Recommendations

thenextTopGun

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I have a couple of retired Commanders that have known me for my entire lifetime. They both are willing to do anything that they can to help me out. Would having additional recommendations from two O-5s be beneficial in any way? Thanks! By the way I do have a nomination.
 

Vitalzt

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I have a couple of retired Commanders that have known me for my entire lifetime. They both are willing to do anything that they can to help me out. Would having additional recommendations from two O-5s be beneficial in any way? Thanks! By the way I do have a nomination.
Having extra recommendations won't hurt you, but will they be able to change the outcome of your application, I don't think so. There are a lot of people who know high ranking officials e.g kids that live on military bases. It could also be of help if they point out some characteristics in you that didn't come to the attention of the board.
 

mpete2150

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They would definitely be helpful for the recommendations for your nomination, if nothing else. For the Academy, other than the math and English teachers from your junior year, none are required. I believe the criteria for an additional one (or two) would be a reference that speaks to something that adds to their knowledge of you. You can submit those to your regional rep for inclusion into your file.
 

thenextTopGun

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Having extra recommendations won't hurt you, but will they be able to change the outcome of your application, I don't think so. There are a lot of people who know high ranking officials e.g kids that live on military bases. It could also be of help if they point out some characteristics in you that didn't come to the attention of the board.
Thanks for the reply, I was also wondering; if I were to make a trip up to Annapolis here soon, would there be a way to speak to anyone on the selection board. My uncle who happens to be one of the Commanders that I know, says that he has a friend that is on the board. Do you think that they would allow me to speak too him?
 

Vitalzt

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I highly doubt that will be allowed intentionally because it will be unfair to the other candidates, but if your uncle knows him tell your uncle to call him and put in some good word for you, it happens all the time. Another thing to keep in mind is that even if you got in contact with the Board member and he is willing to help in your situation, if your file is being reviewed and the board is asked to vote if you should given an appointment, waitlisted, NAPs offer, and the worst being rejection, there isn't much he can do if majority of the board does not raise their hands to vote for you. Still there might be some hope if he is a senior officer in the boardroom, and has gone over your file for a long time before the meeting. He might argue on your case more by pointing out a few things on your application that makes you a more viable candidate. Good luck!!
 

NavyHoops

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Next top gun, it's not your forum, we are all guests here. You don't get to dictate who comments. The moderators will take care of anything our of line. Ktnatalk has been on this forum awhile and has great advice. You might not like his response, that is life. A 17-18 year old kid who wants to attend USNA telling someone who has been there done that to get off his post does not come across professional in any way. The reason he stated that is your question is one that gets asked a dozen or so times a year. The same responses are provided. What all of us who own the tiny blue rims (only current Mids and grads will get this joke) know, you look for answer before asking the question. It's like asking your BGO multiple questions that are clearly outlined on the admissions page and showing you didn't read it. All of us are happy to answer questions. It is recommended you search the forum as you can learn a ton.
 
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thenextTopGun

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Next top gun, it's not your forum, we are all guests here. You don't get to dictate who comments. The moderators will take care of anything our of line. Ktnatalk has been on this forum awhile and has great advice. You might not like his response, that is life. A 17-18 year old kid who wants to attend USNA telling someone who has been there done that to get off his post does not come across professional in any way. The reason he stated that is your question is one that gets asked a dozen or so times a year. The same responses are provided. What all of us who own the tiny blue rims (only current Mids and grads will get this joke) know, you look for answer before asking the question. It's like asking your BGO multiple questions that are clearly outlined on the admissions pge and showing you didn't read it. All of us are happy to answer questions. It is recommended you search the forum as you can learn a ton.
I understand but there is no need to be rude about it. But yes that was very unprofessional on my part and I apologize to you and to Ktnatalk.
 

ktnatalk

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Apologies accepted...I know sometimes it's easy to misunderstand on a forum. My apologies as well...I didn't mean to be rude either. What prompted me to say that was the inaccuracy of what's being said regarding the usefulness of extra recommendations beyond what is required. Only people that have known you for a while and have observed you (e.g. teachers/coaches) may potentially bring value to your application. And if you think those who wear a higher rank can influence the admissions process, I am sorry to say you are wrong, at least I know for USNA it's not the case. It is the merits of the individual applicant that matter.

