What, me worry?
- Dec 7, 2020
Just a reminder, tell your son to not recycle old essays. Write new ones that demonstrate growth and maturity.
Noted! Thanks!I suggest waiting to write (or at least finalize) essays for both USNA and the MOCs -- especially for USNA, which won't review his package until January 2023.
Yes, I know that it's "easier" to do them now when he has time. However, ask Ironman states, there will be a lot more maturing in the weeks and months to come. He wants that to come through in his essays. He should have plenty of time near the end of the summer (before college starts) to pull together a draft. Then, after being at college for a month or so (depending on MOC deadlines), he can review and revise. As noted, he can send to USNA over winter holiday and it will be plenty of time as they await his first semester grades.
I read the Reapplying to USNA page, and it was all good advice. I attended NAPS (Naval Academy Prep School) but was unable to get an appointment due to honor offenses. Are my chances lower since I could not get an appointment due to honor offenses? Last week, I met with my NSI from high school, and we talked about my plans for the future. I told him that I plan to attend a university, as the page said and I also intend to enroll in my university's NROTC classes/program. How would I improve myself and my package to increase my chances of being offered an appointment?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 take a "gap year" before I reapply? [NEW]
For anyone who doesn't know, a "gap year" is a year between high school senior and college freshman where young people . . . do something that doesn't involve attending school. Traveling is a common theme. As a general proposition, it might be great, but it's unlikely to help for USNA purposes and could actually hurt. The reasons are: (1) you're unlikely to improve your admissions package during gap year, (2) your knowledge of important subjects such as calc and chem will start to fade, (3) your teachers who need to recommend you might not remember as much about you. A gap year might be ok for USNA purposes if you do something really productive with your time. For example, if you spend a year teaching English in China. In that case you would have the benefits of leadership in teaching, living on your own, (hopefully) learning some Mandarin, and living / working in a very different society -- China. There are probably other examples, but not a lot. If you're considering a gap year, you might want to discuss your intended plans with your USNA Admissions officer and / or your BGO.
Should I enlist and try to gain entry into USNA from the enlisted ranks? [NEW]
The short answer is no. Do not enlist with the expectation that this will get you into USNA. Enlist because you want to be in the USN or USMC as an enlisted person. There are numerous threads on this topic that contain great and sage advice; I won't repeat it here. Please search under "enlisting" in this forum.
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!
This duplicate post has been responded to in the thread you started.I read the Reapplying to USNA page, and it was all good advice. I attended NAPS (Naval Academy Prep School) but was unable to get an appointment due to honor offenses. Are my chances lower since I could not get an appointment due to honor offenses? Last week, I met with my NSI from high school, and we talked about my plans for the future. I told him that I plan to attend a university, as the page said and I also intend to enroll in my university's NROTC classes/program. How would I improve myself and my package to increase my chances of being offered an appointment?
So well said. My son was selected for NAPS and it was the golden ticket as far as we were concerned. He’ll be the first to tell you it was the absolute right/best option for him!You are asking me to walk into the realm of "why" .....which is way above my paygrade ! . However, CAPT MJ has been inside the tent, and her explanation is consistent with my understanding. Keep in mind, the original purpose of NAPS was to help outstanding enlisted members get the academic background necessary to succeed at USNA. That has evolved over time, and prior enlisted are only a small portion of NAPS, but the thought process is the same.
^ That was me, 40+ years ago; I had good tickets, but "meh" grades -- they didn't think I had the academic chops to make it through USNA, and they were right. As I've posted before -- I got my A$$ handed to me academically at NAPS, and would have failed out if I had gone direct to USNA. However, I learned how to study and learn, and did well. Yes , there were people who "ranked higher" that got TWE, and I am very thankful that Admissions saw something in me and gave me the chance.
That is interesting. I guess theoretically the content and grading criteria for most general education classes would be fairly standardized from school to school in order for any program to maintain accreditation. My guess is that the advantage that might come from having gone to a more selective four year program might be just be that you were competitive enough to get in in the first place. Also, there might be a greater variety of extra-curricular and leadership opportunities available.Okay, now I am perplexed. My son had a great conversation with an Admissions Counselor today on what needs to be done to improve his profile to reapply and hopefully be accepted next Fall. He was told today that it doesn't really matter community college vs 4 year university - just that he needs to take some of the tougher classes and show success in college courses. This goes against everything I have read out here. Any thoughts?
Listen to the Admissions Counselor.Okay, now I am perplexed. My son had a great conversation with an Admissions Counselor today on what needs to be done to improve his profile to reapply and hopefully be accepted next Fall. He was told today that it doesn't really matter community college vs 4 year university - just that he needs to take some of the tougher classes and show success in college courses. This goes against everything I have read out here. Any thoughts?
Thanks for the reassurance! This is just making me nervous because he has truly worked so hard. The school he is attending is nationally ranked for its engineering programs and is known for being one of the most rigorous, especially for his specific areas of study (nuclear and mechanical engineering). Added to the mix is that the school has actually had 4 on campus suicides this semester alone and the university feels like it's in a dark place. I think he is doing pretty well over all (and I am able to see him often), but the whole situation is fairly anxiety inducing!Remember that USNA pays far more attention to the transcript than the GPA. That’s because there’s no widely accepted standard for GPAs, so they’re all over the place. USNA combs through the transcript to examine the actual classes taken, with an eye to who took a plebe-like schedule. For high-school applicants, USNA also looks at transcripts through the lens of the school profile. I don’t know for sure, but I’d think it does the equivalent for college applicants, since not all schools are created equal.
Also, remember that academics are hugely important but not the whole thing. So the candidates will still be expected to show the “athlete” and “leader” aspects of themselves. USNA has been at this a long time, so trust that they have a very good idea of what the best college applicants look like.
Thanks - these are very helpful data points. I appreciate your sharing!My son had all A's in his first semester except for a C in Chemistry. Worked out to a 3.5 at a 4-year STEM oriented school. Still got it in.