personal opinions to help me


10-Year Member
5-Year Member
Dec 3, 2007
I am a freshman in high school and I want to have a well planned out high-school career so that when the time comes to apply, i'll be ready. Can anyone help me (maybe by sharing personal experiecnes) on how to plan for admissions and what should I accomplish to jack up my confidence in applying. Please help, because im only a freshman and I want to get it set the right way. Also, if you can tell me what things to shoot for, like gpa, class rank, sat scores, etc..... other information: im really well rounded, VERY athletic ( i play 5 sports), and do scouting.....
Well, you have the sports thing down (something I don't have because I started this process junior year), so I suggest keeping grades up. Shoot for the top 10% of your class, but try and get as high as possible. GPA can vary depending on the school. In a hard school, such as mine, one can have a 3.3 unweighted and be in the top 10% easily, but some schools may need a 3.8 for the same result.

With that in mind, however, don't take Art and Basketweaving for easy As. Take the most challenging courses you are allowed to take at your grade level. Max out with all the AP courses your school offers (so long as they focus on the four core subjects - I wouldn't bother with AP Psychology, for example).

SAT scores should preferably break 2000.

Volunteer as well. It shows you are willing to work for the betterment of something for no reward other than the action itself. (*Hint* Try and get an internship with your Senator or Representative. It's done absolute wonders for me).

And, as a final tip, join the speech or debate team at your school if there is one. The last thing you want at the academy is to be intimidated by public speaking. Not to mention, it looks great for any college.
Congrats to you for starting early.
  • Find leadership positions.
  • Instead of playing 5 sports, pick one or two and become the varsity team captain.
  • Take challenging classes and excel in them.
  • Continue to take the SAT/ACT as many times as necessary.
  • Visit the academies.
Each SA website has a Class Profile that lists the "stats" of the incoming class, try to exceed or at least meet the profile.
Plan out your math and science curriculum.
Aim to be taking Calculus your senior year if your school offeres it. Also make sure you schedule "hard" sciences - Biology w/ lab, Chemistry w/ Lab and Physics w/ Lab. Honors if possible.
Aim for Honors level in English and History classes.
You should also have at least 2 years of the same foreign language.
These are the classes that I have taken so far (I am only a Junior, so I have just started the application process; however they have proved beneficial with everything that I have already submitted).
9th grade: Computer Applications and Introduction to Business and Technology, H Conceptual Physics, H English, P.E. 9, H Geometry, and Spanish II.
10th grade: H Biology, H Chemistry, H Algebra II, Spanish III, H World Civilizations, and H English 10
Currently (11th grade): AP US History, AP English (Language and Composition), AP Physics, AP Chemistry, H Pre-Calculus, and Lab Technician/ independent research
Projected senior year classes: Advance Chemistry, Organic Chemistry I, Organic Chemistry II, Economics, Principles of Microbiology, English Literature, Kick boxing, indoor/ outdoor soccer, Calculus I, and Calculus II - I am working with my principle on this; these are all college courses at the local JC. (I have basically run out of options at HS).

I hope that helped a bit.
First of all, you are correct to start planning now. Basically, USNA looks for three things:

(1) Academics -- can you handle the rigors of a difficult science-based curriculum. You can demonstrate this by taking hard h.s. courses and doing well. By the time you graduate h.s., you should have completed calculus, chemistry, and biology. Physics is a plus. AP in any or all courses is a plus. Taking them at your jr. college (this won't apply to everyone) is even better.

USNA also looks at your SATs/ACTs. You can take both and USNA takes the highest math and verbal scores between the two. Thus, there is no downside other than cost and your time to taking them over & over. It really helps to have a math score of 700 or better and a verbal of 650 or better. People get in with lower scores, but this is a good ballpark -- especially if you live in a competitive geographic area and will need the higher scores to secure a nom.

(2) Athletics -- can you handle the rigors of a demanding sports/athletic program and the rigors of plebe summer. First, start practicing for your CFA. No reason you can't do most of this stuff now -- pullups, pushups, running, etc. Just make it part of your fitness routine. The big items are pullups and running.

Also, participate in varsity sports and strive to be team captain. Team sports are especially prized. This is not to say that it's bad if you are a black belt in judo. But SAs are about teamwork and one way to see whether people can play well with others is to see whether they've played on a sports team. If you do a non-school sport (swimming, ice skating, cycling), it's important to be able to quantify your "greatness." Have you been named to a regional team? Have you won state or national awards?

