What is a BGO?


Jun 15, 2006
BGOs come in all shapes and forms. Some are alumni who can tell you exactly how things were 30 or more years ago. Some are parents who have a very parochial view of the application process as it pertained mostly to them and life in Bancroft Hall as seen second hand from a very prejudiced plebe. Some are both parent and alumni. Others are Naval Reserve Officers who know very little about the Academy but are doing it simply for retirement points.

Their knowledge and experience comes in all shapes and forms. Some have been to the one week training course at the Academy and have a good basis for working with candidates. Some have years of experience on top of this and have most likely experienced most situations. Some have neither.

Some have a lot of energy, dedication, and time to devote. Others are strapped and will do the minimum.

Some are computer literate and respond to emails promptly. Some check their emails only during the monthly grandkid visit when someone is able to turn the computer on for him.

Some want to hold the candidate’s hand, walking them through each stage of the process. Others want the candidate to find out things for themselves, judging this as dedication and desire for a Naval career.

All are warned by the Admissions Office not to speculate on a candidate’s viability. BGOs do not have access to the applications at all. They only know SATs and what the candidate has told them. They do not see the teacher’s recommendations, the NASS write-up, the two ‘C’s on the transcript that the candidate has ‘forgotten’ to mention.

They are unable to make final decisions on changes to the candidate’s application package. CGIS specifically states to contact the CGO with changes in the package.

My recommendations would be for the candidate to visit both the Admissions and the DodMERB website. Read and understand everything about the application process. Read the on-line catalog from cover to cover. There is a lot of good info there. Scan all the DodMERB forms so see the type of things you will be asked on your exam. Then, if you still have questions, contact your BGO. If he still chooses to hold your hand and walk you through the process, let him, but make sure he understands that you also know the answers.

BGO’s primary tasking is the interview. One of the primary purpose of the interview is to determine that the candidate, not the parents, are the overriding factor in the desire to attend an Academy. Good BGOs can and will ferret out undue parent influence. My favorite is to ask the candidates if they are keeping a file of all their paperwork. They will always say yes. I then ask if I can see it. Now the sweating often begins. Mom usually asks or volunteers to go get it. I always respond with a comment that I would rather the candidate get it because I have a very few things which I want to discuss with the parents alone. The call from the bedroom asking mom where she put the file when she cleaned up last time is usually an indication to dig deeper into motivation and parental influence. All else in the interview is pretty much common sense.

Lastly, for unsuccessful candidate debriefs, the BGO may have some info, may be able to get a feel from the CGO, and should definitely be contacted. However, a good debrief from the Regional Director is paramount.

Use them. Find out their preferred methods of communication. If they are intolerable, contact either the CGO or the Area Coordinator (listed in the catalog).
Thank you for pointing out the part about the candidate keeping their own records. Our son asked to visit the USNA again over Christmas break. We did and went to the admissions office. After spending some reflective time in the chapel, we made a trip over to the Visitor's gift shop. We found him in the back near the baseball tee shirts with a tiny book in his hand - this year's rates book. He told us that the USNA is definitely what he wanted. Later that week, I handed him a folder and the transfer of responsibility was made. He has made this HIS mission and HIS future. When the BGO pays him a visit, he will have his OWN folder. We intend to support his decision and will do whatever we can to encourage him, but ultimately, if he can't fill out his own paperwork, make the necessary calls, etc. should he really be a leader in the USN?
Yes, remember he is still a kid and the process is long and intricate. You need to know the dates also, since you will be an integral part. (Dodmerb, and MOC interviews...we were with him) BGO/MALO/ALO's want to get to know their parents. It is important that they understand what will occur during the process.

The SA's will mold him from a child into an officer.

While I agree, cut the apron strings, but make sure they are long enough for you to grab onto every now and then:wink:
Last edited:
Some kids work best w/ a foot about an inch from their rear end...others are more self-motivated. Maybe because mine started the process so late (mid September), I felt I had to watch over the process. I never expected my kids to navigate the path to college alone; however, I expected when I said "get your essays written" that they would be. Some kids are more mature than others. Be ready to support and follow up to be sure he gets things in on time...he's still a kid.
The same is true for husbands and projects around the house:w00t:

Now back to the original question
Just help your candidate keep track of deadlines...especially if he is applying to multiple academies/colleges. If your son is just starting the application process, this is great time to ask him what help he will accept...let him be the decision maker...he may want help filling out the medical questionnaire when it comes and help getting started on a computer accessible calendar. He may also want advice on using email and email folders. This generation typically does not use email. BTW, he will need his own account with a professional sounding address. Those fourth grade funny ones...or the hooah ones...:eek:

