Reapplying to USNA (after a turndown)

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by usna1985, May 14, 2018.

  1. usna1985

    usna1985 10-Year Member

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    Below is information for those reapplying to USNA after being turned down. It also may be helpful to first time candidates who are currently in college.

    PLEASE NOTE: While every attempt has been made to make this sticky accurate, the information below has not been reviewed, approved or endorsed by USNA.

    You got the TWE this year and are considering reapplying for next year. Now what?

    First, USNA looks favorably on those who reapply. They like the persistence and maturity of post h.s. candidates. About 1/3 of each entering class has a year or more of post h.s. education. However, as a reapplicant, you have to address your "weaknesses" from your original application or make your already stellar application even stronger. Submitting essentially the same packet is unlikely to produce a different result.

    Second, contact USNA Admissions, preferably waiting until June or July, when things are a bit slower. Ask your Regional Director what specifically you can do to improve your package in the coming year. You may also want to talk to your BGO. Don't guess. Don't assume. If you don't know what held you back, you can't "fix" it and, until you do, your chances of admission don't increase. If you didn't get a nom, try contacting your MOC's SA rep and ask what you can do to improve.

    Third, enroll at a 4-yr college -- not a community college unless this is all you can financially afford, in which case make sure USNA knows this is the reason. The college itself isn't all that important. Take the following courses -- calc, chemistry w/lab, English, history and, if possible physics. Get As or high Bs. I cannot emphasize this enough. Taking and doing well in the plebe courses demonstrates more than anything that you can handle the academic load at USNA. Take mostly other courses or get low Bs and below and it's unlikely your status with USNA will change.

    Fourth, with respect to leadership, sports and ECAs . . . USNA realizes there are limits on what freshman can do, especially at large universities. That said, look for ways to make yourself stand out. For example, do something productive during the summer, such as getting a job or working at a non-profit. Once at college, find a small project (i.e., fundraiser) that you can lead or take a large role in leading. Play organized sports (intramurals, club sports, etc.). Your grades are still of PRIMARY importance so don't go so overboard with activities that your grades slip. But at the same time, try to do some things that show USNA you can handle academics AND the other stuff that USNA will throw at you.

    Fifth, consider asking for a new BGO. The reason is that you want another BGO to say that you're great. Your current BGO is unlikely to change his/her opinion of you and a fresh perspective is always a good thing; if you liked your first BGO, you can always keep in contact and ask him/her to write another rec. That said, a great rec from another BGO helps. If you're assigned the same BGO, ask the Area Coordinator for someone else, maybe a BGO near your college. Note: there is no requirement to change BGOs and some successful reapplicants keep the same one. But, for the reasons stated above, having a second BGO can help you -- and may be logistically easier depending on the location of your college and your schedule.

    Sixth, check with your RD about retaking SATs/ACTs. USNA considers standardized tests to be a predictor of college success. The better predictor is how well you actually do in college "plebe" courses. However, if your SATs were lower than 650V/700M, you probably should retake them because it might help. As noted, if in doubt, ask your RD.

    Seventh, re-evaluate your CFA. Did you max out on every event? If not, there is room for improvement. USNA focuses on crunches (sit-ups), push-ups and the mile run but every event counts. While the CFA technically is pass/fail, an excellent score helps. This is particularly true if you’re not participating in college varsity sports and, as a freshman, it's quite likely you're not. So get with a coach or trainer, work on any events you didn't max, and retake it.

    Should I write new essays?

    Yes. You will have matured a lot in the year since you first applied and that increased maturity will inevitably show in your essay. It’s not that USNA will (necessarily) compare the old vs. new, but rather that you can help show how you have matured and improved through your essay.

    Do I need to reapply for a nomination?

    Yes. Nominations do not "carry over" from one year to the next. Thus you need to reapply to your MOCs, VP and any other sources for which you're eligible.

    Should I submit my new USNA application package right away?

