Your Application, YOUR Responsibility


15-Year Member
Jun 9, 2006
The below is directed to those who still have not completed their applications for the Class of 2021 as well as to those who plan to apply for the Class of 2022 and beyond.

Each year, I am amazed at the number of candidates who want everyone else (teachers, BGOs, DODMERB) to complete their portions of the application well before the candidate him/herself makes any effort to complete the parts for which the candidate is responsible.

As a BGO, every year, I get emails from candidates wanting to schedule their BGO interview. The first thing I do is look at the percentage of the application packet they have completed. Invariably, it's 0% or sometimes a lofty 11% (typically b/c the SATs/ACTs were automatically sent).

I understand that some candidates are just going through their "list" of items to complete and BGO interview is one of many. But, consider it from the BGO's standpoint. Why should we invest 2+ hours of our time and do 100% of what we need to be when the candidate has invested 0 hours of his/her time and completed 0% of his/her requirements? Moreover, a conversation/interview is much more productive when the candidate has actually completed his/her portions of the application.

I have candidates complain that their packet isn't completed "because the teacher didn't . . ." And yet, the candidate activities record hasn't been submitted, the CFA hasn't been done, the personal statement isn't in, etc. In my experience, it's rarely the teacher who holds up the application -- UNLESS the candidate was late contacting the teacher about the rec.

And then folks complain that DODMERB hasn't come calling. We, the taxpayers, are paying for that medical exam. For this reason, SAs want to see that you, the candidate, is serious about applying before they request the exam. Again, that means stuff that YOU, the candidate, need to submit, not just the BGO interview and teacher recs. Again, very rare for a DODMERB invite not to show up promptly if your stuff is 100% complete,.

I must admit that, at this time of the year, I don't have a lot of patience with candidates who email me, desperate to get their interviews done right away -- and yet they STILL don't have their packets complete. BGOs aren't stupid. We know that packets to most competitive colleges are due around now (if not before ) and that you've probably completed THEM, making us wonder if USNA is really high on your list. We also wonder where you were in June, July, August, September, October, November and, now, most of December. And we tend to question whether USNA is your dream or that of someone forcing you to submit that application, such as your parents.

Two caveats to the above. First, there are always a few candidates who have legitimate reasons for delays and that's understandable. But I've also had kids get their packets submitted very early despite really adverse circumstances. Second, BGOs always are (or should be) willing to answer questions and provide advice no matter where in the process the candidate is -- that's different than the actual BGO interview.

The bottom line is that the candidate needs to take ownership of the application process and drive it to a timely conclusion. If USNA (or any SA) is high on your list, show that -- to your BGO and to Admissions -- by taking the initiative and getting YOUR stuff complete and submitted as soon as practical. Yes, the deadline is Jan. 31 but that doesn't mean you have to wait until Jan. 31 to get your stuff in. And don't expect others to do their part until you do yours.
I would feel this way also. I think if people read the threads for a minute, realized that BGO's are volunteers and used that knowledge to clean up your own messes and cut them some slack, it would go a long way. We thought it took a while to schedule my daughter's interview but her officer was a young man with a new baby and once we met him, he was amazing. I think one of the things he liked best was that she had done so much over the summer.
Completely agree, usna1985. The BGO for our DS, during the parent portion of GS' interview, explained he covers almost half the state and almost a dozen schools - on top of his day job. That explained his email to all of his assigned candidates in MAY that he would not be contacting them for interviews until their application was at least 50% complete. A word to the wise: read and heed.
I would add that, even for BGOs who aren't busy and have only one candidate -- it's still your responsibility to get your stuff in before you expect them to interview you. It's not so much a question of availability or being busy -- it's a matter of responsibility and common courtesy.

That said, some BGOs may -- for various reasons -- conduct interviews for every candidate early in the process, with no expectations of completion. If that is the case for you, great. But other BGOs, especially late in the season, may look for 100% completion.

Again, I want to emphasize strongly that what I have said above should not preclude your contacting your BGO at any time with questions about USNA or the admissions process. I'm more than happy to answer questions from candidates or potential candidates at any time and do so with frequency. This is true regardless of whether they have submitted none or all of their package. That is never, ever an issue for me and shouldn't be for any BGO. If we don't know the answer, we'll either try to get it for you or direct you to your RD when we can't.
Well stated USNA1985 (BTW, everyone should know what a great Class 1985 was ? Probably the best USNA class ever !) While I tell my candidates to contact me anytime with questions or issues, my initial email contact tells them to contact me to schedule interview when their application "nears completion." This is intentionally vague, I won't schedule an interview until I see the candidate making the effort. If they contact me earlier, I have them describe their plan for completing the application. If they show up to the interview and have not followed their plan, I will note that.

Bottom line .. BGO's are volunteers. We want to do what's best for USNA, and most will go out of their way to assist highly qualified, motivated candidates, but don't expect us to hold hands or go out of our way for candidates that don't take the initiative.
I pushed my son to complete his part of the application completed by end of May 2016. Getting the recommendations from teachers was a challenge but he had his nomination packet and Naval Academy application completed in early July. I knew how easy it would be to procrastinate and how completing the application and BGO interview early will look good in the end. He is now a believer that "early is on time, on time is late".
Yep, DS's BGO would not interview candidates until the package was 100% completed. We had no problems with that approach, but it did take several weeks after the interview for his portal to show the completion of the interview.