Wait List/TWE last year to Appointment this year


Jan 18, 2017
It was suggested that I share my experience as a college re-applicant and some lessons I have learned along the way. Considering how much this forum has helped me keep my sanity during this process, I hope this can help some people who are currently CRP or who may receive a TWE. I am going to share my background information and some advice I learned along the way, and this will be divided up in that fashion (these are just my personal tips and opinions so take that as you will)!

Background Information: I did not start applying to USNA or USMA until last year, which was my sophomore year of college. That in itself is a whole other story of why I decided to apply. Despite not knowing that this was where I wanted to go, I had a lot of basic ground work laid out for a typical applicant already from high school (varsity for 2 years, traveling in a sport, 4.0 GPA in gifted/AP). I cannot stress how grateful I am for that since I entered into the application game so late. However, there was also a lot of work I needed to do. I needed to raise my ACT scores, practice for the CFA, improve my college GPA and take STEM-related courses. But most importantly, I needed to learn more about service academies.

So I just took off with everything in the summer of 2016. I did not have much time to spare since I had only three years left to apply. Considering I just learned how to say "plebe" correctly, I needed to learn everything about getting into a service academy fast so I could be competitive for the Class of 2021. But quickly, it became a lot more than just a career choice. I started talking to everyone that had some sort of connection to the academy. I would have 2 hour phone conferences with a few USMA and USNA alumni who quickly became family. It was being welcomed into multiple homes where we talked for hours about their son's or daughter's experience. It was going to Annapolis and seeing it first hand through personal visits or CVW stays. It was watching countless youtube videos on the topics of I-Day, "Second A Day", plebe summer, etc. It was taking 17 credit hours as a STEM major, joining ROTC, running my photography business, doing mock interviews, practicing for the ACT, etc. It was so much all at once, but I would not trade that experience for the world. I know I have not been in the game for a long time, but I was serious about this and I was going to make sure everyone knew I was serious through my actions.

This is where things get kind of interesting. Fast forward to last January and I just received a phone call about getting an appointment to USMA. I waited to hear from USNA... and they did not say anything to me until early April when I was Wait Listed. I was then denied in the early-mid June time frame. In the meantime, I decided to turn down USMA in May. That was the hardest decision of my life so far, but it felt like the right thing to do (lots of reasons that went into that decision).

Then I started to reapply for USNA the summer of 2017. And I thought it was going to be easier, but personally, I found it a lot harder mentally. I already have it in my head that I have been denied before, and I had this idea that turning down USMA was risky. Plus, I am a junior in college... I am old when it comes to applying haha I get told a lot I should just graduate and go to OCS school. But I kept going and tried to improve even more. I submitted everything a second time and just received the news I got accepted two weeks after my college transcripts were received by USNA!

Advice: I know what is it like to get an appointment right off the bat. But someone on the forum quoted something along the lines of instant gratification can be the enemy of character development. So more importantly, I also have been through the waiting game. And I have learned a few things from both experiences:

1) Get mentors. Form relationships with everyone involved in the process. Have a solid support system. It does not have to be family (although that would help. It took my dad a second to come around, but now he loves USNA). Get people who have graduated from the academies to talk to you and eventually, believe in you. That just comes from talking to anyone and everyone about the academy. Usually people speak up if they have a connection to it. I cannot stress how important it was for me to have people who walked down this path before me talk to me during some of the most stressful times of this application. I kinda joke I have friends who are either my age or 30+ years older than me that went to the academy, but it is pretty accurate. If my mentors had any say in my application, they were not going to allow me to fail. I also have a pretty solid relationship with my congressman's staff who coordinates the nominations and with USNA admissions. If there was ever a chance to email them about something that was not obvious, I would do it. I wanted to keep my name in the conversation. Now, I have received corresponding emails where admissions says, "it is always great to hear from you!" You know you have emailed too much when you are friendly with the admissions staff, but in all seriousness, forming these relationships is something I feel a lot of applicants miss out on. It might feel a little over the top to reach out to your BGO first to schedule the interview, or to call admissions if they have not received your ACT/SAT scores, but that is what a majority of the candidates are probably thinking. Long story short, separate yourself in a positive way by putting a face with the name.

2) Be passionate! You have to want this! I am a junior in college who is about to become a freshman, but I do not see it as "restarting." I believe my passion and work ethic are what made the difference in every aspect of my application. It will show when you speak with conviction during interviews. Or when you are up till 1 am writing your Personal Statement over the summer because you are on a roll. Or when you have taken your 17th practice math ACT test at home all just for that one ACT test coming up next week. Or waking up at 6am to work out. It is about going above and beyond in every aspect. It is about understanding why you are going above and beyond. Do you want to go to a challenging school? Do you want to go because USNA looks like it could be cool? Because that is not enough. Why do you want to go to USNA? Really think about it. There has to be a solid reason that keeps you going. I think I am so passionate because I went to a civilian college and I know I was meant to do something else. For me, it is not, "I think I want to go to USNA." It is, "I have to go to USNA." That driven mentality was key throughout this whole thing.

There are so many lessons you learn when you go through this application. At least, that is how it was for me. You may find yourself comparing yourself against everyone's stats or clinging to every piece of advice given on the forums. Eventually, you learn to filter out some of that stuff and just focus on yourself and your application. But if you really want USNA, and you are willing to fight for it in the form of improving your SAT/ACT scores - or anything on your application for that matter, forming relationships, and separating yourself in a positive way, it is very doable. I know this is a lot, but I hope this helps! I love talking about this, so if you ever need anything, I can be a resource!
Superb. You will probably never know how manyhoprfuls you will help with this.

Your experiences and maturity going in as a plebe at this age will help you adjust quickly. Clearly, you have determination and grit. I predict you will do very well at USNA, shipmate-to-be.
I had tears in my eyes reading this. Amazing perseverance in pursuit of your goal! Hope you continue to share your story and inspire others along the way. Thank you for giving back to this forum - that's what makes this community so special.
Thank you! I remember seeing you on the forum last year and I have to admire your commitment. Good luck!! Just take it one day at a time.
“The lines of instant gratification can be the enemy of character development.”

Wow! Wow! Wow!

Although my story is different, I can also relate to this. I was lucky enough to get an appointment to USAFA right out of high school, but I broke my foot during BCT. It has been the most trying experience, but I have grown in ways I never thought possible. I was just medically cleared to return this Summer, and I cannot wait to go back home!

Congratulations on your appointment to USNA. I wish you luck as you embark on this incredible journey!
Good on ya mate. Parts of your story are similar to my Uncle's who was class of the late 50s'. He was a couple of months away from being too old and caught a lot of crap from younger mids but he persevered. He retired with the rank of Captain from aviation. Not an easy route. You got this.