USNA Admissions FAQs -- Part 2


15-Year Member
Jun 9, 2006
The FAQs listed below cover questions about the admissions process and some miscellaneous topics, such as Reef Points and preparing for Plebe Summer.

While every effort has been made to be accurate, these FAQs have not been reviewed, approved or endorsed by USNA.


What does it mean to be "triple qualified?"

That means USNA considers you qualified scholastically/academically, medically, and physically. This, along with a nomination, makes you eligible to compete for an appointment. Being triple Q'ed is necessary to obtain an appointment; however, it does not mean you will automatically get one.

Will USNA tell me if I'm triple qualified?

USNA does not send a letter or update your portal or otherwise notify you that you are triple Q'ed. However, you will know if you're medically qualified and you will be told if you didn't pass your CFA. Thus, you know 2/3. USNA does not inform candidates of the decision of the Admissions Board (Board qualification, the third "leg" of the process).

When will I hear from USNA whether or not I've received an appointment?

USNA will notify all candidates by April 15 whether they have an appointment, have been turned down, or are waitlisted. Most candidates will hear in February and March but, for quite a few, it will be early April. Very few candidates will get the good, or bad, news before Jan. 1.

What's the deal with the waitlist?

A formal "waitlist" has been used by USNA for at least the past decade. Like most schools, USNA puts out a certain number of offers to form a class of the desired size. If more candidates than expected decline, USNA will go to the waitlist and make additional offers until the desired class size is reached. The waitlist is NOT ranked so you won't know where on the waitlist you stand and neither will your BGO.

How many waitlisted candidates will be offered appointments?

That depends entirely on how many candidates with offers of appointments turn them down. As the acceptances and rejections come in, USNA will have a sense of whether or not any waitlisted candidates will be offered appointments and will start sending turndown letters to the less competitive candidates on the waitlist.

How do I apply for NAPS/Foundation?

You don't. USNA automatically considers every candidate deemed not qualified by the Admissions Board for a direct appointment for an offer to NAPS/Foundation. Your BGO will ask if you're interested in one or both -- there is NO disadvantage to saying yes.

What types of candidates end up at NAPS/Foundation?

Generally, those who need additional academic preparation to ensure they are successful at USNA. Things that MAY make you more likely to get NAPS/Foundation are high grades/class rank coupled with low SATs or high SATs coupled with low grades/class rank along with proven leadership, etc.

Will saying I would take NAPS/Foundation hurt my chances for a direct appointment?

No. You'll only be offered NAPS/Foundation if, at the time of the decision, you aren't academically qualified for an appointment. They are thus somewhat mutually exclusive.

Will accepting an offer to NAPS/Foundation doom my chances for a direct appointment?

Some candidates may be offered NAPS/Foundation relatively early in the admissions cycles and wonder whether accepting that offer means they are no longer eligible for an appointment. The answer is NO. Some people who are initially offered NAPS/Foundation will later be deemed qualified for a direct appointment -- often due to subsequent SAT/ACT scores or new grades. In that case, USNA will typically offer the candidate the choice of sticking with NAPS/Foundation or declining that offer in favor of a direct appointment.

I've heard of NAPS. What a Foundation school?

The USNA Foundation helps financially support a number of students at civilian prep schools across the country. As with NAPS, if the student successfully completes the program, he/she is virtually guaranteed an offer of appointment. Students have a choice of Foundation schools. Parents are asked to share the financial burden with Foundation, based on their ability to pay.

Can more than one candidate be admitted from the same school?

Yes. More than one candidate can be admitted from the same congressional district, school, or even household. Every year there are many twins at USNA, who obviously live in the same home and usually attend the same school. So the fact that someone else at your school or on your MOC slate of nominees received an appointment does not mean that your chances are doomed.

In terms of how it works, one person usually wins the MOC slate. The other person will receive a nom from a different source, such as another MOC, Presidential, or from SecNav coming out of the National Pool.

Why does it take USNA so much longer to make a decision than [pick your civilian school]?

Civilian schools don't have to deal with the nomination process. Member of Congress ("MOC") noms aren't due to USNA until Jan. 31. Some MOCs may turn in their slates much earlier; others may turn them on that date. Thus, USNA generally has to wait until Feb. when the majority of the MOC slates are in to start forming the class. This is why most people hear in Feb. and March.

