If they fail to apply to their MOC's for a nomination they will indeed be left out or someone will be scrambling.
Becoming medically qualified is largely out of a candidates control although some may need to chase a medical waiver. Understanding this and not allowing it to fall through the cracks are important in the process.
The most prudent path to take is to focus on the application, nomination applications and following the Dodmerb process. Concurrently. JMHO.
According to the catalog, Admissions takes their first look in September with what few LOAs that result to be issued shortly afterwards. That process continues in what they refer as a "rolling admissions process." This is why the sooner you get your packet completed, the more likely you are to get an LOA.
I would imagine that most of the super-early LOAs go out to highly sought after athletes whom they are recruiting.
Let's face it, the point of an LOA is to discourage highly sought after candidates from pursuing other options. There is the psychological impact of wanting to go to a school that wants you.
My twins were fortunate to get LOAs and they were dated 03Nov and 14Nov. The letters were cc'd to their nominating sources. By the way, neither was a recruited athlete.
West Point is much more generous with LOAs and sends them out earlier and more plentiful. So, if you have a friend who is applying to USMA and has already received an LOA - that should not discourage you. In fact, you should not be discouraged if you never receive an LOA. Most will not.
I asked a local Blue & Gold Officer, "What if there are more LOAs than there are slots amongst the nominating sources?"
His answer was, "They'll find a nomination, even if they have to get it from another state." That is not well known. In fact, he told me about another candidate in our area (west Tennessee) for whom they had to go fishing for a nomination and found one in Iowa for him.
Luigi - yes you are totally right - LOAs serve an important purpose in the admissions process. If it sounded like I was saying they are not then I mis-stated it. What I was trying to do is make sure that candidates understand that it is great to get an LOA but it is not the end of the world if they don't get one.
Yes, MOCs are given notice about LOAs one to two weeks before the SA tells the candidate about the LOA. This is a way for the SA to allow the MOC to notify the candidate directly. Some MOCs take advantage of that early notice by calling the candidate to tell them the good news directly and some don't.
While it is rare, it is possible for an LOA not to get a nom. In most cases, the MOCs do nominate the LOAs. However, in highly competitive areas, I have seen a MOC with more than 10 LOAs - there are only 10 spots on a slate so anyone after the 10th spot doesn't get that nom. Yes, the SA has the authority to give that LOA a nom - and usually do. I know of situations where a candidate with an LOA did not get a nom and the SA chose not to give a supe nom as well ... if the candidate does not do their part (apply for all noms for which you are eligible) the SA may see that as lack of interest/focus or whatever.
I think it is safe to say that if an LOA recipient does everything they are supposed to do (pass DoDMRB, finish HS without a bunch of Fs, doesn't get into trouble with the law, AND TRY to get a nom) they'll get the appointment. Let me give a few examples that I know of where an LOA did not get an appointment. Off the top of my head I can think of several instances where an LOA was later voided.
1) Problems with the law (senior prank gone bad)
2) Failure to secure a nom (did not finish nom application)
3) Failure to secure a nom (nom board made conscious choice to refuse the nom & so state to the ALO and SA directly for attitude)
4) Failure to secure a nom (more than 10 LOAs and the student did not apply to all sources for which he was eligible).
The third example I heard about but do not have first hand knowledge of - the others I have personal knowledge of. There is one more example too that I saw first hand as well. Candidate had told MOC first choice was USxA and 2nd choice was another SA. MOC gave nom to both choice 1&2 but not choice 3. Candidate changed mind and had an LOA to choice 3. Candidate had already interviewed and told MOC panel 1st and 2nd SA choice and they gave two noms. Around Feb/Mar candidate asks for nom to be switched to 3rd choice, for which candidate also had an LOA. MOC refused to change the nom (slates are submitted by Jan 31 so this is after the slate is submitted). In his interview the panel very specifically asked the student to rank the SAs to be 100% certain what he wanted. The first choice was adamantly the same, #2 was a distant second and #3 was not even on the radar. For whatever reason, the student changed his mind to #3. But, without the nom, his only available option was to wait a year and try again next year or go to his now 2nd choice. The #3 SA did not give this LOA recipient a nom. By the way, that was a couple of years ago and the young man is thankful for how it worked out as he is, "where I belong".
Obviously this is an extreme example. The reality is that LOAs are a great thing and serve an important purpose for the SAs. However, for the candidates that don't get them - it is not the end of the world.
As to the other poster asking why not focus on an LOA - well, how about instead of focusing on the LOA you focus on the best application possible? Kids that focus on the LOA risk disappointment. A student in my D's HS whom I know well did not get an LOA when he was applying and every single day that he did not get an LOA in the mail was as if he was being rejected. He became depressed and it affected his senior year. He was a very strong candidate for a SA (ranked top 2% of the class, SATs over 1450 range, 4 yr varsity sports and team captain, strong leadership etc) but in the end not only did he not get the LOA for which he thought he was qualified, neither did he get an appointment. He spent his senior year stalking the mailman and not planning for "Plan B". He ended up at the local JC. Two years later he has his AA degree and did not go on to get his BA - instead opting to enter the labor market and begin his working life.