I do think "the next Top Gun" is a cool name!
 

thenextTopGun

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Apologies accepted...I know sometimes it's easy to misunderstand on a forum. My apologies as well...I didn't mean to be rude either. What prompted me to say that was the inaccuracy of what's being said regarding the usefulness of extra recommendations beyond what is required. Only people that have known you for a while and have observed you (e.g. teachers/coaches) may potentially bring value to your application. And if you think those who wear a higher rank can influence the admissions process, I am sorry to say you are wrong, at least I know for USNA it's not the case. It is the merits of the individual applicant that matter.
Thank you for the reply! I was just wondering because my dad seems to think that it will make a big difference but I felt like it wouldn't. Again I apologize for lashing out.
 

usnabgo08

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Admissions Board members are not normally designated until the late spring or in the summer...so you wouldn't be able to speak any AB members (even if you wanted to).

I highly doubt that will be allowed intentionally because it will be unfair to the other candidates, but if your uncle knows him tell your uncle to call him and put in some good word for you, it happens all the time.

If it is unfair for a candidate to speak to an AB because other candidates might not have the same opportunity (disadvantaged), then why is it any different for the candidate's uncle (on their behalf) to contact a member of the AB? I can tell you that the Dean of Admissions spends an ENORMOUS amount of time talking to BGOs about ethics and conflicts of interest in the admissions process. If the Dean found out that this type of conflict of interest was happening...I think his head would pop off. The Dean doesn't hesitate to kick BGOs out of the program when there are clear conflicts of interest -- I am certain that if the Dean found out that a candidate's relative was in direct contact with a member of the AB (admissions matters), they would be kicked out and potentially face other administrative/disciplinary action. I am not sure where one knows that this happens all the time?

Navy example....there is a reason why the Navy does not publish the list of voting members sitting on promotion boards (nor can these same members divulge their selection to a board) before the board convenes....that is so individuals up for promotion and their chain-of-command/supporters cannot contact the voting members and be influenced.

The AB should be making decision based on the candidate's merits....free from external influence. Do not recommend that the uncle (or other O-5) advocate to admissions on the candidate's behalf except for potentially submitting a LOR (if it meets what USNA Admissions has put out about supplemental LORs).
 
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thenextTopGun

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Admissions Board members are not normally designated until the late spring or in the summer...so you wouldn't be able to speak any AB members (even if you wanted to).



If it is unfair for a candidate to speak to an AB because other candidates might not have the same opportunity (disadvantaged), then why is it any different for the candidate's uncle (on their behalf) to contact a member of the AB? I can tell you that the Dean of Admissions spends an ENORMOUS amount of time talking to BGOs about ethics and conflicts of interest in the admissions process. If the Dean found out that this type of conflict of interest was happening...I think his head would pop off. The Dean doesn't hesitate to kick BGOs out of the program when there are clear conflicts of interest -- I am certain that if the Dean found out that a candidate's relative was in direct contact with a member of the AB (admissions matters), they would be kicked out and potentially face other administrative/disciplinary action. I am not sure where one knows that this happens all the time?

Navy example....there is a reason why the Navy does not publish the list of voting members sitting on promotion boards (nor can these same members diverge their selection to a board) before the board convenes....that is so individuals up for promotion and their chain-of-command/supporters cannot contact the voting members and be influenced.

