boaty_mcboatface

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Hi all. A question regarding congressional nominations:

My DD is 1 of 10 nominated by a MOC to USNA. USNA is her top, and she has 2 more nom interviews in the coming weeks. She is unsure if she should say USNA is her top in these next cong interviews because she already got a nom and does not want to risk not getting noms to USMA or USAFA. The bottom line is she wants to go to any of the three SAs with a preference for USNA. Should my DD tell one MOC usma and the other usafa to spread her odds? What do you all suggest? Thank you!
 

MidCakePa

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If USNA is her top choice and she now has a nomination, it’s unclear why she needs to now “game” the system. Is she concerned that she may not land an offer of appointment to USNA, in which case she would try to attend USMA or USAFA?

If that’s the case, she could certainly change her prioritization for the other MOCS. She wouldn’t be the first candidate to ever do that. But know that interview panelists often do double or triple duty, interviewing candidates for multiple MOCs. So should she run into someone who interviewed her earlier and they remember her initial prioritization, she may have some explaining to do. Chances are small, but still possible.

Also, in many states, MOCs agree to spread the wealth by limiting candidates to one slate only. So her gaming may do no good. But again, if she’s determined to land a nom for every SA, then perhaps worth a try.
 

boaty_mcboatface

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If USNA is her top choice and she now has a nomination, it’s unclear why she needs to now “game” the system. Is she concerned that she may not land an offer of appointment to USNA, in which case she would try to attend USMA or USAFA?

If that’s the case, she could certainly change her prioritization for the other MOCS. She wouldn’t be the first candidate to ever do that. But know that interview panelists often do double or triple duty, interviewing candidates for multiple MOCs. So should she run into someone who interviewed her earlier and they remember her initial prioritization, she may have some explaining to do. Chances are small, but still possible.

Also, in many states, MOCs agree to spread the wealth by limiting candidates to one slate only. So her gaming may do no good. But again, if she’s determined to land a nom for every SA, then perhaps worth a try.
Thank you MidCakePa. Yes, having only noms but no appt to USNA is a big concern, because at the end of the day my DD will be happy with any of the three (usna, usma, or usafa), just a heavy preference for usna. She is not trying to game the system but just trying to do everything in her power to heighten the chances of an appointment to any of the SAs. Thank you for the input.
 

dddad

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Sep 14, 2019
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Hi all. A question regarding congressional nominations:

My DD is 1 of 10 nominated by a MOC to USNA. USNA is her top, and she has 2 more nom interviews in the coming weeks. She is unsure if she should say USNA is her top in these next cong interviews because she already got a nom and does not want to risk not getting noms to USMA or USAFA. The bottom line is she wants to go to any of the three SAs with a preference for USNA. Should my DD tell one MOC usma and the other usafa to spread her odds? What do you all suggest? Thank you!
My suggestion is to be honest with all MOCs. There are no absolutes. But IMO the risk of appearing dishonest or flighty is not worth the possibility that she will increase her “odds” of landing noms to other academies. Of course, your daughter does not want to take risks about obtaining noms. Perhaps the only way to know how to minimize risk is via discussion with MOC staffers or panels. They won’t necessarily tell her how things will be approached. But her interest will be seen. In some places, she will not have a chance at multiple academies. In others, noms at multiple academies is not unlikely.
 
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Hi all. A question regarding congressional nominations:

My DD is 1 of 10 nominated by a MOC to USNA. USNA is her top, and she has 2 more nom interviews in the coming weeks. She is unsure if she should say USNA is her top in these next cong interviews because she already got a nom and does not want to risk not getting noms to USMA or USAFA. The bottom line is she wants to go to any of the three SAs with a preference for USNA. Should my DD tell one MOC usma and the other usafa to spread her odds? What do you all suggest? Thank you!
First off - congrats on her receiving a nomination!
I am just another parent on here watching my DD going through the exact same process so I have little authority on the matter, but, I will say this.
My DD had to rank SAs on her application and has had interviews with the MOC and both senators for our area. In some districts, interviews are conducted by a different nomination committee based on how the SAs were ranked on the application. There may be specific members of the committee (ex. USNA grad) interviewing those who ranked USNA first. In our area, my DD was interviewed on a different day and in a different city than a friend who ranked another SA as their top pick. In ALL interviews, she was asked why she ranked the SA she did as first, and why not the others. If your DD ranked USNA first, gets an interview with the USNA panel - it may be awkward to say her preference is now USMA.
Someone who has much more experience may be able to speak to a proper way for her to notify the committees of her desire to be considered with a different SA as a priority. There are plenty of applicants who do so, I’m sure.
 

justdoit19

Proud parent of an ANG, USNA X2, and a MidSib
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Team “be honest” here. And if that means she is equally happy in any service, then that’s her “honest”. But, she needs to be able to defend this. Answer questions. With well thought out, articulate answers. That make sense. “Why” any service? Because she will be happy serving anywhere? Or because she hasn’t researched communities/service lines? Or because she is more focused on the academy experience than the service? No need to answer, but these are things she will have to address. Something to think about!