Maybe it is because I know this young man and I watched him agonize over not getting an LOA and then wait for spring and not get an appointment. I see his parents every few weeks and I know he/they still thinks about it. They don't ask about my D at USAFA nor do I volunteer anything about the opportunities she's had. Don't let that be you - enjoy your senior year. Make your file as strong as you can, and update it as often as necessary to ensure it reflects your achievements but don't obsess over it. And, if you do nothing else - apply to a Plan B college!
I hear this all the time but it's not legal and USNA denies that it happens. For MOC noms, you must be a legal resident of the district from which the nom comes. It is true that USNA can "find" a nom if it really wants to -- it's typically a Supe's nom, however, not an MOC nom.
Also, they wouldn't need to "fish" for open MOC slots -- one of the motivations behind the "diversity" campaign is to ensure that every MOC slot is filled. Currently, there are something like 37 districts a year where there are zero people nominated and, according to USNA, they go unfilled. One of the major efforts is to attract more people in those districts to apply to USNA --hence, geographic diversity.
Finally, the reason you shouldn't obsess over an LOA is that you can't control it. You put together the very best package you can and then hope for the best. As Mom above says, not getting one can demoralize you when it shouldn't. And, trust me, once you arrive at USNA NO ONE cares whether you got an LOA in Sept. and an appointment in Oct. or got the call on June 25.
i wasn't trying to start an uproar, just asking a question.
whether or not I recieve an LOA, it did motivate me to complete my application, as it is entirely complete except for my CFA which I am taking this week.
You were 100% right in reminding people that NOT getting one should not be a cause for discouragement.
Last year my son received a LOA on August 27 and was on top of the world. 2 days later August 29 he broke his leg on his first carry of the first football game in his senior year. It was supposed to be his year. Football season over.... USNA on hold. That began the medical process all over again(he had just been medically qualified).....what a pain to start over....thanks to Larry for all his help once again.
I remember the LOA stating a copy was sent to MOC and state senators. The MOC granted our son a nomination without even an interview stating to us the LOA received was their proof that he would be a good candidate and they wanted to save time and interview other candidates. He was also granted a nomination from a state senator with an interview. The state senators(interview committee) interviewed all candidates. In PA. last year the one senator's office interviewed about 280 kids over a multi day period.
My son's goal was never a LOA but to take care of the little things (pushups, SATs, grades, extracurrics, public service) and the big things would take care of themselves.
BTW he was not a recruited athlete....just a good all around candidate....just finished plebe summer and now fighting for a spot on the sprint football team. He finds out tomorrow if he makes the team.
After what point in the process does the board start looking to see if a candidate is LOA material?
Does the application need to be 100% completed (including DoDMERB and BGO interview)?
Here is what the last LOAs (Class of 2013) said:
We are pleased to advise you that the Admissions Board has found you qualified to compete for admission to the U.S. Naval Academy with the Class of 2013. You are guaranteed an offer of appointment if your remaining admissions requirements are completed. You should be proud of your outstanding accomplishments as you have earned an opportunity to join one of the country's premier officer training programs. As the undergraduate college of the Navy and Marine Corps, the Naval Academy will prepare you to become a leader in the Naval Service and provide an experience unmatched by an other college or university.
Please remember, however, that your guaranteed offer of appointment is contingent upon completing all of your remaining admissions requirements. You must complete the following marked requirements by 1 March 2009 or this offer may no longer be valid. Please notify your Admissions Team if you need additional time to complete your medical exam.
Then the following items were listed as potential incomplete items:
2. Medical Qualification
3. Blue and Gold Officer Interview
4. Required Application Documents
a. Personal Data Record
b. Personal Statement
c. Candidate Fitness Assessment
d. Candidate Activities Record
e. English Teacher Recommendation
f. Math Teacher Recommendation
g. High School/College Transcript
h. Official Test Scores
Usually everything under item 4 is complete by this point, however. All of this is submitted online.
Exactly the wording same as for the Class of 2010. There four check boxes for incomplete items
4. Blue and Gold Interview
Did the people receiving a LoA have a supplemental interview before being granted the letter of assurance?
No. Recipients of LOAs are just candidates who are going about the usual admission process when one day they get a letter in the mail.
Highly sought after athletes (i.e. recruits) may have a good idea that they are going to get one of these, perhaps.
There is nothing extra you are required to do (or be subjected to) in order to get an LOA, as far as I know. If the Academy thinks you're an outstanding candidate whom they would like to encourage to attend the Naval Academy, you'll probably get an LOA.
I wouldn't obsess over it, however.
As somebody already mentioned - once you're in - you're in. Nobody cares how you got in and it is almost never a topic of conversation amongst the midshipmen. It's of no interest to anybody once you get there. Nobody cares whether you got an LOA, or got a presidential nomination, or got a nomination from the lowest ranking member of congress. All that will matter is your current performance, not your past performance. Mention it and you'll probably get laughed at.
Separate names with a comma.