My observations on my son's admission to USNA

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by Ribeye, Jan 28, 2018.

  1. Ribeye

    Ribeye New Member

    Jan 28, 2018
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    As a longtime lurker on this forum, and in appreciation for the endless sound advice posted by the moderators (and others), I thought I would give my opinion on the reasons my son was appointed to USNA.

    1. Success at Summer Seminar. Going there in shape is very important, as is maintaining a good attitude. Performing well on the CFA (max sit-ups and push-ups; better than average mile time) certainly caught the eye of his squad leader who was effusive in his praise. Contrast that with those who reported in poor physical condition. No doubt this was a negative for them. The squad leader does provide a review of each individual and while this may not be a game changer, a positive review will certainly help. Bottom line- get in shape, be enthusiastic, help your teammates, stay off your phone and treat SS like an audition. It will definitely help you.

    2. Everyone knows this, but I’ll restate the obvious- great grades and test scores are of paramount importance. My son was in the top 5% of a 500+ size class. He was enrolled in the toughest curriculum. His ACT was 32 for Math and English.

    3. Sports. He was a two-sport athlete with 7 varsity letters and captain of both as a senior. Sustained participation led to leadership opportunities. Functioning as part of a team teaches invaluable lessons and competition pushes one to excel.

    4. Communication skills. Practicing for the BGO interview and congressional interviews really paid off. He came out of both feeling very confident in his performance. One of the moderators on this forum mentioned “it’s not what you say but how you say it.” He was prepared, and his delivery reflected that. Leaders must be effective communicators and I think this is overlooked by many applicants.

    5. Teacher recommendations. Getting to know your teachers and not simply performing well in their classes will undoubtedly strengthen your letters of recommendation. While we did not see any of these letters, my son’s teachers expressed their intent to be detailed and positive.

    6. Extracurriculars. My son applied for, and was accepted to, a Youth Leadership position for our area. Combined with Boys State and his part-time job he was able to effectively demonstrate leadership potential and time management. Working 15+ hours/week as a junior was challenging but he was able to persevere, and in my view, this probably signified a readiness for academy life. I think a part-time job was a tremendous asset.

    In summary, I think my son was above average in most categories with no significant deficiencies. He didn’t have a 36 ACT and was not a valedictorian. I think the key was being well-rounded. He wasn’t off the charts in any one area and I’d be willing to bet his Whole Candidate Score (or whatever metric is used) was high enough for a relatively early appointment.
  2. suddensam

    suddensam USNA BGO 5-Year Member

    Feb 7, 2012
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    Congratulations to your son (and to you) on his appointment. Some good observations, but I might offer that a couple of these things - specifically #2 and #5, in that order, carry much more weight than anything else on your list. #2 is probably 50% or more of the ballgame. Close behind that is the good opinion of English and Math teachers. I always counsel my younger candidates to meet with their junior year Math and English teachers early in the year, explain their aspirations and the importance of a good recommendation, participate actively in their classes, and seek every opportunity for office hours or extra instruction.

    #6 is also important in that USNA is looking for a demonstrated aptitude for -- and preferably impact attributed to -- leadership. May caution there is that virtually every candidate can lay claim to some leadership position or title, but few can articulate the specific and lasting difference that their leadership brought to the club, team, community, etc. As an example, many candidates present as sports team captains. But a rare few can talk about the manner in which their personal leadership improved or sustained the program in a tangible and lasting way. That is the real differentiator, as least in my experience.

    Again, BZ. I-Day is 150 days from today. Counsel your son to run a lot but avoid contact and other "extreme" sports. No injuries.
    justdoit19 likes this.
  3. breakitbuyit

    breakitbuyit Member

    Sep 15, 2016
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    As far as summer seminar tips go, I would second this and definitely value 'get in shape' as number one. While it's not the end of the world if you aren't, it definitely carries a lot of weight with keeping a good image of yourself & helping out your squad in team exercises. Out of my squad, so far there's been 2 appointments including myself, and both of us were the at the top of our squad regarding physical fitness.

    On the phone, there's not much need to even take it out of your room. Some people threw it in their bags, but other than for pictures/videos you're going to be busy practically the whole time. It shouldn't be a problem.