Middle School living abroad


5-Year Member
Apr 26, 2018
Hello. I am a US citizen in my last year of primary school in Switzerland. I know some say it's too early, but I want to try the best I can and be as prepared as possible to apply to USNA. I speak three languages, am Captain of the soccer team, play two instruments, etc.
I would like to know what I can do to prepare to really apply? As I said, I know it is early but I really want to go to the academy and serve our country.
By the way, I know the terms and conditions say 13 years old minimum age to post on this site but a parent helped me set up my account.


GoNavy ...congratulations on thinking ahead and your early interest in the Naval Academy. I am believer that starting early and at least being aware of Service Academies and what they are looking for is very helpful, as it gives you the opportunity to be proactive and shape your application from the beginning.

The first bit of advice is to learn as much about the Naval Academy and Admissions process as you can, starting with the USNA Admissions webpage. You will see CAPT MJ's admonition to read it thoroughly, including all drop downs , etc. on this forum repeatedly -- and for good reason. The USNA Admissions website is the only "official" answer to many questions you may have. This Forum, and other online resources you may find, provides good insight but I would caution against over reliance. There is a saying at USNA that you live by the gouge, and die by the gouge. For the most part, the information on this Forum is good, and many people here will give you their views on what goes into a successful candidate, but you should recognize that each candidate is an individual, and what works for one person may not be the secret to success for the next person.

The Naval Academy (and other Service Academies ) is looking for well rounded candidates with an exemplary background in academics, athletics, leadership and community service. One of the documents you will find on the Admissions website is the Class Profile for the latest classes. You can use this for guidance in developing your own plan for making you application as competitive as possible, but again, keep in mind there is not single secret path to success. You have a somewhat unique circumstance, attending middle school overseas, so some activities may not be available and other activities may not translate to activities in the US. However, if you stick to the overall objective of developing a strong academic, athletic, leadership and community service record ... you should be fine. (As an additional note, while I have never dealt directly with an overseas applicant, I would encourage you to maintain contacts with a State of Residence in the US so you can apply for Nominations from a MOC, otherwise you could be limited to a Vice Presidential nomination. In addition, I would expect that ACT/SAT' scores will be perhaps more important than normal, as Admissions may not be as familiar with overseas schools at they are with the more traditional applicant.

Finally, you are still young ... while I applaud your maturity in seeking information about the Naval Academy early and I encourage you to pursue your dream, you should shouldn't become so focused on getting accepted to the Naval Academy that you give up the best school years. In other words, get involved in activities you truly enjoy instead of activities that look good on your application. If the two overlap --great. Finally, if your goal is to serve the country as an Officer in the Navy (or other services), keep in mind that there many ways to get there, so always have a good Plan B etc.

Best of luck to you.
Thank you so much Old Navy BGO. Yes, I have thoroughly read the admissions page. I understand I have many years of school left, but I will strive to keep playing sports, achieve good grades, etc. Thanks for your reply!
@Old Navy BGO hit the high points. Building on his guidance:

— In high school, truly challenge yourself. Take the hardest classes your school has to offer, participate fully in athletics and extracurriculars, get involved in the community. But emphasize quality over quantity. In other words, don’t just join 20 clubs and hang out; join three clubs but be an active leader. That’s what “participate fully” means. USNA wants to know that you seek big challenges and can succeed amid the stress

— Demonstrate leadership not by holding a bunch of fancy titles, but by having genuinely positive impact on an organization. Rally people to a cause, mobilize resources, fix a major problem, take the mission to a new level. The litmus test: Was the organization better for you having been there?

— Don’t just read up on USNA, but also read up on the Navy. Seek active-duty members, veterans and midshipmen to meet and ask about their experiences. Then do the same for the other military branches and SAs. You’re young, so there’s much to learn about what a military career really means. Who knows, you may find yourself interested in other options. Remember that by attending an SA, you’re not just picking a college — you’re committing to your first career.

My DD was like you: She decided in 7th grade that she wanted to attend USNA. She did all of the above, kept an open mind, attended summer sessions at three SAs, won appointment to those same SAs. She still ended up at USNA, but did so with the confidence that she fully explored the other branches. Best wishes to you.