What kind of Leadership stuff is USNA looking for?


10-Year Member
5-Year Member
Jan 5, 2009
Hey guys,

I was wondering if we could get a list of what exactly USNA is looking for as far as "leadership" goes (i.e. what kind of specific organizations, clubs, services, community services, sports etc...) I think it would be very helpful, to not only to the upper class men in high school, but also the lower class men who want to get a head start. :biggrin:

Work towards becoming a captain of an athletic team, class officer, club officer, or officer in JROTC/CAP. I think you would be strong if you held two of these positions.

They seem to like official titles.
I would say an ideal mix of leadership criteria would include both elected/appointed and volunteer type positions. Sometimes it is hard for a kiddo to get elected where it is more of a popularity game than who is most qualified. So, get elected to something, then follow through and actually DO something with your office. Can't get elected??? Then volunteer for a committee chairmanship, etc and again DO something. Teach younger kids.........lead a program to a scout group, 4-H group, etc. Be able to describe in detail the "leadership" activities you engaged in. Many times, some elected positions are more figurehead type deals. Athletic leadership, team captain type things are great. If you fear public speaking ( as most of the population), get help to get past that. Leaders are speakers.
lead a program to a scout group, 4-H group, etc. .

Or join one of these groups...I've seen a lot of kids start as late as 14 and one as late as 15 and get Eagle Scout before they're 18 and any knid of dedication like that is impressive and requires a lot of leadership.
Yeah what everyone else said looked good but also, look into this program called Boys State from the American Legion. Are you in JROTC at all? Band?
Leadership with Resonsibility

First you want to get involved in something that you will enjoy and second you want to assume a leadership role. A team captain of a sport is good, but what do you do as team captain? Lead stretching exercises and call heads or tails? There are some team captains that do a lot more. Let’s use a volunteer situation for example. Signing up for neighborhood clean-up day is very nice, but what would be better would be to sign-up to be in charge of some aspect of the clean-up like organizing and setting up refreshment areas, transportation, clean-up supplies, organizing when and where volunteers will park or show up, etc. Organization, management, and empowerment are the keys. Also make sure you do not join so many organizations and clubs that it is obvious you are just “padding” your resume.
but what do you do as team captain? Lead stretching exercises and call heads or tails? There are some team captains that do a lot more.

I would agree with you on most of your stuff but I would say MOST if not ALL team captains do more. When you're either elected by your teammates or appointed by your coach its an acknowledgment of previously exhibited leadership ability. It also shows that you somewhat excel at the sport because they want the captain's to start every game and be on the field most of the time. There might not be many responsibilities gained from the title but there are definitely leadership skills shown.
During a nomination interview I said how I felt being a team captain helped me to become the kind of leader the military needs because you're the example for younger players and make sure they take everything seriously and train hard but have to trust them to do their jobs right on their own when the game starts because you can't hold their hands for them...all of the former marines said that that was exactly the kind of leadership they used with their platoons. I also got that nom :wink:
ok thanks guys! keep em coming....btw I am the captain of Varsity Cross Country and Track and Field. And am the founder and head of the fishing club at my school. Been fishing since age 4. :biggrin:
Keep in mind that about 11% of the entering classes were Eagle Scouts (or the girl scout equivalent). -I got this info from the class profiles.
Lots of good replies. JerryB76 makes a good point about being substantive.

Do not forget outside/part-time jobs. Sustained excellence and leadership is what the board looks for. Joining something in the Jr/Sr year is okay, but it pales in comparison to four (or more) years in an activity and leadership. A long-time job where you have now assumed leadership will play very well with the admissions folks. The academy experience is a marathon. One of the reasons Eagle Scout/Gold Award helps so much is that it takes a sustained effort, and shows perseverance in the face of the loss of popularity of the activity in HS.
In my case, I have no eagle scout or military background. But here's what I have.

Varsity Indoor Track Captain
Varsity Outdoor Track Captain
FCA Leader
Church Youth Council
Church grade president
GMCYO (prive orchestra, we go to third world countries on relief efforts and performances for hte unfortunate) 1st violin, leader
Key Club Co-chair
School Orchestra 1st violin, 2nd principal blabla i should be concert master ...

umm I probably forgetting something.. but yes, Those are my leadership positions, and hopefully those are good enough..
(sigh @ USNAChrisKim)

Leadership positions are like brains--it's your knowledge that makes you clever, and they're your actions that make you a good leader. Of course, it's always better to have a diploma or an elected post to back yourself up, but just because somebody might not have either one it doesn't necessarily demean their intelligence, nor their ability as a leader. I am sure there are midshipmen who were never captains of their school teams, officers of the student government, etc.
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