The Role of Blue and Gold Officers

usna1985

10-Year Member
One way to dramatically shorten the BGO interview is to say how much you look forward to attending college along the Hudson.
Assume this was said in jest. However, in reality, it's not true. I have no issues with a candidate who also wants to attend another SA (as well as USNA). My goal is to ensure a candidate ends up at the right/best SA for him/her. There is no benefit to anyone if someone attends USNA who really wants to be at USMA. Or the converse. So telling me that you are also interested in another SA will not cause me to ding you at all. I might actually talk longer so I can explain the benefits of USNA.

That said, if you have zero interest in attending USNA, don't waste your time or mine.
 

Old Navy BGO

5-Year Member
I have no issues with a candidate who also wants to attend another SA (as well as USNA)
I might actually talk longer so I can explain the benefits of USNA.
^ Absolutely. Many of our candidates apply for multiple Service Academies. I will never disparage another Service Academy, but will talk about what I perceive to be the benefits of USNA over the others. One of the biggest advantages of USNA is the broad range of Service Selection choices- you can do virtually anything out of USNA that you could do out of all the other Service Academies combined., plus some.
 

Tigermom3

Member
Thank you usna1985 for your post, it's very helpful. My DS is a second time applicant and we live in an extremely competitive district, only 1 nomination per SA. Last year his interview with his BGO went very well and the officer told my son that if he pref'ed USNA in his MOC interview that he would 'write and rewrite letters until the board gives him an appointment.' My DS enjoyed his candidate weekend at USNA and it was his strong second choice but pref'ed USAFA. The BGO has contacted my son again saying, 'looking forward to getting you that appointment this year.' My DS has excellent grades/test scores, average CFA, excellent volunteer hours, strong leadership, his week link-low athletics (he's a musician). DS is now attending a SAP (self sponsored) and thriving, it has made his desire to go to a SA even stronger. After our disappointment last year, I have a hard time trusting any part of this process. My question, does a BGO hold that much influence in the process?
 

AROTC-dad

Moderator
5-Year Member
My question, does a BGO hold that much influence in the process?
The following is an excerpt from the "sticky" post on the first page of this thread (also posted by @usna1985 ). It lists the most frequently asked questions about BGO's.

How much can the BGO interview help or hurt me?

That is very difficult to answer. If the BGO really likes you as a candidate, it might be a small help. Again, this has nothing to do with whether you and the BGO "get along"; rather, it's how the BGO perceives you as a candidate. If the BGO has -- AND CAN DOCUMENT -- significant concerns, it could hurt.

Do BGOs have any "vote" in the admissions process?

Outside of the interview, no. We don't sit on the admissions board and aren't contacted by the board.
 

Old Navy BGO

5-Year Member
. The BGO has contacted my son again saying, 'looking forward to getting you that appointment this year.
- The BGO doesn't "get you an appointment" and if an accurate quote, I would say it is probably an inappropriate comment. That being said, I am pretty confident that what the BGO meant is that he was looking forward to helping the DS achieve his goal of getting an Appointment.

BGO's aren't supposed to "play favorites" and help one candidate to the detriment of others. They simply advise, counsel, and evaluate as they see them. We do not rank the candidates, and frankly don't see large portions of a Candidates application, so we really don't have the basis to tell which Candidates are most qualified.
 

Tigermom3

Member
. The BGO has contacted my son again saying, 'looking forward to getting you that appointment this year.
- The BGO doesn't "get you an appointment" and if an accurate quote, I would say it is probably an inappropriate comment. That being said, I am pretty confident that what the BGO meant is that he was looking forward to helping the DS achieve his goal of getting an Appointment.

BGO's aren't supposed to "play favorites" and help one candidate to the detriment of others. They simply advise, counsel, and evaluate as they see them. We do not rank the candidates, and frankly don't see large portions of a Candidates application, so we really don't have the basis to tell which Candidates are most qualified.
Thank you for your response. When DS has to pref, I want him to have as much information as possible to make a fair decision. I do believe that DS's BGO wants to help as much as possible (quote was accurate but now taking it with a grain of salt!).
 
