Tips for the 2019 hopefulls

Discussion in 'Military Academy - USMA' started by usmma_2018_NJ11, Jun 19, 2014.

  1. usmma_2018_NJ11

    usmma_2018_NJ11 New Member

    Jun 19, 2014
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    As a precursor I will just introduce myself. I am a graduated High School senior from a boarding school in New Jersey and I originally hoped to be a member of the West Point Class of 2018. I did not receive an appointment from West Point and instead I will be attending the Merchant Marine Academy with hopes of going active duty. I am excited about this opportunity and in many ways USMMA is a better fit for me, but that is another story for another time.

    With this post I am hoping to pass on the lessons I learned from the process as a whole and specifically my individual experience with the service academy admissions process. I learned lots form these forums and I simply hope to pass on my story and opinions so they can help others. To be clear these are solely my opinions based on my experience and the process is different for each and every person.

    I will break down the process into steps and simply provide my impressions/opinions/advice. Please feel free to PM for any more information.

    1) Grades/Class Rank/Academic

    - In the classroom simply do the best your can in the hardest classes you can take. I was told by my admission officer and my ALO that they want AP classes on your transcripts and if you do the best you can, there is nothing more and no excuses.
    - Class rank MATTERS. The higher your rank the better off you are. If your school does not rank you have two options, (1) use your standardized testing scores on a national scale for a rank assigned by your school or (2) have your school estimate your rank within your class. Do whichever gives you a higher score.

    2) Improving your WCS

    - Doing activities such as Boys State/Varsity sports and captainship are important. Finding ways to improve your WCS is important. Make an effort to attend Boys State, short of extenuating circumstances there is no excuse not to go. Boys State is a great program and I highly recommend it. I had a great time and learned many lessons, ignoring the fact it improved my WCS.

    - You do not need to check off every box in the application, however the admissions office is looking for well rounded candidates... so make yourself well rounded.

    3) CFA

    - There is no excuse to not doing well on the CFA. You can improve your score simply by motivation and putting in the work. The CFA adds to your WCS... take advantage of it.

    - As far as the individual events go, there is lots of information online (especially these forums) that I will defer to for advice.

    4) Nominations

    - Complete your application early and get it to your representatives office complete and well done. Make their jobs easy and give them the best and most well refined application they have seen. These apps are important and will come back up in your interview so make sure you know what you said forwards and backwards. Do NOT send in partial information or an incomplete file, it comes across as if you do not care and that in no way aids your hopes of attaining an appointment.

    - The interviews are unique each and every time. I personally had mine go from 15 minutes to an hour and a half. Each time there are different questions, however there are common themes that tend to come up. Ex- "Why do you want the military" "what do you want to do once you are commissioned" "what do you want to study and why". Knowing these answers are key to not only do well on the interview, but to also knowing why you are doing this process is key to the long term motivation you need to succeed. My advice here is to be personable and professional. Convey yourself as motivated, focused, and educated on what you want and why you want it and you will be sure to do well.

    5) DoDMerb

    - DoDmerb is a beast, and a unique process within itself. When filling out the paperwork I would suggest "deny everything they can not find out or prove through your medical history or records". For example the question about allergies, if you have seasonal allergies and maybe take a Claritin once in a while do not check yes. All you are doing is hurting yourself, as you are going to get a possible DQ and need a waiver (which are hard to come by). However let me make myself clear DO NOT LIE on this. If you are not medically qualified do not take the spot from someone who is. DO NOT LIE, but do not sell yourself down the river unnecessarily.

    - If you do hit any bumps in the road, you are not out of the game yet. Make sure you do research and research some more. Get your ducks in a row and get the paperwork in they want. They have regulations online and if you are able to meet these regulations it is possible to be qualified as long as you do all the leg work and get the paperwork in they want to see.

    6) Standardized testing scores

    - I can not overstate the importance of these. While it may be irritating and difficult take them as many times as you possibly can. I took the SAT 7 times and ACT 3. I will simply say that I believe that if you study enough and study correctly you can work your way up to 2100+. These scores are extremely important and worth 30% of your WCS. No reason not to do well.

    7) Final remarks

    - If you truly want a service academy, you will complete everything EARLY and thoroughly. It is imperative that EVERYTHING is completed EARLY. When things are completed early you have time to make sure there are no issues and the earlier your file is completed, the more it is reviewed.

    - Make good working relationships with your admissions officer and ALO. Feel free to call them and talk to them. Do not hesitate to nag and as questions, I did not get 3Q'd early because I did not call enough. However, do not ask dumb questions be that guy who calls and does not ask anything significant. If you have a question look at these forums first, there is a wealth of information online.

    Good luck to everyone, and like I said earlier. These are just my opinions based on my experiences. Everyone has a different path to walk during this process and my final advice is to take things one step at a time and get everything done completely and early. It is a hard but very rewarding task and you learn lots about yourself.

    There is lots more to the process than this, and I know there is loads of information on these forums and I urge your to read and research as much as you can
  2. Bruce111

    Bruce111 Member

    Oct 2, 2013
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    Very helpful. Thank you.
  3. tug_boat

    tug_boat Member

    Jun 18, 2012
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    Thank you....

    Thank you for your insight on the matter!!

    Push Hard, Press Forward
  4. NewJersey2019

    NewJersey2019 Member

    May 6, 2014
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    I'm a 2019 hopeful who is also from NJ-11, thank you so much for the advice. Good luck at USMMA and in your future endeavors.

    Sent using the Service Academy Forums® mobile app
  5. RLTW

    RLTW 5-Year Member

    Dec 18, 2008
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    Another way to consider this is that DoDMERB is interested in your doctor's findings, not your (or your mom's) self-diagnostic or self-treatment history. If your doctor has told you that you have allergies, that is key. If you *think* you have allergies and find temporary relief from some over-the-counter meds, that is your issue, not a doctors findings.

    Case in point: my DS reported allergies to cinnamon. Big flag. What was it? When he was maybe 2 yrs old, mom put cinnamon on his apple sause and his lips got redder for a bit. Ever since then she had always told him that he was allergic to cinnamon. It never happened again, but it stuck in mom's memory, so it was passed on to my DS. Never a doctor visit, never a test, never a medical diagnosis... just a mom. Fortunately, DoDMERB deals with this stuff all the time and after a written statement from mom plus providing as many medical records as the doctor had to verify that he had never even been seen for this, DoDMERB declared the issue dismissed. The concern though is that the remedial process takes a LONG time and can really delay your processing.

    So -- absolutely be straight forward, yet understand they want actual medical professional documentation, not mom's personal thoughts. Hope that helps.
  6. colinmcd

    colinmcd Member

    Jan 4, 2014
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    By any chance did you attend Peddie?

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