Newbie mom with interested daughter


10-Year Member
5-Year Member
Jun 21, 2007
Hi all-

I'm a parent from upstate New York with a rising senior daughter who wants to attend USNA. It's the only conversation that makes her light up when we really start talking about the future. The process is started, we've filed the pre-application and are waiting for the application (does this take long?).
Learned a lot already from reading some posts on this message board:biggrin: Thanks- kgrmom
(does this take long?).

Not at all. A couple of weeks max. She will need to report top 40% of her class and mins of 530V/570M to be assigned a candidate number so that she may complete the application process. Pity she missed NASS this summer. But she should be able to get a CVW ths fall. Have her contact her BGO as soon as the assignment is made.
This will show you how "new" I am: BGO? some kind of officer I'm guessing?
CVW- Candidate Visit something? Yikes- translations please-lol.

She's in the top 10-15 % of her class by my estimate and her test scores are in that range. She's a terrible standarized test taker but she has a very high GPA so her SAT's don't do her justice. Hate that. Thanks for your quick reply :)
SAT's - See if she can take an SAT prep course - if not then get the book from the College Board and she can practice online. She should plan on taking the SAT's over (and over and over if necessary) - should aim for > 600 in each, especially Math.. She can also try the ACT as well. Some kids do better with that.

Is she taking a challenging senior schedule? AP Courses? Pre-Calculus or Calculus? Chem or Physics?
Is she a Varsity Athlete? Letterwinner?

The application process itself is pretty much like any other college applicaton except she needs to take the CFA (Candidate Fitness Assessment) and apply to her Members of Congress for a nomination. Each of those applications is normally like a college application as well and she can start those in the summer - See the Nominations Forum.
CGO-Candidate Guidance Office (Admissions Office)
BGO-Blue & Gold Officer (local Academy representative-parent or alumni)
CVW-Candidate Visitation Weekend (8-10 Thurs-Sat Weekends throughout the academic year where candidates can visit, see what things are all about.

SATs may be a problem. Right, wrong, or indifferent, USNA weights them heavily, especially the math. The average V/M SAT for candidates straight from HS is in the 1350 range. Have her start studying and taking them every offering through Feb or March. The 1100 is just to become an official candidate. Minimum cutoffs for acceptance (waiverable) is 600/600. To get in with a 1200 from a competitive area, probably such as yours, would require a strong extracurricular, leadership package and a high class standing. USNA does not look at GPAs. This should get you started:

Check the Class of 2010 profile.

Note: Your CGIS should very soon list your BGO. If the SATs are below 1100 and she has strong class standing, good courseload, and outstanding extracurriculars, ask the BGO to help her with a waiver so she can go ahead and get the application process started.
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Thanks for the answers. She has a varsity letter in Crew, she's a rower- a good one. We have already sent off some information to the women's crew coach. Figured it couldn't hurt. She is also a brown belt in karate. Several A/P classes and she's taking a pre-calc class over the summer so she can take A/P Calc next year. It will be the first time her school has ever offered it. She has a lot of extra curricular things that will work in her favor if her test scores don't kill it before she gets there. She's already planning to re-take but has to wait til fall). I think she is nervous about spending the year on pins and needles waiting for the "let down". Sounds like such a daunting process. :confused:
It is daunting but doable! You and your daughter should read everything on the USNA admssions page, especially the steps to admission. They are very explicit on how to apply. Do not let a lower (right now) SAT/ACT score deter her. Once she has a candidiate number - follow USNA69's advice - do not delay in completing as many parts of the application as she can this summer. She could go ahead and write her members of congress (MOCs) now to get their applications so she can be thinking about the essays.

You are her cheerleader/coach/deadline watcher! Let her own the process of applying. She will never know if she doesn't try.

Consider the other academies (USCGA, USMA, USMMA, and USAFA). They are fine institutions also!

Go Army! :shake:

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Also, talk to her about applying for the 4-year Naval ROTC scholarship. She can start the application process for that right now as well. ROTC is a great way to get a commision as well and having a backup plan set in stone makes the academy application process a little less stressful, trust me.
I would have to say, though, that USMA is a finer institution, not that I'm biased...
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Good for her to get in touch with the coach - this can help.
Antionette has it right - you are her coach - provide encouragement.
My daughter was like your daughter - she wanted it but at times didn't know if it was worth it. It takes a lot of guts for some of these kids to stick their necks out - I told my daughter she will never know if she doesn't try and will wake up some day when she is 30 wondering "what if...."