    No. Things are different for college students/reapplicants than for h.s students. USNA won’t consider your application until first semester college grades are in, which is typically near the end of January. Thus, do NOT rush to submit your package to USNA – take the time to get in more ECAs, sports, better essays, etc. BTW, this does not apply to MOC deadlines, which typically are the same for all applicants.

    Does it matter what college I attend?

    Not really, provided it’s a 4-yr college. USNA recognizes that people may need/want to attend certain colleges for various reasons, including financial. Obviously, attending MIT and receiving all As isn’t going to hurt! But it’s not required. Reapplying to USNA may not work out, so choose a college where you expect to be happy for the next four years. If you can only afford to attend a community college for financial or other reasons, be sure to discuss this with your BGO.

    I validated out of [pick any] “plebe course” at my college and/or I can’t get into [pick any] plebe course at my college. What do I do?

    If you validate out of the entry level of a plebe course, try to take the next level of that same course. For example, if you validate Calc I, take Calc II. If you validate Calc I and II, take Calc III or some other higher level math course. If you validate out of freshman English, take another English class that includes written work. If you can’t get into a course (e.g., chemistry b/c it’s filled with doctor wannabes), take physics or intro to engineering. You should try to model your course load on the plebe courses, but if you encounter difficulties, take courses as close as possible given your limitations. Plebes take 16/17 hours per semester, so your course load should be in that range – at least 15 hours/semester.

    Should/must I do NROTC?

    Doing ROTC can help in many ways. First, it can help you confirm that a military lifestyle/career is what you really want. Second, it provides a another source for a nomination. Third, it helps demonstrate your interest in the USN. The above said, it’s not a requirement for a successful reapplication. There are various reasons that some candidates can’t or don’t want to do ROTC. If you excel in other ways, the fact you didn’t do ROTC shouldn’t be an issue.

    I’m currently a cadet/mid at another SA but I really want to attend USNA. Can I apply from one SA to another?

    Yes, you can apply. Technically, you could be accepted. Realistically, you won’t be. The main reason is that SAs don’t want to be seen as “poaching” from one another – the whole thing could quickly become very unseemly. A secondary/related reason is that every SA wants people to attend who actually want to be there and not those who see it as a jumping off spot for another SA; thus none of the SAs wants to encourage that approach. If you don’t like the SA you’re currently attending and want to attend another SA, you’re probably going to have to leave that SA and attend civilian college for a year while applying to the other SA(s). Not an easy process. Thus, you should never go to SA#1 with the hope or expectation that you can parlay that into four years at SA#2.

    Prep school vs. college – which should I do?

    USNA says college. There are some exceptions which include (but aren’t limited to): you need help with study skills or time management; your high school was terrible and didn’t prepare you well; you need to build independence and learn to live away from home. Going to prep school (including Foundation schools) as an unsponsored student believing this will increase your chances of admission is risky. View with skepticism the numbers prep schools tout in terms of SA admissions – be sure you’re looking at “self prep” numbers, not numbers that include “sponsored” prep students. A year at prep school is absolutely terrific for some and a total waste of time and money for others.

    I’m in a huge lecture class at college and my prof doesn’t know me. Whom should I ask for teacher recommendations?

    USNA prefers recommendations from your college profs as they are able to comment on college level work. However, if you’re in a huge lecture class (>100 students) where the prof doesn't know his/her students, USNA will accept recommendations from your senior year h.s. English and math teachers. If you have small sections in college math or English or you otherwise have gotten to know your prof, you should use your college prof. One side note – if you plan to use your college profs, remember there is no need for them to submit the rec early. However, you may want to tell your prof early in the semester that you will be asking for a rec so he/she can get to know you. If you plan to submit h.s. teacher recs, I suggest you ask for them early so that you are still fresh in their minds from the prior year.

    What should I do during the summer after my senior year?

