NASS vs. West Point SLE?

Jan 25, 2015
Hi everyone,

I was overjoyed when I received an email today informing me that I was accepted to Session 2 of the Naval Academy Summer Seminar for this upcoming June. Navy is my first choice, and I would love to go and experience a week of quasi-midshipman life at the Naval Academy with other driven candidates from across the country. However, I have a problem: I was also accepted to the first session of West Point SLE about two weeks ago, and I have already contacted my counselors about taking the week off to attend. Session 1 of SLE (June 3-9) is the week before finals begin at my school, so just trying to work with them to allow me to miss that week was difficult. Regarding NASS, Session 2 is the actual week of finals (June 10-15). Knowing this, I expect trying to work something out with my high school administration will be an even more challenging task.

Like I said, Naval Academy is my first choice- not just first choice of service academy that I will be applying to, but first choice among all of the colleges I will be submitting applications to. On one hand, I am raring to start filling out the forms for NASS and securing my spot in Session 2. On the other hand, I know that I have already visited the Yard several times before during Boy Scout Jamborees and a CVW I went on last October, and that seeing West Point (which I have never visited) might do me some good. Trying to attend both is out of the question; not only would it mean going from one session to another in quick succession, it would also put my junior year academic record in serious jeopardy with all the study and review time lost.

If anyone has any suggestions or comments, I welcome and appreciate all of them. Thanks in advance for trying to help me out.
  • If there is no remote possibility in your mind of ever becoming an Army officer, then skip the SLE as it is likely a waste of the spot.
  • However, if there is some interest in the Army....even just a curiosity, then attend SLE.....check out the unknown.

You are already sold on USNA and have seen the yard. NASS and SLE is designed to provide a "look" at their respective Academies. In my opinion, you are already sold on USNA.
My DS substantially changed is mind in the end based on visiting different schools.

You might find you love WP or you may just reinforce that you are making the right decision at Annapolis.
My first inclination would be Go Army! lol

But in all seriousness, if it's an issue with the week itself, and you like navy better, request week 1 or three from navy, and they'll see if they can accommodate it (that's what I did, they switched me in so it worked out). If they can't move you, then I suppose you'll have to go to SLE. If they can, and you get lucky, you may get to go to both in that they'll switch you to session three and then you can go to SLE and then NASS afterwards, or they'll switch you to session 1 and you'll have to miss SLE to go to NASS.

If it's an issue with getting to know the college itself, obviously first see if you can't get session 1 SLE and session 3 NASS, because then you'll get to go to both. If you don't get it, and you really want to see West Point more than you want to go to NASS, then maybe you should just go to SLE.

Ultimately, it's all up to where you want to see the most. It's a recruiting tool in the sense that it's for you to get a feel for the place and assess if you really do want to go there.
TAKE THE OPPORTUNITY, you will be regretful if you did not. You can always offer to take the tests at other times, earlier or later- let them know you are willing to work with them and be flexible. Make a big deal about NASS and SLE as they could be considered "college visits" or even "sick days" or "vacation days" that you can use. And if push comes to shove you can always give them the " I want to go to THE Naval Academy and have been given an opportunity that I need to take...." Yet, on the flip-side if you already think you have a pretty good perspective of USNA - let some other lucky kid have that opportunity. I have heard that NASS is a less preferential view/ experience of USNA than a CWV because in a CVW you are able to "see how the mid's live". If there is a will, there is a way.
You can always offer to take the tests at other times, earlier or later- let them know you are willing to work with them and be flexible.
@bandathlete157, be sure to confirm how tests/finals taken at different time(especially late) may affect the timeliness of your report card being issued. Watch out for unintended second and third order of effects. Good luck!
Last year my child finished junior year 2 weeks early to attend both experiences. She took finals early, and one kind teacher even excused her from a final as she had a solid a in the class. She did not sleep much in May, but it all worked out great in the end, and she will be attending her first choice academy next year. Best of luck. You can do it!
DS attended both, back to back, in 2016. Though USNA was his first choice..and he has accepted an appointment to USNA for Class of 2021...he thoroughly enjoyed his SLE experience and was glad he attended both. DD is scheduled similarly this year for SLE and USAFA, already being familiar with USNA. If at all possible, I would suggest attending both programs.