Nomination Essay Assistance

whatyetmaybe

New Member
Salutations,

I am a re-applicant to USNA and currently in the process of completing my MOC Nomination application. I have made it through the bulk of the application, but have run ashore on the essay topic.

My ultimate goal with my essay is to leave a lasting impression with the MOC board and answer the question. The quarrel I have with my current draft is that I might have made it a bit too complex for the prompt. Being a second timer, what is it that a MOC review board is looking for in an essay? The general assumption I have would be improvements upon my first attempt, but what else can I focus on to really raise an eyebrow with the board?

Below is my current draft of the essay. It is limited to 500 words and the prompt is as follows:

"Please state why you want to attend one of the U.S. Service Academies."



Mount Olympus is described by many as the most beautiful place on Earth, so much so in fact that the ancient Greeks believed it housed the most powerful of the ancient Gods atop its marvelous peak. In many ways, Mount Olympus is much more than just a tangible rock; Mount Olympus is a symbol of hope and aspirations, duty and commitment, honor and loyalty. Yes, the people of ancient Greece held Mount Olympus in the highest of regards and for valid reason, but for me, there’s another Mount Olympus right here in our home, laying on the edge of the Severn River. The United States Naval Academy and Mount Olympus may be on opposite sides of the world, but they each convey many similarities to each other. For a start, they are both comprised heavily of stone, but aside from the tangible features they both house the best of the best, reside upon mountains of ideals, and the journey to each is a long and arduous one; one which takes years of hard work and dedication. The journey to the Naval Academy for me began eleven years ago when my grandfather took my family and I there. That trip was my first college visit ever and it engrained a feeling of home at the Academy for me, as it once did for my grandfather. Graduating fourth in the class of 1956, my grandfather held the Naval Academy in a very special regard for it gave him the skills, traits, and character to change his life for the better. Having been raised during the Great Depression, my grandfather came from humble beginnings and sought nothing more than to live a life of purpose outside of the poverty the depression spread throughout the country. He did this through education and service to our nation. My grandfather wished to attend the Naval Academy, but failed to gain admission twice. During this time, he attended Rutgers and finally gained admission to the college of his dreams on the third try. Now more than sixty years later, I find myself stepping in the same footprints my grandfather once did, although it wasn’t until April of this past year that I made the realization about education he once did. For the past ten years, I had reigned as a lackadaisical, average student. It took the weight of denial to quash that old way of acting and give rise to a new one. I have since learned to seek out help when I need it, attend office hours with my professors, and study better. I have also gone on to join NROTC and enjoy it greatly, but wish to live that lifestyle more than I already do. After I failed, I made it my mission to correct the mistakes I made in my first attempt and never repeat them. I wish to live a life of service, but seek for it to begin at the end of this journey and atop the same mountain as it once did for my grandfather.
 

MidCakePa

Member
I try to avoid commenting on essays, because I don’t believe people on this forum are as qualified to critique your essay as friends and family. But this I’ll say: You waste an awful lot of your allotted 500 words on Mt. Olympus, which has zero connection to why you want to attend USNA.

Save the lofty rhetoric for another time. Get to the point, be direct, be honest, be authentic. Best wishes to you.
 

Devil Doc

Teufel Doc
On line 10 it should read "my family and me there." Not "my family and I."

You used too many semicolons and commas for my liking. I think it's better to use separate sentences rather than join clauses. While grammatically correct, semicolons sometimes clog the flow of conversation.

Not a bad story except for Olympus.
 

whatyetmaybe

New Member
I try to avoid commenting on essays, because I don’t believe people on this forum are as qualified to critique your essay as friends and family. But this I’ll say: You waste an awful lot of your allotted 500 words on Mt. Olympus, which has zero connection to why you want to attend USNA.

Save the lofty rhetoric for another time. Get to the point, be direct, be honest, be authentic. Best wishes to you.
That's what I thought too when I proof-read it again. Thank you!
 

FMHS-79

Parent
I agree with the comments about Mount Olympus and, while I appreciate your grandfather's fortitude and service, I'm not sure this portion of the essay effectively adds to the explanation of why you want to attend a service academy. IMHO.