Yes, SAT's can be a pain. My daughter hated taking them. This is where you come in. Strongly encourage her to prepare as best as she can. Taking them multiple times shows the academy you are trying to improve your package.

My daughter got her letter from admissions about a week after she filled out the pre candidate questionairre. I, personally, think she should get a candidate number right away that will let her log in and start the application. Sometime they do ask for transcripts or more test scores.

If she wants a sea service - then definitely encourage her to explore USCGA and USMMA.
i second Just A Mom. I was dead set on USNA when i first started to apply, but after learning more and more about USCGA i started to actually like it better. I'll be entering with the CGA c/o 2011 in a week!
Some kids do better on the ACTs. Perhaps worth a try. They are offered in September, a month earlier than the next SATs.

Actually she did much better on the ACT Math but not so great on the ACT Verbal. She was going to re-take it in June but had her last regatta and had already been tested to at that time of year. She will definitely be taking both ACT's and SAT's in the fall :eek: She's so impossible on test days.
kgrmom - My son is also not a good standarized test taker so I feel your pain. My son was 9th in his class with many AP classes and still only got 520 Math and 520 Verbal the first time he took the SAT. He did better on the ACT but still on the low side in the Math score. I was very worried his standardized test scores would be the only thing keeping him out of USMA. Luckily he got into the civil prep program, did a year at a military junior college and improved his SAT scores to 540 Math and 640 Verbal. He will be in the USMA c/o 2011.
Tell her not to let those scores get her down. Take the tests as many times as she can (even though she hates them) and most likely she will improve her scores.

A Navy ROTC scholarship is an excellent backup plan just in case USNA doesn't work out for her.

Most important...tell her not to give up!
I have to thank everyone for being so encouraging. This is just what we (my daughter and I) need right now. When you have yourself convinced that all the other applicants must be "super-students" except yourself it means a lot to see what other parents have to say. This info has even prompted some chats about the Coast Guard and ROTC which we had not had much of previously :) All good stuff.

And it's nice to know she's not alone on the standardized test "thing" (although I'm sorry you suffered with it as well WAmom). Truth be known they are not the greatest indicator for many students.
Truth be known they are not the greatest indicator for many students.

But they are the one standardized nationwide indicator with which all candidates can be compared. They allow mulitiple takes and will accept best scores from separate tests. Doing well on the Math portion is probably the best thing a successful candidate can do.
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If you're looking a many different places for info on how best to prepare, I encourage you to check the CC site under "SAT prep" for lots of good tips. If your daughter is a self-starter and wants to really dig into the areas (of the SAT test itself) in which she may wish to improve, take a look at the "Xiggi Method" at It discusses these tests in great detail and shows how to increase your scores through better understanding of where you (ie, the test-taker) are spending the time during the test. Just one example of a time saver: by taking practice tests you know the "instructions" for different sections and can get right to work, while first-time test-takers are spending time reading directions rather than solving problems.

Remember, the SAT tests ability to perform within a time limit as well as ability to actually solve the problems.
That site is full of information- Thanks. Did that method help you? They seem to advocate self "study" more than prep classes- interesting. It will take me some time to read through it.
Weelllllll... I'm beyond help... :biggrin: ...but I do think it has been useful for my kids -- my daughter "sorta" used it when she took the SAT (she is looking at pre-med) in April, and after not doing as well as she thought, is getting more into it (although it IS summer) before re-taking the SAT in the fall. And my son is using it because he takes the PSAT next fall as well. He's looking at an academy and knows the PSAT is key to summer seminars.

I think the big thing about the larger "SAT prep" part of CC is the "tips" but you have to look for the pearls among the postings, so to speak. The Xiggi method is really doing for yourself what most have Sylvan/Princeton/etc. do for you in a SAT prep course, but for which you pay someone else big bucks. What Xiggi is saying is you can do this yourself, if you have self-discipline, and save a bunch of money. I think to get through the academies you need to develop self-discipline. So, in that regard, my thinking is that we are helping our kids develop in more ways than just prepping for the SAT.
:w00t: I guess the fun is about to "officially" begin. My daughter received a letter with a candidate number. The list of hurdles we need to jump is running in my head but I guess we take it one step at a time. I'll just hang with her in her reaction for now. YES! Wanted to share- Thanks.