The AB should be making decision based on the candidate's merits....free from external influence. Do not recommend that the uncle (or other O-5) advocate to admissions on the candidate's behalf except for potentially submitting a LOR (if it meets what USNA Admissions has put out about supplemental LORs).
Thank you for the reply. I will just ask my uncle to write me a recommendation letter only.
 

usna1985

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Not to rain on your parade, but even a letter is very unlikely to help. USNA asks for the LORs it wants. It permits (does not encourage) additional letters because there are situations where the mandated recommenders may be unaware of a key aspect of the candidate's life. Some examples: (1) the candidate has to work after school and on WEs to support his/her family so a letter from the employer would be very helpful; (2) all of the candidate's activities occur outside of school (e.g., church, scouting) so a letter from a leader of one of those activities would be helpful.

Letters from family friends who will say some version of the following: great human being, wanted to go to USNA since a baby, committed to service, strong leader, exceptional athlete, blah, blah blah -- will almost certainly not be helpful. Now, if your family friend is the President or Vice President of the United States . . . probably a different story.:)
 

Onort44

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Not to rain on your parade, but even a letter is very unlikely to help. USNA asks for the LORs it wants. It permits (does not encourage) additional letters because there are situations where the mandated recommenders may be unaware of a key aspect of the candidate's life. Some examples: (1) the candidate has to work after school and on WEs to support his/her family so a letter from the employer would be very helpful; (2) all of the candidate's activities occur outside of school (e.g., church, scouting) so a letter from a leader of one of those activities would be helpful.

Letters from family friends who will say some version of the following: great human being, wanted to go to USNA since a baby, committed to service, strong leader, exceptional athlete, blah, blah blah -- will almost certainly not be helpful. Now, if your family friend is the President or Vice President of the United States . . . probably a different story.:)

Not to hijack this post but what if that person is a congressman from another district?
 

usna1985

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Before sending any LOR beyond those required, ask yourself two questions:

1. Does the recommender know ME (not my parents, my grandfather, my aunt, my neighbor, my friend, my parents' friend, etc.) VERY WELL?
2. Is this person going to add something important to my package that my other recommenders would not know or that I can't explain myself?

The answer to both of these questions must be yes for the letter to have any value. It's not a contest of who knows who or who can get more VIPs to write recs. That said, I'm not naïve enough to believe that if you are the VERY rare person who happens to have a VERY CLOSE relationship with a VERY BIG VIP, that these facts might not be persuasive.

But getting an LOR from your neighbor down the street whom you see when you walk your dog and who happens to be an admiral isn't going to make a difference.

If it makes YOU feel better to add a couple of recs from family friends who say you're a terrific guy/gal who would make a terrific midshipman/officer, then do it. Sleep better at night. But USNA Admissions gets thousands of these letters and their value to an individual's package is virtually zero.

IMHO, a great "extra" LOR might start something like this, "John/Jane has worked in my neighborhood grocery store after school and during the summer -- over 1500 hours per year -- since his/her father passed away three years ago." Now THAT would grab my attention and make me want to read more -- obviously it would need to go on to extol the virtues of John/Jane but the intro tells me: (1) this person really knows John/Jane; (2) the interaction with John/Jane is outside of school so probably adds information teachers might not know; and (3) John/Jane obviously spends a LOT of time working outside of school which could explain lack of ECAs, sports, etc.

Compare that to, "I've been a family friend of John/Jane for over ten years." Not interested. Some may say -- hey, they can talk about how your mother was dying during your junior year, etc. Yeah, but so can your teachers and your BGO b/c you can describe that to them AND you can describe it in the essay about overcoming life challenges. So what will your family friend say other than boilerplate? The difference with the employer example is that you can't convey to Admissions that you are a trusted and diligent employee, how you volunteer to work overtime, how you willingly do the mundane jobs, etc. Only your employer can talk how he/she perceives you as an employee in a situation where your work is your major activity since it consumes so much of your time.
 

Old Navy BGO

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One other thought on contacting a Admissions Board member directly -- I would expect (but have no actual knowledge) , that any Admissions Board member who knows a Candidate personally, or even been contacted directly by a Candidate would recuse himself/herself from considering that Candidates application. Depending upon Board composition, that could actually negatively impact you.
 
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