Weird question for the group...DS was invited to dinner tonight with his BGO and a retired admiral/USNA grad and former USNA faculty member who lives locally and likes to meet some of the USNA applicants. The word "interview" was never used and DS has not yet had anything resembling an interview with his BGO. DS has been working with BGO since 8th grade and they've met several times at SA events and BGO recommended him for STEM camp and NASS. So is this "THE INTERVIEW"? They are meeting at a Village Inn--a very casual place where suit and tie would look silly. DS announced he's planning to wear collared golf shirt and slacks, which sounds fine for an informal dinner, but underdressed for a formal interview. What do you think?
 

Old Navy BGO

5-Year Member
So is this "THE INTERVIEW"?
Unlikely, it sounds like DS has established a relationship with the BGO and the BGO is inviting him out with the retired Grad. Golf shirt and slacks sounds appropriate. Of course, all BGO's are different, and based upon the course of conversation during Dinner, it is possible that a BGO could write up the interview based upon Dinner alone.

Here's a hint to all Candidates --- all of your interactions with the BGO are input into and affect the BGO's impression of the you (yes, even that oh so cool sounding voice mail message intended to impress classmates and peers can be considered part of "the interview.") All interaction with the BGO should be professional, and reflect how you want the BGO to perceive you.
 
You were right! This was not "The Interview". Upon hearing the debrief, we suspect BGO pulls in his retired Admiral friend to help rank his top picks. DS's BGO was medically disqual'd himself, but has a USNA and USAFA sons. At the close of the dinner, the Admiral told DS that he was "the kind of person I would like to see at USNA" and told him he was one of the sharpest candidates he has met. Then BGO told him it was time to schedule The Interview with DS and parents later this month. Best of all, BGO told DS that he was impressed with how prepared DS was for the dinner and how good the questions were. Apparently they had a very lively discussion about leadership accountability and what happened after the Fitzgerald and McCain mishaps. The Admiral especially liked one question, "what lesson did you learn as a JO carried with you through flag rank?"
 

usna1985

10-Year Member
As an aside, for all those reading the above and who are freaking out thinking, "This didn't happen to me:" "I didn't get to meet an Admiral;" "I didn't get this level of personal attention" or similar thoughts . . . RELAX.

The above is definitely NOT the norm. Obviously, this BGO has a lot of time on his hands and apparently tries to do something nice/extra for his candidates. That said, the fact that a candidate spoke with an Admiral has ZERO bearing on anything. The fact an Admiral likes or doesn't like a candidate has no bearing -- and really shouldn't influence the BGO who should be able to make his/her own decisions. The BGO interview itself has limited impact on the application -- as veteran BGOs have stated over and over again.

For the OP, it appears this was a great experience for your DS. Hopefully, he learned more about the USN and USNA. However, you should not (and I assume do not) think this whole thing will make any difference and others should not think that their lack of this experience makes any different.
 

justdoit19

Member
As an aside, for all those reading the above and who are freaking out thinking, "This didn't happen to me:" "I didn't get to meet an Admiral;" "I didn't get this level of personal attention" or similar thoughts . . . RELAX.

The above is definitely NOT the norm. Obviously, this BGO has a lot of time on his hands and apparently tries to do something nice/extra for his candidates. That said, the fact that a candidate spoke with an Admiral has ZERO bearing on anything. The fact an Admiral likes or doesn't like a candidate has no bearing -- and really shouldn't influence the BGO who should be able to make his/her own decisions. The BGO interview itself has limited impact on the application -- as veteran BGOs have stated over and over again.

For the OP, it appears this was a great experience for your DS. Hopefully, he learned more about the USN and USNA. However, you should not (and I assume do not) think this whole thing will make any difference and others should not think that their lack of this experience makes any different.
It almost reads to me as giving the poster (and the BGO’s other applicants) a false sense of security. The BGO invited other people to help him rank the candidates? That’s odd. Never heard of this. Don’t think BGO’s ‘rank’ candidates. I thought they are responsible for providing unbiased input to USNA. The ‘eyes and ears’ to go along with a candidates package.