Your question comes up every cycle. You can find more discussion/opinions via searching older threads as well. Good luck to her!
 

MidCakePa

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@boaty_mcboatface, I tried to be rather neutral in my initial response. Now building on what @dddad said, honesty and consistency do go a long way. And as quirky as the nom process may seem, things have a way of working out.

Case in point: DD was very willing to serve in any branch but had a very strong bias toward USNA, followed by USMA and then USAFA. She told MOCs exactly that order, each and every time. So what happens? She gets a principle nom to USMA, an unranked nom to USNA, and no nom to USAFA until just two days before the May 1 commitment date. Driven by some hard lobbying from USMA alum, she briefly tipped that direction before ending up at her first choice all along: USNA.

I get the temptation to game the system and give her every chance. What’s the harm, right? But again, consistency and forthrightness go a very long way in life.
 

Heatherg21

USNA mom Bacon Lover Dog Lover
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I agree with what @MidCakePa and @justdoit19 said. Last cycle our DS ranked in this order, USNA, USMA, USMMA and USAFA. He never wavered, but during interviews had to defend his choice and articulate why. One question I vaguely remember came from a USMA alumnus who sat on 2 of the 3 panels, and he seemed offended that USMA wasn't DS's first choice. DS had to explain his 'why', which requires having done all of the appropriate research into careers etc. In our case, each interview panel (MOC and both Senators) had at least one person from a prior panel. No way to game your preferences in that scenario.
The candidate should be able to explain their desire to serve in different branches, but explain why one speaks to them more than the others.

There was one panelist, who interviewed our son once, and then on another panel, he literally said, "I asked you a question once before, some time ago. I'm going to ask the same question and see if I get the same reponse. Your first answer left an impression on me."
No pressure if you were honest the first time. Game over if you b.s. your way through the first.
I too, am on team be honest.

Good luck to your kiddo.
 
Last edited:

WT Door

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Good anecdotes by @MidCakePa and @Heatherg21.

A student I advised asked me about ranking choices on the MOC application in order of preference. The applicant listed USNA as #1. I asked about his 2nd and 3rd and 4th choices which he hadn’t listed. He had done his research and decided that the other SAs were not in alignment with his desires. I further advised him that he should expect to get grilled about either not following directions (list four in order of preference), or what he had “against” the other services. Part of interview panel was composed of a West Point grad, an Air Force Vet and a USNA BGO submariner.

After the initial niceties were exchanged the applicant told me that he got nervous. They saw he had only listed USNA on the application. Out of the gate the female West Point grad asked, “What do you have against Army?”. He couldn’t tell if she was serious or joking. Air Force piped in along the same line of questioning with all the panelists having a shared laugh on an inside joke. The applicant explained that he had nothing against USMA or USAFA and thought they were great institutions. Since all his eggs were in one basket one interviewer asked, “What will you do if you don't earn a nomination today?”. He told them he was applying to NROTC. And if he didn’t get an ROTC scholarship? He mentioned that he had been accepted to Cal Maritime and had applied to some in-state colleges. He stated that he knew that OCS was a possible path to commissioning for college graduates. Why just Navy? He said that both his grandfathers served and the Navy and that he had an affinity for the oceans and wanted to serve in some capacity at sea and that the Navy offered the most options. He went home dejected feeling that he could have answered some of the questions differently.

He was relieved and happy a couple of weeks later in January. I think what was evident to the panel was the applicants resolve, sincerity, understanding of the Navy as a career choice, and a thought out Plan B.
 

Heatherg21

USNA mom Bacon Lover Dog Lover
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Good anecdotes by @MidCakePa and @Heatherg21.

A student I advised asked me about ranking choices on the MOC application in order of preference. The applicant listed USNA as #1. I asked about his 2nd and 3rd and 4th choices which he hadn’t listed. He had done his research and decided that the other SAs were not in alignment with his desires. I further advised him that he should expect to get grilled about either not following directions (list four in order of preference), or what he had “against” the other services. Part of interview panel was composed of a West Point grad, an Air Force Vet and a USNA BGO submariner.