It's only November and I know someone who already has an appointment. How did that happen?

Very strong candidates who are eligible for a Presidential nomination MAY be offered an appointment in the fall based on that nom. Also, some MOCs may turn in their slates much earlier than the deadline and USNA can begin offering appointments based on those slates.

It's [pick your winter month], I turned my package in months ago, and I still haven't heard anything. What's up with that?

Be patient. I wish I could tell you something more comforting but it's a long process with a lot of applicants. There aren't that many admissions officers to do all of the work. With the nomination process in the mix, it takes a long time. No news is not necessarily bad news -- an appointment that comes in April is just as valid as one that comes in November. I realize the November folks sleep better but that's how the system works.

How late could I be offered an appointment?

If you're waitlisted, the offer could come as late as a week before I-Day. In general, USNA tries to notify everyone on the WL by early June but that doesn't always happen.

If I don't get in, should I just show up on I-Day and hope to take the slot of someone who doesn't show up or quits?

NO. For any number of reasons USNA cannot simply grab someone off the street (even a waitlisted candidate) and plug him/her into a slot left vacant b/c someone doesn't show up for I-Day or quits before taking the oath of office.

If you're waitlisted and don't get in, it means you were a very well qualified candidate. If USNA is still your goal, find out where you can improve, do so, and apply again. You have a good shot of being admitted for the following year. See the sticky on "Reapplying."

Can I call my BGO to find out if I received an appointment?

You can, but you’ll know first. Here's how the process works: USNA decides to offer you an appointment; USNA contacts your MOC and gives him/her one week to tell/congratulate you; at the end of that week, USNA emails you the good news; after that, the info is loaded into the BGO system and we learn of it.

Should I study Reef Points before Plebe Summer?

This is a hotly debated question among alums. Some consider it “cheating;” others believe it's a great way to get a leg up. Here's my view and it's only my view. If you’re not at all familiar with the military or USNA, you may want to skim through a copy to familiarize yourself with things like military ranks and some of the history of USNA and the military.

However, I don't think it makes sense to start memorizing Reef Points for several reasons. First, you don't know what items you'll need to memorize or which ones will come early/late in the summer. Second, it's one thing to be able to spit things out in the privacy of your own room and something else entirely to do so when a 1/C is standing inches from your face yelling at you. Third, it is not good to show up your classmates on day one. Fourth, there are much better and more productive things you can do with your time senior year and in June (see below for more on this).

Bottom line: At least as of now, no one expects you to have opened Reef Points before I-Day. If you never memorize a word of it before you set foot at USNA, you'll be fine. Really.

So what should I do senior year and in June to prepare?


No, seriously, what should I do?


Ok, seriously. You should run. Getting in good shape during senior year and June is a MUCH MORE PRODUCTIVE way to spend your time than memorizing Reef Points. Folks who come to I-Day in poor physical condition find plebe summer much more miserable than it needs to be. Most h.s. seniors stop organized sports in April. They then do senior projects, graduation week, beach week (or two or three) and quickly get out of shape. Be sure to keep running in May and June.

In terms of where you should be . . . guys should be able to run a mile in 6:00 and maintain a 6:30-7:00 pace over three miles. Women should be able to do a mile in 7:00 and maintain 7:30-8:00 across three miles.

What else should I do to prepare?

Enjoy yourself. Spend time with your friends and family. Go on vacation. Read, play video games, whatever you find enjoyable. Starting I-Day, your life will no longer be your own. So take advantage of having a free June to do things that you enjoy.
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My daughter has completed everythung along with a nomination. Are there any percentages of those with Noms who are selected from previous years?
It can change year to year, but for those 3Q with a Nom, appointment rates have been around 45% or so for USNA. This can go up and down based upon number of applicants, but its been roughly around there for the most part.
Please how do I apply to usna as an international candidate

If you are a citizen of a foreign country and not a U.S. citizen, contact your country’s State Department or Navy. Foreign nationals at USNA and other Service Academies are part of negotiated agreements.

If you are a U.S. citizen living outside the USA, apply as normal. There are threads every year from these types of candidates. It can be done.
You need to contact your country's State Department, not the foreign nationals at USNA