Personal Statement for USNA

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by srlowery73, Sep 13, 2018.

  1. srlowery73

    srlowery73 Member

    Jun 9, 2018
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    Hello, I am an applicant to USAFA and USNA. I think I have finished my USNA personal statement and wanted some feedback on it. I know it's good to have family and friends read essays because they'll know if it sounds like you or not. I've already had everyone I know read it, but I'd like opinions from people on this forum.

    In a well-organized essay of 300 to 500 words, please discuss the following:
    (1)Describe what led to your initial interest in the naval service and how the Naval Academy will help you achieve your long range goals, and
    (2)Describe a personal experience you have had which you feel has contributed to your own character development and integrity.

    My interest in naval service, and in attending the United States Naval Academy, strives from wanting to make a difference. Attending the Naval Academy and subsequent naval service will allow me to make tremendous differences in myself, our country, and our world. I have always been extremely passionate about science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Time spent practicing STEM, like in a science lab mixing strange chemicals or with my robotics team designing crazy prototypes, are times that I find most enjoyable. This past year I had the opportunity to take a high school aviation course. This course allowed me to do things like fly unmanned aircraft, and maintain Cessna 152s. Word of advice, when you change the oil filter on any plane, make sure to drain ALL of the oil! This class made me sure that I want to earn a degree in aerospace/astronautical engineering and work in fields like missile defense and experimental aircraft design. Having some of the country’s most advanced labs and knowledgeable professors, the Naval Academy will provide me with many resources to help me earn my degree. I would also like to become an astronaut. With over fifty graduates of the Naval Academy going on to become astronauts, I believe that opportunities presented to me during my service as an Officer will put me on track towards achieving this goal.
    There are reasons beyond my personal goals that push me towards naval service; reasons that exist because of my time in scouting. I have been a Boy Scout for the majority of my life, and there is a law we learn as scouts that teaches us to be twelve things: trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent. Trustworthy; even though it seemed harder at times, I’ve learned that telling the truth is always easier. Brave; something I needed to be on those long backpacking trips to Pictured Rocks and Isle Royale. Each of the points has served as a moral compass, guiding me to become a better scout and a better person, yet helpful has become one of the most valuable. Many hours have been spent by my troop and I volunteering in communities, whether it be restoring a nature trail, placing flags on veterans’ graves, or building shelves for a local food pantry. No matter what it was we were helping with, I always recognized that it took a leader to get the job done, and done well. It took someone who was willing to devote their time other than to themselves, but towards the betterment of their community. This above all else is why I wish to attend the Naval Academy. I could earn my degree at many other schools, but none would set me up better for a career where I could be one of those leaders. I want to devote my time, and possibly my life, to protecting this community, this nation, and ensuring the welfare of it and those who call it home.
  2. Sam2018

    Sam2018 5-Year Member

    Nov 11, 2013
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    Ok, first off it's generally not recommended to post your essay on an anonymous forum. That being said I think you answered the first part of the prompt well but I think you need to reread part two and see if you are really answering the question.
    Jackflerp likes this.
  3. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ 10-Year Member

    Sep 27, 2008
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    I don’t normally respond to these, but I’ll pick a nit or two.

    The subject of your opening sentence is presumably “interest.” I don’t understand how the verb “strives” works with that subject. Did you mean “derives from?”

    Write clearly, succinctly and flawlessly.

    Read the mission of USNA. Do your goals and values align with that? Always go back to the prompt and check for alignment there.

    Resist the urge to be cute or folksy. In a spoken conversation in a formal interview setting, would you veer off to the “word of advice” thread?

    Don’t waste words telling USNA what they already know. This is your chance to present yourself. Read over your statement and look for statements likely to be known by readers at USNA.

    Avoid hyperbole. When someone your age says they have “always” been interested in X, I envision them as a toddler earnestly doing X. What sparked your interest in STEM? A trip to a planetarium with your mom? Seeing inside a cockpit at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum? A teacher who wowed you with interesting classes? Tell me something unique about you and how STEM first tickled your brain.

    You come across as sincere and straightforward in tone, a good thing.

    “...spent by my troop and I...” Test this by deleting the “my troop,” and saying “by I.” Should be “me.” Even better, ditch passive construction and go active: “My troop and I spent many hours volunteering...”

    Once you have it polished and feel you are close to your final version, ask an English teacher to review it.

    I am not in Admissions, so value this advice at the price you paid for it. I don’t need any answers to questions or suggestions I posed above. Good luck!
    SAparent2023 and Jackflerp like this.
  4. bopper

    bopper Member

    Nov 22, 2016
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    For any college, I found this to be helpful in writing essays... Google "hacking the college essay 2017" It talks about writing the essay only you could write. I feel like any boy scout could have written your essay.

    What made you need to be brave at Isle Royale?
    The Blue Baron likes this.
  5. parent

    parent BGO

    Aug 27, 2014
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    It's called a personal statement for a reason!!!!
  6. Old Navy BGO

    Old Navy BGO 5-Year Member

    Jan 5, 2012
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    Two thoughts ...

    1) Are you an Eagle Scout ? If so, include it ...if not, get it done. There is so much about the Scouting program that is good, whether you make Eagle or not, but from and Admissions standpoint, earning your Eagle Scout award is important.

    2) Not necessarily directed at OP or the specific statement above, but to all young writers -- cut out the flowery BS and make every word count. Use active voice, be direct and to the point, and write to your intended audience. In the case of your Naval Academy personal statement, the readers are going to members of the Admissions Board, mostly Naval and Marine Corps officers. The flowery prose that gets you an A in English Lit or Creative writing in High School, or even accepted to some prestigous liberal arts school, is going to quickly bore a Senior Naval Officer.
    MidCakePa likes this.
  7. Memphis9489

    Memphis9489 10-Year Member

    Oct 27, 2008
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    I noticed that, too. "Strives" is used improperly. I think the candidate was searching for the word "stems".

    I don't usually respond to these either - mostly because I think it sets a bad precedence for candidates to get their personal statements proofread here.

    I would say this is an average personal statement. There are some structural and flow problems; not to mention some small technical errors like adding a comma where it's not needed: "... things like fly unmanned aircraft, and maintain Cessna 152s."

    My general advice to candidates when writing their personal statement:
    1) Do not mention that the school is free and do not dwell on what a great educational opportunity the Naval Academy offers.
    2) Avoid clichés.
    3) Say something about yourself that is both interesting and unique. By unique - try not to go down a path that just about every other candidate goes down.
    4) Imagine your personal statement is the one hundredth one read that day by a single individual - probably some newly graduated Ensign who is working in the Office of Admissions and is going to rank your personal statement as Below Average, Average, or Above Average.
    5) Make sure you mention something about your vision for your post-graduation future as a naval officer. In other words, try to show that you're looking beyond the Naval Academy.
    6) The obvious: No misspellings. No grammatical or punctuation errors.
    THParent, kinnem and Capt MJ like this.
  8. THParent

    THParent Member

    Oct 15, 2017
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    That should be "precedent"

    I am sorry...just...couldn't...stop...myself. Put down the knife.
    Your Pal,
    THParent :D
  9. Memphis9489

    Memphis9489 10-Year Member

    Oct 27, 2008
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    Touché! Fortunately that's not my "personal statement" to attend the Naval Academy.

    My cellphone disagrees with you ... and me, though. :)

    I once texted a friend, "I'll be there in 5 minutes" (that's what I intended to text) and it came across as "I'll be there in 5 lesbians." That became a joke between us ever since. "How long will that take?" ... "Oh, only about 1 lesbian."
    AROTC-dad likes this.