Privacy Act


10-Year Member
Aug 5, 2007
I was really surprised to learn that a couple individuals including the BGO and some other officials besides the Admissions team can access your online application. I thought under the Privacy Act, this wasn't allowed. Who else can access your online application? Can our congressman and senators do this too?
Are you sure that the BGO's have access to EVERYTHING about a candidate's online application? I don't think they see the specifics of the DoDMERB for example. Mostly they are checking for things like completion of data - are the CFT tests scores posted? Are the teacher recommendations in ? Things like that. BGO's are in essence a PART of the Admissions team anyway - they are a crucial link in an applicants packet and without their letter you simply don't get an what is the concern here? Maybe I'm missing your concern??
Nothing to great of a concern. Just shocked me when the BGO was talking about specifics about my application. I thought he was supposed to do the interview... without regard of our application. If he saw our scores for example.. he might not think highly of the individual, when the interview itself should gauge the character of the individual...
I am not sure what Privacy Act to which you are referring but BGO's, ALO's and MALO's are all admissions representatives.

Why and how could he conduct an effective interview with out regard to your application?

Knowing your scores actually can help him to make a fair assessement of your package and help you create a "plan" to achieve your goal.

For instance, if the BGO - knows he has an otherwise excellent candidate save for low scores then he can help that candidate prepare for either NAPS or a prep program through the Foundation scholarship program. This - I would think would be a win-win. There probably isn't much sense in talking about NAPS to a candidate who got 700's on his CR and Math SAT's.

I think my daughter's BGO told her that he could just see basic stats - not the essay, teacher rec's didn't much matter to her since she brought a resume that included all her stat's with her to the interview.

As regards to MOC's they have their own applications and require transcripts and LOR's they don't really have a need to see your academy application though the two should be identical. If any serious discrepancies were to be found I am sure the applicant would have to explain.
First of all, when most people refer to the "Privacy Act," they mean HIPAA. HIPAA involves privacy of medical information. Thus, BGOs and others not directly involved with healthcare issues cannot discuss medical issues with you. This is why BGOs CANNOT help candidates with DODMERB problems.

Despite the fact that the Supreme Court has found a "right to privacy" in the Consitution, I'm not aware of any "Privacy Act." Certain states and the federal government may have individual laws intended to protect certain personal information such as medical data and SSNs, but this I'm not aware of any prohibition on USNA releasing SAT scores to individuals who are working on behalf of USNA.

Your BGO does NOT have access to your application. In fact, quite the opposite. We get a limited amount of information, which includes your SAT/ACT scores, which items of your packet have been received by USNA and when they were received, your medical exam status (incomplete, qualified, rejected), where you go to school, whether you attended NASS, etc.

The reason we get your SATs is to help us counsel you. For example, if you have 600/620, I'm probably going to suggest you retake them. Your score does not affect my evaluation of your overall candidacy. We're not here to evaluate your grades or SATs -- USNA is perfectly capable of making its own assessment in that regard. We focus more on the intangibles -- motivation, desire, leadership ability, communications skills, etc. -- things USNA can't easily measure because they don't meet you other than through us.

Many of my candidates voluntarily bring their essays and/or resumes. Personally, I find it very helpful but I do not suggest or require they do so.

BGOs exist primarily to help students -- well qualified and not -- on their admissions journey. USNA actually provides us almost no information about the candidates (for example, we don't know how well you did on your CFA or even if you passed), which actually makes our lives more difficult at times. They do this out of respect for your privacy.

So, to summarize -- we do NOT have access to your on-line application. We receive a very limited amount of information about you that is intended to help us help you with your application. If you choose to provide nothing more, that's your prerogative, but in the end, you're the one who is likely to lose out.
USNA1985, could you be so kind as to tell me what kind of questions my BGO might ask me. I live all the way in Korea, and found out my BGO lives about 1 block away from me (lol, he's air force to be exact.. he changed services) What kind of personal questions may appear in an interview... and are the questions standardized.. or are they up to the BGO himself to decide.
There are no scripted questions -- what to ask is up to the individual BGO. We are expected to cover certain topics: honor code, plebe summer, limited majors, service selection opportunities, etc. We do our best to assess motivation, interest, leadership, communications skills, etc.

The BGO may talk about NASS (if you attended), your activities, your sports, and your interests. Will answer any questions you may have about USNA and/or the application process. May talk about your progress in applying for noms.

It really is very individualized. I would say that most interviews last about an hour. Some BGOs also meet with the parents (separately). Some come to your home, school, etc. Others (like myself) ask the students to come to me. Much may depend on the number of candidates a BGO has (it can vary from 0 to over 20) and his/her availability. Many of us have full-time jobs. We are all volunteers.

The bottom line on this or any interview is (1) relax, (2) be honest, (3) be yourself (i.e., don't try to play the role you think the BGO is looking for). Think of it as a meeting, not an interrogation.
First of all, when most people refer to the "Privacy Act," they mean HIPAA. HIPAA involves privacy of medical information..

...Despite the fact that the Supreme Court has found a "right to privacy" in the Consitution, I'm not aware of any "Privacy Act."

FYI - The Privacy Act (Public Law 93-579 - 5 USC Section 552a) has nothing to do with medical records or HIPAA.

The Privacy Act of 1974

For the announced purpose of protecting the privacy of individuals identified in information systems maintained by Federal agencies, Public Law 93-579 regulates the collection, maintenance, use and dissemination of personal information by the agencies. The act enables an individual to determine what records are being kept; to have access to them, obtain a copy, and correct them; prevent their dissemination for improper purposes; and sue for damages when these rights are violated. Agencies are permitted to keep records for lawful purposes and to disseminate them as required by statute.
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We deal with the Privacy Act of 1974 a lot here. I had to sign a form allowing me to file classmates personnel folders. All officers/enlisted in personnel especially are very intimately involved with it!