(3) Leadership -- SAs and the military are all about leadership. Eagle Scout is one way to demonstrate this. Others are school leadership (class president, etc.). You can head a club, be editor of the school paper, etc. Or, you might be a leader outside of school. Some people form their own clubs and make themselves the "leader." That's ok, but be prepared to demonstrate (i.e., in your essay or to your BGO) what you're doing to lead that organization. Captain of a team demonstrates leadership. There are many ways to do it. More isn't necessarily better. One strong leadership position can be enough.

Keep these three areas in mind and figure out what you can do to excel in each. There is no "magic formula." That's what makes each class diverse and interesting.

Two final thoughts.

(1) Keep out of trouble. No drugs. No DWIs. No sexual assault. Etc. Not talking about the speeding /parking tickets but major issues. Again, not saying that these crimes per se exclude you, but why start the process with strikes against you.

(2) Be honest. Should go w/o saying but once every couple of years I catch a candidate lying to me. Not good.

Good luck!
Everyone has added great stuff to help... But here are a few other things to consider:

My daughter was 12 years old when she made her decision to go to a Service Academy. This was at the beginning of 8th grade! We mapped out a 5 year plan. ( in all honesty, I figured just doing that alone would deter her, it was such a long time away and she had so many opportunities to change her mind....but I was wrong and there she is in her 2nd year at USNA now!)

These are some more things we did:
you can already start looking for your USNA BGO person - and begin an email conversation with this person. She and he began to know each other and she made it a point to tell him in her early high school years a few sentences every few months about her activities and grades. Just enough to continue to let him know she was focused and serious about her desire for an eventual Appointment. By the time in her junior year it was time for a face to face meeting....they both were both eager to meet in person, and the conversations flowed since they both had been in contact many times previously.

We planned summer school classes for requirements like Health and Driver's Ed - which take up valuable school year class time. This freed up more time for the hard core AP level classes in the junior and senior years.

My daughter also did something I thought was excessive - but she was sure she wanted to do it....and that was since she couldn't fit in a 5th AP class in her senior year, arranged to self-study the AP Government course with a teacher who mapped out the year for her. Come May of that year she took the test, passed it and validated a core class at USNA because of it.

We made plans to talk with Commissioned Officers from all branches of the Service - so she could get an accurate sense of the 'ethos' of each part of our military. We visited military museums, read military history - saw military movies - We visited our local military bases - which was easy to do here in Southern California. This helped solidfy her decision to go USNA and be Commissioned as a Marine Officer. Both USMA and USAFA offered her admission, but because she had been thinking this issue through for several years - she found it easy to commit to USNA.

We visited the local Congressman's office twice in her early high school years so she could meet the person who was responsible for his Nomination process.

On the 1st high school counselor's meeting, she informed her of her college plans and this set the tone to map out with the counselor her entire high school career. The counselor is the one to help inform you of things like the local 'military career fairs' and other county-wide events for students interested in the military. If you let them know of your interest they are a helpful resource for you.

In addition to the counselor our school has a career counselor and she also went in to this person and asked that anytime there is a military contact coming to her school ( it's a huge 4000 person campus) to please let her know. The Service Academies routinely send their mids/cadets back to their local schools at certain times of the year and if a student requests it - they can be excused from class to meet with this person to talk about Academy life.

Hope these hints help!
Congratulations for starting early and asking for advice. That will get you a long way down the road already. You've gotten really good advice here. These posters have been very helpful to my daughter in the past also.

I would add one thing. Buy the Naval Academy Candidates Handbook by William Smallwood and read it cover to cover. Then read it some more. It answers most questions and gets you thinking the right way.

Good luck and keep us informed!
Thanks for all the help! My dad is also a 1989 grad so he helps out a bit to. Another question is, I have about 3 generations (father, grandfather, great grandfather) who all went to USNA. Would that help out my application at all? Another is, here are all of my averages for semester 1:
Geophysical science(all 9th graders have to take it): [/B]93

Ancient Medieval History (Honors class) : 91

English Honors I: 92.5

Academic Algebra I (highest I was allowed to take this year): 89

Concert Band: 94

Gym: 100

Spanish II: 90

How do you think I am doing so far for my first semester in high school? anything you would reccomend I should improve? AND BTW THOSE SCORES ARE UN-WEIGHTED
Just be sure to live a little too. Don't make every action you take to be in order to get into a service academy. Tailor your academic schedule around that frame of thought, but don't play a sport just to be the captain. Don't join an organization just to add it to you resume. I was a life guard to add it to my resume, but most of the other activities I participated in was because I wanted to. You only have one childhood and one high school period of your life, live it a little like high school should be.

Planning is good, keep that up. Also, in many of the hard situations you may find yourself in while in high school; parties with underage drinking, drug use, sex (and the possible production of dependants), remember that that could hurt or completely destroy your chances.