After the initial niceties were exchanged the applicant told me that he got nervous. They saw he had only listed USNA on the application. Out of the gate the female West Point grad asked, “What do you have against Army?”. He couldn’t tell if she was serious or joking. Air Force piped in along the same line of questioning with all the panelists having a shared laugh on an inside joke. The applicant explained that he had nothing against USMA or USAFA and thought they were great institutions. Since all his eggs were in one basket one interviewer asked, “What will you do if you don't earn a nomination today?”. He told them he was applying to NROTC. And if he didn’t get an ROTC scholarship? He mentioned that he had been accepted to Cal Maritime and had applied to some in-state colleges. He stated that he knew that OCS was a possible path to commissioning for college graduates. Why just Navy? He said that both his grandfathers served and the Navy and that he had an affinity for the oceans and wanted to serve in some capacity at sea and that the Navy offered the most options. He went home dejected feeling that he could have answered some of the questions differently.

He was relieved and happy a couple of weeks later in January. I think what was evident to the panel was the applicants resolve, sincerity, understanding of the Navy as a career choice, and a thought out Plan B.
That panel sounds like 2 my DS had. They really ramp up the tension and pressure during the interviews. Our DS received similar questions, he luckily was able to let them know he had received NROTC scholarship and been accepted to Norwich. He too shared family connections to USNA.

IMPO, prepared candidates will do well despite nerves, especially those that truly have a desire to serve.
 

jaglvr

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DH & I were prepping DD last night. The one question she struggled with was along the lines of 3 traits of a good leader and when did you exhibit them. OMG she said almost the first question asked of her today was almost verbatim! She was sooo READY!😂😂
 

zbsigpi

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What we did last year was we spoke to DS's school and they put together a panel with about 12 misc questions we sent them that they could choose from. He found it beneficial. His official panel was very casual and while they did as some of the normal questions, but at the beginning DS and the 3 on the panel just talked for about 10 minute and he feels that is what won him the nomination, that one on one conversation.
 

A1Janitor

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You only need one. You have that with the first choice USNA.

So I would consider the option of saying “Since I have secured a nomination for USNA already, I would respectfully ask this committee to consider me for USMA or USAFA so you can select another deserving candidate for USNA.”
 

WT Door

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That panel sounds like 2 my DS had. They really ramp up the tension and pressure during the interviews. Our DS received similar questions, he luckily was able to let them know he had received NROTC scholarship and been accepted to Norwich. He too shared family connections to USNA.

IMPO, prepared candidates will do well despite nerves, especially those that truly have a desire to serve.
@Heatherg21 to clarify just a tad, in this particular candidate's case the grandparent's were enlisted men with no connection to USNA. And you're right about preparation. In the Navy the saying is to keep the 6 Ps* in mind. I think it is appropriate for nomination interviews too.

6 Ps* - Proper planning prevents piss poor performance or a variant - Prior preparation prevents piss poor performance.
 
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I stuck with USMA as the only choice I listed down because I think that being definitive on where you want to serve really shows people that you are exceptionally dedicated to a single choice. Of course, that's just me thinking all or nothing. For others, they want to have multiple options, and that's good too. Depends on what your aspirations are.
 

shiner

USAFA Grad, Faculty 3yrs, ALO 7yrs, DS USMMA '24
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Beyond simply being sincere and transparent in the process, I would advocate to push for multiple noms to USNA. Some MOC will allow multiple nom to the same school for the same candidate. Either they do not check with the other 2 sources, or they do not mind issuing a second or third nom for the candidate. In cases where they are not handing out PRINCIPAL noms, the candidate now has multiple 10-person slates to compete against. It's like having a second lottery ticket when others only have 1. It by no means is a lock or guarantee, but it is statistically an additional opportunity to compete for a limited resource.

Anyone considering USNA should also consider strongly consider USMMA. They are different programs, but can still lead to a commission in the US Navy.
 

sanman

The token Brit
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Nov 5, 2018
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Hi all. A question regarding congressional nominations:

My DD is 1 of 10 nominated by a MOC to USNA. USNA is her top, and she has 2 more nom interviews in the coming weeks. She is unsure if she should say USNA is her top in these next cong interviews because she already got a nom and does not want to risk not getting noms to USMA or USAFA. The bottom line is she wants to go to any of the three SAs with a preference for USNA. Should my DD tell one MOC usma and the other usafa to spread her odds? What do you all suggest? Thank you!
There are 5 SAs, you omitted USMMA and USCGA. The latter doesn’t require a nomination.
 
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