    First, take couple weeks of vacation. You deserve it and probably need it. After that, do something that will improve your chances of being appointed next year, which basically means doing something productive. For many, this means work. USNA understands that candidates about to enter civilian college may need to get a job in order to help finance their education. That's perfectly fine and expected.

    If you're lucky enough not to need a job, consider what you can do to improve yourself or the lives of others. Volunteer. Take an intensive language course. Participate in sports camps. Something other than hanging around the house or mall all summer.

    People who are successful at USNA are those who like to keep busy – and summers at USNA are jam-packed. Thus, show USNA that you can do something useful with your free time.

    A few other notes:

    You will get a new candidate number and will need to resubmit everything to USNA (e.g., new letters of recommendation, new Candidate Activities Record). You need to retake the CFA. You do NOT need to redo your medical (DODMERB exam is good for 2 years) unless something in your medical situation has changed.

    You will in all likelihood maintain your current district/state of residence, even when you go to college (mostly because you remain a dependent of your parents). In that case, you reapply to the same MOCs.

    USNA has told BGOs that it is important for reapplicants to improve on ALL areas of their application -- grades, CFA, standardized tests and continued leadership. IOW, it's not enough simply to get As in the plebe courses -- you want to push yourself across the board.

    Doing all the above is not a guarantee of an appointment. But, for those who remain determined, it's the best path.

    Finally, the moment you receive a turndown, you tend to think that reapplying to USNA is the only answer. However, along that journey, many young men and women find that they really love their civilian school. Many open a new USNA application only to pull it weeks or months later.

    The fact is that, much as you wanted to attend USNA, you may well find that “Plan B” turns out to be an exceptional Plan A and soon you can’t imagine being anywhere else. Embrace that! There are many paths to happiness and success in life – USNA is only one of them.

    Reapplicants who do receive USNA appointments may still struggle with the decision whether to leave their civilian school, where they’ve had success, made friends, etc. I worked with one who loved her civilian school and wasn’t sure she wanted to “start over” at USNA. She ended up doing so, was extremely happy, and graduated from USNA in the top 50 of her class. However, it wasn’t an easy decision – and it may not be for you.

    If the desire for USNA still burns, go for it. But, if the USNA flame is replaced by a love for your new school/life, be thrilled it’s worked out so well for you and celebrate your success.

    Best of luck!
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2019
  2. USNA Dad 22

    USNA Dad 22 New Member

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    I thought my son was a pretty good candidate last year. He received two nominations, but no appointment. Last year after he had submitted his application, he thought he would try to improve on the CFA. This was the only thing that he thought he could do to possibly improve his package. So he took it again and made a nice improvement, but was told it was to late to add it to his application. Is it possible to use that CFA for this year's application?
     
  3. usna1985

    usna1985 10-Year Member

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    No, he must retake the CFA. The only thing that carries over is DODMERB medical. That's good for 2 years assuming no changes to health status.
     
  4. Old Navy BGO

    Old Navy BGO 5-Year Member

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    ? This years CFA is what will be counted. I don't understand the statement that "it was too late to add to his application." Still a little while until the Application deadline. Submit the scores, or candidate will have an incomplete package.
     
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  5. USNA Dad 22

    USNA Dad 22 New Member

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    I'm sorry if I was unclear. My son took the CFA last year and did well. He thought he would try and improve on his CFA so he took it again last year. The second time he took the CFA it was already past the deadline. So the scores were never officially submitted or accepted to the Academy. Since he is a reapplicant and the scores he got last were to late to be used last year I was wondering if he could have used them for this year's reapplication.

    I do understand that the answer to this question is "No".

    Thank you for your responses and have a great Thanksgiving.
     
  6. SenseiLuke

    SenseiLuke Member

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    Is taking a Gap year a valid choice if you aren’t accepted your first time applying? Does that look bad to USNA Admissions?
     
  7. FMHS-79

    FMHS-79 Parent

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    Depends on what you do with the gap year. If do something that enhances your skills, experience base, etc. then it may be okay. If you work 32 hours/week at the local convenience store and hone your Xbox skills the rest of the time, then it probably would not be viewed well.

