From another perspective (former USNA Battalion Officer and experienced first CO/XO/Dept Hd of many a green ensign), a midshipman or cadet successful re-applicant (or even re-re or re-re-re), is usually that much more mature, has already managed living away from home at college for a year or two, and gained some life, adulting and roommate interpersonal skills. They have also learned to manage disappointment, clearly assess their weaknesses, develop a strategic re-attack plan, execute relentlessly, nurture team member and leadership skills in a ROTC unit, prep school or other college activity. Their humble muscles are far more developed than their hubris muscles, because they know the value of failing to attain a goal and resolving to try again, and deeply appreciate the confidence the SA has shown in their continued development by offering them a seat in the class. That self-awareness will enrich their leadership perspective when their people are struggling with some qualification.
I didn’t care if the new ensign was 21, 22, 23 or 24, I cared about their performance, performance, performance, if they were fair and consistent with their people, leaned forward to learn and were good shipmates. As I am fond of and known for saying, graduating a year or two later with a few more years in the pipeline does not mean you are teetering at grave’s edge. They are not behind. They are with their peers in their commissioning year group, and frankly, no one cares how long it took someone.
If a SA believed there was something awful about spending longer in pre-Comm mode and entering their O-1 career a year or two later than age peers, then they would not admit prior enlisted or re-applicants or those who left to go on mission and re-apply to join a class that used to be 1-2 years behind them. The SA knows these more seasoned midshipmen and cadets add maturity and depth and informal peer leadership to each and every new class.
My Navy OCS roommate was 29, prior enlisted Storekeeper. I was fresh out of college. We were the Dream Team. I helped her with STEM-based academics and proofread her papers (she had a degree from what used to be called “night college” using Navy Tuition Assistance). She was whip smart about all things Navy, uniforms, grooming standards, getting the room inspection ready, how things were done, and generally learning how to maintain an even keel when people were yelling at you. She had lived “real life,” and she was extraordinarily helpful to me as a role model. She went on to become a Captain in the Supply Corps, with a very successful career, including a corporate career with Home Depot after. I don’t think she spent one minute thinking about the years it it her up start her officer career. Nor did anyone else.