You know your candidate best. Trust yourself AND him. You will be amazed at all that he will learn this coming year.
Oops...I was :topic: a little...USNA69's post is an excellent one. Back to that. :redface: Those files that they keep (and use constantly) get fat and then they leave them at home with you...
Last edited:
popeyesmom -

you are right on - allow your son to take ownership of the process. He needs to complete the application, go to the interviews and make the contacts. The danger of "doing too much" is that the process ceases to become about the candidate. The more he does himself now, the more he will feel comfortable doing later on - paperwork never ceases in the military!

I never met my daughter's BGO or MALO. While I took her to a couple of West Point info sessions - she went to her BGO interview and her nominations interviews herself. I didn't proofread her essays or emails.

I did get involved in DoDMERB - completing the medical history form and helped her with her medical waiver. I supervised that process.

Moms and Dads should not be their child's executive secretary when applying to SA's or any college.
Bullet took ds for the interview (it was a 4 hr drive ea way). He also took him to the dodmerb (s is a minor and we had to sign in for him).

Our ALO met with our son privately, but called us and spoke privately with both Bullet and myself, wanting to make sure that DS was not doing this b/c of his father, and that we were not pushing the issue. To be honest, DS caught us off guard, his no.1 choice at xmas JR year was Notre Dame AFROTC to attend law, in March he decided to throw his hat in, by June AFA became his no.1 choice for flying.

I know this is a USNA site, but they are still young and BGO/ALO/MALO perform the same function and have the same goal, which is to assist your child in obtaining their appt. for any SA. Ask 100 parents and we will have 100 stories, we are here for you and will be here for the ups and downs...hopefully more ups than downs.

As far as essays, our ALO took control over the situation, and as I said b4 he met with our s weekly for revisions. My gf's son lives in another state and after their 1st interview with BGO & ALO, her s never met them again, whereas, our ALO even sent an email reminder of due dates for AFROTC scholarships and nom deadlines. To this date I could pick out our ALO by voice recognition, but would walk right by him on the st. since we have never physically met

My only pt would be have your ds create a relationship with his BGO, b/c they also submit an evaluation to the SA.

Best of luck, enjoy the ride and know that everyone in this site will be there to help your family along the process. You are very lucky to find this site now, I didn't find it until we were at the tail end (@nom. period) Had we found it before I would have felt more comfortable knowing what the process was, we just followed what our ALO told us (thankfully he is great) and what our friend was going through...it's not always good the blind leading the blind:redface:
BGO/ALO/MALO perform the same function and have the same goal, which is to assist your child in obtaining their appt.

Their primary goal is to evaluate the candidate and his/her desire, motivation and committment to attend.

I don't think MALO's get involved as much as BGO/ALO's do. The "interview" is not a component of the application - it is just a chance to see if everyone is on the same page. Some candidates may never be interviewed and still get appointments.
Right now with the war MALO's are hard to come by - my daughter went through 3 and spoke to one on the phone but not until April - many just don't have time to get over-involved.

While the process may seem never ending - most kids should do just fine with Mom and Dad providing moral support.
Last edited:
My son's BGO never asked nor wanted to meet the parents. We met him for the first time on awards night.

He did not hold my son's hand, only corresponded when the correspondence was initiated by my son.

USNA69 is spot on - they come in all shapes and forms so to speak. Do not feel slighted if yours is really only there for the interview.

My son was responsible for all contact with each college and USNA. Plain and simple, I made no phone calls to USNA - anything he needed he called on his own.

I was not applying to college HE WAS and with that he was expected to know all the info that was required, dates when things were due and form to fill out and send. He signed up for his SAT's and ACT's - I did not do it for him, only provided the credit card. The only involvement was to get him to and from college visits and fill out the parents part of FASA and any financial aid forms that required tax information, and had he decided on another college choice I guess I would be writing the checks :eek:
Then I must say we were lucky and priviledged for our ALO.

We never filled out any forms for any college or academy for our s, we reminded him of the due date, and told him if you want it badly enough than you will due it. Bullet and I are not the human ATM, it is his life and I agree with other posts, but he is still my son and I will assist (to a certain pt) in getting his goal, that is what I am here for. Obviously, I am the minority here, so I am stepping out.