    Many successful re-applicants go to college, take a schedule that is very to one of a plebe at the Academy, and proactively work to fill any gaps identified in their initial application.
     
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  8. usna1985

    usna1985 10-Year Member

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  9. time2

    time2 10-Year Member

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    And to those who are new, the purpose of this 'sticky' area is store reference type materials that will be of ongoing benefit to many participants. Individual detail questions are best posted in the regular forum areas.
     
  10. pdwarren

    pdwarren New Member

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    The daughter of a close friend did not receive a nomination to USNA for 2019. Is NAPS an option for continuing to pursue admission? If so, what is the process for applying? What credentials are they looking for?
     
  11. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ 10-Year Member

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    I replied to your dupe post in the thread you started. No need to post multiple places - someone will usually pop up to reply.
     
  12. A6E Dad

    A6E Dad BGO

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    Copying a previous post to this thread where it might be more helpful:

    My DS was a successful college re-app, and had a very good experience working with his admission rep. It may not work for everyone, but after the TWE he made an appointment and visited admissions during his April break . The admissions rep went through his app and spend about 40 min talking about his application, his college options and what to work on in the new application. He kept in touch and got feedback from the rep in August when it came time to selecting freshman courses. Important to note that this approach is probably hit or miss, and the admissions rep that you talk to may or may not have time to talk to you.

    My takeaways from his experience as well as my experience as a BGO both from BGO training and from advising candidates are below. Things in quotes are direct quotes from Admissions that were presented at BGO training:

    1. The biggest factor for a re-applicant is demonstrated success at a 4 year college with a Plebe like schedule. As posted in many other places, this means Calc, Chem with lab, History, English (usually freshman writing), and another class like NROTC Naval science or some other elective. "Taking the wrong courses will be a red flag for the board". Also, if there are issues with classes and you're not sure what to take (i.e.. you tested out of Calc 1 and 2, but Calc 3 isn't available till spring) make sure you document that via email with admissions and get their suggestions. This was discussed in BGO training - they will actually include the email in your record and that will be available if questions arise. This was a pretty big point made, the quote in my notes from Admissions is "don't close the door on the Naval Academy before you even start the application"

    *I've seen a super star candidate who was waitlisted at USNA then re-apply from a very highly ranked university earn a 3.9 gpa, excel in NROTC, and do everything right EXCEPT he didn't take calc or chem, and he didn't get an appointment.

    2. "4 year college is far preferable to prep school". High school, prep school and test scores are predictors of performance, but college is demonstrated performance. "these grades are weighted heavily". This is the single biggest advantage that college re-apps have over high school applicants.
    3. Retake SAT or ACT in late spring of senior year. Shows commitment and you might see a decent bump in score. Even if you currently have a 1450, it's worth it to try to increase to 1500 or higher
    4. "DON'T Coast during spring semester!" Per admissions, performance during second semester senior year is "huge", and any "appearance of senioritis will be noticed!" Finishing strong is definitely looked at
    5. Don't copy and paste this year's application into next year, for several reasons. First, the board will have access to both records. Each member of the board will have your record open, and they can click on any of the items and read the details - such as Essay, Letters of Rec, etc, etc.. You don't want to sent the same essay twice. Likewise, you don't want to send a recommendation from the same teacher , even if he/she was your junior and senior teacher. Second, your essay should reflect your experiences in college, etc., it should read differently that one written by a HS Jr. - If you must get a letter from the same teacher a second time, make sure the teacher knows that they have the previous letter and that the new letter needs to be new.

    The rest of my notes are consistent with what is posted in the re-app sticky and above, if I come across anything else that's relevant I'll post it

    Best of Luck!
     