It’s often stated by BGO’s here on the forums, that singularly, a BGO won’t get you in. Or keep you out. Completely agree for readers to not freak out. Our BGO is very hands off. Minimal contact. Super nice guy. And a USNA dad. There are volunteers from all walks of life.

This was a very abnormal BGO experience. It’s probably good that the BGO role isn’t one to get candidates in as there isn’t a standardized BGO experience. I suspect the only standardized piece is the rubric they summit.

I am NOT a BGO, btw.
 
It a normal part of the process for the BGO to 'rank' candidates. there are evaluated individually, and a detailed writeup is done, but the subjective metrics are all related to how an individual candidate compares to others. that is why many BGO's will wait to submit writeup until they have interviewed most/all of their candidates for a given cycle. they can't all be evaluated as 'top 5%'.

re: the OP's experience, it sounds to me like the retired admiral likes to stay involved, make himself available to candidates, and help them get a better understanding of what it is that they are hoping become a part of. it sounds like a great opportunity, but as others have said, it won't have any impact on the application process.

the impressions formed so far by the BGO will have some impact on the evaluation, and will probably have some impact on the questions that he/she asks during the interview.
 

justdoit19

Member
It a normal part of the process for the BGO to 'rank' candidates. there are evaluated individually, and a detailed writeup is done, but the subjective metrics are all related to how an individual candidate compares to others. that is why many BGO's will wait to submit writeup until they have interviewed most/all of their candidates for a given cycle. they can't all be evaluated as 'top 5%'.

re: the OP's experience, it sounds to me like the retired admiral likes to stay involved, make himself available to candidates, and help them get a better understanding of what it is that they are hoping become a part of. it sounds like a great opportunity, but as others have said, it won't have any impact on the application process.

the impressions formed so far by the BGO will have some impact on the evaluation, and will probably have some impact on the questions that he/she asks during the interview.
TY! I had no idea they were ranked by BGO’s. Very interesting. Wouldn’t that mean then that it would be better to have your interview later, rather than early? And I would think a BGO would indeed need to have them all in hand to tank side by side, vs (for example) submitting early. Perhaps a BGO is able to know from experience how a candidate will generally rank. Doesn’t make sense though. Another example: a candidate who is improving their ACT/SAT score. A significant improvement would rank a candidate higher?

Understanding they rank makes the way the OP’s BGO did his event makes much more sense to me.

Again...I’m not a BGO.
 

Heatherg21

Member
Our DS did his interview 3 weeks ago. His file is complete except for BGO submission. BGO let our DS know that he was his first interview for this cycle. Having read the above, it makes sense he may be holding off to submit until he has interviewed some other candidates. Good info.
 

Old Navy BGO

5-Year Member
TY! I had no idea they were ranked by BGO’s.
BGO's do not "rank" the individual candidates against each other . We assign a evaluation , Top 5%, Top 25%, Above Average , Average, Below Average, Not Observed, in a number of categories, as well as provide a write up. However, it is not uncommon for a BGO to informally or even unconsciously rank the candidates in their own mind. As noted , some BGO's may actually hold up the write up to see how a candidate stacks up against the rest of their peers, but this is neither policy or encouraged .

One of the hardest parts of being a new BGO is figuring out how to rate the Candidates consistently..we all have different expectations and one BGO's Above Average may be another's Average,. I suspect the actual narrative write ups are more meaningful than the rating.

Don't overthink the BGO interview process...be prepared just like you would for any job interview, be yourself, and you will do just fine.
 
just to clarify - it isn't a direct ranking of #1 through n for a given BGO's group. rather, it's a rating of each candidate in the context of the larger group of candidates that the BGO has seen. some BGOs have seen hundreds of candidates over the years and have a very good idea of how a candidate compares (ie. tip top, top, middle, bottom), and other are very new and have only seen a few, so it's not an exact science.
 
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