Thanks for your willingness to serve. Good luck.
 

Old Navy BGO

5-Year Member
Save the lofty rhetoric for another time
^ This . You are applying to the Naval Academy, not some East Coast liberal arts school.. The Admissions Board is composed (mostly) of senior Naval and Marine Corps officers, and they read alot of these. Be direct and to the point.

I don't read and comment on these online ..and when I do, I just skim, pick key word and get the gist. The first thing that jumped out to me was
For the past ten years, I had reigned as a lackadaisical, average student. It took the weight of denial to quash that old way of acting and give rise to a new one.
. I had to go back twice to recognize that you've turned things around ... If you are going to lead with your nose like this, you better have the counter punch to back it up - perhaps recite some of your accomplishments during the turnaround so they don't have to go back and look at other parts of your package.
 

jebdad

5-Year Member
I agree with the Olympus comments and would add that on first read the essay is more about your gramps than about you. They want to know about you.
 

VelveteenR

Just gathering dust in the nursery...
5-Year Member
Sorry, but I would toss the whole thing and start over stating very clearly why you want to be an officer in the U.S. Navy which is the correct answer to the essay question. I don’t see that explanation anywhere in this soup of words. You can probably answer the question in just a few sentences. This is not an essay contest.

Hint: The answer has nothing to do with Greek mythology or your grandfather. What is it inside of YOU that is driving YOU to take this particular path to service?
 
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usna1985

10-Year Member
Agree with the above posters. Take a step back. You are currently at some school, apparently doing ROTC. For some reason, your desire to attend USNA still burns. Why? What is it about USNA that makes you want to apply again, start over as a plebe, etc.?

Rather than tell a tale, I suggest you write down the top 3-5 reasons you want to attend USNA in plain English. Just list them. For example:
1. Being in ROTC made me realize that I want a military lifestyle all day, every day
2. I want the class camaraderie/bonding experience
3. I really want to be a SEAL officer and USNA offers the best chance to do that

Not saying the above are your reasons, but you should list what they are. Then pull them together into a short, punchy, coherent essay that speaks to you as a person and your commitment to attend USNA.

MOC committees (especially in populous areas) read hundreds, if not thousands, of essays over the course of a few years. Trust me, it is readily apparent who is writing from the heart and who is writing what they think someone wants to hear.

Don't overthink it.
 
Write the why you want to serve your country and attend USNA! Very simple yet hard to do. DO NOT MAKE IT sound like a novel or a paper for your Lit or English class. Straight forward and as USNA1985 said from the heart. NO BS allowed. Direct and on point!
 

Capt MJ

10-Year Member
I am fond of recommending reading it aloud to a trusted friend or sibling. If they start laughing or rolling their eyes, time to reel the hyperbole and artistic story-telling back in. Speak from your heart. If someone asked you to state in 3 sentences why you want to be a Navy or Marine Corps Officer, and why you think USNA is your path, would you start talking about Mt. Olympus?

You say you want to make an impression on those who read it. I fear it may not be the one you intend.
 

whatyetmaybe

New Member
I am fond of recommending reading it aloud to a trusted friend or sibling. If they start laughing or rolling their eyes, time to reel the hyperbole and artistic story-telling back in. Speak from your heart. If someone asked you to state in 3 sentences why you want to be a Navy or Marine Corps Officer, and why you think USNA is your path, would you start talking about Mt. Olympus?

You say you want to make an impression on those who read it. I fear it may not be the one you intend.
I see what you mean. Direct and to the point. I will try to make an impression in this regard, rather than with existential introductions.
 

USMCGrunt

5-Year Member
@whatyetmaybe : you are given 500 words to tell why you want to go to one of the service academies. You can't waste time with hyperbole, etc. The advice above is good. Coming at this from another angle, I encourage you to google what an "elevator speech" is. Think of your prompt as the opportunity to deliver a 30-second elevator speech. What would you say?
 

minos

Member
One trick I learned when writing my essays was to put them into google translate and have the robot speak my essay to me. Just thought I’d put it out there!
 
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