  13. dmdmsw97

    dmdmsw97 New Member

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    Hello! My DS could use some re-applying advice. Reading this thread we are concerned about him attending a military prep school vs. a 4 yr college. Does USNA look unfavorably on all military prep schools? We live in Alabama and DS was considering Marion military institute instead of a year at Auburn university. He has a week to decide now and its stressful not knowing the best option. His biggest weakness is his math test score. Thanks for any help in making this very important decision.
     
  14. justdoit19

    justdoit19 Member

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    Did you read through the very informative ‘reapplying’ sticky at the top of the forums? Lots of good info. Additionally, using the search bar will pop up a ton of info.
     
  15. Old Navy BGO

    Old Navy BGO 5-Year Member

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    You might get more responses on the general boards ...others may have more direct experience, but I would not think that USNA "looks unfavorably" on military prep schools. In fact, the USNAAA Foundation program sponsors invited candidates at a number of Military Prep schools, and MMI is one or those. The key is not as much where you attend, but taking a rigorous STEM curriculum, and demonstrating success in a tough academic environment.

    One of the advantages of a school like Marion is that it is a known entity...USNA Admissions, through the Foundation, knows MMI well, and I would presume they will look favorably on a self-prep that does well at MMI.
     
  16. A6E Dad

    A6E Dad BGO

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    USNA makes clear, and I have personally seen presented by the Dean of Admissions, that demonstrated performance in a 4 year college is preferable to prep school.

    That does not mean that USNA 'looks unfavorably' at prep school, only that, all things being equal, performance in college is weighted more heavily.

    MMI is a Foundation school, as are many others, and are highly regarded by the SAs. But there is a big difference between being in the foundation program and self-prepping at the same school.

    All that said, the key word is "performance". Strictly looking at academics (not including leadership, athletics, etc etc) a candidate with a 3.8 GPA from Auburn, in all the correct plebe courses (which is VERY important), will be viewed more favorably that the same 3.8 GPA from a prep school.

    However, someone who would earn a 3.8 in college may not be the best candidate for prep school. And a 2.9 in college vs. a 3.8 in prep school would be a different story.

    If you think that your DS/DD would benefit from another year of prep, or is not quite ready to earn top grades in college, then by all means go to prep. Lots of self-prep students have earned appointments over the years. But if you are looking at prep school specifically as a path to a SA you might want to reconsider college.

    best of luck
     
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  17. dmdmsw97

    dmdmsw97 New Member

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    Thank you for this advice. My DS would be self prep, he's not sponsored. However, he's worried about being in larger classes at Auburn while he takes those STEM classes vs. The smaller class size for the same classes at MMI. He has a 3.8 unweighted GPA now as a senior and has to work really hard to keep up in his AP classes, especially Pre Cal and Physics. But if he went to Auburn, he'd also do NROTC and I'm sure that looks good for his USNA re-apply. A lot to think about and so little time left...
     
  18. usna1985

    usna1985 10-Year Member

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    USNA again recently said they prefer a 4-year college over a prep school. The exception relates to those who must attend community college for financial reasons, which is ok. IMO only, another exception is if a kid needs additional high school prep due to poor study skills, etc. But for reapplicants, USNA really wants to see college work.

    Also, consider the future if reapplication isn’t successful. What then? Assuming it’s attending a 4-year college, why not just do that now?
     
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  19. DDmom

    DDmom Member

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    I would consider what part of the application that needs to be worked on as well as the information given that a 4-year college year is more favorable. In my DD case she had everything but good act/sat scores. She self prepped at a program that specialized in increasing those scores. She did increase her scores and was offered an appointment the following year.
     
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  20. Old Navy BGO

    Old Navy BGO 5-Year Member

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    College Boards serve as a predictor of a person's ability to succeed in college level academics. Going to a 4 year college and doing well in a rigorous STEM program actually demonstrates ability to succeed. Demonstrating performance is more meaningful than doing well on a predictor.

    While DDMom's approach worked for her daughter, one data point does not make a rule or even a trend. As several have pointed out, USNA Admission's guidance is pretty clear.