A felony...bad.
Caught with a concealed weapon without a permit....very very bad, kiss a commission good bye.

If you're invited to a party where you know a bong is being passed around, is that the situation you want to put yourself in and will that help or hurt your chances to get into an academy.

I had a classmate (for a very brief time) who was accepted to the Academy, made it through the first six weeks of Swab Summer, but when it was discovered he needed to make a court appearance for stealing school a quick boot out the door.

Don't let the quest for an appointment to a service academy run your life, but remember that your decisions now will effect your future.
^^^ I agree, some of the same thoughts I wanted to post.

Do things in h.s. because you enjoy them, think you can excel at them and/or learn and grow from the experiences. Don't do things just to check off a box on some college application form. Strive for leadership positions because your team/school will benefit from your efforts, not because you think the USNA will be more likely to give you an appointment.

In four years, you may still want to go to a military academy, but maybe not. If you put forth your best effort in all you do in h.s. while enjoying that time, you will eventually become a success at whatever college you choose. Those things you accomplish will benefit you no matter what road you travel.

Also don't think it was mentioned that you should make an effort to visit the Academy (not sure what part of the country you live in) and talk to as many current/former mids you can to gain additional perspective from them.

There are also sports camps, summer seminar and candidate visit weekends you will want to consider later in h.s.

Best of luck in your efforts !!!! direct answer to your question about being the legacy of 3 generations of USNA is YES it helps tremendously. From USNA Admissions point of view the question of "Does this person understand the USNA experience and will he have his family's support" is already answered.

Being a "legacy" gives you a leg-up in terms of points towards your overall application....but it by no means is a 'sure thing'.

It's merely one more 'plus' in your application procerss. You can mention this family connection to your BGO, in your interview process, in your essays and with your family/friends/teachers who write letters of recommendation.

Smart family you got there, going USNA!!!

Thanks, I really appreciate all of the help! One last thing, is it better to be in like 6 activities throughout your whole highschool career, or be in 3 clubs as a captain?
3 clubs as a captain.

The academies are looking for you to show leadership.
My advice is to be involved, participate, lead and have a passion for what ever activities you choose. direct answer to your question about being the legacy of 3 generations of USNA is YES it helps tremendously. From USNA Admissions point of view the question of "Does this person understand the USNA experience and will he have his family's support" is already answered.

Sorry to disagree but this isn't exactly correct. Peskemom is correct that being a "legacy" gives you a slight boost -- and for exactly the reason she states -- USNA figures that people from a military family are more likely to understand the rigors of military life and thus more likely to stay at and succeed at USNA.

However, it is the same "boost" you receive if you attended NASS, are an Eagle Scout, etc. It helps, but does not help "tremendously" from an admissions standpoint -- or so CGO tells the BGOs. In fact, they were very clear that USNA does not give the same type of advantage to USNA legacies as most civilian schools give legacy students. Obviously, the more small boosts you get, the better off you are. But strong grades in core courses, high class rank, and strong SATs will get you a lot further in the admissions process than being the child of a SA grad.
In terms of starting early and making a plan to attend a SA -- I agree with those who say to do it and also with those who say to be sure to enjoy high school and out-of-school activities along the way. And to have a backup plan.

And here's why . . . you may be determined to attend a SA. You may do all the right things, get the right grades, play the right sports, know your BGO, etc. And then you may find that you are medically DQ'ed. Although BGOs are NOT involved in the DODMERB process, I try to counsel my candidates that medical remedials are the norm, not the exception, and that a fair number of candidates never get the waivers they need. This is not to discourage them -- or you -- it is reality. In most cases, the candidates never suspected they had a disqualifying condition until their medical exam. And, quite frankly, it's something you can't really control.

In the long run, I believe you'll be better off in life if you do the things in h.s. that you want to do. If a SA is your dream, obviously, you'll want to tailor your activities, courses, etc. to achieve that dream. But be sure you have a Plan B and be sure to take time out to have fun.
Sorry to disagree but this isn't exactly correct. In fact, they were very clear that USNA does not give the same type of advantage to USNA legacies as most civilian schools give legacy students.

I'm glad this was clarified. Being a public institution, it wouldn't seem very justified to give extra special attention simply because someone happens to come from a military family. IMO, it should have no benefits whatsoever, as it is about the applicant, not the grandfather.
Updating my info question

This is 2012mom's dd, I have an LOA and a congressional nom, though I'm still waiting on a medical waiver. I just found out today that I will be co-captain on my school's varsity track and field team. I also have several other awards that I just recieved in the past week. Would it still be of benefit to update the Academy with this new information, and if so, should I send it to the CGO?

Thanks in advance